EditingPlotting/ StructureSavvyBlogSpecial Events and WebinarsWriting Life

So you think you want to join a writing BootCamp? by Leslie Dow

BootCamp, huh

You’ve likely seen our notices for our bootcamps, and I am sure you have heard of NaNoWriMo™, which started the whole writing boot camp event. We fell in total love with the concept of a writing boot camp because of one main reason: The way to become a better writer is to write EVERY DAY. Yes, that includes weekends, Christmas, holidays, and particularly those days when you have noxious relatives in town. OK, that last one is just lagniappe.

The single thing that all bootcamps require is a daily commitment to some writing practice over a given period. And if this sounds like it’s just too much we agree, it is. So we spice it up with some fun, other like-minded people for you to meet and labor with, and a contest with WINNERS.  If we could give you daily Gummi Bears, SnickerBars, lollipops, and sugar drops, we’d add those in too. OK, so all this is sounding interesting, but we have had people ask so tell me EXACTLY what happens. We always try to give our members what they want so here for your perusal is the BootCamp FAQ!

Overall how do the camps work?

Our bootcamps mimic the writing process. We used to have a single NaNo-style produce 50,000 words in a month camp, but now we have plotting and editing camps, too. Each camp is slightly different to help you through that phase of writing. What is the same about all the camps is that we group you into teams. Each team works together and helps each other to achieve the goals of the camp: a fleshed out enough plot for plotting camp; 50,000 word completed first draft, for writing camp; or a completed first or second pass edit for editing camp.

I heard you say there were prizes?

Why yes there are! Well for writing camp anyway, we offer a workshop credit to the team with the most words in our Writing Camp.  Each team member who completes the camp gets the credit. We have not added prizes yet to our plotting and editing workshops but we may in the future.

So I sign up for plotting camp..now what?

We have a camp starting on June 12. When the camp starts you will post in our forums what you like to write, we have threads for all the major writing genres, and you can choose a team to start or join. If you need help, we have moderators who will help you find teams and get you started.  Our Bootcamp Counselors (aka our fantastic Savvy Moderators) will also point you to the lessons and help with any questions your have. We don’t ask that you plot in any particular way, whatever works for you works, but we do have lessons available and moderators and staff who will help by answering questions and providing feedback. The goal of this two-week camp is for you to have enough of a plot for you to complete your first draft in the Writing Camp that follows. Whatever that plot looks like, however detailed is TOTALLY up to you. We provide some tools and advice, and your teammates provide feedback. You provide the rest!

Whew! I have a plot now what?

It’s WRITING CAMP TIME! BooYAH! This is our NaNo-style BICHOK (butt in chair hands on keyboard) no-holds-barred writing camp. We ask that you write EVERY DAY FOR THE MONTH. Please feel free to use this as an excuse to not clean the house, get the kids to cook dinner, and the spouse/significant other/roomie to do the laundry. For a MONTH you are WRITING.  We have daily check-ins a Wordly Leaderboard and as many virtual skittles as you can choke down.  Our goal is for you to have a completed first draft by the end of the month and for you to have committed to a daily writing regimen for your life. We know that last one is pure fiction, so we do these a few times a year.  At the end of the month, the team with the most words (normalized on a per-person basis) wins.  But everyone who writes every day and goes the full month wins in knowing that a daily writing regime is both possible and productive.  GO YOU!

And then….?  EDITING CAMP!

How many ‘trunked’ manuscripts do you have? I’m not telling how many I have. And that is why we started Editing Camp: ‘cos an unedited manuscript is like a day without sunshine… or something.


Our editing camp is similar to the plotting camp. You team up, and we provide guided lessons, support, and enthusiasm. We have editing checklists, and we monitor and encourage positive, constructive  feedback in the teams. This camp is a month because we want you to complete at least one pass of your book. We find that most of our teams who start in Plotting Camp stay together through writing and editing and then decide to stay together in private SavvySIGS( Special Interest Groups). But we also have people are stuck in editing and need some support, cheerleading, and guidance to get that book through a couple of passes so join only the edit camp.  We are also adding freelance editors as editing coaches and plan to roll this out in our August Edit in the Wild Camp!

The goal of our writing camps is simple; we want you to become the best writer you can be. We know that takes work, a commitment to the craft, and a daily writing habit. Our bootcamps are one way to help you get there.

Interested in a camp? Learn more here. Plotting Camp starts June 12.


Leslie Dow, SavvyBlog Editor

[box type=”bio”]

Leslie DowLeslie is:

  1. The site director and owner of SavvyAuthors.com where she sits behind the curtain most days turning interweb knobs and twisting network dials.
  2. A complete and total slacker-writer who, if she does not get off her laurels and WRITE, is going to be flayed by the very talented writers who keep SavvyAuthors going.
  3. A rabid hiker who, when not on the trail, pours over the REI catalog, Sierra Trading Post website, and tries to justify buying more gear to shave another 1/2 ounce off her base pack weight.
  4. A medical device consultant who, when not hiking or thinking about hiking, occasionally works helping companies bring exceptionally cool and useful medical devices to market.
  5. An enthusiastic grandmother of the two cutest babies on the planet!!!!

OK, I’m out..time to sort the latest crisis is to afflict SavvyAuthors  ;-).

Follow Leslie on Twitter @lesliedow, Facebook lesliedow and LinkedIn lesliedow.


Leslie is: The site director and owner of SavvyAuthors.com where she sits behind the curtain most days turning interweb knobs and twisting network di...