Screen-barfing: What I learnt at Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s all over bar the collecting of the legendary ‘Winner Goodies’… and do I have a first draft to show for it?

Um, no, actually, I do not.

I have attained my self-inflicted target for the month of July (20,000 words towards Bit #1 of The Ambivalence Chronicles), but given that when discovery writing, as I was during July, it generally takes me about 10,000 words of crap to find an interesting shape for the story, an awful lot of that is going to get trashed fairly early in the editing process.

Ken jumped into the Ambivalence and followed the cloud like some kind of Dodge-based Moses crossing a dinosaur-infested Sinai.

A full-length (c.50,000 word) NaNo would have given me 30-40k of usable draft to kick about until it resembled something vaguely readable, but 20k was, it turns out, as much as July could afford me. So while I do not by any means have a first draft to build upon, I hope that I can sculpt the month’s writing screen-barf into an extended outline for a first draft that I can work on under less frantic conditions.

So what have I learnt at Camp NaNoWriMo? Well, for one thing, my hero, Ken Humorous-Surname, reverted to his original late-teens age. I think. The bad guys for the larger series showed up, which was handy, as did the Magical Negro – although none of the characters have specific racial backgrounds at this stage.

Besides that, there was a weird subversion of the Clark Kent/Superman ‘never seen in the same room at the same time’ idea going on too, and a couple of other characters whose true allegiance I need to torture out of them before the story is done.

So, I guess that sort of dictates my writing for the next few weeks; but, for now at least, I should be sleeping.

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