Camp NaNoWriMo 2016

Winning Camp NaNoWriMo

So, I won Camp NaNoWriMo.

I think.

It’s hard to tell when it comes to the camp version of the National Novel Writing Month. It’s more lenient in its design. While NaNoWriMo is very rigid with its 50,000 word-in-a-month-no-editing-no-backtracking-no-previous-work goal, Camp NaNo lets you edit previously written manuscripts, set your own word count, and pretty much flex your writing muscle with self-imposed milestones.

I’ve only been participating in Camp NaNo for the last few years now, and each one that I do I end up using to work on a novel I originally wrote for NaNoWriMo. This year I decided to resurrect an 11-year-old manuscript that I originally wrote for NaNoWriMo 2005. Dark Horizons is supposed to be the third installment in my Expired Reality series, but this thing has been in limbo and through revisions so many times that I unintentionally gave up on it while I hashed out my Black Earth series.

Strangely enough, both series are connected, making writing Dark Horizons more difficult. The more I wrote of the Black Earth series, the more Dark Horizons changed (as it takes place well after the events of the Black Earth series), so revising is all I’ve been doing every time I look at it.

And Camp NaNoWriMo has been no exception.

The good thing is, my Black Earth series is set in stone (finished), and I now have a set outline to follow for the next couple books in the ER series. Camp NaNo was incredibly helpful this year as it forced me to write out an ‘official’ outline for the book, hash out some character backgrounds that connect to the Black Earth series, and actually make use of Scrivener – which I am finally using to write my manuscripts.

All in all, I consider it a win. I may not have hit a 50,000 word milestone, but I managed to resurrect and repair an 11-year-old manuscript.


  • Anita Cooper

    Congratulations! I’ve never won NaNoWriMo, but maybe this year… 😉

    Curious…as it appears you’re an “outliner” have you ever tried “writing into the dark” (as Dean Wesley Smith calls it) a/k/a “pantsing”?

    • David N. Alderman

      I used to ‘pants’ on all of my novels until a few years ago. I started doing PreNaNo challenges through, and one of them was to build out a full outline for the NaNo novel before November. That’s when I realized the benefit of having an outline. I don’t personally like outlining, but now that I’m 3 books into this series, I kind of have no choice as I have to keep everything straight and structured to make sure things lead into the next novel.

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