Letting a Story Simmer (Camp NaNoWriMo)

  • Post category:Writing

One of the things I am trying with this Camp is the idea that I need to know what I am going to write before I write it when it comes to longer works.

I started out with the WiP short story Inheritance by sitting down and writing… but then I got sick and I spent a few days just sitting around thinking about the story. Not writing, not even taking notes, just thinking.

Well, this post is going to track the word sprints and polishing times and see if that paying off did anything useful. I’ll be doing a ‘non-planned’ sprint as well, to try and get a baseline.

5 minute Sprints

Sprint 1 : This was a sprint of Saturday Story Prompts, which are unconnected sentences each focused around a different idea. In five minutes I was able to write 272 words which made 14 prompts.

Sprint 1 Polish: It took 18 minutes to turn those words into 14 polished prompts that were a total of 373 words long. Some of the original ideas needed a complete rewrite, so it was a bit hit or miss quality-wise.

Sprint 2 : This was a sprint of Inheritance, for the Haunting scene that I had been doing a lot of thinking about. There was some rough draft bits already there (302 words), but I was going to be basically rewriting the whole scene. In five minutes I wrote 201 ‘new’ words, for a total of 503, but had the new version of the scene outlined.

Sprint 2 Polish: It took me an hour to turn this into a solid middle draft that I’m happy with. The final scene was 627 words, but I ended up moving some of the content out of Haunting and into Choices.


So did thinking about the story for several days actualy help anything? …Yeah, I think so.

I was able to go into the Haunting scene knowing what was going to happen (in general) and with a solid grasp on how all the characters were reacting to the events and why. I still ended up playing around with the prose a bit, shifting things around until the read just right, but I wasn’t looking at a blank page with one a general ‘this happens’ to go by.

I was also successful in my attempts at keeping my inner editor from going back to the first scene and fiddling with it. I think I’m going to go ahead and start posting the sections as I get them to a nice middle draft state so that I’m less likely to stray.

But that means I’ve got two of the seven scenes done for this story! Onwards to the next one!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

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