Writing update #8 | July Camp NaNoWriMo + starting over…again

Wow, it’s been almost three months since my last writing update. Oops.

How do I do this again?

Despite the fact that I haven’t been talking about it, I have actually written a fair amount since April. May was fairly slow, but June went pretty well, and my WIP is sitting at just over 50k words, a little past the halfway point of the story.

And I’ve decided to start over again. Heh.

If you want to know more about this WIP, you can take a look back at some of my older writing updates. In short, it’s an urban fantasy with dragons.


Camp NaNoWriMo

It feels like April’s Camp NaNo just ended, but I’m back in it again for July! Camp NaNoWriMo, if you didn’t know, is an offshoot of National Novel Writing Month (held in November every year). For the camps, though, you get to choose your own goal, and it doesn’t have to be based on word count.

I decided to set my goal at 35 hours/2100 minutes, because the work I’m doing this month isn’t all getting words on the page.

I haven’t been doing great so far – currently a fair bit behind my target goal, but we’re still in the first half of the month! I can (hopefully) make it up in time.

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Starting my WIP over…sorta

Yes, I decided 50k words into a draft that I wanted to go back to the beginning. Because that makes sense! As I was writing and getting more into the meat of the story, it became clear to me that some major plot points/character things needed changing, and I didn’t feel ready to continue on without going back first.

So for now, draft writing is being put on hold while I work on PLOT. And everyone knows that the best way to meticulously plan out plot points is through EXCEL SPREADSHEETS.

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Yes, this is the nerdiest thing I’ve ever done, and yes, I’ve been enjoying it way more than I should.

See, with five main characters all doing different things and feeling different emotions, I needed this visual to keep track of it all. I’ve been going through scene-by-scene and filling in what happens as well as what each character is doing and feeling. Maybe it’s overkill, but it’s been helping me a lot and making me feel much more prepared to continue with a draft.

Changes to the WIP

Like I mentioned, I have been making LOTS of changes as I go back and rethink the early parts of this story. Some of these have been small details such as character names, while others are more structural and overarching.

Some of the changes that have happened since my last update:

  • The names of several major characters. (Noah became Elliot, Eli became Austin, and a few others.)
  • Making a formerly major character much less major. (Devya was at one point the second main character but sadly she has been demoted. She’s still in there, though!)
  • Changing the relationship between two of the main characters to make it much more interesting and dramatic (in my opinion).
  • Fleshing out the Bad Guys and their motivations so that they’re not just…there. Also adding in tons more foreshadowing and clues!
  • Fleshing out my POV character, Natalia, and making her voice more interesting. She’s been a tough character to crack but I feel like I FINALLY understand her and how to write from her perspective, which is unlike any character I’ve written before.
  • Also I think I might have a title???? But I’m not quite ready to share it!

What’s next?

Here’s my plan as of right now:

  1. Finish my plot spreadsheet.
  2. Go back and rewrite scenes that are super important for the changes I’ve made.
  3. Continue drafting from where I left off.
  4. (Finally) finish a draft!

That’s only four things, right?

My worry right now is that I’ll spend too much time planning and outlining and neglect actually writing. As much fun as I’m having filling out my spreadsheet, it’s not the same as putting words on a page, and I’m never going to finish a draft if I don’t…write it. (Obviously. Though sometimes I do need the reminder.) I think I sometimes have a tendency to over-plan in order to avoid writing and risking failure, but I need to overcome that.

Originally, my goal was to finish my first draft by the end of June, but HAH that did not happen. At one point I pushed that goal back to July but I feel like that’s probably not going to happen either. So at this point I figure I’ll just…let it happen as it happens? Push myself to write as much as possible but don’t give myself time constraints and rush. I do think that this “first” draft will ultimately be better by virtue of me going back and essentially revising as I go, even if it takes a lot longer.

And the good news is that I still love this story. I haven’t gotten tired of it, and I keep discovering new things about it and finding new things to love. It’s a fun one!


Writing music:

  • Fade by Egyptian (I don’t know, the mood of this song just fits)
    • “Three hundred miles away. A different night, but the sky is the same”
  • Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up) by Florence + the Machine (this song is basically perfect for my main character, Nat)
    • “And in the spring I shed my skin and it blows away with the changing winds
      The waters turn from blue to red as towards the sky I offer it”
  • Lonely People by Orla Gartland (all of these characters are very lonely lmao)
    • “If we’re brave enough, we won’t save it up for later”

And finally, allow me to introduce you to three of my characters, the three leading ladies:

IMG_7405 IMG_7404 IMG_7402

Natalia, Joss, and Devya!


Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? How’s everyone’s writing projects going?

x Margaret 

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22 thoughts on “Writing update #8 | July Camp NaNoWriMo + starting over…again

  1. It is so exciting to hear about your writing progress and best of luck with camp NaNoWriMo this month– you can do it!! 🎉 I’ve actually gone through a similar process I was about 70% into a first draft when I realised I wanted to change a lot so I started doing a lot of planning again and it did feel weird not writing as much and feeling like I wasn’t progressing but everything feels so much stronger now and I’m much happier with the story now so I’m so glad I did it.
    I love the plot spreadsheet– it is so cool and detailed 😍
    Best of luck with writing and those three leading ladies look amazing– I love them already!! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Sophie! 😀 Glad to hear I’m not the only one who stops when so close to the end of a draft 😉 Sometimes you just gotta go back and fix things before you go forward!
      Ahhh yay I’m glad you love them – I do too! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  2. If I tried to make an excel sheet like that for my characters, I would probably faint! You’re so dedicated for doing that!

    I make all of my notes in Microsoft OneNote, which has never been a problem for me until now. I have so many notes that it’s getting really hard to keep track of what is an old note vs a new one! I also have several different drafts of the outline, since I keep changing and expanding it.

    I’m having trouble with some of my characters names, if not all of them. I guess I just don’t want to get too attached, in case I try to publish it later on and someone tells me I need to change all the names. And I definitely plan and outline way too much! You’re not alone. 😂

    I can’t wait to see what your title is! I would love to read an urban fantasy with dragons! We need more urban fantasies, especially because most fantasies take place in the medieval days.

    Good luck with Camp NaNoWriMo! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I definitely understand having trouble keeping track of old vs new notes. Microsoft OneNote seems like a great way of keeping track of things though – I’m glad it works for you!

      Omg yes character names are hard, since there’s always the chance that they’ll get changed later on. It was hard enough changing them after just having them for a few months, but imagine having to change them after much longer and countless round of edits??

      Thanks so much for your encouragement! I definitely think the world needs more urban fantasy with dragons 😀 Good luck with your writing as well!!


  3. Good luck with all of this, and thank you for sharing everything! I totally feel you on the whole “over-planning to avoid actually doing the thing and risking failure,” I do that wil pretty much every single one of my projects ever, haha 😅 But yeah, your story sounds really awesome (Dragons? Yes please!) and I’m wishing you the best of luck with your writing and spreadsheet-ing 😂😊

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Natalia, Joss and Devya sound like such great names, and I’m sir they’ll be great characters as well! Ahh your WIP sounds so good already, and I’m so sad because currently no writing ideas are coming to mind for me, and even if they were, I would have no time to act on them :”) Ahhh, i am so here for the relationship drama though and more complex bad guys. I can’t wait to see more of your WIP , and I wish you all the luck with Camp Nano 💗💗

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Keep going!!! Writing is hard. Camp NaNoWriMo this month has also inspired me to restart my WIP over from the beginning. The more I write the more I’m figuring out and understanding my characters like you and the closer I feel I’m getting to the true story so I totally understand how you feel! And that is so awesome about the Excel spreadsheet you’re making!! I’m old school and so I have hand written notes, like, EVERYWHERE, but I’ve been thinking about going digital but haven’t made the change yet. I wish you good luck with all your goals ❤ Let's keep kicking this Camp NaNoWriMo into gear and turn those WIP into completed drafts!!!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s so awesome to hear! Starting over really is a great way of understanding characters more, even if it is a bit frustrating. And handwritten notes are also a great tool! Thanks so much for the encouragement, and good luck with your WIP as well! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This is so interesting to read! I always love reading about other people’s writing processes because I feel like no one does it exactly the same way, you know? And while stopping at 50k to go back to the beginning is hard, it’s also usually so worth it! I’ve done that many times, and a few times even after finishing it. But it’s fantastic that you’re still finding things to love! I sometimes worry about that, that working on it so often will make me go UGHHHH, but it hasn’t happened yet, so fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I agree – reading about other people’s writing processes always makes me rethink my own in new ways ☺️ And yep, going back to the beginning after 50k is not always the best strategy, but hopefully it’ll work out for me this time! And I’m so relieved that I’m still enjoying this story! 😄

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Wow. I admire your spreadsheet SO much, I wish I had that kind of organizational skills for my writing hahaha. I also admire you for going back and putting it all together again before getting to the end of it all, I hope that it will work out well for you and I wish you all the best for your writing! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I wish you all the best luck for the remaining Camp and your WIP! 💗 Starting over is hard, but it sounds like you’ve got a plan (that plot excel spread is super impressive!) and I believe in you, you can do it! I’m glad to hear that you still love your story, that’s a good sign 🙂 I totally get you about overplanning, I tend to do that too when outlining 😅

    Liked by 1 person

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