I think for me Harry Potter and writing will be inextricably linked forever. Harry Potter wasn’t the first book series I got hooked on, the first fantasy series I loved or even the first series I got totally obsessed with, but it was the first series that truly sparked my imagination outside of the scenarios the author had created. It’s the first – and still pretty much the only – series where I love imagining how the characters and the world would deal with other situations. Waiting between books, I would throw myself into the world of Harry Potter fanfiction, reading about all my favourite Harry Potter fanon couples, or fun but totally AU plots. I loved reading it so much I started writing it. The first, and indeed the only, time I’ve ever won NaNoWriMo it was writing Harry Potter fanfiction, and that sparked a love of writing I might never have found otherwise.
It only makes sense then, that even though I’m tackling original fiction for Camp NaNoWriMo this year, Harry Potter will still be involved somehow. I’ll be writing fantasy (of course), but Harry Potter will be – hopefully – guiding my writing process a bit more directly too.
Enter – The Harry Potter Word Crawls!
You have to log in to be able to see them on the NaNoWriMo forums, but basically a word crawl is a list of prompts, each associated with a word count or task, which you start at the beginning of and work through in order. For example, these are the first few tasks in the Harry Potter Year One Word Crawl:
You receive your Hogwarts letter by owl and are completely ecstatic to head out for your first year at Hogwarts. Sprint to 100 words to let out your excitement and energy.
You arrive in Diagon Alley and your first stop is Gringotts, wizard bank. Write for ten minutes. The amount of words you write will determine how many Galleons are in your vault.
Less than 100 words: 1 Galleon
100-200 words: 2 Galleons
More than 200 words: 3 Galleons
Less than 150 words: 1 Galleon
150-250 words: 2 Galleons
More than 250 words: 3 Galleons
Less than 250 words: 1 Galleon
250-350 words: 2 Galleons
More than 350 words: 3 Galleons
You step into Ollivander’s wand shop. Roll a die and multiply your roll by 100. Sprint to that many words.
Finally, you’re done shopping! But before you leave, you decide that you want to purchase a pet. Write for 15 minutes as you search for the perfect animal for you. Pick one: owl, cat, or toad.
There are seven word crawls in total, one for each book. As you work your way through to the Battle of Hogwarts and the end of Year Seven, the tasks get more difficult. Hopefully by the end though, you have a lot more words than you otherwise might have done!
There’s one more way Harry Potter usually ties back in to my writing process: background noise! I love the Slytherin Common Room ambient mix, which stops me writing in silence, but isn’t distracting – although sometimes I change the frequency of the door slam 😉 It works great on it’s own, or in combination with the Parchment & Moss playlist.
My goals for Camp NaNoWriMo
Well…. I’m reviving the project I started in NaNoWriMo 2016 (which I completed HP Word Crawl 1 and 2 during!). Sadly, while I have a vague idea I basically just made it up as I went along during November’s NaNoWriMo…right up until the point I hit a wall where I realised my overall idea doesn’t actually have a plot! I’m still at that point, so I’ve no idea how Camp will go. On the one hand, I hope if I power through the wall it’ll be a big breakthrough and I’ll eventually finish the story. On the other, I’m worried I have no clue how to fix it and I’ll be at the end of this month with either the same word count or an additional tiny number of unrelated words that don’t move the story along at all!
So with that in mind, I’m setting my goal at 15,000 words, and hoping to get through at least the first two Harry Potter word crawls. And hey, if it doesn’t work out, then come November I’ll either be taking on a new novel idea or I’ll be throwing myself back into fanfiction 😉