Friday, 5 April 2013

Camp NaNo/NaPo

              Five days in, reporting to you live from Camp NaNo-/NaPo-WriMo!


In any group, there has to be one trouble maker.  Alien Magpie, Durham & I wanted to cabin with Fuzzball, and dutifully made our requests to NaNo.  After rejecting various cabins, only the three of us were housed together while Fuzzball was off somewhere in a holding cell.  I suspect it’s because he’s Finnish and we three live in the UK; he didn’t have the proper documentation to cross borders.

But never let it be said that trouble makers aren’t resourceful.  Fuzzball Bones created a secret Facebook clubhouse for us, and The Flying Wombats were born.  Occupation shot up from four to twelve in a matter of hours.  Soon the projects were being announced and as fate would have it, there was a classicist among us to raise the intellectual level.

Durham:  12 short stories, each inspired by one of the Greek pantheon, but it’s realism.  Managed to finish Hephaestus (with a whisper of Oedipus) but can’t type up as fast as I can write.  Bugger. 

The deceptively sweet looking, flute playing Kooky Spice revealed her darker side:

A fantasy story that I’ve been wanting to write for 4.5 years.  There will be assassinations, torture, and deity resurrection involved.  Wheee!

And Magpie took us into an entirely new genre:  

I’m doing a comic on Zev and Troy being super cool assassins.  Fewer words should mean less time, but it doesn’t.  Fewer words take much, much longer. 

I’m the sole early riser, which in this cabin, equates to evil incarnate, but by 10 a.m. on Day One, I’d killed off an innocent bystander while the others hadn’t poured their first cup of coffee.  They call me evil because they envy me.  The murder-a-thon was on.

Magpie:  I haven’t killed anyone yet, but I’m only just up.  Breakfast before murder and all that.
Kooky Spice:  No deaths yet.  But I have the first one planned.
Durham:  I’m biding my time til Hades.
Fuzzball:  You guys and your bloodlust are making me reconsider.  I don’t want to be the odd one out after all...

The cabin bonded during the body count, writers offering surrogate murders for those not ready to commit mortal sins.  Then it began to sink in, the reality of how difficult a challenge any NaNo month really is.

Fuzzball: I’m writing a horror story.  With strippers and drag queens and probably serial killers.  Before it actually began, the idea of NaNo was so exciting and I couldn't wait to get started!  I had my characters, I had a vague plot, I was looking forward to letting the writing just happen and fill in the blanks, and I was sure by the end of it I'd have the best thing I'd ever written in my hands!  Four days into it... My plan feels TOO vague, my characters aren't sure what they want to say and finding the time and the motivation to actually put words on the page is proving so tricky I'm 2k behind on my word count.... BUT! I just figured out my ending and writing down that scene felt so rewarding! NaNo is like a roller coaster, and you just got to love it.

It became obvious that some type of motivation was needed.  A crew of this ilk wouldn’t bat an eye at a threat.  Fortuitously, Camp started on Easter Monday, so chocolate was in bountiful supply.  But then they wanted beer.  And rum.  And mind altering drugs.  There were repercussions.

Durham:  Where is my voice?  Will it come?  Did I drop it somewhere?  I didn’t plan enough.  And NaNo is a hungry fucking child and I don’t have time to feed you!!!!!

But these are the conditions where serious writing happens.  Tips from Neil Gaiman and Josh Whedon were posted.  Word counts were compared.  Offers of feedback were given.  Pet rats were smuggled into camp.  (Three guesses whom those belonged to.)

Five days in confirms what I’ve often said, that writers need writers to write.  Writing is about the ability to imagine, to pretend, to play.  While we can do those things inside our own heads, group play energises and supports us.  Kudos to NaNo-NaPo-WriMo and all those groups out there supporting writers.


Now it’s time for me to get NaNo cracking.  Think of all the murders I’ve not written yet.  A waste, I tell you.  A waste.

                                                   Happy Wombat.

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