So, this week has been all about the torch marathon for Camp Nano. I am one of the organizers of a month-long event called the NaNoOlympics, which pits different writing groups agaist each other in different events. The last event of the month was the torch marathon, and the rules were basically this:
- You try to “carry the torch” for as long as possible.
- A single “leg” of the marathon is one hour of writing (or editing, or other writing activity).
- At the end of the leg, the current writer can either keep the torch and write for another hour OR pass the torch to another writer.
- The switch has to be visible — that is, the first writer must say they are passing the torch (either to themself or to the next person) AND the next writer must say they are picking up the torch (unless it is the same person — they don’t have to post twice to say “I’m passing the torch to myself” and then again “I am picking up the torch”).
- The person picking up the torch must respond to the first writer (if 2 different people) within 5 minutes.
- The actual hand off needs to occur within 5 minutes of the top of the hour (if not, the person with the torch needs to finish that hour as well).
I was a participant in one of the competing groups, and we had some extremely dedicated writers (I was 4th on the list, but in terms of actual time, the two at the top did an INSANE number of hours). One of them regularly did 5 hours every days, and on at least two occasions, did 11 hours. Because of this, we were never really in any real danger of dropping the torch, so I ended up helping out when I could, and, according to the posted stats, wrote 20 hours during that week, mostly one hour, then a break, then another hour or two, but I did have a couple of uninterrupted 2-hour legs.
The problem with this is that my Camp goal was revision, but I got swept up in the excitement and ended up writing instead. Part of this was due to the earlier Weekend of Writing Wildly, which was a similar event, except done as streaming on Twitch, and when I am streaming, I prefer to write because people can hear my typing and see words appear, even though they are very tiny. So, anyway, I’ve been writing and I have started a new novel/novella (thinking it will be shorter, but too soon to tell), which is a paranormal ghost story. It may end up paranormal romance, but not typical paranormal romance, and it will probably be a lesbian romance at that.
So that’s this week.
Now that we are in May, I am focusing more on the “business” side of things, which I have been completely neglecting since January. I am also planning to organize my life better. Then, June and July will be revision months again, and maybe August, too… As long as I can avoid the temptation of writing lots of new words!
Optional Monthly Question
May 5 question – Has any of your readers ever responded to your writing in a way that you didn’t expect? If so, did it surprise you?
Yes, but I actually can’t remember it. It was a long time ago, and I remember thinking it was really cool, that they got this thing out of my story that I could see, now that they pointed it out, but did not deliberately put in. It was very eye opening. It made me realize how alive our stories are, and how they can grow and change with each reader, while the actual words remain the same. It made me question authors who tell their readers that their reading is “wrong”. I’m not saying they are wrong, but in my case, it was clear that the reader was right, that I can’t decide what the book is actually about, that I can’t tell a reader they are wrong for seeing something that IS there, even if I didn’t put it there. But I also think there are readers who see what they want to see, and maybe it isn’t there. I haven’t experienced that personally, but I could believe it could happen.
Anyway, this is the number one reason I will not be upset about any fan fiction that might occur. I’ll be flattered and curious to see the different ways people see my world and characters… if that even happens. Of course, I have to finish stuff first, and that means NOT writing new first drafts, and instead finishing the revision of Cipher.
Happy writing, other insecure writers, and I look forward to seeing you all next month!
INSECURE WRITER’S SUPPORT GROUP
Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh
Twitter is @TheIWSG Hashtag: #IWSG
The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!
You’re so right. It’s about respecting readers and letting them imagine the story as they will. Nicely put, Raven.
M.J. Fifield says
I love the idea of NaNoOlympics. Eleven hours is some dedication. WOW!!
It’s funny/interesting how often readers find something or get something out of our stories that we put there deliberately. The magic of interpretation!
Yes, I was flabbergasted when I realized how many hours she was actually putting in. Truly inspiring! And you’re right about the magic of interpretation, too!
PJ Colando says
Thanks for your thoughts on the topic. I’ve been alternately thrilled/shocked/blindsided by readers comments… which reinforces the need for this group, I guess. Thanks for joining.
Yes, I agree. And thank you!