Monday, August 13, 2012

Camping

Call me crazy, but I signed myself up for NaNo camp last week. I didn't sign up on the 1st - I hadn't planned to sign up at all. Then a tweet caught my eye and I thought... why not?


That complex romance/mystery/cozy/suspense idea has been niggling anyway. I've got a few more weeks before school starts. I'm going to be out of town and computerless for some of this week, but I'm trying to bank some words now.

I had about 10k written when I made a comment to my crit buddies about my male MC having a great backstory, but not enough oomph in his current story. A couple of golden comments later (LOVE my crit buddies!!!) and it clicked. I'd taken a wrong turn. Made things happen too quickly. The guy had already solved his issues. He was too mellow.

So...

Goodbye 10k.

Yup, I started from scratch. At first I thought I could use some of what I'd written, but within the first scene I realized I wouldn't.

Was it a waste of time and effort? Absolutely not! I know the town, the people, the interactions between the leads and I have a better handle on the male MC. This time around I'm doing a much better job of sprinkling in the backstory and upping the conflict. Yay!

But I'm still counting that 10k for NaNo!! :)

Have you ever scratched everything you've done and started again? Did it make you feel better too?

46 comments:

  1. It was good practice! And I'd count it as well.
    Never scrapped everything, but I've had to backtrack before.

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  2. I've tossed away huge chunks of text and it's hard, but in the end, the story always ends up being stronger for it.

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  3. Of course it wasn't a waste of time & effort. Just because it didn't work it wasn't in vain. Good luck Jemi :-)

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  4. Alex - I feel a little guilty counting it, because it's not part of the story now, but I typed every word in August!

    Andrea - it was hard the first few times I chucked bit chunks, much easier to do now! :)

    Agnes - I agree - nothing that helps me learn is ever a waste! :)

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  5. I hope the camp is fun, I've thought of doing it but I never seem to remember or find the time when it is going.

    I know what you mean about scrapping. I did it once and I was dreading doing it, then when I did I was MUCH happier and it went ten times better.

    I hope your book continues to go well! And that you can get the word count.

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  6. Yup yup and yup. My memoir started out as a 700-page self-help tome and ended up a 120 page memoir.
    Karen

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  7. Absolutely!! I trashed my "Tesla-punk" story 3 times before I finally got the beginning right.

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  8. Oh golly yes!!! And I love how the new ideas (garnered from the old) seem better, more viable, more everything!

    Yay for you and good luck! Take care
    x

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  9. I scrapped over 35,000 words for one novel if that makes you feel better.

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  10. Jack - thanks! I've over 30k (inlcuding that 10k!) so I'm on the right track! The rest of the month is a little crazy so I'm hoping :)

    Karen - that's an awesome slash and burn! Good for you :)

    Dianne - that's great! I love when you finally get it right :)

    Diane - it does!!! I've cut a lot of words before, but starting over was new :)

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  11. Old Kitty - it's amazing how well it flows once you start again - love it! :)

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  12. I think the biggest start I ever entirely dumped was about 7 K.

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  13. I actually scratched half a novel once, but was able to use some of the themes to make my first novel even better. I think every page we write makes us better writers!

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  14. I once threw out a whole cake that I was making for the birthday of a client, because my piping bag burst and ruined it whole. I made the whole, six pound cake again for the next morning delivery :)

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  15. Susan - 7k is lots! I don't mind trimming later, but throwing out right at the beginning was tough!

    Stephanie - I agree! We can't get better without practice and this was some great practice! :)

    Dezzy - Yikes! That might make me cry! That's a big cake. And all that icing... so sad :(
    :)

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  17. That's a lot of words gone, I'm sorry. :( But it's usually worth it - every word is usually worth it. :)

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  18. Definitely count the words!

    I have not scratched as many words- but I have cut 3-4 chapters from my MS, all at once. It was hard at the time, but I knew that the story needed to go in a different direction. The character's story needed to reveal itself with more excitement. In the end the chopped chapters only made the book better. Like you, I also had a better feel of the setting and the characters because of what I originally wrote.

    Best of luck and happy writing!
    ~Jess

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  19. Bethany - true. I'm used to trimming later on - I actually love the slash & burn stage! - but tossing that many words did hurt a bit! :)

    Jess - good to hear! If it makes the story stronger, I'm all for it - even if it means temporary pain!

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  20. I'm such a pack rat that I keep everything. I have tons of stuff that I'll probably never use, but you never know.


    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

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  21. I've never trashed anything completely but I have deleted an entire chapter and started it over. It was tough but it was the right thing to do.

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  22. I had never heard of Camp NaNoWriMo before. I assume it's prepping for November? Sounds cool! Good job on figuring out the boy's backstory, too. Those words weren't wasted at all. The whole point was to make your book stronger, and you (and your CPs) did just that. Good job!

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  23. Lee - you never know for sure! I used to keep everything. I delete much more easily now. :)

    Ms H - it is the right thing to do - just not always easy for sure!! :)

    Caryn - this is my 1st time with the camp - it's basically the same idea as nano. 50k in the month. Fun stuff. I don't know what I'd do without my crit buddies - pure gold :)

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  24. I have done some serious scrapping in the past, and that's why I'm a plotter now ;)
    But I'm a definitely believer that no writing is wasted writing.

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  25. Lynda - I agree - everything we write is practice. I feel like I'm always getting better. :) Definitely working on improving my plotting skills.

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  26. I struggled with the first chapter of one WIP, so I went back to it several times for major revisions.

    Good luck with this. :)

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  27. Oh, yes! I've tossed HUGE chunks of text and practically rewritten the whole book! You gotta do what you gotta do...

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  28. Good you're writing something new but what has this to do with camping??:) Backstory is tricky.

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  29. Talli - exactly! The whole starting over freaked me out initially, but it's so much better now, I'm happy!

    Yvonne - Camping is about the Camp NaNo :) I'm having fun!

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  30. Tossing all those words was one brave act! Let us know how this turns out, Jemi. Pulling for you, girl.

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  31. Lee - thanks! I think it's going well, but I'll need to let this one sit on the back burner once it's done to simmer for a bit! :)

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  32. I think you can count it! I've never cut 10k from a story. I tend to write spare and build as I edit. I hope you've learned and it all flows better now. Good luck!

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  33. Theresa - I prefer to slash and burn in editing - adding in is hard!!! I'm hoping it keeps flowing too :)

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  34. Oh, that's a hard cut, but good luck with the fresh start! Sometimes starting over can definitely be the best way forward.

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  35. Robin - thanks! It was tough to do ... but it's better now, so that helps :)

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  36. Hard decision but great for the end product. Love a good mystery, I'm sure it'll be fantastic!

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  37. Charmaine - I hope so!! On both counts! :)

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  38. Well done, Jemi. I'm too lazy to scratch and start over. :)

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  39. I needed to whittle down a 150,000 word story so I tore out a whole sub-plot from beginning to end, along with several characters I loved. It hurt!

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  40. starting from scratch is scary, but can also be rewarding. good luck and I hope camp nano is going well!

    Nutschell
    www.thewritingnut.com

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  41. I once rewrote 20,000 words from 3rd to 1st person. That was a toughie. Good luck with the Nano.

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  42. Yup--it was in the middle of a story and part of the reason why it took me so long to finish my first novel. Definitely made me feel better!

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  43. I've had to rewrite, but I've pulled out scenes from the previous work.

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  44. JL - too funny! It's scary to cut - but when it felt better later it was all okay :)

    Linda - Oy!! That hurts - and it's really, really hard. I don't like cutting those darlings!!

    Nutschell - it is fun! I'm out of town without access to my computer so I won't get anymore done until the weekend, but that's okay!

    Rosalind - Yikes! That would be hard - especially since I'm not good at 1st pov yet. :)

    Golden Eagle - sometimes it's like a little bit of magic - you cut out something (and it hurts) but it works!

    Ciara - I've never reused any stuff from old work - but I can imagine it would be satisfying! :)

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  45. I thought about doing the camp but then realized I just wasn't ready. I'm definitely doing NaNoWriMo in November though.

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  46. Pat - that's the one I usually do - but it's right during report card season and it's crazy. I thought this one might be better timing - not so sure now!! :)

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