Camp NaNoWriMo Prep

It’s that time of year again: when I pretend writing every day for 30 days straight to finish a novel in a month is a realistic goal. When I am forced to remember just how hard it is to create consistent but complex characters, powerful and not (too) predictable plots, spellbindingly special settings.

Or you could just call it Camp NaNoWriMo (April edition).

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4 Levels of Squirrel Haiku

While watching Epicurious’s 4 Levels videos and cleaning out my closet, I remembered that throughout elementary school I had written variations on the same haiku about a squirrel. (Why a squirrel? I can only assume I was staring out the window when inspiration scampered by.)

Partly because it was easier than coming up with 10-20 poem subjects every year, but I’d like to think it was also partly because I wanted to look back on them someday and see how my style had changed. Which is exactly what I’m doing today!

Please don’t judge me too harshly; I was young and poor choices were made.

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A Letter for 2025 Me

I think I first wrote one of these letters at some point in high school: my English teacher let us each pick out a postcard to write some thoughts down, then collected them to be returned at the end of the school year. (Irrelevant to this post, but I liked my postcard so much that I actually used it for the cover of my first bullet journal!)

Since then, I’ve regularly used FutureMe.org to schedule emails for my future self. It’s fascinating to see how my goals and priorities have changed, and it’s a nice reminder that life goes on in ways I couldn’t have imagined.

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My Long-Term Relationship with Fanfiction

Although we’re currently on an unofficial break, I would without hesitation classify my relationship with fanfiction as serious and long-term. We’ve known each other for years and grown together, through ship wars and show cancellations.

It’s a relationship that overlaps with an impressionable and formative period of my life, yes, but also one that shapes the way I engage with the world and media I encounter every day. It’s influenced my feelings about different kinds of relationships, familiarity with tropes, technical writing skills, perseverance to finish stories, confidence to share my work, awareness beyond my “vision” to the potential impact of my words on others … 

Yes, I know this all sounds a bit melodramatic, which probably doesn’t help support the case that fanfiction isn’t just for moony-eyed teenage girls who want their favorite fictional characters to make out. But it really is so much more than that, and I hope sharing my experiences will help convince you otherwise. (Or if you are/were a fanfic’er yourself, hopefully you can relate!)

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[Bookending Summer] Build-a-Story

And with that, we’ve arrived at my final hosted prompt!

Thank you again to Sam and Clo for this opportunity, and I hope you all had as much fun with my prompts as I had coming up with and writing them all!

Since July is Camp NaNoWriMo month, why not try putting together the basics of a novel? I’m sure you’ve noticed that most books contain several familiar elements; it’s the specific combination that makes each one unique!

So in whatever order makes most sense to you, choose a basic plot, an appropriate setting, your favorite tropes (including a beginning trope and an ending trope), some archetypal characters, and anything else necessary for us to understand the heart of your narrative.

You can use the lists I’ve linked or search up your own!

This post is part of Bookending Summer 2019, which is organized by Sam & Clo! Today’s prompt, “Build-a-Story,” is hosted by yours truly — so if you do this prompt don’t forget to link back to this post!

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Preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo

It seems like every winter and summer break since I stopped working on fanfiction every week, I vow to rediscover my love of writing, finish off some WIPs (especially the years-old fanfics that some people apparently still read because I still get requests for new chapters), develop new plot ideas, experiment with prose style … And every winter and summer break, I totally fail to accomplish any of the above. This year isn’t much different; a month and a half of my summer break has already passed without any real progress, if we don’t count blogging.

This time is different though! Instead of settling with these lofty ideals, I sat down and really thought about the areas I want to improve, and made concrete, quantifiable plans to make these goals happen. (Which is what we’re talking about today, in case you hadn’t guessed.)

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An Open Letter to My Younger, Questioning Self

Hey you,

I know that you know it’s really not your fault that you grew up assuming you — and everyone else — was sexually and romantically attracted exclusively to the opposite gender, just as is depicted in media. Tumblr isn’t the best source of information, as we’ve learned, but it was our gateway into exploring attraction and a source of support while we were just starting out. We got lucky: our high school was heteronormative (remember all the promposals?) but not outright homophobic, and most of our close friends also identified as queer. We spent lunches talking about sexuality and activism, and being the “gay cousin.”

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Ode to Libraries

When in doubt, go to the library could have been the motto for my teenage years. My school and local libraries gave me a place to hang out during lunch and after school, a seemingly endless supply of new reading material, and even an extra resource for difficult homework assignments or hobbies I was teaching myself.

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