Hello, Happy Writers!
It’s April, and you know what that means?
That Florida has suddenly transitioned from a somewhat pleasantly cool winter to a burn-your-skin off sweltering summer heat?
WRONG. It’s still quite pleasant and breezy here in SWFL. The sun is only capable of burning your skin off between the hours of 1 pm and 3.
That another month has somehow slipped past us in a year that’s simultaneously moving glacially slow and yet zooming by at uncatchable speeds?
WR-WELL. SURE. Actually. Yes. You got me. Time is a social construct, I tell myself as I watch the sand grains of my life trickle relentlessly away.
Wait … where was I?
It’s time for Camp NaNoWriMo?
YES. THAT WAS THE THING. It’s April, which means one thing and one thing only.*
* (Okay, it means a lot of things, such as Easter, and April Fool’s Day, and Fred and George Weasely’s birthdays, and April showers, and that thing about time being universally infinite and but for each of us individually finite. Anyway. S’mores?)
April is the first round of Camp NaNoWriMo, the spunky lil’ sis of November’s huge, exciting, Write Your Novel In a Month over-achieving older sibling. Camp NaNo is a more relaxed, easy-going sister—she doesn’t care if you set a different goal for yourself than 50,000 words. Or if you want to edit a novel instead of write a first draft. Or—a novel? Hell, she doesn’t care if you write a screenplay, or an epic poem, or an anthology of short stories! She’s easy-breezy. All she wants you to do is devote a little time each day to writing—to set a goal for yourself and follow through with it.
And to eat lots of of S’mores. Probably.*
* (I actually have weird, occasionally negative bursts of emotions when it comes to S’mores?? I love them, they’re yummy, they’re an exciting summer treat, sure. But I once made a plate of four or five S’mores for my family and excitedly went around to each of them offering them this UNIVERSALLY ADORED SUMMERTIME SNACK, only for every single person to wrinkle their nose at me and say no. Which led to me sitting alone in my room eating an entire plate of S’mores by myself so they wouldn’t go to waste. Huh. I’m a little choked up, recalling this particular bout of pathetic-ness. Maybe I’ll stop leaning into the camping metaphor so heavily and just get back to talking about writing.)
So. YES. Camp NaNoWriMo is a chance to make a goal and see it through. I’m going to try for the traditional 50,000 words, I really am. I’ve been having a hard time staying motivated and productive this year, so I’m looking forward to a little structure and discipline. I’m also looking forward to winning Camp NaNo and potentially having a WIP that much closer to completion.
So, the question begs—What am I writing about this April?
For April’s Camp, I’m going to be working on a first draft of a murder mystery novel I’ve been quietly cooking up ever since reading Lord of the Flies last year, currently entitled The Long Cold Night.
(You can find this on the Camp NaNoWriMo page for this project, as well)
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS meets LORD OF THE FLIES. In THE LONG COLD NIGHT, a high-speed rail train on an overnight ride breaks down in the middle of a snowstorm, stranding its passengers in an icy and isolated countryside. The doors won’t open, nor the windows, and the passengers of Carriage Nineteen can’t get in touch with any of the crew. They huddle together for warmth, cracking nervous jokes, awkwardly getting to know their seatmates, everyone expecting the lights to come on, the engine to rev back up, sometime soon.
Then they see the body at the back of the train. The man who has fallen, dead, from his private compartment.
Some think it’s a prank, a set up for a hidden camera show; others say the man was murdered, which means the killer is still there, sat amongst them. Accusations fly, tempers flare, as the night only grows longer and colder and more cruel. Eventually, the surviving passengers, struggling for warmth and sense and safety, knowing that help might be hours away, decide to solve the crime themselves — and to take its justice into their own hands.
Why I’m Excited:
BECAUSE IT’S A MURDER ON A TRAIN. AND EVERYONE TURNS ON EACH OTHER. DIVIDING INTO FACTIONS. MAKING ALLIANCES. SHOWING THEIR OWN INTERNALIZED PREJUDICES. The cast is diverse, there is at least one LGBT couple in my outline (with the potential for another). It’s funny. It’s a little suspenseful. And I think it’s going to be a lot of fun to write. The outline has already been a joy to work on, and I’m in love with at least 85% of my characters.
Where Can You Find Out More?
I’ve actually shared an extended version of this “Meet My Novel” post over on my brand spankin’ new Patreon Page! (My adorably teensy Patreon page that so far only my dear sweet mommy has donated to.) There are actually snippets from my outline (!!!) over there, as well as looks at my July CampNaNo novel and, locked for Patrons, a look at my editing project The Other Side!
My Patreon is nothing fancy, just a way to support this blog and keep the fire to my toes, so to speak. If you’d like to show your support, consider becoming a Patron! I’ll be posting even more Camp NaNo updates over there throughout the month, along with previews of upcoming blog posts, behind the scenes looks at my writing life, and a couple more snippets and scenes than I can share publicly on my blog. I purposefully kept the tiers low, only one dollar or three, to keep it relaxed and low-pressure!
Rest assured, I’ll still be posting these weekly posts right here on Happy Writer. For the month of April, it’ll be all about Camp NaNoWriMo—my progress, my advice, my occasional breakdowns of panic and crippling self-doubt, etc. and so forth. So unpack those S’mores, unfurl those sleeping bags, unscrew your canisters of glitter — we’re going to be singing around the campfire, sleeping under the stars, and making some truly questionable arts and crafts.*
* I’ve decided to lean back into the metaphor. le shrug
It’s Camp NaNo time, everybody! This is going to be fun.
Happy Writing, and I will see you next week!