Camp NaNo – Starting a (virtual) writing retreat

It’s June 30th, which means tomorrow is July 1st and the start of Camp NaNoWriMo! Even though it’s not officially NaNoWriMo, where the goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, this camp can give you a real boost on a current writing project. You’re free to pick your own project, no matter in what phase it is in. Researching, writing, or editing, and you can set your goal to however many words you want. Pick any number of words, hours, minutes, pages or lines, anything that fits your project and schedule for the month.

I previously talked about the importance of support, and writing together in a cabin (as you do in Camp NaNo) gives you that. The whole cabin encourages one another, we listen when someone has a setback or provide feedback when needed. The point is to not only make progress on your chosen project, but to learn from each other. Each writer has different strengths, weaknesses, and knowledge, and in a cabin everyone has the opportunity to use it to their advantage. Hopefully, by the end of July, everyone who took part will have learned and grown as a writer.

This time, Raven and I will both be joining a cabin, but with very different projects.

I have a novel in the works, for which I only have a summary, so I’ll be using Camp NaNo as an opportunity to do the research and prep work (I’ll start the official writing in November for the actual NaNoWriMo). This will be the first time that I’m going to research a story this extensively – think character sheets, locations, blueprints for the buildings, etiquette, clothing, hierarchy, and an intriguing and cohesive plot.

It’ll be a challenge since this story is set in ancient China, although I’ll make my own version of it. I have no connection with China at all, besides my general interest in history, so this month I’ll be immersing myself in everything I can find to educate myself.

This will be my second NaNo-novel, the second one with a female lead, and the second historically inspired book. Knowing me I’ll probably write a third story with these elements next year and call it an unofficial trilogy.

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The Shadow Court [working title]

A girl – our protagonist – is selected to serve the emperor. Starting out at the bottom, where she cleans the private chambers of her master, she begins to learn how the court works and the politics of empire. Events unfold with her at their heart, and after a particularly unfortunate occurrence she is offered a glimpse of the shadowed side of the imperial court, where true power lies.” parallax=”off” direction=”left” revealfx=”off”]

Raven here.

With the exception of the one time I missed it, I’ve taken part in every Camp NaNo since April 2015 and get excited for it every time it comes around. There’s something really special about getting together with a group of friends (in the form of cabin mates) and motivating yourself with their company.

This month, I’m going to be working on three interconnected shorts set in my greater story universe. Composed of Nows revolve around the three different dogmatically different characters that arrive in one place at different times, encounter the same time-redefining entity, and find themselves changed by their experiences.

It will be written in a nonlinear fashion, with the laws of time and reality tweaked both in the language and chronological structure of the stories. It’s an experimental approach for me, and I’m looking forward to getting started.

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For a conceptual teaser for Composed of Nows, Raven published an unedited piece he’s using as a starting platform for the project a few weeks ago. Click here to check it out.

There are still some spots open in our cabin, so join us! Register on, create a project and let us know your name so we can add you. If you already have your own cabin, don’t hesitate to contact us on twitter or in the Discord channel mentioned on the right. Cabin walls may divide us, but we can always still support each other.

Good luck out there, campers, and happy writing!

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