#CampNaNoWriMoSurvivalGuide – Day Three: What does the ‘No’ stand for again?

Day three. If you’re like me and not on target, 5k might seem like it’s a long way off but fret not, it really isn’t. Today, over Reverse Mochas, we’re going to talk about what you can write during Camp.

Now, obviously, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and the idea in that weird month between Halloween and Christmas was to write a short novel but, of course, it doesn’t have to be that strict. Fellow writer Jamie Todd Rubin decided to turn last November into Novella month and even if it didn’t pan out, it was a neat idea. Similarly, as I write this it’s the Clarion Write-a-Thon which mirror’s the Clarion workshop’s task to write a story each week over the six weeks of the workshop or, at the very least, just write something to raise donations for the programme.

The Science Fiction Writers of America (aka the SFWA) defines the length a work needs to be in order to be defined as a ‘novel’, ‘novella’, ‘novelette’ and ‘short story as:

Classification Word count
Novel over 40,000 words
Novella 17,500 to 40,000 words
Novelette 7,500 to 17,500 words
Short story under 7,500 words

The key-word here is upwards. YA novels are usually around 60k while adult novels usually have word counts in the region of 115k. I know, it sounds like a lot, but don’t worry, it’s okay. We’re doing 50k or less, which – as I will keep repeating – is just 1667 words or less per day. You could, if you focused, write that in a fifty minute bus commute.

The thing to remember, particularly when talking about Camp, is that it’s what write that’s important. I had a friend who did NaNoWriMo for the first time last year, she managed only a few thousand words and was ecstatic. I’ve been doing it for several years and only hit 50k for the first time last year. Don’t expect to hit your goals the first time you try, much less burn yourself out by forcing the words out. If they’re going to flow, they’ll flow.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, my word court as I write this on Tuesday evening is 3246. Today was a bust but tomorrow is going to be better? How do I know? Because every day is a new, blank page, it’s up to you whether you write on it or doodle.

Come back tomorrow when we’re going to distractions that will help you write.

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