Camp Nanowrimo Update

Camp Nanowrimo Certificate

I feel like a bit of a fraud.

I only signed up for the last week of Camp Nanowrimo’s 5,000 word challenge. Here it is one day still to go and according to them I’m a winner.

Then again, why argue? Why not celebrate your achievements no matter how modest.

A previous post discusses why write for children. For Camp Nanowrimo, I aimed write some short stories for children or even picture book texts.

I wrote five stories. The main characters in all of them happened to be boys between about six and ten. One or two word prompts started each story. The prompts were the ornament, blue sheep, prime, dancing and winter. Most of the stories didn’t end up being about the prompt, which goes to show how once you get a feel for the characters, the story seems to develop without too much effort, like one of those conversations where you end up forgetting what you meant to talk about in the first place. I guess that makes me one of the character-is-more-important-than-plot kind of writers, more pantser than plotter.

Whenever I’ve tried to plot stories it usually leads to a ‘so what?’ moment where my idea seems dull or cliched. That’s when I give up before it’s even written. If I’m bored so early, the reader won’t get past the opening paragraph. To keep me interested enough to finish the story, I have to discover it as I go. Of course, there is nearly always a vague idea of what will happen in the end, but it’s up to the characters to get there.

You’d think my characters were real people. Well, maybe they are a bit like me…

There's a bear on my chairBy the way, I discovered this wonderful picture book in the library this week. The text is rhyming; my favourite kind of picture book text.  The illustrations are big and bold set into a one-colour background which serves to focus the reader’s attention on the relationship between mouse and bear. Cute ending too.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? How do you get started on a new story?


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