One thousand words a day in July

In a desperate attempt to get on track with my writing this summer, I have decided to join Camp NaNoWrimo for July. There are two great things about Camp NaNoWriMo compared to regular NaNoWriMo: 1) It’s not smack dab in the middle of one of the craziest months of the year. You can join in April and/or July; fortunately, July is probably the best month out of the year for me to focus on writing because my schedule is the most open it’ll ever be while I’m in school. 2) Camp NaNoWriMo allows you to set your own goal. No longer do I have to feel enslaved by 50,000 word/month, which I often achieved, only to be burned out, depressed, and without any salvageable content by the end.

I have set my goal for 30,000 words/1,000 words a month plus a one-day buffer in case something comes up. I’ve been loosely plotting where I want the story to go in 30,000 words and have a pretty basic trajectory. By the end of July, I will be thrilled to have almost 50,000 words total of Boot Hill‘s rough draft. It would be nice if I could get another 15-20,000 in the month of August, but I’m going to be taking one step at a time.

In other news, I’ve been running into some motivation issues, frustration at work, and my favorite occasional visitor known as depression. All of these circumstances are making it extremely difficult for me to focus, get out of the house, or be productive in any capacity. I’m also having a bit of a style crisis as I realize that the two perspective character voices (Lindsey and Fortun) are essentially just my own voice being projected, and that it’s nearly impossible to differentiate one from the other. This is kind of a big deal and can be lethal to a first person story. It makes me want to scrap everything I already have, rip my hair out, and/or rewrite the whole damn thing, but I know that’s not really an option at this point.

I don’t have a snippet this week, unfortunately, mostly for the reasons above.

Plus, next month my blog will be crawling with snippets galore and you’ll be sick of hearing about these characters by July 31 if you aren’t already.


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9 thoughts on “One thousand words a day in July

  1. July is a MUCH better month, I agree. Good luck to you! I’ll be looking forward to your snippets!

  2. Depression and character writing do not mix well and I am too familiar with that cocktail. While I can’t offer much in the way of advice for the depression other than just try not to get too discouraged, and don’t hate yourself for not getting it done, I do have some suggestions for differentiating first-person voices, if you’d like tips.

    • I would love some tips! Thank you for the comment; it’s hard not to get discouraged at times, but I’m still pressing forward regardless. :)

      • I have found that reading books with excellently defined character voices helps. I recommend the Metal Dragon series, The Doctrine of Labyrinths, and Tales of the Otori.

        I also find it’s helpful with characters of differing class backgrounds to sort out different sentence structures and grammar for each one. It can be hard for me personally to write in a more phonetic way, but even loosening the syntax of a lower class character in dialogue alone is helpful.

        Also, having “signature” phrases or curses can be good. Slang or inflection or whatever picked up in childhood or a strong inclination toward metaphors over another character are all really good ways of developing voice. Something I do is work with one character exclusively for like a week or two just to get myself to think and talk like them for a while. It alters my own voice and is therefore easier to translate onto the page.

        I hope that helps (and made sense), and I wish you the best of luck!

      • Ooh! I’ve read Havemercy and Shadow Magic, both of which were pretty enjoyable for the most part. The way character voice is handled was easily my favorite aspect of the books. (Have you read Steelhands and/or Dragon Soul? What did you think about them? I wasn’t totally in love with the series enough to continue on, but I have heard that the last two were much, much better.) I haven’t heard of the others you’ve recommended; I’ll check them out when I can! Thank you for the recommendations.

        Luckily, my two perspective characters are indeed at extreme ends of the social ladder, so it shouldn’t be as hard as it seems to write them with distinct voices. I might need to just put myself in my characters’ individual mindsets, like you were saying–one at a time. Even though I’ve been planning/brainstorming this novel for years, I still struggle with immersing myself entirely, and the character voices just reflect how I speak. That’s just not going to cut it.

        I’m working on the curses and specific phrases. Unfortunately, a non-perspective main character tends to be the one to use all of the strange phrases and words. His voice is way more developed than either of the my viewpoint characters, and that’s a little frustrating. I guess all that means is that I need to put as much time and effort into the other characters’ voices as I have for him. It’s so much work! /o/

        Thank you for all of your advice! I really appreciate the time you put into responding. :)

      • No problem! I love talking about writing techniques and character writing is easily my favorite thing. I have read Dragon Soul but not Steelhands. They’re definitely not my favorite books but I love the world and I thought the romance in Havemercy was well done so I plan to keep reading in the hopes that they improve. They’re just good braincandy, in my opinion. I think the style of Doctrine of Labyrinths is quite similar and the character Mildmay is such a good example of a well developed lower-class voice.

      • Oh! I wasn’t aware that the Melusine books were referred to as the “Doctrine of Labyrinths” series. The name “Mildmay” tipped me off, haha (I love that name). I actually tried to read Melusine about 5-6 years ago but never managed to get into it; I set it down and never got back to it. I’ll have to try and read it again this summer. I know that its overarching themes are similar to what I wish to accomplish in my story, so it’s important to know what is already out there and what is successful!

        Interesting that you enjoyed the romance angle of Havemercy! I actually had a couple issues with the Royston/Hal romance, hehe! I feel like their relationship was a little too saccharine and overwrought for my tastes, and that their relationship employed typical seme/uke tropes from Japanese yaoi/shounen-ai that are often a misrepresentation of gay relationships. Hal was innocent and pure to a fault. He followed Royston around like a submissive, lovesick puppy the whole time, basically worshiping the ground Roy stood on. Essentially, I wanted him to be considered an equal to Royston, and I felt like he wasn’t until he kind of “proved himself” at the end. Royston treated him like a sheltered princess, and even though Hal tried to initiate intimacy and be honest with him, Roy closed him out for no reason that I could find and refused to acknowledge his feelings. Sure, it elongated the sexual tension, but something about it just didn’t feel right to me. I mean, overall I still think they’re a cute couple, and I’m SO GLAD that it’s overtly stated that they are lovers, but I found myself wanting to skip ahead to other scenes when yet another romantic interlude started, because I knew it was going to be cut short and leave me unsatisfied for the sake of sexual tension rather than a semi-realistic look at romance between two men. I’d love to hear what you were drawn to with Hal and Royston, because character relationships and how they are interpreted by readers interest me so much. *_*

        lkjsdfsf now I sound like a pretentious douche. I promise that I actually enjoyed the books! I promise! It gives me hope that my gay-centric characters have a place in a publishing house some day, and I’m grateful that we have these stories to pave the way. :)

        Now if only I could actually write as well as Jones or Bennett… alas.

  3. I actually had all the same complaints about Roy/Hal. I guess for me I felt it was a little subtler than typical seme/uke stuff (which is not my thing at all) and seemed to be more genuine than those kinds of anime tropes. Also, at the time I read it I was falling in love with an older (not as much older as Roy) woman and I identified pretty heavily with the idea of getting away from home and embarking on a romantic adventure with someone more experienced.

    It probably colored my reading of it. I also feel that Jones and Bennett did A+ characterizing in Havemercy so even if Hal and Roy were completely cliche, they were the best possible representation of that cliche. I don’t know… I’d have to read it more closely to give it a good critique, but yes, everything you said I agree with.

    Btw, you totally write as well as them. And less redundantly, I might add.

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