Camp NaNo April 2023: Prep work 3

Image by André Santana AndreMS from Pixabay

First thing Friday morning I had my new-patient appointment at our new doctors. So I took some letters to the letterbox and was early for my appointment. This is the first walk I’ve done all week, and I was out of puff when I got there. (It’s less than 5 minutes away.) I am SO out of condition, and I know I am. I was early though, and because I was seated in the waiting area, I was required to wear a face mask. This is the only place I’ve been to recently that has a notice up asking people to wear face masks.

The nurse confirmed everything I already knew, took some blood samples, arranged for another nurse to call me on Tuesday morning with the results and any advice, and she suggested I book an appointment to see the GP to start off the procedure to see if I have nocturnal asthma.

Other than that, she suggested I really try to lose at least 3 stone (42lb), make an effort to start walking at the weekends again (sadly, the dog can’t walk very far anymore, so we’ve been staying home), and watch portion sizes (apparently our diet is okay, but I really need to stop eating when I’ve had enough rather than force it all down). The blood samples will hopefully tell the pancreatitis consultant what he needs to know too when I see him in June.

Other than the consultants I saw in hospital, I’ve not seen a GP for six years or more. I had 2 telephone consultations, one of which was probably six years ago and the other was at the start of the pandemic. The poet tried over and over again to get a GP appointment in all that time and was continually sent to the out of hours doctors either at the hospital or in another surgery.

One time the place he was sent for an appointment turned out to be an antique dealership! I kid you not. And then he had a reprimanding communicaiton telling him off for missing his appointment, which had been booked on the other side of town from the antique dealership. (Remember, they send texts now for appointments and he was definitely sent to the wrong place.) Finally, just as we were preparing to move from the last house, the surgery got their act together and he started to get appointments again. But I haven’t seen a GP for at least six years.

I was shocked and surprised, therefore, to be given a regular GP appointment, not told, “Call at 8am and we’ll tell you we don’t have any appointments left that day and please call again tomorrow,” but a regular, proper, booked-in-advance GP appointment. The nurse is ringing me Tuesday morning and the GP is seeing me on Tuesday afternoon. (Oh, I feel faint…)

Apparently this surgery has always been very good. (We already knew people in this village before we moved here.) But as I write this, I’m still feeling a little shocked. If this surgery can do it, why can’t all the others? Yes, we live in a small village, but we’ve always lived in small village, and they’ve all had their own surgeries.

When I got home, I made myself a cup of tea and caught up on social media and competitions. I did my next Save the Cat lesson, Beat 3, and then I went into the conservatory to do some proofreading. I allowed myself an hour for this, because I wanted to come back to the last two beats of Act/Part 1 so that I could maybe start writing on Saturday.

I sat in the conservatory for an hour and made another big dent in the proofreading. I’ve promised the client that she will have this back by the end of Thursday, as Friday is a bank holiday, and I need to keep that promise.

When I got back to my desk, I did this week’s diary, my weekly tech scan, and my weekly tech backup. And I returned to my course, after which I copied today’s diary to the Word file and updated the word-count spreadsheet.

Camp NaNo

Beat 3 was Friday’s lesson from Save the Cat. I watched the video explaining what this beat is all about (4:40mins), I watched the video citing examples (5:14mins), and then the next video took us back to the ‘writing room’ where we practice what we’ve just learned (the video is 2:16mins, but the session is as long as the viewers want or need). Jessica Brody has a writealong with this workshop, and she shares with the viewer her own progress through the beats. 

Again, it took just under an hour to watch the videos, make notes, and then do the exercise. I briefly mapped out Beat 3 and stretched it over two chapters, although this beat usually comes somewhere within Beat 2.

I’m allowing 2,000 words per chapter for this story, over 40 chapters, plus prologue and epilogue if I need them (or either might be incorporated into Chapters 1 and 40 respectively), so that I hopefully end up with around 80,000 words. Beat 3 is around 5% of the story, so 5% of 80,000 words is 4,000 words, and 4,000 words means roughly two chapters.

I created a new minor character, I added her role to the minor characters’ single-page spread, I added two of the supporting characters’ names to my character A to Z sheet, and I added the supporting characters’ names to the supporting cast double-page spread. The new minor character will get a name if she crops up again. At the moment, she’s referred to as simply ‘the locksmith’. (Sounds like a villain name…)

So far, I have a Prologue and the first 5 chapters. There are only two more beats left for Act 1 (or my Part 1) and Beats 4 and 5 both look as though they might take less time. If I can get one Act or Part mapped out, then I can start writing. So I decided to crack on with paid work for a bit and then hopefully come back to this again later. (This was also the plan on Thursday…)

Going forward, I want to plan the next Act/Part while I’m writing up the first Act/Part, as I’ll have more idea where the story’s going and if it’s working.

I did come back to the Save the Cat course one more time, and I worked on Beat 4. And for the first time I got a bit stuck because the ten Save the Cat genres aren’t necessarily the same genres we know and love and I had to work out which of these ten The Fool will fit in. I did some searching on the internet to identify stories in the same STC genre and I found some sample beat sheets. When I read a few I realised that I’d already jotted my own Beat 4 down and it was already in roughly the right place.

So then I started to work on Beat 5, again watching the videos first and then trying to work out how to apply what I was learning to what I wanted to write. It ended up a bit vague for now, but if it works it should take me to Chapter 9.

With Camp NaNo starting on Saturday, at least I was more ready by the end of these sessions to start work the following day. I *will* try to write something every day, so that will either work out at 30 days x 2,000 words per day = 60,000 words, or 40,000 words ÷ 30 days = 1,334 words per day. I’d already set the project for 20 days x 2,000 words, hence the 40,000-word target. However, I was now tempted to go in and change that to 50,000 words after all, meeting exactly in the middle…

But could I do that as easily writing by hand instead of typing?

The first update will appear tomorrow!

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