Posts Tagged With: cabin

Camp NaNo — aka the 50K Marathon


If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month. Basically, you write a 50,000 word book in one month along with a whole whackload of other people crazy enough to attempt the challenge. You update your word count each day, inching closer and closer to that seemingly unattainable goal. Finally, you reach the summit! 50,000 words! That’s an entire book! Or the first half of an entire book! Or the first eighth, if you’re George RR Martin or Stephen King! Your prize? 50,000 words of a book, plus a fancy certificate that you print and fill out yourself. NaNoWriMo rocks.

So what is Camp NaNo?

Camp NaNo is NaNoWriMo, but in the summer. You pick a month to do the challenge – either June or August this year (or both!) – sign up, and wait for June 1/August 1 to arrive. Then the fun starts. And by fun, I mean jaw-grinding stress and an increased reliance on expensive coffee shop beverages to retain even a semblance of functionality.

What else is different between NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo?

Camp NaNo has a feature called Cabins, where they will match you up into “cabins” with other writers – sort of forcing you into a social support system. You can choose your cabin mates, they can be randomly assigned, or you can ask to be placed by age or genre. Not being in a cabin is also an option.

Have you ever done Camp NaNo, Michelle Proulx Official?

Just Michelle is fine. Shelli works too, if you’re feeling whimsical. And yes, I attempted it last year. I failed miserably, but that’s beside the point.

Then what is the point?

The point is that Camp NaNo is an awesome way to write a book, or at least get started on one. I’m not going to lie – cranking out 1667 words a day (50k/30) is really hard, especially when you know that what you’re writing is probably crap. You want to go back and change it, but you know that you can’t or else you’ll fall behind. That’s actually one of my favourite parts of NaNo – the fact that you can’t look back. It forces you to figure out new and inventive ways to deal with the situations you foolishly got your characters into.

So all NaNo books are terrible?

Of course not. I mean, yes, the first drafts are generally mediocre at best. But the point is that you’re writing. I, for example, have three different novel ideas floating around in my head right now that have yet to see the light of the monitor. Would you like to hear them?

Not really.

Fine. Anyway, left to my own devices, I might get around to writing one of these novels in a year or two. You know, once I get my current novel sorted out and published, and fix up the sequel, and finish the Hunger Games-esque story I’m halfway through writing, and get a real job, and move out of my mother’s apartment, etc.

I begin to comprehend.

Exactly. NaNo forces you to drop everything and spend an entire month creating something completely from scratch. This requires putting certain projects on the back burner, but I feel that it is usually worth it.

There’d better be some sort of success story in here…

I’ve “won” NaNo four times. The first book was terrible. It was a basic high school soap opera, until the lead male’s father was revealed as an evil Russian arms trader. When I stopped writing, the high school protagonists were about to fly off in an illegally purloined jet to take down the Chinese terrorist group “Red Fist”, who had acquired fifty nuclear bombs and were planning to drop them on the USA, one bomb for each state. Several of the characters also possessed hacking abilities roughly on par with Dade Murphy from Hackers.

That sounds mind-crushingly horrendous.

It was. The second attempt, in a complete reversal of events, was awesome. Six years later, it has become Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It, the novel I am currently self-publishing. The third attempt has also turned into a finished book, although it needs major tweaking. The fourth had a cool premise, but didn’t hold up under scrutiny, so I’m in the process of re-imagining it.

So… what exactly is the point of this post?

I’m trying to explain to people that Camp NaNo is awesome, and that they should check out the Camp NaNo site and give it a try. Apparently I didn’t make that clear.

I know mud that is clearer than you.

Oooh, burn. So how about it, bloggers? Anyone doing Camp NaNo this summer? Anyone done NaNoWriMo in the past? I’m still on the fence about doing the June camp (only three days away!), so your opinions are greatly appreciated.

Peace out, bro.

You are not nearly cool enough to pull that phrase off.

Okay. How about: Peace out, A-bro-ham Lincoln?

Very historical. I approve.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Visual Writing Prompt + SpaceX

Picture It And Write!

M. Selene mentioned this very cool writing prompt thought up by Ermilia – check her blog out here. Basically, she posts a picture, and then you write a short paragraph of fiction about it and share it. I remember my grade 8 teacher used to make us do activities like this. I hated it back then, because I was in the eighth grade so what did I know, but now I’m psyched. Here is the image, and my contribution:

It was the first sign of civilization they had seen in days – a weather-beaten, clapboard house on a rough little island connected to the shore by a rickety bridge. As if they needed extra incentive, the clouds were catching up again. Within minutes they would cover the entire sky, and Darcy knew what would happen when the last gleam of blue was swallowed up. She refused to let that happen.

Grabbing Mikey’s hand, Darcy dragged her brother off the path and onto the splintery walkway. “It looks like it could fall down any second,” Mikey protested, digging his heels against the wooden boards.

Darcy continued resolutely across the bridge, trying to ignore the way it creaked ominously at each footfall. “It’s better than being caught out here when the clouds come,” she snapped.

Overhead, the skies had grown darker. The deceptively pleasant white clouds were now deepening to navy, and would soon be a roiling black. Only a sliver of blue peeked out from the distant edge of the horizon. It had happened faster than she expected. “Run!” Darcy screamed. This time Mikey cooperated, and together the children raced across the rest of the bridge and down the curving path towards the house.

Then Mikey tripped, not five meters from the partially-ajar door. Darcy, holding his hand, was dragged down with him. The stumble was a critical error. By the time the children had made it back to their feet, the skies had turned completely black. They made a desperate dash for the house, but the door slammed shut in their faces. Then the wind started to swirl around them, and the dark clouds crackled with malevolent energy.

They were too slow. It was coming.

 SpaceX Update!

Ladies and gentlemen, the first commercial spacecraft – aka SpaceX’s “Dragon” ship – has officially docked with the International Space Station! The Canadarm was used to dock the ship, and now the ISS astronauts are floating into the Dragon capsule to claim their 1,000 pounds of provisions stored inside. According to astronaut Donald Petti, it smells like a brand new car. I wonder if they stuck in one of those pine tree air fresheners?

How awesome is the name “Dragon”? SpaceX apparently has a rule when naming things:

“They are named independently, the rule is names must be cool.”

What really fascinates me about SpaceX is the man who runs it – Elon Musk. He financed a huge part of the project with money acquired from his roll as co-creator of PayPal. He also started Tesla Motors, which is an electric car company. Spaceships, electric cars… I want to nominate this guy for president, or something. He’s the kind of person I want running the world. Focused on improving technology, making the world a better place – not starting wars, or selling junk food, or whatever multinational corporations spend all their money on these days.

Thinking time!

Say I gave you a billion dollars. What would you do with it?

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

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