I Won Camp(!) + Discussing Battle Song’s Problems & Positives + Too Much Parenthetical Commentary

camp nano header.png
Photo by samsommer on Unsplash–thank you!

Okay, so my Camp NaNoWriMo goal was less than any other NaNo goal I’ve had in the 4.5 years I’ve done it (only 20,000 words). But it’s been over a year since I won a NaNoWriMo event, so just winning felt awesome and like I could do amazing things.

Screenshot 2017-08-01 at 4.16.21 PMLook at my lovely chart…. Clearly, I did not do very well during the first half of the month (partly because I went on vacation for an entire week), but I pulled in by the very last day. (Go procrastination!) Not quite as awesome as the NaNo where I wrote 12K the last day to win, but still pretty great.

Also, this draft (rewrite?) is turning out much better than the first one–and also very different. It’s become more emotional (I hope) and a lot more centered on war and fighting and the results of that/how that affects people. But also still about family and religion and love and all of that fun stuff. (Not sure if I told you this, but there’s an actually semi-decent synopsis/blurb on the Battle Song page! *nudges you to check it out*)

But there’s still some stuff that I have yet to figure out. My biggest problem right now is figuring out what exactly Amrya traded with the sea witch. You see, the whole idea of this novel came about from the idea that the little mermaid traded in her beauty instead of her voice. But then…that didn’t work. It didn’t affect the story at all because it’s not about beauty or about a society that really cares about beauty.

So then I decided that she was going to trade out her fighting skills, but that didn’t work because when I began writing this second draft, Amrya’s personality changed a bit. Rather than liking being a warrior, she hates fighting and killing but feels honor-bound to do it. So giving up her fighting skills was not going to challenge her enough.

When I wrote the scene between her and the sea witch, I had her trade some heartscales, which are like tokens of war + mer currency, which worked but also doesn’t affect her after she becomes human.

Now I’m wondering, should I just have her lose her voice like the original? It would better follow the original fairy tale narrative, and I think I can make it work and still have decent character development, but I still don’t know if it will affect her enough. The story isn’t about not being able to communicate; it’s about not wanting to fight. And though having her lose her voice could work, I’m afraid that it’ll detract from the point I’m trying to get across.

(What is that point? you may ask… Well, probably something along these lines: life has value + war is sometimes necessary + family is important + faith + true love and friendship + something else maybe? But that’s what it seems like it’s heading toward.)

So…what do you think? Do you think that it’s okay to have her not trade anything that really affects her (considering that the part that really affects her is that she has to marry one specific person)? Should I have her lose her voice at the risk of it sounding like it was just put there because of the original fairy tale or would it work because it’s from the original fairy tale? Or maybe she just loses it partly (like only the magic part or only for a certain amount of time)? Or do I need to find something else entirely that would make it hard? I don’t know, but I just really need someone’s opinion besides my own.

Okay, we’ve talked about my issues with Battle Song; what about the good parts? Well, there are actually quite a few.

1. The mer culture decided it wanted to be something different and it was awesome. Like, it’s still the same basic warrior clan idea thing, and there’s still a lot I have to develop more fully, but there’s magic that’s awesome and relates to singing! (Points for reference to the little mermaid’s voice being important.) And I kind of figured out why they’re fighting…which kind of leads to the next point.

2. The big problems with the mers got figured out and incorporated into the plotline! The problems were:

  • Where did the mers come from?
  • Why don’t they have immortal souls while the humans do?
  • Why are they always fighting?
  • And I also figured out why the humans are fighting, so points for that too!

And I can’t tell you the answers (because spoilers) but they’re pretty great and are actually important to the plot.

3. The minor character becomes more important. So in the original, after the little mermaid saves the prince, some girls from a convent/temple find him and he thinks one of them was the one to rescue him (and the little mermaid can’t tell him otherwise because she can’t talk). Of course, he thinks he’ll never see her again (she is in a convent, after all), but–surprise! Turns out she’s a princess from a neighboring kingdom, just put there to learn “every royal virtue.” And then the prince falls in love with her and the little mermaid turns into seafoam and that’s the end.

Anyway, this princess (Malena is her name) made a brief appearance in the first draft of Battle Song, but she becomes much more important in this draft. Not only as the character from the original fairy tale but also as Amrya’s friend and the one who introduces her to the religion of the island (which I just now realize should probably get a name). And I wrote a scene with her yesterday and I learned some deep stuff about her and she’s a great character.

So yes, I have been having fun with it (despite all of the struggles)! Somehow I doubt I will finish this first draft before the end of summer…but I do want to keep writing every day and make this story as awesome as it can be!

let’s talk!

How much do you think I should write this August? 30K? More/less? And please help me and give me some advice for what Amrya should trade! (Or at least commiserate with me and offer me chocolate?) And what did you write for Camp NaNo (if you did)? How did it go? And have you ever read the original little mermaid fairy tale, and what did you think of it and its ending?

Also I hope you enjoyed the rambling because I did and I will probably ramble more about stuff in Battle Song, hehe.

16 thoughts on “I Won Camp(!) + Discussing Battle Song’s Problems & Positives + Too Much Parenthetical Commentary

  1. Deeja August 2, 2017 / 9:52 AM

    I haven’t read the original, but your idea seems so cool! i did camp this year, it was my very first year and my third serious project (but the first one i haven’t abandoned) and at first my goal was the first 30k, but then i had soooo many guests and so much life!!! stuff happened, and I had to do chores at home and my mom fell ill and I was finding my new schedule really hard to cope with and… you get the picture. but anyways, I lowered y goal to 15k and when i realized even that was too improbable for me, because i simply couldn’t take out the time to write those words, plus i was very confused about a lot of scenes, finally, once winning had started, i narrowed down my word goal to 10k, and reached it! though i felt a little like i cheated, i’ve decided to forgive myself. this was the first time i’ve done nano/camp, and you know what? i’m proud of myself. you should be, too. and also so thankful that something kept pushing me. i’m planning on doing a camp nano recap, with snippets and a general idea about what i’m writing, if you’re interested!
    i hope you realize what it is that she has to trade. *gives you chocolate* maybe a body part? maybe her ability/self-defense instinct? what about her ability to empathize? she’s honor bound to fight, but she doesn’t want to hurt people, take away her ability to feel the pain that she’s inflicting, and she has to earn it back, somehow.


    • Lana August 2, 2017 / 7:11 PM

      Congratulations on winning Camp!! 😀 That is so awesome! And I definitely understand being busy, so it’s all right that you didn’t write as much as you wanted to, and you can always set a higher goal next time! Are you planning on doing NaNoWriMo in November? And I would definitely be interested in reading your Camp recap! I love hearing about other people’s novels! 🙂

      Thank you for your suggestions and the chocolate, haha! Ooh, taking away her ability to empathize would be interesting…I’m not sure if it’ll work but it’s a really interesting idea to think about because it’d definitely cause some conflict.

      Thanks for commenting! 🙂


    • Lana August 2, 2017 / 7:38 PM

      Also, I would love to leave a comment on your blog but I’ve been having issues with blogspot blogs… 😦 Anyway, I wanted to comment on your recent book review and say that the book sounded really awesome and fun to read! It has such an interesting premise and it’s so awesome to have a Muslim MC! It sounds like a really fun read.


  2. christineeyre August 2, 2017 / 10:31 AM

    Good for you for winning!–and for finishing, which is just as important. Seriously, that’s awesome, so get yourself a treat! 🙂

    Okay, I do have a couple of ideas about what she could trade with the sea witch–but since I don’t know the details of your story, feel free to take all this with a grain of salt. 🙂

    Option #1: She could trade her voice–and finds she is unable to speak out about what she feels strongly about. Honor-bound to fight, right? Without her voice, she can’t explain her reasons for fighting even though she hates it. Maybe others misjudge her. Maybe she’s the victim of stereotypes. Maybe she can’t defend her family against misjudgment. Maybe she can’t communicate her values to either of the princes.

    Option#2: She could trade aspects of her passion for what she values, e.g. whatever motive makes her feel honor-bound to fight–and then she finds she has also lost her passion (or some of it) for defending her family and home (or whatever; again, I don’t know the details) and has to weigh what is more important: her honor or the need to fight sometimes. Does that make sense?

    I think a culture of warrior mer-people is cool!–and the title is great too! Also, congratulations for figuring out some of the plot problems! Keep up the good work!

    Also, I like the idea of two princes instead of one. Sounds very interesting! (More interesting than the original fairy tale, which I have read. I thought it was depressingly beautiful, if that makes any sense. 🙂 )


    • Lana August 2, 2017 / 7:18 PM

      Thank you! I had some fudge on Monday, so that’ll be my treat, haha.

      Ooh, I like the suggestions! I’m not entirely sure I’m understanding the second option, though…I think I’m reading it wrong or something. 😛

      Thank you! Yep, it’s so fun to play around with my two princes…they’re great. 🙂 (And ooh, that’s a good description of it. The writing of the fairy tale is definitely beautiful…and it has a lot more development than the Grimm fairy tales do.)


  3. cassandrabarthuly August 2, 2017 / 1:23 PM

    Congratulations on winning Camp NaNo. And oh gosh, a mermaid story ❤


    • Lana August 2, 2017 / 7:24 PM

      Thank you!! Did you do Camp as well?

      And yes, a mermaid story! I’m excited about it.


      • cassandrabarthuly August 3, 2017 / 11:28 AM

        I was crazy and did two camps with two cabins xp I won the first camp, and did not win the second. Me too! We need more mermaid stories.


      • Lana August 24, 2017 / 5:15 PM

        Wow, congrats! That’s awesome. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Kellyn Roth August 3, 2017 / 11:08 AM

    How much do you think I should write this August? 30K? More/less?:
    Hmm … I don’t know. How busy are you going to be? That’s what I’d think about. I’m gonna be super busy thing August, so I’m just going to completely revise one novel, write a novella, and finish another novel that’s a little over halfway finished. *facepalm* Yep, I’ll probably fail at all of those … but I really need to do this! *sigh* Oh well.

    So … I guess around 30K? However much you need to do? I’m sorry for being so vague and such. I honestly don’t know. Maybe you should do something challenging! You know, if you have time … *is so awfully vague*

    And please help me and give me some advice for what Amrya should trade! (Or at least commiserate with me and offer me chocolate?):
    *offers chocolate* But hey, that’ll fix everything!

    I get what you mean about it not being star-stopping enough for her, but … perhaps just trading her voice would be enough if you worked it. I mean, it’s already been done, but “there’s nothing new under the sun” anyways. I like some of the other comment suggestions, too.

    And what did you write for Camp NaNo (if you did)?:
    I mostly revised AFOP, but I also wrote some of Once a Stratton.

    How did it go?:
    Not so good! I did get 20K (between revising and writing), but I didn’t make significant progress on either project.

    And have you ever read the original little mermaid fairy tale, and what did you think of it and its ending?:
    No, I haven’t, actually. I’ve heard about it a lot for you, though, so … does that count? XD


  5. Morgan @ studiesincharacter August 23, 2017 / 10:59 PM

    *offers chocolate*

    I recommend completing the draft, looking at Amyra’s character arc as a whole, and figuring out what she should give to the sea witch from there. It probably will cause you to change things for the next draft, but unless you plan for her arc to change a lot, it might be easier?

    Also yeah oops hi I’m on WordPress again.


    • Lana August 24, 2017 / 4:39 PM

      Hi! 😀 And thank you for the chocolate, hehe.

      That’s a good idea. I don’t know exactly what I want to do with her character arc…but I have some ideas, so hopefully I can figure it out? I don’t know, I haven’t written very much in Battle Song recently… *sighs*


      • Morgan @ studiesincharacter August 24, 2017 / 6:54 PM

        Well, when I write, my characters get their own ideas for what their arcs should be, and so I don’t know what their arcs are until I finish. I don’t know if it’ll work like that with you?
        Have you written anything or just busy with the school and vacation stuff?


      • Lana September 4, 2017 / 10:31 PM

        Hehe, sometimes, sometimes not…depends on the character. *shrugs*

        I…haven’t really written anything. I was doing this blog challenge thing so I did write some snippets, and I’ve also written some scenes of this one random novel during school, but…I haven’t done anything, but I need to.


  6. Julia December 14, 2017 / 9:19 AM

    Your book sounds cool; The Little Mermaid was always my favorite princess, so I’m really interested in this story. 😃

    As a suggestion, for trading, what if she trades something that still is in the musical aspect of things, but important to her? King Trident has his trident. What if his daughters have magical instruments that allow them each to have power over something ocean-related? And it reflects their personalities, to help with their weaker parts? So the instruments have helped them out of tight spots before.

    It’s just a suggestion, and even I don’t know what the instruments would be or do (maybe control waves, or puffer fish? 😆) but I hope it gives you some ideas! 😃


    • Lana December 16, 2017 / 11:30 AM

      Thank you! I adore fairy tales, so I’m having a lot of fun playing around with this one and changing things up!

      Thank you for the suggestions! I think I’ve actually figured something out, and it does have to do with magic! 🙂


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