Camp NaNoWriMo, or The One Where I Ruin Contemporary YA

Where did the time go? It’s nearly July, so that must mean it’s time for another harebrained NaNoWriMo project. This time, it’s *drumroll*… a contemporary YA.

The reaction of 75% of people that know me.

The reaction of 75% of people that know me.


Yes, I know, this is completely out of my comfort zone, which is kind of the point. Fortunately, I’ve got a head start on this project – it started as a short story that more and more people kept telling me I should expand into a novel. But what do you write about while you’re querying a simple tale of a telepathic juvenile delinquent trying to stop Edinburgh from being overrun by murderous creatures, with only a kelpie that hates his guts and a selkie with more wardrobes than sense? I’M GLAD YOU ASKED.

So, what’s it all about?

Laundry Day is about a schoolgirl called Sion, who lives with her mum in Edinburgh. She’s doing alright at school, still getting over her dad walking out a year ago, enduring a love/hate friendship with one of the cool girls, and constantly fending off her overbearing aunt (hey, we all have them, right?). One night, she runs into the mysterious Flora and… well, it’s not YA trope insta-love, but she does get feelings. The problem? Flora is a banshee with a hit list a mile long, and her next target is Sion. What happened next will amaze you! </clickbait>

TL:DR – it’s like LGBT Mean Girls meets a bunch of vicious creatures, with a goth/metal soundtrack. Yep, that’ll do.

Hey, nice blurb!

Thanks! I find writing back cover copy about as pleasant as slamming my head repeatedly in a door, and it took two weeks to write some for the last urban fantasy. That’s how painful it is.

Why are you writing this novel?

Partly because a beta reader with particularly high standards gushed about its short story version, and it also got me the nicest rejection to date from an all-female anthology (why yes, rejections can be positive!). The other big reason is that I want to address some things I believe are missing in a great deal of books I’ve read: bisexuality and working-class characters. It’s not so much a box-ticking exercise as being sick to the back teeth of pleasantly-off middle-class girls experiencing zero material hardship that seems to make up 90% of literature, with the rest being cardboard cutouts of a working-class person the writer once saw on an episode of Eastenders. *gets off soapbox*


Tell us how you REALLY feel, though.

Tell us how you REALLY feel, though.


Are you going to do anything with it?

Probably. It’ll need a ton of editing which I won’t have much time for over the summer, but it’s always nice to have a selection of novels to show people when they’ve, say, seen you performing at Story Shop at the Book Festival and go ‘hot damn, show us all your other amazing words’. Or alternatively, it can gather its own pile of ‘not a fit for our list’ emails. Hurray!

So, are you sticking with contemporary for a while?

Not sure. I’ve been reading a great deal of it, and I figured it couldn’t hurt to have something more current than a novel set in the 80s. I mean, my current light reading is well into ‘how do you do, fellow kids?’/’tell us more about 30 years ago, Grandma’ territory. *waves walking stick sadly*


I know things about Haircut 100 you wouldn't believe.

I know things about Haircut 100 you wouldn’t believe.


Will we get updates/extracts from the novel next month?

I’ve decided to take up the Twitter challenge started by the lovely ER Murray, #1stDraftDiary, so expect a daily howl into the internet abyss on my progress. I can tell you it might be the least ‘pantsing’ and most organised thing I write, having shamelessly pilfered Non Pratt’s ‘write character sheets, stick up in office, use as basis for plot’ approach. It’s just as well my widescreen monitor died this week, because there’s now more space for paper to encroach on my day job. I expect to have to tell work I can’t do anything tomorrow due to not being able to see anything on the last screen standing.


'I'd do some copyediting, but there's a banshee in the way'

‘I’d do some copyediting, but there’s a banshee in the way’


We’re totally on board with this insane idea! How do we support you?

You can add me on Camp NaNoWriMo here, or follow me on Twitter *points at blog sidebar*. You could also come along to the Literary Salon on the 26th July and buy me consolatory beers as I limp through the last week. It’s going to be an interesting month trying to get 50k words down, what with a few important appointments relating to Story Shop eating into my time…


If you insist. Here’s my original post about it. Would be nice to see one or two of you there, then I can give you less subtle plugs for my novels over a large glass of wine. Especially if you work for a literary agency or an indie press. Ahem.

And with that, it’s back into the paperwork for one more day. See you on the 1st for a great deal of panicking and maybe even some decent prose…



One thought on “Camp NaNoWriMo, or The One Where I Ruin Contemporary YA

  1. Pingback: Camp NaNoWriMo: Week 2 Blues | Writings from Otherworld

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