Camp NaNoWriMo 2016: How to Track Revisions, Short Stories, and Unreliable Word Counts


I am TOTALLY ready.


Camp NaNoWriMo (what this is) is a way for me to jump into a month of solid productivity. Typically, I use that space to work on the novel I started in the previous November’s Nano. Since Camp is so flexible, it’s really something you can use at any stage of the writing process.

Here are their categories for writing projects this year:

  • Novel
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry
  • Revision
  • Script
  • Short Stories
  • Other

So not only are they directly giving you the option of revising for the month, it also allows for different projects like Short Stories and Scripts. And like the fallen cherry, on the bottom we have “Other.” That means that this month of April is YOURS to personalize, individualize, and dance around!

*pauses in moonwalk*

But wait, how do we track “revisions”? What if we’re starting the month with a chunk of our novels already written?

Fear not, tireless crusader!!

Abnormal Tracking Methods

| Revision |

| Scattershot Revisions, Adding Scenes, Query Letter, etc. |

I used last year’s April to do revisions (yeah, that time I forgot until April 1 that it was happening), with the specific goals of adding four scenes, writing a query, receiving and acting on beta reader materials, and focusing on a polish for the first and last chapters.

So for me, I listed 10k as my goal for the month last year. I figured that would give me some wiggle room for writing/revising the query, adding scenes, and revising on feedback from beta readers.


Ask you can see, it was a step-wise process.  (haha, get it? cause it looks like stairs). Each time I completed something—the query letter, the first chapter revisions, etc.—I added the final word count of that section. And later that year is when I joined Pitch Wars, which led to me getting my agent, so Camp Nano was a big part of that!

The case of the disappearing word count in day 1 and 2 was due to the fact that I wrote a query and then heartlessly crushed it with fire. That’s right. Crushed with fire. Totally a thing.

| Revising Entire Novel/Work |

This one’s pretty easy. I did it in 2014 with one of my longer-standing projects (The Amateur Witch) which is now tucked safely in a lovely trunk.

All you have to do is start revising at the beginning of the story and however many pages you get through, just highlight/word count the ms up to that point.

Quick Tip:

To get the word count of the story up to your current location, hit “Ctrl+A” (this selects ALL the text), then hit “Shift+ Right Click” on the page where you want the word count to stop at. That will leave you with all of the document selected up to your current location.

That’s how you get your current “revision” word count!

And don’t freak out when your word count shifts between sessions or by the end.


I got through the ms in about 1-1/2 weeks, then I spent the rest of the time trimming and cutting down.

Revision for some people involves adding meat to the bones, and for some it involves trimming away the fat. The end goal of revisions is really to get to a muscly golem creature who is more than skin and bones, but not too flabby. And that’s probably the weirdest analogy I’ve ever made for revisions, so I’ll leave it at that.

| Poetry & Short Stories |

This is where you want to know how much work you see for yourself. Are you writing a set of 35 poems for a collection? Are you writing a series of 5 stories or 20? Are you doing flash fiction or longer stories?

This is when you want to take a look at your previous works of poetry or stories. What’s your average word count for each? Do you work in longer works, where your stories are regularly 10k+ or where your poems are 100+?

Either way, all you have to do is a bit of math.

Multiply what you expect your number of stories/poems to be by the average word count. That gives you your goal for Camp!


Final Word Count Issues

So what happens if you get your 6 stories or 20 poems written, but your final word count is short of the estimated goal you set at the beginning of the month? Or if, through revisions, you cut a bunch of words, and now you haven’t met your “goal”?

Unlike November’s NaNoWriMo, the monthly goal is totally flexible. You can change it at any time!

The spirit of Camp is to get the work done and put in your time and effort. Given the nature of poetry, short stories, and revisions, it’s tough to nail down a prospected word count. Keep in mind that for Poetry & Short Stories, it was an estimated word count goal, but it was grounded in a more specific goal of how many pieces you’re producing.

The same goes for the revisions! Your word count “goal” was your current word count. That is of course going to change throughout the month. At the end, all you have to do is adjust that Word Count Goal to match your splendid accomplishments!!


Join Me!

I’m always more than willing to have writing buddies throughout the NaNo process! My username for Camp is ink.weaver, so shoot me a buddy request or an email if you want to hang out or chat throughout the lovely month of April 2016!


2 thoughts on “Camp NaNoWriMo 2016: How to Track Revisions, Short Stories, and Unreliable Word Counts

  1. Pingback: Camp NaNo 2016 April — Update 1: Starting NOT at the Beginning | words — and other things
  2. Pingback: Revision = Muscly Golem Creature | words — and other things

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