Try a Plotting Bootcamp

Why Boot Camp?  CS Lakin explained that boot camp is different from a workshop because a boot camp has more rules, an expectation of production and it fosters comrades among the participants.  If you are looking for progress in your novel, in this case, plotting out your novel scene by scene, Bootcamp may be a fit for you.

Susanne uses two of her books; The 12 Key Pillars of  Novel Construction along with  Layer Your Novel as the basis for the camp activities.  The goal is to work on the scenes and plot points of your book and after three days of intensive work, walk away with a book almost fully plotted along with a plan of attack (if you will). 

Harmony Lodge in Nevada City

  A good workshop /boot camp lasts two to four days.  To lure writers, workshops, like conferences, are held in beautiful locations like the Redwood Writers Conference, held in Sonoma and like this most recent Bootcamp held in South Lake Tahoe. Most workshops are held in event centers or hotels that are close to nature and/or good restaurants to take a break.  Ideally, you have your own room and bath. 

A workshop leader will offer pre-information so you know what to expect and what to write.  You need to write, you need to follow along with the ideas and the goals just so everyone is organized and literally on the same page.

Harmony Lodge, Nevada City

Writers are expected to bring their work and share.  Sharing is key –  and beneficial. A workshop offers three day, twenty-four-hour access to a critic group. For three days these fellow writers are at your disposal with little else to distract them, or you.  You can work out plot points and scenes with a group that is not only interested but also are deeply into their own work and are sensitive to your efforts.

You can talk writing morning, noon and night.  It’s heady stuff, the intensity and fellowship is energizing and illuminating.  Every participant at the South Lake Tahoe loved the work, love the process, and in the end, loved each other.

If meeting strangers freaks you out, an intimate setting like this may not be for you.  A conference with structured classes (like the con

But if you need or want help with your novel, and want feedback right at the beginning so you don’t launch into the wrong direction and waste your time – Bootcamp may be the perfect investment.

Want to try it out?  Susanne is offering another Plotting Madness Bootcamp at Harmony Lodge, about
five miles outside of Nevada City, CA.  Nevada City-Grass Valley is a Designated Cultural Area packed with arts, performances, theater, music and yes, many, many bars.  It’s one of the most inspirational places you can write in.

I will be on staff to help with your book.

How to Keep Writing Your Book

Don’t Write Like You Talk
What I learned from agents & authors, publishers & poets

It’s NaNoWriMo.

How to keep writing You’re writing a book
I’m writing a book
This is fun, this writing of books.
But now that the first few hours of ecstasy has worn off. How do you keep writing that book?
Cheat
Scheme
Win

I wrote the raw drafts for five books during five consecutive Novembers.  They have all been accepted for publication (the release of said books is another matter).  I love writing a raw draft in a month, I get a kick out of writing dangerously, recklessly.  But the system does have its drawbacks.   Like when you get stuck during your third hour of writing.

What next?

Rather than tell you how to manage your plot and your character, because at this stage in a draft, all you need is a fearless hero/heroine and for pages and page you keep putting stuff in their way:  drain pipes, data, dragons, it  doesn’t matter, this is November, it’s all about the word count.

How do you drag yourself through the slog of word counts? 

I cheat.

My first way  is to give myself really small, ridiculous goals.  I write them all down using colored felt pens, I make big squares on a calendar and post the calendar for all to see.  On each square I write, say, 1,600 words.

Then I do a little more.  If I do a lot more I re-align the goals so they are either smaller goals or the time shorter.  I make big Xs through each accomplished word count goal. 

I dance, I do more and get ahead.  I cheat against my own system. It’s enormously satisfying and it keeps me focused.

Can you “earn” a day off on Thanksgiving by writing 3,400 works on Wednesday? 

Can you start early and bank up your words?  Seriously, who will know you didn’t start at Zero on November 1.  Start with 10,000 words on November first.  You are a rock star!  You are amazing! See how great that feels?  Only we will know.

Maybe your November is packed.  I wrote Future Sky in October – same rules, 50,000 words in a month, but I used October as my month.

NaNoWriMo is not about rules, it’s about community and about stretching yourself, challenging yourself.  It’s about writing as fast as you can and jumping over data, dragons and drain pipes.

If you need to start ahead, if you have a special needs novel that needs more time, take it.

It’s all about getting the words down.

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