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Camp Care Package #2: You cannot revise a blank page.

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

1) You cannot revise a blank page: 

Whenever I’m frustrated and uninspired while drafting, I remind myself: You cannot revise a blank page. A first draft is raw material. It’s not supposed to be pretty. It’s not supposed to be perfect. It doesn’t even have to be coherent! It just has to exist. This is why NaNoWriMo worked so well for my perfectionist brain. It let me focus on something less terrifying than Write A Good Book while I was still trying to push out the first draft.

Writing Dare: Set a timer for 10 minutes. During these 10 minutes, the only two rules are: 1. You have to write. 2. You CANNOT delete anything. That's right, nothing at all, not even to change the spelling of a word. Write without looking back! 

2) Go back to the basics:

Writing a first draft can be a lot of fun because at this point, anything can happen in your story. But for this same reason, it can also feel really daunting. Whenever I get overwhelmed by the possibilities, I go back to the basics. What was the initial kernel that made me want to write this book? A theme I wanted to explore? A character I wanted to bring to life? A relationship I wanted to write? Re-centering myself with this reminder of what made me fall in love with this story idea to begin with can be really helpful in deciding where to go next.

Writing Dare: What was the original thing that made you fall in love the idea you're writing about? For your next scene, bring out as much of that idea as you can. If it was a sci-fi battle, write a battle scene! If it was a relationship between two people, write a scene with just the two of them interacting! Don't worry about anything else in your project.

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Kat Zhang is an author of books for teens and children. Her Young Adult trilogy, The Hybrid Chronicles, is published with HarperCollins, and she has two Middle Grades, The Emperor’s Riddle and The Memory of Forgotten Things, as well as two picture books, Amy Wu and the Perfect Bao and sequel Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon with Simon & Schuster. She wrote her first novel for NaNoWriMo a great many years ago! Follow @katzhang on Twitter.

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