Lighting the Clouds on Fire

This is the way my Camp NaNoWriMo for July ended up. Initially I’d hoped to come away with a full vomit draft of the novel I’m working on. In the beginning I was easily making 2000 words per day. But somewhere around day 16, things began to morph.

I could say school holidays got the better of me, that the dreaded winter lurgy laid me up, even that one of my fur kids unexpectedly keeled over. But it wouldn’t be the truth.

Why then, at day 20 did I decide to pull out?

Basically I’d arrived at the place I thought I’d get to somewhere near the end of the month. I’d been able to follow various characters, see what new ideas they sparked. Something akin to the sorting and lighting of kindling, my efforts became a more detailed exploration of some of the things I might consider including in the first proper draft. As expected, most of those ideas failed to catch, fizzled into puffs of smoke. But a couple took hold, set the neighbourhood on fire. One or two are still raging, lighting the clouds from below. I see myself happily feeding those particular flames for at least the next few months.

So I didn’t make the 50 000 word benchmark this time. Given my subject matter is rich enough to easily fill the pages of a novel, am I disappointed?

Not really.

Even if I had made the word count, the process I used for putting them on the page paid no attention whatsoever to the quality of those words. For me that equates to little more than the mapping out of potential scenes. The actual words I’ve used to express those ideas will not be appearing in the narrative itself.

What I’m left with is a better idea of the direction in which my novel might progress, of which characters will become major players, and which will remain in the shadows.

Now the real work begins.


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