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Camp Care Package #2: Keep Swimming

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Author Kelsey Norris is your Camp Counselor for this week. Find all Camp Care Packages in Breaking News throughout the month of July, or learn more about Camp NaNoWriMo!

1) Keep Swimming

We writers love a good metaphor, and I’ve heard the challenge of a writing a novel described by more than one decorated author as similar to swimming through the ocean and finding yourself somewhere between the shore and your destination, unable to see land on either side. Sometimes, we’re swimming at night. If you find yourself treading water, take comfort in the fact that you are neither the first writer nor the last to feel this way. Keep swimming.

2) Write Your Weaknesses

We are not always the best judges of our own writerly weaknesses. When my writing feels stale or the style of it seems too familiar, writing into my own perceived craft weaknesses or avoidances has been a fruitful practice. I love writing lyrical descriptions, which means that my characters don’t always end up talking all that much. One of the stories in my forthcoming collection, then, was borne of a challenge I set for myself: Write a story made entirely of dialogue, the very element I tended to shy away from. Try it out with a story or novel chapter—the results may surprise you.

Writing Dare: Write a scene (or chapter!) where you only use dialogue.

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Kelsey Norris is a writer and editor from Alabama. She earned an MFA from Vanderbilt University and has worked as a teacher in Namibia, a school librarian, and a bookseller. Her work has been published in The Kenyon Review, Black Warrior Review, and The Rumpus, among others. She is currently based in Washington, DC. Her debut story collection, House Gone Quiet, publishes October 17th, 2023, with Scribner Books, and is now available for pre-order at online retailers or your local bookstore. Check out Kelsey on Twitter

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