I just signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo, starting this April. Just like NaNoWriMo you try to write a new novel in a month, but in keeping with the theme of summer camp you're assigned to a cabin of other participants (who you can select based on age, writing genre, and word count goals).
For example, I selected to be paired with other "campers" of any age who are writing young adult novels with word targets around 75,000. I want people writing in that genre, and I want people who set ridiculously high goals for themselves, people who like to push themselves hard, and to think deeply about their work. I also think a broad range of ages could make for more interesting discussion, so I left that parameter open.
i'll be writing a sequel to my first NaNoWriMo novel, Galdurheim (sample chapters here), of which I have since finished first, second, and third drafts, had read by my alpha and beta readers, and submitted for consideration with a number of good literary houses. Fingers crossed on that one. This sequel, which I'm perhaps even more excited about, picks up where the first left off.
Here's the blurb:
Set in Iceland in 1898, this is thirteen year old Leif's second year at school. Construction on the new school has been delayed due to sabotage and thefts each night, and when livestock begin being killed in the field people start to murmur about the hidden folk growing restless. With their access to Galdurheim cut off, the hidden folk are angry, and growing bold enough to break a nine century truce with the church. When students start disappearing, Leif and Fjola must find a way to appease them before it's too late. Meanwhile, Jens and Inga, sworn to vengeance over her brother Ragnar's death, continue his research into ways to harness the energy of the natural world. Inga resorts to deceit and tricks to try to get Leif and Fjola expelled, drawing their attention from Jens, who meticulously produces a new weapon capable of changing the world.
I really hope you'll take the opportunity to join me on this one. I believe very firmly that everyone has a great book tumbling around inside the skulls, waiting for the right opportunity to spill itself onto the page. All the usual obstacles stand in the way: work, lack of self-confidence, hopelessness, television, kids... The thing that nobody seems to share is this truth: all of those are excuses, and phantasmagorical ones at that. They're not as real of impediments as we initially think.
Setting daily or weekly word goals, and setting aside time (even if it's just 15 minutes on your break at work, and an hour at night instead of watching that other show which you're not so crazy about--you know the one) makes this writing thing shockingly doable. And fun.
One last thought: I've written three complete novels. The first took me five years, and that's not the planning stages. Five actual years of dickering around with words on the page. The next two I wrote blitzkrieg style, and they took me 9 and 8 weeks, respectively. And they were much better books.
I definitely encourage everyone to give NaNoWriMo a try, and the new Camp NaNoWriMo looks like it'll be a great (and fun!) opportunity to unleash your creative monsters.
Hope to see you there.