Books (Photo credit: henry…)

November is National Novel Writing Month (abbreviated NaNoWriMo and then whittled down further to NaNo), and I’m going to be writing like a fiend.

You should plan to be my mental support group as I try to hit my word count every day. Don’t worry, it won’t require too much – just blankets, snacks, beverages, and encouragement not to go back and delete everything I’ve written so far. If you want to come over and do my dishes and feed my family that would be helpful.

I’m planning to be bold and share the Work In Progress (WIP) as I slog through November. I hope to make it pretty regular, but if you see a decrease in the number of posts from me, you’ll know why. You can picture me at my kitchen table, hair pulled up into a messy (read: not cute) ponytail/bun, dirty coffee cup within easy reach, a slightly frenzied look in my eye.

Because I’m not all that creative and not trying to write sci-fi or something that requires me to create whole new worlds , I use bits and pieces from life around me. Usually that means something real is the seed that becomes a new plant in the story. It could be a scene captured in my mind long ago, a conversation that was meaningful, a situation that never got resolved, even the smell of a lake during autumn, but these things rarely stay in their purest form while I’m writing. The grain of truth is there underneath but (at least this is how it’s worked so far) it gets trained on the trellis and becomes a new version of itself.

I’m telling you all this so that if you have deja vu while you read parts of the WIP you won’t feel threatened. I’m not here to air anybody’s secrets or write some kind of tell-all. I wouldn’t have much to tell, and I mean that in all the best ways. My experiences have been pleasantly devoid of scandal so you’ll know I’m making stuff up if things get juicy.

My new story for this year’s NaNoWriMo

The idea I want to focus on for NaNo focuses on camp. Did you ever go to camp as a kid, work there as a college student? I did both, and camp was a central player in my life for many years. Even now, I remain loosely tied to camp and value the camp experience for most everybody.

There are many people who outline and plot their WIP far in advance, and others who just wing it. I’ve only done NaNo one time (last year) and that time I had a rough plan for a story, most of which I kept in my head. Because you’re trying to write 50,000 words in one month and based on my experience last year, I think it is helpful to have a rough sketch of major plot points, kind of as a road map of where you want the story to go. Of course, you must be prepared to ditch the plan and go with what is happening (sometimes those characters are wily critters!).

That’s about all I can tell you right now, since I’m still percolating on many details. Some of them I won’t figure out until I’m already knee-deep in the story.

Wish me luck, and I hope to check in (in a more limited form) throughout November!

I’d welcome any vivid memories from those times at camp, positive or negative. I’m looking for inspiration, so even little details can be helpful. Do you have any stories you’d care to share?