Camp NaNo is an on-line ‘retreat’ for writers; it is a mini and slightly different version of the national Novel Writing Month, an on-line challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November. I entered for the first time last year and to my astonishment and delight, smashed through the 50,000 target and then went on to complete my novel, which I published in February, Radwinter.
The idea with Camp NaNo, is that you have a project or idea which you play around with, so it might be something you are already working on and you want to rewrite, or it might be a completely different genre from what you’ve written before, something experimental, really anything goes as long as it gets you writing! Targets can be more modest, but the key thing seems to be that participants can elect to be in a ‘cabin’ with eleven others, who act as support, offer companionship, share the journey, and generally help the writer to get writing and keep writing.
My project on Camp NaNo is to write a sequel to Radwinter, another genealogical mystery. In Radwinter, the main character Thomas follows his family history, and researches the genealogy of the Radwinter family. In this challenge, I am writing a sequel to Thomas’s story where he follows his maternal line. I’ve never written a sequel before and it’s tricky to get the balance right; I have to inform new readers of Thomas’s history – to an extent what happened to him in the first book, but I don’t want to give the surprise elements away. At the same time, for people who have read Radwinter, I don’t want to keep repeating what they already know… a balancing act!
Camp NaNo takes place in April, and April this year was when I went on the annual family holiday; this really slowed my writing progress, and indeed, I didn’t do much blogging either! So I am a little behind, and I have eight days to write 20,000 words if I want to reach my target… I think I can do it, but there might be some late nights… I’m an owl though, so I should be able to glide through them!
I have eleven cabin mates, but not all of them have managed to start writing, three of them have written nothing, one has withdrawn, and four of them have written less than 10,000 words. I’m not criticising them, far from it, we are all ordinary people with ordinary lives and all the business and commitments that come with them. I am, however, a little sorry, that there hasn’t been more of a community feel… there have been occasional messages posted on the cabin notice board, but nothing more really… But never mind, I’m enjoying what I’m doing and making great progress!
If you haven’t read Radwinter yet, here is a link: