Letters From Camp, Part II

As I mentioned before, I decided to do a series of posts about my writing process, my Camp NaNoWriMo project, and my experiences with camp. This is the second part of the series, and I’ll be taking part in Paperfury‘s Beautiful People Tag for the month of July. This month’s tag deviates from the normal theme, talking about your own characters, and asks bloggers and writers to talks about their creative process and inspiration.


How do you decide which project to work on?

I take a fairly holistic approach to my projects; I’ll write pretty much whatever I feel like, when I feel like writing it. Ideas aren’t usually a struggle for me, so I’ve let myself get away with this for a long time since I know I won’t pursue writing as a full-time career, but I’m starting to try and curb this behavior because it tends to spill over into other areas of my life (hooray, procrastination!).

Most of my projects don’t get edited beyond a first draft (again–awful habit, I’m working on it), and most of my projects are short stories that get written in one sitting. This means that whatever project I’m working on is usually completely new.


How long does it usually take you to finish a project?

Blog posts and short stories can take anything from a few hours to an hour flat. After I finish a first draft, I usually do a “quick edit” and re-read for general accuracy. This is where most stuff gets thrown out because it either doesn’t make sense or just isn’t worth it. Very rarely will a project extend over multiple days (assuming that we aren’t counting staying up past twelve a.m. as multiple days). Short series (like Two Cups of Tea) are sometimes written together, back-to-back, but are usually two separate “writing days”.

Sometimes I hit “publish” immediately, but more often I wait for a few days (or forget completely, and wait a week or longer) and do a second read-through for accuracy, sense, and interest. This second edit is usually under an hour, unless I decide to rewrite.

I haven’t completed a full manuscript other than NaNoWriMo, where I was working anywhere from an hour a day to several hours a day to complete 50,000 words in 30 days. Generally, my problem is not speed-of-writing, but quality and consistency, since I get easily bored or frustrated with projects.


Do you have any routines to put you in the writing mood?

My routine usually involved opening my document or the WordPress editor and putting on whatever Spotify playlist I’m listening to on repeat. There’s not much to it, really.


What time of day do you write best?

I write best late at night (or is it early in the morning?). In fact, this post is being written at three a.m. in the morning. I prefer being a bit “out of it” because it prevents my inner editor from getting the best of me, but it also means that I sometimes end up following rabbit trails and going on tangents.


Are there any authors you think you have a similar style to?

I’m pretty sure that I would die on the spot if somebody compared my writing style to Pearl S. Buck. Realistically, I’m most influenced by whatever I’ve just read (or, in some cases, watched), though lately I’ve found that my style is remaining more consistent, which I’ll take as a good sign.


Why did you start writing, and why do you keep writing?

I started telling stories when I was very young because I was scared. It was my way of retreating from the world and all the noise and confusion that accompanied it, and my way of isolating, confronting, and solving problems. I created magical creates that would survive, and often thrive, on the things that I feared the most. Originally, it was black holes and getting lost at sea. As I got older, it turned into protecting family members and friends and stuffed animals that I was attached to.

Eventually, these fantastical worlds grew so large that I began writing them down. Between my obsessive reading and a complete lack of talent in the visual arts, writing was the clear choice. I didn’t finish projects very often, but I was writing, and I was writing a lot.

By the time I hit upper elementary school or middle school, I’d had enough practice that I wasn’t a completely awful writer. My parents were impressed, so I kept doing it, because who doesn’t like getting told they’re good at something? By that time, I’d evolved from writing only about things that scared me to writing about what I thought was interesting, and creating worlds that were meant to be fantastical and beautiful rather than thinly-veiled attempts at controlling the uncontrollable.

Now, I write because I love to do it, and because I believe that the pursuit of beauty (even though that’s a grandiose overstatement) is a good pursuit. Sure, there are elements of being able to control the world, to create people who do as you wish them to, but it’s evolved beyond that. I enjoy creating things, and creating things that others can then understand and appreciate.


What’s the hardest thing you’ve written?

The hardest thing I’ve written was probably my NaNoWriMo project. I didn’t really choose a good plot (not that I really had one at the beginning of the month, anyway), and I chose a genre I wasn’t terribly familiar with. Between the 50,000 word goal, the undertaking of a high fantasy novel, and the stress of school, I hit a lot of writer’s block and didn’t really enjoy writing it.


Is there a project you want to tackle someday but you don’t feel ready yet?

Yes! I’ve had the plot (and many partially-written, partially-plotted drafts) of a huge fantasy novel since I was twelve–possibly earlier. I’m waiting until I can read more fantasy and become more familiar with the genre before I’m going to try tackling it, because I really want to do it justice. I’m used to working on a much smaller scale, so the project is a huge leap out of my comfort zone.


What writing goals did you make for 2017 and how are they going?

I didn’t make very many writing goals for 2017: participate in Camp NaNo, NaNoWriMo, and just generally update this blog a bit more. So far, I feel like I’m doing fine, though I suppose I could always be doing more.


Describe your writing process in 3 words or a gif!

Image result for moriarty gif


Letters From Camp, Part I

I made the hard decision yesterday to pull my word count down from 50,000 words to 25,000. I don’t have the time or energy right now, which is unfortunate, but reality. The upside of this is twofold: I’m planning on releasing my project in part as a post series, and I actually have time to write some posts about the writing process and my camp experience.

The first thing I want to mention, since my cabin and I ended up talking about it a bit, is writing music. Everybody seems to have a different approach, and it’s always interesting to see how others decide to form their writing playlists. A lot of people seem to enjoy listening to soundtracks or classical music, but I’ve always found that I can focus a far more easily to music with words, since it tends to be rather repetitive. At some point I’m going to overanalyse that, but tonight isn’t the day for a Wikipedia binge.

My novella is rather dark, and I thought that the playlist would be much, much different from what it ended up being. I have a surprising number of rather upbeat sounding songs, mixed in rather unceremoniously with a lot of other things, and the entire thing is very disjointed–but it works surprisingly well, in my opinion. It has actually helped me a lot with sitting down and writing, as well as keeping my overall mood in mind. It also came together rather easily; normally playlists are either eight songs long or a complete mishmash of everything that I think might even remotely fit the theme, so it just ends up feeling forced. This one has an overarching feel that isn’t just one forced idea.

  1. “The Heroine” by Unwoman
  2. “Crusade” by Ariel, Zoey & Eli
  3. “Feel the Same” by Battle Tapes
  4. “Maintain the Madness” by The Jane Austen Argument
  5. “Table Song” by Katie Kuffel
  6. “Sinnerman” by Nina Simone
  7. “Inexplicable” by The Corespondents
  8. “Olde Time Mem’ry” by Mischief Brew
  9. “The Man With No Audience” by Weerd Science
  10. “Idfc” by Blacbear
  11. “Temporary Bliss” by The Cab
  12. “Lose It” by Oh Wonder
  13. “Two of a Crime” by Perma
  14. “Pierre” by Ryn Weaver
  15. “Too Far Gone” by Sir Sly
  16. “Laughter Lines” by Bastille
  17. “Ebb + Flow” by Kylaido
  18. “Dangerous Man” by Little Dume
  19. “The Wolves” by JJ & the Pillars
  20. “Words As Weapons” by Birdy
  21. “Trash Talking Love” by The Ready Set
  22. “Ophelia” by The Lumineers
  23. “Whatever Gets You By” by The Features
  24. “R.I.P. 2 My Youth” by The Neighbourhood
  25. “Grande Finale” by Studio Killers
  26. “Wires” by The Neighbourhood
  27. “Like a Staring Contest” by The Future Kings of Nowhere
  28. “Let’s Talk About Your Hair” by Have Mercy
  29. “9th Pawn” by OHO
  30. “All the King’s Men” by The Rigs
  31. “Hero” by Family of the Year
  32. “Born to Die” by Lana Del Rey
  33. “This Is What Makes Us Girls” by Lana Del Rey
  34. “Take Me To Church” by Hozier
  35. “Holland, 1945” by Neutral Milk Hotel

Camp NaNoWriMo 2017

I’m excited to announce that I’m participating in Camp NaNoWriMo with year. My project will be putting 50,000 words into a “novella noir”, a spy-government-thriller novel that takes a little bit of inspiration from James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, and, of course, the film noir genre.

Synopsis: “A ‘novella noire’ where everyone wears a suit, men and women alike fight for power, the streets of London are the most dangerous place on earth, and criminal empires rise and fall. The past plays with others’ minds, and drugs do the rest. Maybe a solid force of good doesn’t exist, and maybe, just maybe, the bad men are the ones who will save everything. In a world where everybody knows more than they let on, and less than they thought they did, everything is up for grabs.”

My username is Violet Daniels.

Happy writing!