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Camp Care Package #4: Write through the "dreaded middle."

Author Katya de Becerra 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) Keep evolving character sketches: 

One of the first things I do when I start a new book project is write “character sketches”. Think of those as extended bios for your protagonist and other important characters. Keep those sketches as a separate document and treat them as ever-evolving: they change, grow and get more complex as you flesh out your characters. I start each new sketch by asking questions like: what are this character’s strengths and weakness, what do they want and what scares them. These sketches can help you figure out your characters’ motivations and, hence, advance your plot.

Writing Dare: Write a character sketch for a character you're having a hard time with. Ask them: what are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you want? What scares you? For more questions, use the Character Questionnaire in the YWP workbook.

2) Stuck in the middle? Try outlining:

So you’ve got a great premise, unique voice, and out-of-this-world ending. Fired up, you write… till you get to about a quarter mark of your novel and maybe lose steam, your enthusiasm waning. Or you get stuck in the “dreaded middle”. It might be tempting to give up, but don’t. You’ve done so much already! Now is the time to outline your book. Or review your outline if you’ve got one already. Make a list of key things that need to happen to get you to the end. Brainstorm. Storyboard. Then, take a deep breath and write-write-write. 

Writing Dare: Feeling stuck? Writing yourself into corners? Try Katya's suggestion: brainstorm a list of all the key things that need to happen to get your characters to the end of your story, storyboard them in order, and write!

author photo

Katya de Becerra was born in Russia, studied in California, immigrated to Australia in 2006, and now lives in Melbourne. She earned a PhD in Anthropology from the University of Melbourne. She is a mentor with 1st5Pages Writing Workshop, where she provides free critique to help foster new writing talent. Released in 2018, her debut novel What The Woods Keep is a genre-bender combining mystery, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Her second novel Oasis is forthcoming in 2020.

What's up at Camp?

  • If the month has been feeling a little bumpy, check out these tips for sailing smoothly through Camp on our blog.

  • Our newest NaNoWriMo book, Brave the Page, is available for preorder! Take a sneak peek at this fun writing handbook for young writers.

  • Finished with your Camp project early? The New York Times Learning Network offers a Summer Reading Contest with a chance to enter each and every week until August 23. Set a new goal and start writing (and submitting!). 
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