NaNoWriMo – Day 7

As you may or may not know, I was out at a Scout Camp all weekend. Well, maybe not ALL weekend. We left early Saturday morning and came back this afternoon. As you can imagine, I didn’t get much writing done Saturday, but I did get enough done to say I did some.

As for today, well, I deviated from my NaNo work in progress. You see, on the way out to the camp I was thinking about the fact that we are extremely secluded from civilization where we go. It’s not that civilization is hundreds of miles away or anything. It’s just that we are in an area where radio signal is poor to non-existent and cellphone coverage is zero. We are about twenty kilometres from the nearest town and even that is very small.

The area is a Free Land Use Zone and is, as the name implies, free for many different uses including camping. The one thing we are not allowed to do is cut down any living (or non-living for that matter) trees. So we went out for our survival shelter camp where we built shelters out of more man-made items like black plastic, rope and duct tape.

But I digress.

This next part is for those of you who wonder where ideas come from, specifically, writing ideas for me.

On the drive out I was reflecting on the fact that we are quite secluded and don’t really have any idea what’s been going on in the world while we are away. One thing led to another and I had this great idea for a story. What would we (the Scout Troop) do if we came back from a camp to a Zombie apocalypse?

The idea sounded like it could make a really fun Zombie YA novel and so I gave it a little thought but put the idea on the back burner for when I had some time to properly think it through.

Saturday night, my son and I were out stargazing as we often do at these camps (you just don’t get the same number of stars in the city sky due to the light pollution) and we saw the International Space Station cross the heavens. It was very cool (as always) to see the space station speed across the sky and think about the astronauts working so far above the Earth.

When we went back to the fire, the Scouts were just finishing signing some songs and wanted to tell some ghost stories. One of the Scouts began telling some silly ghost stories that were getting a few laughs. They weren’t very frightening (which was probably a good thing) but they were entertaining. Then another told one and things were beginning to (pardon the pun) die out. I decided I would try my story out on the troop.

Ordinarily I don’t like telling stories until they’re ready. I’ve heard too many people talk about how once the story is told, even aurally, it doesn’t have the same push for the writer to actually write it down. Still, I wanted to give the Scouts something, so I sat down and began to tell it.

I wove the tale with all of them in it (more audience involvement). It ended with me getting clobbered by a Zombie. I didn’t know anything after that. They all were appreciative and talked about it for a few minutes around the fire before we all turned in to try out our respective shelters.

The next day, I was asked by a few of the leaders if the story was off the cuff. I answered “yes” since I hadn’t really planned it at all. Later, we were doing our camp closing and everyone had the opportunity to talk about what they like and disliked about the camp. To my surprise (and delight) more than half the Scouts talked about my story being one of the highlights for them.

Too funny!

Then, on the drive home, the four youth in my vehicle were laughing and joking about watching for Zombies. When we got to the final mustering point where the parents were all waiting to pick up the kids, they all compared notes and gleefully exclaimed that they had survived the Zombie Apocalypse.

That was when I decided I needed to write down as much of the story as I had percolating in my brain. So, I deviated from the work in progress to ensure I didn’t lose the thread of an idea that was (again pardon the pun) plaguing me (you know, as in Zombie plague?).

I ended up writing 7197 words today and now have a grand total of 20066 words total for NaNo.



  1. With your total up in the 20K-area, its not like you couldn’t deviate for a few days if you needed to. Plus, I can understand why that would be great fun for them. Being able to tell stories off the cuff is a great skill… if you have some natural talent there, I’d suggest nurturing it (podcasting probably helps, because you learn how to turn a phrase
    when you need an extra moment to think).

    Oh, next time you go out camping with them, have a few of the extra parents dress up as Zombies on the way back, just to get them thinking even further along the real/fantasy setting. Nothing makes stories creepier than that fading of line…

    Glad your trip with the scouts went so well! I asked you on the chat Sunday Night, but I guess you didn’t see me.

  2. No that’s true, but I hate to break stride when I’m doing NaNo. We don’t actually take parents with us. Just the leaders. That’s an interesting idea though. I know the story freaked more than a few of them.

    I did reply to your question. Almost as soon as you asked. 🙂 I didn’t spend a ton of time chatting last night though. I was tired and trying to pound out a who bunch of words.

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