death tree camp nanowrimo novels creative writing storytelling process update

I dabble in several creative mediums, but none has my heart like writing.

I haven’t talked much about my writing on Wind & Spindle. Some time ago I shared books that influenced me as a writer, but that is as far as I have gone.

So to initiate this blog into a full representation of my creative pursuits I am going to talk a little about my writing, particularly my projects at the moment.

Camp NaNoWriMo

For the non-writers out there, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short) is a rather grand event. It involves devoting the month of November to writing an entire novel, or an exasperating attempt thereof. It is usually tracked via word count (a novel is around 50,000 words) by selecting a certain number of words to write a day and writing each day to meet that quota.

This year I discovered the existence of Camp NaNoWriMo, two additional months to devote oneself to that great and terrible dream which is the novel. The other months are April and July, and, having discovered about this event a week before July began, I decided to participate.

If you want to, you can search for the NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo websites, you can register and be placed in a community of other writers to spur you on and to help track your progress.

I haven’t done this because I write my novels in hard copy first. That’s right. Good old pen and paper. I’ve found this helps me to get the story down. It also prevents me from going backwards and editing before I’ve finished the whole story. After the novel is done I will type it up. That is when I begin my editing as well.

So… you probably want to know about the story.

World-Building

Before July began I decided that it was time to start a new writing project. I have been working on the same novel for sixteen years. (Yep.) Because that novel has a slow creative process I wasn’t writing consistently. As a result my writing was not its best, even for a draft. I wanted a project that I could write consistently and conceivably finish within a year.

At first I was anxious about where to begin. I mostly write a specific fantasy-science fiction blend (hard to describe), and I wanted to write something of that genre just because it is what I like to write. My issue was having to build a world. I didn’t want to take the time to do that before I began writing, so I jumped in with an idea and decided to see where the story went.

I don’t know if it is the fact that I’ve worked on my one novel so long, but I realized I could have the novel take place in the same universe and world but at a different point in time than my first novel. (The current title of my long novel is Colors, and you will hear plenty about it.) There was no point in letting all of my worldbuilding go to waste. I had constructed the world so I could write several stories within that universe, and I went for it.

Death Tree

My current title for this new novel is Death Tree. Not sure if that will be the title by the end, but it seems to fit so far.

Without giving any spoilers, Death Tree is the story of a woman named Nocta who is faced with the possibility to undo a tragedy that happened to her country twenty years ago.

I started the story with the image of people going to an ancestral festival in a forest. I didn’t know much about what it meant, but I realized that something was going to happen during the festival that I couldn’t explain.

Some writers probably plot out their stories, but I have to discover them. It has been incredibly thrilling to slowly discover Nocta’s story and this tiny period of history in a world I’ve developed over several years. It’s a bit of a sad story, and (shocker) deals heavily with the topic of death and how humans react to it. I didn’t come in trying to force a theme, rather it showed up as I was writing.

Surprises

One of the interesting parts of writing has been seeing how characters from other stories I never finished have appeared in my more recent work. Nocta is similar to early drafts of a lead character in Colors. In Colors the character never worked right (it was terrible, terrible writing), but in this story it fits perfect. Sometimes I think I try to push too many good ideas at a character that simply are not theirs to carry. I have a very organic way of writing characters (they tell their story, I curate what readers hear), and it has been interesting to observe how characters enter and exit my stories when I allow them to behave honestly, rather than according to my plan.

Another fun element is allowing myself to write things that are scary/creepy. I don’t think I branch into horror at all, but I’ve always enjoyed a bit of creepiness in my stories. Previously I have cut it out because I felt like that would potentially turn people away. This time around I’ve embraced it and used it in a way to develop the story and characters rather than distract.

Lastly, I’ve been surprised at how much this story has made me think. I’ve pondered over Colors, but there is something about this story that has related to real life in some surprising ways. Lyme’s disease nearly killed me a couple of times, and I think that part of this story is relating my understanding of death to the world.

One week is complete in Camp NaNoWriMo, and while I probably won’t finish the novel by the end of July, I am pleased with my progress. I wanted to share a bit of an update, and possibly more as the novel proceeds.

Thanks for reading!

1 Comment

  1. Marilyn July 9, 2019 at 11:42 pm

    Good luck with your writing. Thanks for sharing and explaining what Camp NA No Wri Mo means. Continued success. Looking forward to the finish copy.
    Marilyn

    Reply

Leave A Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *