Writing A Mystery Short Story For Camp NaNoWriMo

I’ve talked about short story writing before and I’ve written plenty of short stories. Of course, I most dapple with flash fiction.

A couple of my short stories have been broken up into 4 or 5 parts for Short Story Sunday on this blog. It’s rare I write a short story straight on that’s longer than 2,000 words.

I’m working on a short story collection that’s made up of mysteries, each one being between 5,000 and 10,000 words long. It’s hard to write a short story, but it’s harder to work a full mystery into it.

Writing A Mystery Short Story for Camp NaNoWriMo | Mystery Writing | Creative Writing | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

I had originally planned to write one or two short stories for this collection a month. It’s been a lot harder than I anticipated it to be and honestly, I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep up with my original deadline.

I come up with mysteries all the time for my novel series, so why is coming up with mystery shorts so hard?

Part of the reason is that I’m trying out different characters and not just having every single story star George and Lilah. Plus, a lot of my ideas are actually already in the novel series with George and Lilah, so… Yeah.

I want to keep up with it though. I do have a couple ideas I want to try out and I didn’t want to lose my groove so I had decided to try to write a mystery short story during Camp among everything else.

It hasn’t been easy because I’ve been writing different shorts here and there, three of them being handwritten in notebooks. I’m trying to still with the same story, start to finish, this month.

So far it’s been good. I haven’t finished the story yet, but I’m enjoying the new characters who have introduced themselves to me and I’ve done something a little different with this mystery that I have with any other mystery I’ve written.

And yes, I mean I’ve been dipping my toes into the supernatural world.

It’s been fun and I’ll be happy when the story is complete so I can say I’ve finally written a full short story for Perplexed!

Have you ever worked on a short story for a Camp NaNo session? Have you written a mystery short story before? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Advertisements

WIP Wednesday: April 2018

Happy middle of the month (kind of)! Happy Work in Progress Wednesday!

Work In Progress Wednesday | WIP | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

This month has been great so far. Even though I haven’t written in the past week due to being away, I got a lot done the first week of Camp NaNo and I’m sure I’ll get just as much done when I get back to work tomorrow.

As you know, I’m working on a few different projects this month. I’m outlining a new novel/novella, writing a mystery short story, writing various flash fiction, and editing my mystery novel.

Here’s the breakdown of what I did before my vacation:

Day 1: Edited 2 chapters of George Florence equaling to about 9,148 words.
Day 2: Outlined Brave for 2 hours. Wrote 3,123 words in flash fiction.
Day 3: Outlined Brave for 1 hour. Wrote 3,078 words in flash fiction.
Day 4: Outlined Brave for 1 hour. Wrote 3,022 words in flash fiction.
Day 5: Outlined Brave for 1 hour. Wrote 3,101 words in flash fiction.
Day 6: Outlined Brave for 1 hour. Wrote 3,091 words in flash fiction.
Day 7: Edited 3 chapters of George Florence equaling to about 9,994 words.
Day 8: Edited 3 chapters of George Florence equaling to about 7,863 words.
Day 9: Wrote 1,045 words in Perplexed. Wrote 2,021 words in flash fiction.
Day 10: 
Wrote 1,406 words in Perplexed. Wrote 674 words in flash fiction.
Day 11: Wrote 1,023 words in Perplexed.

What have you been working on this month? Are you making great progress? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Why Taking A Break In The Middle Of Camp NaNoWriMo Is A Good Thing

My vacation is just about over. Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be on a plane on my way home. I won’t be getting back to work until Thursday, but it’s kind of weird to think that a week has already come and gone.

I have to admit though, I think I’m ready to go back to home and get back to writing.

Why taking a break during Camp NaNoWriMo is a good thing | Creative Writing | NaNoWriMo | RachelPoli.com

I’ve always found it hard to take a break in the middle of a NaNo session and then get back to the writing. Usually during November if I skip a day or two, I get flustered. My OCD doesn’t like the fact that my stats chart didn’t change for a couple of days.

Plus, depending on how behind I end up getting, I lose motivation to finish because I feel as though I’ll never be able to catch up.

It’s good to take a break though. It’s a good idea to pace yourself, allow your mind to rest and recharge. A week seems like a long time during a NaNo session, but since I’ve been working on so many projects this month, I think a break was definitely needed.

I wasn’t feeling burned out at all from any of my work either. I left for vacation late on the 10th so I had only been cramming words into my work for a little over a week. I’ll start writing again on the 19th and I’ll have another 11 days. This vacation was planned well right in the middle of the month allowing me to work during an even amount of time.

I certainly feel refreshed, though a little tired from walking too much and all the excitement. I don’t want my vacation to end, but I am ready to go home and get back to writing.

My only hope is that I don’t lose steam once I get back.

Do you take breaks during Camp? Or do you go all month long? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Why Camp NaNoWriMo Is Great For My Writing

I’m pretty good at writing. When I say that, I mean the act of writing. Not the actual writing part. Not at first, anyway.

Throughout the years I’ve whipped out a couple manuscripts. I have a good amount of completed first drafts. I will most likely never touch them again. They will most likely never see the light of day again.

Ever since I started writing during NaNo though, I’ve learned a lot and I’ve found a new appreciation for my work.

Why Camp NaNoWriMo Is Great For My Writing | Creative Writing | NaNoWriMo | RachelPoli.com

NaNo allows me to finish what I start, which is something I don’t do often. I’ve gotten better at it, but NaNo has helped me evolve as a writer and has taught me a lot. I know there are people out there who don’t agree with NaNo or it just doesn’t work for them and that’s totally okay. For me, though, it works.

I’ve never been one to be a “rebel” during the NaNo sessions though. I like to take up the challenge that’s already presented to me. Of course, Camp is a little different. It’s flexible in what goal you want to set – words, time, pages – and also what you want to write – a novel, short story, script, poetry.

For a few sessions, I still wrote a novel at 50,000 words because that was what I was used to and I knew I was good at it.

Now, I use this time to get done whatever I need to. Sometimes it’s writing a new novel. Other times, like this month, I take it to catch up on some projects I’ve already started.

This month is the first time I’ve decided to work on more than two projects at once and also it’s the first time I’ve set my goal higher than 50,000 words. And guess what? It’s working. I honestly think part of it is the stats chart and the fact I’m in a silent competition with the other people in my cabin.

This month I’m outlining a new novel, writing flash fiction, writing a short story, editing a mystery novel, and prepping a novella to be published on Wattpad (April 23!)

I’m working at every stage of writing – outline, write, edit, publish – all in one month for various things and it feels so good. I’m actually confident with what I’m working on and excited about each and every project as well.

NaNo is honestly one of the best things I’ve ever come across and I couldn’t imagine life without it.

Why do you love Camp NaNo? Has it changed your writing? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Why I Love The Cabins [Camp NaNoWriMo]

One thing I love about Camp NaNo as opposed the session in November is that you have cabins. The forums on the main site are great, yes, but your comment can easily get overlooked. Not to mention having everyone on the same thread instead of 20 or so people can be a bit overwhelming. You can miss a lot if you miss a day of checking the forums.

Why I love the cabins in Camp NaNoWriMo | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

I remember when Camp NaNo first became a thing. The cabins only held 6 or 7 people. Give or take, but it was under 10. Now the cabins hold a lot more people – I don’t know if that’s because the number of members grew or if the NaNo staff thought the more the merrier.

Including myself and my sister, my cabin has 20 people. It’s a lot since I’m pretty sure we only had a grand total of 16 or so last session. I’m pretty sure this is the biggest we’ve had.

I love the cabins because it allows me to get to know certain writers. I don’t have to go scrolling down a large forum homing a million people. I can also set my cabin settings to be placed with people my age, who have similar goals than me, or who write in the same genre as me.

I’ve always been the youngest my whole life. I’m the youngest of three, I was the baby in my graduating class (then I went to college a year early, so I was two years younger at least than everyone else), and I was always the youngest at my workplace as well. I don’t know how that always worked out to be, but I’ve never minded.

Needless to say, it’s hard to find people my age. So I usually set that as a cabin preference.

I also love the collective goal you have to reach together. The site combines everyone goals and adds a second chart to the stats page. I have never been in a cabin where we actually have reached our collective goal, but I’ve always done my part so I can’t complain.

The only downside to the cabins is that sometimes you get people who don’t talk at all (one year I was literally the only one making conversation… one person replied on occasion but that was it). Sometimes you get people who don’t write at all (sometimes they talk, sometimes they don’t) so it’s hard to bounce ideas and do happy dances with them when you or they make any sort of progress.

Still, I absolutely love the cabins. My cabin this month has been great so far. There are a few quiet people, sure, but that’s the way it goes I suppose. I enjoy the company anyway.

Do you use the cabins a lot? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Writing Flash Fiction For Camp NaNoWriMo

If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you’d know that a big feature on here is my Short Story Sunday. I post a short story or flash fiction, occasionally a poem, on here every single Sunday.

It’s been the longest running feature on my blog, the first one being posted in January of 2014. It’s been a hard one to keep up with – writing 52 stories, one a week, isn’t as easy as you would think.

I think I can safely say I haven’t skipped a Sunday for at least two years, if not a little longer. That’s because, one day, I had the brilliant idea to write them in bulk during Camp NaNoWriMo.

Writing Flash Fiction For Camp NaNoWriMo | Short Story | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

I can’t remember when I had decided this, but since Camp NaNo is so flexible in what you can write and how long you want it to me, I thought why not work on my short fiction? 50,000 words worth of flash fiction, each one ranging anywhere between 300 and 1,500 words. I get a lot of stories written with a goal of 50,000 words.

So, this is something I’ve been doing the past couple of years for at least one session of Camp NaNo. I usually end up getting through about 26 stories, or half of the year, before I either reach 50,000 words or I burn out from writing so much short fiction.

I still had July through December to get through for 2018 so I decided to through some flash fiction writing in this Camp session along with my other projects. Honestly, I think has been the easiest session so far.

I already had the first week of August written as well as the first two weeks of September (I have no idea why) so that left me with 24 stories to write. However, I realized I can’t write the rest of August because that’s when I write an interactive story with you guys. That story is what inspired The Scribe. I’m sure the next interactive story will be just as fun to write with you all.

I also ended up writing all the other stories within the first week of Camp so, even though I thought I would be writing flash fiction for 2019 during July’s session, I’m getting a head start on it right now. It’s been great!

I enjoy writing flash fiction. It’s a nice change of pace from novel writing, which I love but is, of course, a lot of work. Working on my flash fiction this past week or so has been refreshing for my writing and also for my imagination.

Have you ever worked on flash fiction or short stories for a Camp NaNo session? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Editing/Rewriting A Novel During Camp NaNoWriMo

I started writing a mystery novel way back in 2011 (or 2013… I honestly can’t remember it’s been so long).

I wrote the first draft, edited it, then wrote the second draft. Then I realized I needed a serious POV change.

I rewrote the novel, edited it, rewrote it again, and edited it again. Sort of. I’ve been trying to edit it, but my editing skills weren’t great. I’d end up just finding typos, get discouraged, then put the manuscript aside to write something else.

All to avoid editing.

Rewriting A Novel For Camp NaNoWriMo | Creative Writing | Mystery Writing | RachelPoli.com

My editing skills have grown a lot over time. I feel more confident editing and I actually do a good job (I think so, anyway).

Surprisingly enough, I did learn a thing or two in my creative writing courses in college. I’ve also experimented and tried different styles of editing.

The method I use the most and that seems to work best for me is Rainbow Editing. I have different colored pens and use each color to zero-in on different parts of the story such as plot, character development, pacing and tension, spelling and grammar, and more.

My problem was always that I’d read my novels and never see a way to make them better other than to check for typos. I didn’t know what to look for. I don’t read each paragraph six times, once for each color, I just read it slowly and ask myself, “What else can this character do other than nod and shake his head?” It works.

My plan for Camp NaNo this month was to rewrite or retype, the first book in my mystery series. I’ve been stuck on this book for so long now and I think it’s high time I get my butt into gear and do something with it.

I never have because I struggled with the editing. I knew changes needed to be made, things added, others deleted, but I never knew how to go about it. Now I do and I feel confident about it.

So, I was going to retype the latest edited draft and go into May ready and excited to edit the next draft. I’ve given myself until the end of the summer to really make sure this novel is ready.

Except, when I opened my Dropbox I realized I already had a document saved for this current draft. I clicked on it and I already had the first chapter retyped.

Okay, cool. One less chapter for me to do. I opened the hard copy of my manuscript, flipped to the second chapter, and… it wasn’t edited.

Apparently, I had edited the first chapter, “edited” the rest of the story (the pages only had one or two red marks if any at all) and I had deemed that well enough to type up as a new draft.

The document was made in August 2016… Yeah, that’s how long it’s been. Go figure.

So there’s been a change of plans. I’ll be editing the current hard copy I have during NaNo this month. I’m tallying up the words for each chapter and counting that as my word count. It kind of sounds like cheating, but my goal is 80,000 words this month and I’m still making progress. I’m not going to worry about it.

The manuscript is about 65,000 words and I don’t even know if I’ll end up finishing the whole draft before the end of the month. I’m hoping I will but I also want to take my time with it.

I’ve been making great progress on it so far. The rainbow editing has been really helping me. I also created a timeline of events that happen in (and out) of the books, creating a timeline of the books in the series as well. I had done that a while ago, but I’m using it now as a reference and I know where this series is going to go.

I’ve never been excited to edit before and now I actually enjoy it.

How do you go about rewriting a novel? Have you ever done so for a Camp NaNo session? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

My Writing Schedule For April 2018 [Camp NaNoWriMo]

Camp NaNoWriMo is well on its way, being the fifth day of April already. This month is going to go fast just like the ones before it… except it’ll be faster because we all have a deadline.

With all my projects I’ve tried to make this month go a little easier for me by mapping out the month ahead of time and assigning projects to be worked on certain days. So far, it seems to be helping.

April 2018 Writing Schedule | Camp NaNoWriMo | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

George Florence

I’ll be editing the first book of my mystery series every Saturday and Sunday. If I want to finish the book by that time, which totals 7 days (I’m not including a Saturday and Sunday because of my vacation), I have to edit about 34 pages a day. That’s not bad at all.

I’ll be editing and rewriting this novel through the summer so whatever I get done now will be great, but I’m not in a rush to complete the draft. That’s why I decided to only work on it on the weekends, which is when family events happen, I work on both blogs, and I’ll just need to recoup from the week of my other projects.

Short Story Sunday 2018

I have about 27 flash fiction pieces to write for the rest of the Sundays in 2018 for this blog. I plan on writing at least 2 stories a day, Monday – Friday, minus the 11th and the 19th (the day before I leave for vacation and the day after I get back… I’m not going to want to do anything when I get home). That equals to 28 stories and, depending on how many words are each one (my word goal is about 3,000 words a day) I’ll end up writing more than 2 stories each day. So I may finish this well before the end of the month.

Perplexed

My goal with this is just to write one short story at about 10,000 words. I’m giving myself a week, Monday – Friday, to do it. Meaning I’ll have to write about 2,000 words a day. I’ll also be working on my Short Story Sunday, which means I’ll only need to write about 1,000 words for that. It’ll all work out.

Take Over

There’s no “work” to be done on this one. It’s all set to go and will go live on Wattpad on April 23. So the only thing I’ll have to do is remember to update the latest chapter Monday – Friday.

Brave

This will be my next Wattpad story after Take Over is finished. For this week and the last full week of the month, I’ll be outlining it. I’m not counting it toward Camp, but I want to begin writing the story in May. I’m not really “outlining” the chapters either, which is different than what I usually do.

I’m basically making a character list, writing out the basic plot so I understand it myself, and world-build a bit since there are towns and villages within a couple kingdoms and dragons. Lots and lots of dragons. I’ve tried writing this kind of fantasy before but this is my first time going in for the long haul. I’m excited for it and hope it turns out well.

So that’s that. I’ll be going on vacation the 11th through the 18th. I planned my days and calculated the words for each project and day around my vacation. I should be able to reach my 80,000-word goal by the end of the month as well as finish up a couple of projects.

So far so good and I’m excited!

How are you going to balance Camp with everything else? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double JumpSign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

My Camp NaNoWriMo Projects [April 2018]

My Camp NaNoWriMo Projects | April 2018 | Camp NaNo | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time! As usual, I overbooked myself. Camp is so flexible with projects and word counts that I decided to get as much done as possible. Of course, I had forgotten I’m going on vacation in the middle of the month… Still, any progress is progress so I’m keeping my goals. Challenge accepted.

  • Edit George Florence – Change of plans with this one. I was going to rewrite the draft. I thought it was already edited, but apparently, just the first chapter was edited. Good job, Rachel.
  • Write Perplexed – My goal to write one more short story for this mystery collection.
  • Write Short Story Sunday – For the past couple of years, I’ve been using Camp NaNo to write the flash fiction for this blog in bulk. I have 27 more stories to write for 2018 so I plan on finishing them all.
  • Outline Brave (working title) – My next Wattpad story is another fantasy, though it won’t be anything like The Scribe. There will be dragons and it’ll be great.
  • Publish Take Over – My second Wattpad story will be going live on Monday, April 23. It’s all set to go, but since I’ll be going on vacation for a week and there’s no schedule button on Wattpad (that I’ve seen at least) I decided to wait until the end of the month. So look forward to that!

So, yeah. April is going to be a busy month when it comes to writing. I created a calendar and decided what to work on each day and I calculated the daily word count out so I can miss a week due to my vacation.

But I’ll be talking more about that calendar tomorrow… Wish me luck!

What are you writing this month? How’s Camp going so far? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

April 2018 Goals

2018 April Goals | Creative Writing | Writing | Reading | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I’m finally a little ahead in my reading again! Books reviewed this month are books I’ve already read and the reviews are waiting to be published. The books I read this month will be for May, which I’m excited for. Be sure to catch up with all the book reviews I’ve done on my Reading List page.

Writing

It’s Camp NaNoWriMo time! As usual, I overbooked myself. Camp is so flexible with projects and word counts that I decided to get as much done as possible. Of course, I had forgotten I’m going on vacation in the middle of the month… Still, any progress is progress so I’m keeping my goals. Challenge accepted.

  • Write George Florence – This is a rewrite of the current draft I’m on, I edited the draft last month. So I’m basically just re-typing it.
  • Write Perplexed – My goal to write one more short story for this mystery collection.
  • Write Short Story Sunday – For the past couple of years I’ve been using Camp NaNo to write the flash fiction for this blog in bulk. I have 27 more stories to write for 2018 so I plan on finishing them all.
  • Outline Brave (working title) – My next Wattpad story is another fantasy, though it won’t be anything like The Scribe. There will be dragons and it’ll be great.
  • Publish Take Over – My second Wattpad story will be going live today! I’ll leave a link here when it is. Please read and enjoy.

So, yeah. April is going to be a busy month when it comes to writing. I created a calendar and decided what to work on each day and I calculated the daily word count out so I can miss a week due to my vacation.

 

Wish me luck.

Blogging

Due to all the writing I’ve planned for myself, I’ve already gotten my blog posts for April all written. I even got a good chunk of May done so I can finish May up in my downtime from writing. I can start light planning on June in the meantime as well. For the most part, my main focus is going to be writing.

What are your goals for April? Let me know in the comments below! If you liked this post, please share it around.

Blog Signature | RachelPoli.comPatreon | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest | GoodReads | Double Jump

Sign up for Rachel Poli's Newsletter and get a FREE 14-page Writing Tracker! | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com