Rough draft done. Not the right one, but it’s done :)

A spark of an idea came to me in mid-October right smack dab in the middle of trying to get the rough draft of Abby’s Camp Days: Volume 6 written. I guess I must have fallen into a bit of a rut having written these characters for over a decade now because new characters were screaming to be developed. They haunted my dreams, popped into my thoughts, and made it impossible to work on my Abby book. I jotted down some notes and tried to set them aside so I could keep on schedule with Abby 6. My goal has always been one Abby book per year for 10 books/years, and I’ve kept on schedule throughout the birth of two kids, full-time baby-sitting for another girl, and the start-up of my photography business.

But these new characters had something to say about my writing schedule. The screamed to have their story told, especially the narrator. So I gave in and worked pretty steadily the past few months on their story. Last week, I had all the scenes written I wanted for the book, and today I finished the first read-through and can say that the 400-page rough draft is complete.

I still have time, but I don’t know if the Abby book is going to happen by summer thanks to these new characters who made me tell their story first. And ironically, these characters are . . . the next generation of Camp Spirit addicts. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this book started taking shape in the weeks after my husband and I went camping with several of our camp friends and their kids. When I spent the weekend watching the way our kids all interacted and I realized that while camp friends have special bonds that only camp people can understand, so do their kids–with each other, with the parents who share camp with them as their deans or counselors, and with their parents’ friends.  I thought this would be a fun realm to explore.

But I meant to explore it well after Abby was done having her camp days, 5 years from now at the earliest.

Those teenage kids of my camp addicts really put a crimp in their parents’ series. Kind of like . . . well, kind of like real kids can muck up your real writing schedule sometimes.

I’ve never written a book this fast before. Four months. Four-hundred pages. Should I admit here that my own kids have played a lot of Angry Birds and watched a lot of Nick Jr. the past few weeks?

One special thing about this book for me is that I got to incorporate my new love of photography into it. The narrator loves photography and shares that interest with another character. Photography and pictures and what they mean and what a picture can reveal to you about life ended up a big theme in this book without my even trying. Interesting how our lives show up in our writing.

I love this book! It was so much fun to write. True, it needs a lot of work. They don’t call it a “rough” draft for nothing. But I loved developing new characters as well as seeing my original characters much older than I’ve ever imagined them before. I love seeing how they turn out as adults, as professionals, as parents, and in different camp roles. I love seeing them through younger eyes. I love knowing how life turns out for them.

The only bad part about having written ahead is that I can’t share it with anybody. Not a scene. Not a plot. Not a name of a character.

Because I still have 5 Abby books to write and publish, and reading this one would give away everything that happens to Abby and her friends and counselors.

So I have to sit on it, which is very, very, very hard for me because my favorite part about writing is sharing it with others, getting feedback, finding out what parts made them laugh or who their favorite characters are. There are a few bombshells in the future, turns you might not expect their some of their lives to take. And unless I start writing much, much faster, I can’t share it for at least 5 more years. Did I pray for patience at some point recently???

I already have ideas for a sequel (think split-viewpoint Super Counselors: The Next Generation), which will be my final Camp Spirit book. But these impatient campers, counselors, and camp staff members are just going to have to wait for Abby to finish. Then I’m moving on to another world.

So it’s back to Abby Book 6, I guess to try to catch up to my schedule. I looked over my notes for my remaining Book 6 scenes today, and I felt a bit disoriented because they were SO young again. If only it was that easy to get 25 years back in the real world . . .

Hopefully, no characters will have any more kids to distract me. 🙂

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