Camp WooNoOutMo 2019

Welcome back y’all.

It’s March and you know what that means! That’s right! Time to prepare for Camp WooNoWriMo! What’s that? Well it’s like WooNoWriMo, accept in the spring season instead of fall, and you get to set your own goals. Just want to finish something? Want to write a poem everyday? Want to write 50,000 words? Want to write 25,000 words? Want to just write everyday? Whatever goal you need, you can set it. My goal is to write everyday, like every WooNoWriMo.

So with Camp just a month away, March is a great time to prepare your story or your ideas and get yourself ready for a month of writing. For me that means testing out some ideas and getting my rules down. This will be my fourth Camp, so I have a pretty good idea of what my problem areas are, but maybe this is your first and you have no idea what you’re doing. So here’s a few tips:

  1. Write down everything. You’re not always going to have time to write when you have a great idea, so keep a notebook or a pen to hand ready just in case.
  2. Don’t edit. You’re always going to want to go back and edit, but don’t. Going back is the number one way to get stuck fixating on small details. Whatever the change is, just write it down. If you’re not sure if an idea is going to work or you have a big change that will have ripples throughout your story, write it out. Rewrite the scene, don’t skim for old details and try to rework it. Just rewrite the scene entirely. This will keep you writing instead of worrying.
  3. Try to keep a schedule. This goes for any time of year, but try to keep your writing regular and in a specific place. Don’t try to write around people who distract you or skip your writing entirely. Even if you don’t meet your goal for the day, you need to write everyday to keep yourself going. Not writing one day is like stopping while running a marathon. It’s going to get harder to get going again than it is to keep going slower.
  4. Stay on the same story. This is my kryptonite. Whenever I do NaNoWriMo I switch back and forth between projects, but you should try to stay on one project. Working on a different project can be equivalent to opening up the browser. You’re doing it because writing is hard and you’re afraid to face the page. But keep going. Work on different sections of the same piece, or rewrite something you didn’t like in a different way. Just keep going.
  5. Immerse yourself in writing 24/7. During NaNoWriMo I try to switch my media diet to writing channels and writing books. I usually have a playlist of writing YouTubers who I watch to get motivated right before writing. I find it helps ease myself into the headspace I need to be in.

Camp WooNoOutMo April 2018!!!

Hey ya’ll,

*evil laugh*


Sup, it’s Wooster Novel Outlining Month or WooNoOutMo. Specifically Camp WooNoOutMo. As you know, or do not know, NaNoWriMo has a sister program: Camp NaNoWriMo. Basically its diet NaNoWriMo. You get to choose the goal and the form (so actually the acronym is wrong…*sad face*). Therefore as this is the month leading up to Camp WooNoWriMo, March will serve as your time to prepare for the torment which you have saddled yourself with.

If you want to be part of our Camp NaNoWriMo cabin please email me your Camp NaNoWriMo username. We’re going to be doing extra write-ins to discuss our projects and shame each other into writing and CAMP DAY in which we’ll make smores? while we write… at night.

Personal NaNoWriMo Update (What to Prepare for)

Hey ya’ll, I’m back. It’s been a weird week for me writing wise. TBH, I’ve gotten pretty lazy with my writing schedule since school started in fall and I haven’t adjusted back to summer schedule, but that’s why I love NaNoWriMo so much. It’s an excuse to write regularly and as usual I’ve started early.


I started NaNoWriMo back in April of my Senior year, which was just great since I had AP’s the next month along with regular school work. Thankfully I had a reasonable goal, but it meant that I had to seriously adjust my schedule since I usually studied for AP Latin before school every day (daily tests), which meant getting up earlier. I decided a few days before April that I would get up at 5AM and write my 800 words right after waking up, which was a personal decision which worked very well in a getting a routine sort of way, but I know from experience that I write best at night. What works is something that you need to fiddle with, is it better to do something that gets you to do it every day or to do something that gives you the best words to work with? What’s important is routine, which is why I opt to start a little early by writing everyday at least a week in advance. My routine has been a little too sporadic this past week, meaning that some days I didn’t top even three hundred words, but this week I’m trying to tighten that up. I’m going to try get up and go to bed at more regular times to discourage procrastination and make a specific time to write and make sure I do it at my desk or arm chair since I tend to meander less in those environments.


As for my NaNoWriMo survival supplies, I’m just about prepared. I’m not a coffee drinker, so I opt for tea since it’s an excuse to walk away for a little bit and come back. I tend to recommend water since, and this sounds ridiculous, but, writing is thirsty work. I recommend staying away from snacks during this season since they require you to remove your hands from your writing, but something sweet that you can suck on like lifesavers can be a real lifesaver. I also have an array of stress toys, slinkys, and bouncy balls for times when I need to focus on what to write next and a playlist of music that doesn’t distract me. Basically in the way of supplies, get stuff that can help you focus and doesn’t distract you.


Another thing that helps me is writing vlogs. Motivation to keep writing is crucial in a month long spree, especially if you aren’t used to writing a lot every day. You may run into dead ends or feel like you’re writing is bad or that you don’t know how to write something, which is usually when I turn to writing vlogs. I like Katytastic, because she has a lot of NaNoWriMo vlogs, which focus on the stress of writing like this. It helps me get into the writing mood before I start, like a pep talk before a fight, it can help you get into the flow quicker and remind you that other people are having trouble too.


Lastly, I want to address cabins. Those of you who haven’t participated before may not know, but Camp NaNoWriMo has cabins, in which a group of people work together to do their individual projects. In the past this hasn’t been particularly helpful for me, since I tend to be the one who pep talks other people, but it’s nice to have a group of people who can give you suggestions and remind you that it’s okay if you miss a goal, but keep moving forward. We will also have a group goal in our Writing Club cabin, which we can all try to meet together. Which reminds me that I will likely have a big addition the first day of camp since I’m a big ol’ cheater and I don’t like subtracting numbers from my project info every time I update my word count, so don’t worry about that, it’s just annoying not too. I’m adjusting my goal to fit accordingly, so I’m not a total cheater, I’m still pushing myself.


So good luck NaNoWriMo writers, I’m proud of all ya’ll and I will be there to give confusing pep talks and rambling stories just like on the website and in person. See you there!


BTW Cabin is under my name (llama-overlord), so look for me or message me or email me and I’ll add you in.

June is Outlining Month (and also updates on Camp NaNoWriMo and more)

Hey y’all! I know I’m a little early, but I’d like to welcome you all to June, which is unofficially outlining month. Since July is going to be Camp NaNoWriMo, it seems pertinent in this next month to address the outlining for those of you who believe in outlining or those, like me, are focused on learning the skill and craft of the outline.


I’ve touched on my outlining experiences before on the site, but this month I want to focus on ways people suggest you should outline, the pros and cons of these methods, helpful programs for outlining, and, most importantly, things to look out for in your outline. I will be working with my current outlines this month (as well as getting myself mentally prepared for writing everyday), so if anything comes up, you might get some personal anecdotes as well this month.


Also, if you’re interested in joining our little Camp in July, I will post when Cabins open on the Camp NaNoWriMo site, so when they do you can join us online. Anyone is free to join us, in the club or not, so feel free to invite friends. Usually NaNoWriMo is set at a 50,000-word target, but Camp is set your own goal (basically the idea is to just write everyday), so if you’re worried about time and stress, this is a “at your own pace” kind of thing. No judgement and no penalties. Also camp isn’t all about novels, you can choose to edit or write poetry or short stories, so if you’re interested in stretching your writing muscles in a different style, by all means go ahead.


June is also pride month, so just a small reminder to be inclusive and open to new ideas or characters to add to your story. I’ve been thinking about talking to the Wooster QSU+ about queer character representation, maybe we could do a discussion with them when school starts up again since I know we have a lot of overlap and good character development comes from knowing the pitfalls. If anyone is interested in that please get in contact with me, either now or during the school year so we could work something out.


That’s all the updates for now. Thank you for checking in and please keep tuned in for more, and I’m always open to other people posting on the site, so if anyone’s interested please email me and I’ll be glad to give you access.

Cheating On My Draft with My Ex-Manuscript

Hey y’all, I’ve been taking a few days off from writing, by which I mean I slept in until 4pm a couple of days ago.


I said in my last update that I was reworking my outline for my current project “Roots,” and that’s how I started. You see the reason I’m so intent on finishing Roots is because I have this other project that I started back in middle school which has gone through several renditions to say the least. I might post some of the crappy old drafts sometime later, but the point is that it’s a piece I keep going back too. I work on it when I’m feeling down or like I can’t write other projects. It’s actually the first piece I ever outlined, and it’s usually where I go when I try a new technique or method since I have a lot of the world figured out.


Last night I was about to look at my Roots outline when I started thinking about my Old Faithful project and a few of the ideas I’d come up with. Somehow I ended up pulling up the Scrivener document and working with the character sheets until about 1AM. Somehow, I don’t know, maybe witchcraft or something (I was bound by its sneaky allure and forced to write (how dare it)). Like I said before, I’m not good with structured outlining fill in the blank sheets. I find them hard to navigate and a little unnecessary. Scrivener comes pre-programed with one of these in its character sheets. I have it pictured below so you can see what I’m talking about:


Scrivener Character sheet

Scrivener Character sheet

(Shhhh! Steam isn’t open in the background there while I’m typing this out). Anyway, it’s not that long and pretty open ended, so I’ve used it a few times when I outlined Roots the third time, but It’s not really the way my head works. I think the point is more to think about these sort of details before you right so you don’t suddenly change how a character acts or looks rather than as a reference.

What I worked on last night was these character sheets because I wanted to flush out my antagonists for the story (or rather have antagonists since I didn’t find the ones in my last draft all that compelling). I started with images, since I already know my characters well enough to know what characteristics they need to have to signify personalities or to demonstrate how they move. Pictures help me since my in-head writing is very visually oriented and pictures help me stay grounded or test out different ideas I’m weighing. Here is the corkboard mode on Scrivener with my character sheets:

Hope's Character Sheets for Storyteller

Hope’s Character Sheets for Storyteller

I focused a lot on facial expressions since I don’t tend to focus a lot on physical details when I write (I’m more focused on movements or the main details). Jaime, who’s main character, doesn’t really look all that much like Hermione Granger, but she has some basic details I wanted like long brown hair and the right age range (finding character models is difficult for non-mainstream body types, skin tones, or young women). Ideally my character model would be a little chubbier and have a braid, but I had to make sacrifices. The facial expression was more why I picked her; I found it the right tone for inspiring some major details about her, and I’m willing to stake a few physical details from the character model here as well.


I then moved into other main characters in order of importance to the plot (or in the order that I remembered them). Which led me to the last main character I had yet to outline: my antagonist. He’s the only character I don’t know a lot about, but I’d been running through a few ideas. I have no idea what it or they look like so I start plugging my ideas in one at a time and I run across one image I like so I look for images like that one and end up on this one:


Skull Creature by Kazenra (taken from their DeviantArt page)

Skull Creature by Kazenra (taken from their DeviantArt page)

What I like about this one is, again, the face. And it’s like magic. I know exactly what I want this character to be like. So I applied one of the methods I used for my Roots outline which is basically writing about the thing like it’s the Wikipedia page version and that’s my outline for the character.


So that’s how I cheated on my current project and I’m not sure if I’m going to set Roots aside because eventually something I’m proud of has to be finished, but I think I’ll keep working on both outlines and decide which one I’ll use for Camp NaNoWriMo this year.

From Pantser to Planner: My Outlining Process

As I made the transition from school stress to writing stress, I decided that I was going to return to Camp NaNoWriMo this July. After my exams were done and I was moved out I realized that I would, inevitably, have to think about my current project: Roots (For those of you who know me and are familiar with the project this is the one that includes the line “His sculpted bronze arms were filled to the brim with crinkly chip bags and semi-squished pre-packaged deserts,” which I am both immensely embarrassed of and immensely proud of). The project, as of now, has gone through a number of changes from a Christmas writing club party prompt, to “only a short story,” to a possible project, back and forth between first and third person, then to an outline, to a partial draft, to a second partial draft, to a second outline, to a third draft which is still not finished, to a possible third outline to better fit the third draft. Basically, the “Roots” folder on my desktop is slowly filling. But as I approach July I’m realizing that my outline needs more work and that I’m not sure how exactly to do that.

Back when I started writing, and arguably even more now, I wrote without an outline. It took me about a year to finish my first project (a book whose name must not be uttered, and does, unfortunately, exist in paperback on Amazon) (I wrote crime fiction in those days), and in the end it was never what I wanted. The pacing was always too fast, I ran out of things to say halfway through, and it was often a pain to write.

It was after my first three full drafts that I decided should try this outlining stuff. If you’ve ever seen my laptop bag there’s a black notebook in there, which was my first dedicated writing notebook. Inside of that notebook is my entire outline for Roots. This is how I went about it:

What I find when I search up outlining is a lot of unnecessary shit. The idea of other people’s outlining systems is to figure out every detail of the story before you even touch a pen to the page. Figure out the plot, antagonists (and their whole life story), main characters (and their whole life story), point of view, motives, subplots, and et cetera. Where this breaks down for me is that when I approach outlining systems, I get to the point where I start to think “This is stupid, I’m basically writing the book now, why don’t I just write the book?” And in a way that makes sense, right? Why write the book twice if I can just write it once?

What I used to do is just start a scene and see where it takes me, it would take weeks to finish the scene because often I didn’t know what to write until I sat down and thought without the keyboard in my hands. Whenever I went to bed, to shower, to classes, I was thinking about what would happen and writing it all out in my head, which led to the same problem: If I was already writing it in my head then it would never be as good when it came out on the page because none of my head ideas made any sense. What was the point of writing it if it would never be any good?

And there was the trap. I couldn’t plan too much or I’d give up and I couldn’t not plan because it never got to the page. I needed a sweet spot. I needed to plan it out and know where I was going and if that made sense, and I had to write it down to do that, and I couldn’t use a system because it’s too overwhelming. So I started outlining. I started with what I knew about the plot. I knew that there would be two nymph siblings and a human girl traveling across the country and eventually landing in a mountain where the guy nymph dies, so I spent thought out those and jotted down the important stuff. I knew that there was more magical species, so I brainstormed those and highlighted my favorites to use in key plot points. I knew I needed several kingdoms so I jotted down the types of areas I wanted my characters to go through and split that up into sections and created a history. Basically what I did was ask myself what I wanted in the plot and what I needed to make and focused myself to think about those things instead of figuring it out as I approached the scenes I needed them for.

Then all I had to do was figure out the plot. The first time I did this I plotted like I use to write. I sat down with a notebook and went straight through until I hit the scenes I knew I wanted and I’d done everything I had to to get there. I jotted down quotes characters would say or scenes I had to describe as they came up. That way the pacing went slower because I wasn’t rushing through the boring scenes because I didn’t know what to do with them, and I knew exactly where those important scenes were. Then I went through it a couple times and crossed out the bad/ nonsense scenes and made sure my main characters were in every scene or addressed where they were instead. Then I started writing.

Obviously it’s not perfect, I’ve had to adjust some things (because I use Scrivner and it’s easier to have it on screen than on a notebook in my (horrible) handwriting, and in typing it up I changed some ideas), but it’s helped me, and that’s what matters. Find a way of outlining that helps you write.

Bringing Back WooWriMo

Hey Ya’ll, (Dang I really need an I really need an intro for these posts… Let’s see what do I gots in the storage bin…  “Hellllloooo Everybody my name is Hopikat”… no… “My sculpted bronze arms were filled to the brim with crinkly intro-bags and semi-squished pre-packaged descriptions”…no… “I’m the llama overlord…” IDK…), anyway, I want to bring back WooWriMo this year. So I am. Period. I’m doing that. I’m not, however, going to be starting it up in November because I don’t have a death wish. I’ll be doing Camp NaNoWriMo this summer in July.

I’ll be posting on here regularly during that time so follow along if you want to hear about writer’s block. Also, take the leap yourself this summer if you have the time. You can set your own goal, and change it if you need too, and I’ll be here to vent to if you want. Find me at my Camp NaNoWriMo account (llama-overlord) and go for it. One month no looking back! I’ll be planning the month before so if you have any tips please comment below, and have a great start to summer!


Are Your Hands Wet?