Camp NaNoWriMo: First Time Winner!

Woot! For the first time ever I won Camp NaNoWriMo!

If you know me, you know I’ve been participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, since November 2006. And I’ve won every year.

Camp NaNoWriMo began in July 2011, and since 2013 has been held during the months of April and July. I decided to try it out in July 2015, not really taking it as seriously as I would NaNoWriMo. I set a goal of 10,000 words of revisions to The Westerman Affair, and didn’t even come close to that goal. Like, way not close. I wrote 2953 words. (I have since finished The Westerman Affair and am currently submitting it to agents. So far, a tiny spark of interest, and several rejections. Sigh.)

Then I did Camp NaNoWriMo again in April 2016, choosing to work on my firefighter romance novella, Undamaged. I did a bit better with that project. My Target Word Count was 20,000 words and I wrote 17,504. (The final version of Undamaged is over 21,000 words. It was published in October 2016 as part of Paige Tyler’s Dallas Fire & Rescue Kindle World.)

But, as you can see, winning Camp NaNoWriMo was not really as obsessive and urgent a goal as winning NaNoWriMo. It was a motivator, to be sure, but I allowed myself to fail during these months.

April 2017 was a little different. I really, really want to finish A Noble Deceit, Book 4 of my Harwell Heirs series, with the intent of publishing it this year. A Noble Deceit was my NaNoWriMo 2016 novel and I won with 50,358 words. Since November, I’ve worked on it a bit but not much, adding just over 1000 words. For Camp NaNoWriMo I set a goal of 10,000 words, with the idea that this would encompass writing the final few chapters and any scenes in the middle that I had skipped over.

About that number: A Noble Deceit is a novel with plot and character arcs fitting the size of a novel. My novels tend to be in the 70,000-word range, so I knew 10,000 words would be a very doable goal in a month. There will be about 10,000 additional words, but those will include all the layering in of setting (architecture, places, clothing) and coloring in of emotion, so those words will take longer than a month, because of research and plot finessing. My April 2017 words are just picking up where I left off on November 30, 2016, without any historical research or character development.

After a very weak start, I worked steadily from April 15th. Towards the end I was super motivated to win once I saw the “Winner’s Flair” flashed around on Twitter. I mean check this out:
Camp NaNoWriMo Winner 2017

Who doesn’t love Big Foot-themed winner’s goodies? Okay, so look, if getting Big Foot-themed winner’s goodies motivated me even more, so what?

So why is it called “Camp” NaNoWriMo? Partly because it’s held in Spring and Summer, you know, camping weather and all. Plus, one of the cute quirks of Camp NaNoWriMo is the cabin feature, where fellow Camping Wrimos can hang out and boost each other via private message boards. I’m a solitary Camper, preferring to not bother with cabins, instead writing alone with only my scoreboard and my conscience holding me accountable.

I’m very happy I won. I still have a ways to go before A Noble Deceit is publishable, but I’m far closer to that than I was on April 1st!