End of Camp NaNo, April 2019

8:36 PM

Allow me to breathe a huge sigh of relief and happiness. Because April's Camp NaNoWriMo has ended, and I could not be more satisfied. 

I want to thank Jane Maree for allowing me to be part of the Fellowship of the Keyboards again ;). I also want to give a shoutout to all of my cabin mates: Jane Maree, J.A. Penrose, Slisby, Clare of the Reliquished, Tesariel, MiddleEarthMusician, Swlalos (Nicole), Lila Kims, Florid Sword (Faith), Sarah Rodecker, PepperFlyE (Julian), Nicki Chapelway, Jes Drew, and Appaloosalover!! Y'all are the best writing buddies ever :)

You know what else was awesome about Camp?

Best Parts of Camp:

- With the exception of one new person, I knew every single person in the cabin this year! It was so awesome to do this race with so many of my friends from the blogosphere!

- The orc front was reopened! It was much sneakier than the direct attack in July 2017, seeing as how our Fearless Cabin Leader forbade direct warfare due to camp distraction (oops). We caught some rogue orcs filching comments and leaving them half-eaten, which we thought extremely rude. Attempts to call Strider turned out to be useless, so we had to settle with extra night watches. The orcs tried to make up for it by multi-copying some of the comments, but they were immediately threatened with keel-hauling. So, yes, it was quite an interesting time.

- Figuring out the logistics of transporting cats, researching 18th funeral traditions (never thought I'd say that....), and somehow finding a motley crew of secondary characters (which include an Anglican priest, half a dozen more pirates, a cross fishwife, and another Navy officer).

- Finding a gold mine of sea shanties and other pirate-y music on Spotify. Playlist automatically increasing by a third. *thumbs up*

- All of the writing. Literally the best NaNo event to date so far. More on that in minute.

What I Learned: 

- Adding the second POV was the spark that made me fall in love with this story again. Course that means a little extra editing, but that doesn't matter too much. The important thing is that this story is being told the way that it was meant to be told.

- Sometimes, you have to sacrifice little comic moments because they just don't work. For example, having similar names for a ship and one being misspelled for confusion. After research, you find that everyone misspelled back then and circumstances proved that the characters didn't know the ship name after all. So, that falls flat. Oh well, there are other opportunities....

- Watching period dramas when writing a "period drama"....kinda helps. Even when said period drama is about 60 years after the time period that yours is based off of. Same goes for sea shanties. LOL.

-  Realizing that real place names are better than made-up ones. I'll take Fishcombe Point over Ariel's Cove any day of the week!

Sorry for the huge screenshot of my phone - I can't edit it right now but plan to later on....

That being said, how did writing go? 

This Camp went SO WELL.

It really started with all of the Camp prep that I did in the last two weeks of March. Shortly before I went on my beach vacation, I shared the original draft with my two alphas. After some discussion, I found what the two biggest problems were: the story felt incomplete and needed another perspective, and the grief aspect of the story was very poorly executed.

With that in mind, I spent quite a few hours sitting either on the beach or on the patio of my villa to hash out a new plotline. One that stayed original to the heart of the story but punch it up.

Then I went down a research rabbit hole, and found a story that caught my interest - the early history of the Catholic Church in the American colonies. It was super interesting to read about how the Catholic Church became rooted in America and what factors later lead to the Americanist heresy condemned in the 1800s. 

Using this and other loose plot ideas I had previously thought up, I filled up many a notebook page with ideas and created a loosely structured plot. From there, I started writing on April 1 (yes, even nixed my traditional first-day holiday!). The loose structure allowed for several small pants-out scenes, including my male MCs' adoption of a cat. 

With the second POV woven into the story, the interest in the story stayed high. Whatever I had started to figure out in The White Rose for dual-POVs really cemented in this story, I feel. I'll know better once my alphas review it.

I actually was a lot more consistent and on par with the word count that the Camp website said that I should be at. If anyone remembers my previous Camp attempts, you know that this is almost never the case. There really was only one stint in which I didn't write, and that fell over Holy Week. Church and pirates really don't mix too well anyway.

When I created my goal for this Camp, I expected to come out in the end with a 20k draft, 10k of which I expected to import from the old draft.

Well, it turns out that I was wrong. I did have a 20k draft when I validated my project, but...only about 1.5k of that came directly from the original draft. There were a couple of scenes from the original draft that I completely re-written to fit the new plotline.

Which means that during the month of April, I wrote around 18,500 words?!

Comparing to previous stats.....

July 2017: ~6000 words
April 2018: ~10,000 words
April 2019: ~18,500 words

That. Is. Crazy. It marks the first time that I set a goal and actually achieved it without falling short or lowering my goal. It was a legitimate win - what a wonderful feeling! 

The best part about this is that this is NOT a complete draft like I was expecting. This is 20k of beginning material. The meat of the story still has to be fleshed out! And I haven't really given much descriptions either, which promises for a larger word count later. I noticed that I did a lot more "telling" in this draft than I normally do. I'm not sure why this is, but I plan on fixing that before I make any beta calls.

In short, it was a lot like last years NaNo, with increased performance. But instead of concentrating on the world-building like I did last year, I concentrated much more on plot. More plot = more words.

Now Fair Winds sits as my largest WIP to date with 21k words.

So, what's the plan now? 

This really successful Camp NaNo event makes me wonder what exactly made it so successful. Was it the Camp prep? Was it the lower stress (since I'm unemployed and okay with that)? Is it just the result of more writing practice?? Was it the love of the story?

I suppose there is only one way to find out. And that is to participate in the July Camp NaNo event!

As to which of my stories will be the focus...that will be determined at a later date. It's simply too early to tell.

As for Fair Winds, I do wish to keep working on it for a while. I still feel motivated to work on it and I have the materials to work on it at my fingertips. So, I'll take advantage of the motivation while I can!

How did your Camp NaNo go (if you participated)? What was one of your "best moments" or "lessons learned"? Feel free to share! 

Scribbingly yours,


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  1. Congratulations, Catherine! I was so excited to see that you'd won this year ^_^ <3 You did so well!!!!!!

  2. Whoohoo!!! That is so awesome! Way to go. :)

    Like every other year, I didn't win. I really hope that July will be better, but I might not be able to do it. We'll see. The best part was that I worked on a story that I really loved, but hadn't touched for over a year!

  3. Wow, what an accomplishment! Fabulous job. :)
    Your project sounds amazing!

  4. Eeeeeh this makes me so happy! Congratulations on reaching your goal and having such a wonderful camp, Catherine! I can't wait to read Fair Winds. :)

  5. Congrats on winning! It's the best feeling!

  6. CONGRATS, Catherine!! *confetti* It was awesome being in a cabin with you!

  7. Congrats on Camp!!! And 21K words for the draft? NICE!

  8. I'm so glad you had such a great Camp experience, Catherine!! I love our cabin. ^_^

  9. Congrats, Catherine, it was fun to be in the Fellowship of the Keyboards with you again this April. :) (The orc was indeed annoying, and I wish Legolas, Tauriel or Strider had shot it, so we could be rid of it's annoyance.)
    Your story sounds amazing, and reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean in some ways. :)
    I can't wait to hear more about it as you write it,

  10. ah, that's the best feeling ever! Congrats ;D Camp went OK with me ... life and work were just exhausting the last couple of weeks, so word count, though statistically good, felt poor to me.


  11. *has never done anything NaNo related*

    CONGRATS CATHERINE!!! Reaching goals feels so goooooood! :D


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