Postcards From Camp: Choose Your Own Adventure

Well, gang, I’m about a week into this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo session, and I am way ahead of my word count goal (I’m already over halfway there). But there’s a simple, if odd-sounding explanation for that…

I don’t know what’s supposed to happen.

In my last post, I detailed my writing plan for this month, which was basically to fuse together parts from two rejected plans to create a new possible path to a possible ending of the WIP that refuses to be finished (AKA, Full Circle, AKA Book Three in my fantasy series, The Coileáin Chronicles).

The plan started off pretty well. I had lots and lots of pages of notes to guide me that detailed exactly what I wanted certain scenes to look like, so it was just a matter of writing them out.

But then I came to a place where the detailed planning ended and became more…theoretical, I guess I could say. More specifically, one of my POV characters was left with a choice: retreat & recover or keep going & kick ass.

(Note: There are a lot of details behind those two choices which I am choosing not to divulge, so even though one option may sound waaaaaaay more interesting than the other, they do each come along with their own sets of merits and possibilities. Hence the indecision.)

I have yet to make a decision on which one of these paths is the right choice, so I’ve been writing them both.

What would it look like if she chooses Door #1? What would it look like she chooses Door #2? Where do each of those doors leads? What subsequent choices will she have to make, and where will those choices lead?

All of this has left me feeling like I’m now writing one of those Choose Your Own Adventure stories that were popular when I was a kid (Note: various forms of this storytelling method do still exist today). You know, the kind that allow that reader to decide where the story goes. At the end of a page, there’s a choice. Do you want to do A or B? And you continue through the story, making choices, until you reach one of the book’s possible 1,000,000 (Note: may be a slight exaggeration…) endings.

I assume, at some point, one of these paths will start to feel right to me. That’s how I usually know I’m heading in the right direction with a story—I just feel it in my gut—but, so far, my gut is all…

Once I make a decision, I’ll delete the imposter timeline and focus on the other one. But until then…at least this multi-verse-esque thing I’ve got going on is doing fantastic things for my word count…right?

RIGHT?!?!?!?!?

Camp Stats

Word Count Goal: 20,000

Where my WC should be: 4,515

My current WC: 11,726

Average words per day: 1,954

At this rate, I will reach my goal by: July 10th

How do you decide which path to take? Have you ever written a Choose Your Own Adventure story? Are you participating in Camp NaNoWriMo? If so, how’s it going?

Stay safe and well, all.

28 Commentsto Postcards From Camp: Choose Your Own Adventure

  1. Writing both paths? Interesting way to do it, but then you’ll really be able to see which one is best.

  2. Jemi Fraser says:

    Yay for all those words!
    I usually choose the wrong path and end up deleting so many words, but it’s worth it to find the right path!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I usually choose the wrong path, too. The deleted scene files are generally longer than the books themselves. All part of the process, though, I guess?

  3. I loved those Choose Your Own Adventure books!

    Could you use whatever path you don’t choose in another way? Like an alternate ending type of thing at the back of the book or as an alternate ending story/novella?

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I wondered about that…and then tucked that idea onto a back back burner. I really want to finish the main story first before I start worrying about the DVD extras.

  4. Enjoy the writing while it’s flowing.

  5. LOL! I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure books. Just don’t start adding too many paths or you’ll never find the right one.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      There’s always the possibility I won’t find the right one, regardless of how many paths I add.

  6. Chrys Fey says:

    I like that you’re writing both options to see how they’ll look. That’d be an interesting way to do it and see what you like more.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I just hope I end up finding one that works for the story, regardless of whether or not I like it.

  7. I like the idea of writing both . . .but I don’t know how I’d feel about taking on the work of that given that I never seem to have enough time for my writing life in the first place. I hope one or the other takes over for you soon!

  8. J E Oneil says:

    Good for you! That word count means you’re doing something right. It sounds like it will be exciting to read. If you’re choosing your own adventure as an author, readers will be having fun.

  9. Sarah Foster says:

    I love the idea of writing both paths. I should probably try something like that since I can never visualize the perfect ending for my book.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      It’s an interesting exercise, I think. If you’re stuck, it could be worth a try.

  10. Glad you’re on a roll! I tend to get stuck when I don’t know what the best outcome is. I don’t know if I’d be able to pull off writing both paths if I didn’t have it clear in my head. Then again, there was that NaNoWriMo where I threw in an earthquake and it spawned a whole bunch of words from it!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      There’s just something about NaNoWriMo that always convinces me to try a bunch of things I normally wouldn’t do.

  11. Tyrean says:

    Wow! Way to go! Maybe keep going on both until one just drags you down its path? That’s what I would do.
    Sometimes, I think choose-your-own-adventure books could make a comeback, especially given the popularity of gaming.

  12. Liz A. says:

    Or, both could happen. Like Sliding Doors. Or, one of the contenders will work out. I do like “imposter timeline”. (I did enjoy the Choose Your Own Adventure books.)

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      I really don’t think I have the brain capacity to pull off a Sliding Doors concept, no matter how cool that would be. But the idea is intriguing…

  13. Beth Camp says:

    Thank you for posting your Camp Nano goals. I’m in too and loving the challenge of writing 500 words a day. As you say, so far, so good. The path not taken? Are you sure you just want to chuck that? Maybe her indecision is part of the journey to reach her goal. Sometimes I wish I could be more organized. Maybe outline before rather than after. But putting my characters into new situations (new conflicts, new challenges) and letting them figure out what they want (and why) lets me learn from them. I do use simple scaffolding and chapter summaries to keep the story organized. Sometimes I know the ending before my characters do, and sometimes I don’t. May your writing go well this hectic month! And thank you for visiting earlier.

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      Best of luck with your Camp goals, Beth! May we both be pleasantly surprised at our progress by the end of the month!

  14. The multi-verse-esque thinggie is ramping up the word count. What more could you ask for? Sounds exciting!

    • M.J. Fifield says:

      Could I possibly just ask for this book to finish writing itself? It kind of feels like that’s the only way it might happen…