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All right, I finished Day One of camp with enough words to cover today (though I still plan on working away at it, so I stay ahead. πŸ˜‰ Besides, the Microsoft Word always says I have about six hundred more words than my official word count does. What’s with that?) And I realized, what the? I haven’t posted about our little writers’ camp/seminar/workshop thing we did on Sunday!

To begin with, first of all, we redecorated the house. We had been cleaning for a week, and it was finally time to set up. We hung a bunch of different signs, some just for fun (“Beware of the Twysdrns!”, yes, Liam, I borrowed your mythological creature, because I thought it was totally awesome), and some more serious (“Danger! This Bathroom out of order!” and “Watch out for exposed screws on the chairs!”). We put cloths on all the tables and pulled out a bunch of candle lanterns and other rustic-looking paraphenalia. We made a display of our favorite books on the coffee table–G.K. Chesterton, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and T.H. White were all represented therein, along with a book I highly recommend, “The Art and Craft of Writing Christian Fiction”, by Jeff Gerke. It covers all the basics and major errors new writers face, and is well worth checking out even for non-Christian writers, since all writers face similar dilemmas, no matter what we write.

Books and a Lantern

We piled all the books we didn’t want to put away on the table.

We put together trail mix and ants on a log, made lemonade and prepared a tray with different teas, sugar and honey for those who preferred such, cocoa, marshmallows and coffee. We set up the buffet and the presentation area, and we put the folding table on the deck, surrounding it with folding chairs and camp stools. We set up our gray-and-navy nine-man tent in the backyard and put cushions and blankets inside, for comfort.

My brother came back from his campout and aired the four-man tent out. Unfortunately, he hadn’t even staked it partially, and it wound up being blown end over end…

Insert flipped tent right here...

This is what an upside-down tent looks like.

Unfortunately, none of our guests arrived on time. However, once they did start arriving, we were all set for a fun afternoon. We played Story Spoons until Iris and her sister Sadie arrived. That much done, we burned all our bad writing habits in the fire pit, together with the old unicorn drawing that was old and damaged and thus needed retiring. We formally retired it, committing it to the flames. (Sorry I don’t have a picture of that, but it looked severely cool.)

Then we all gave our presentations. Unfortunately, Iris’ presentation on telling stories and reading them aloud did not have a PowerPoint and was not recorded, but the other three are available here.

Dark and Gray Character Development

One point recurred often during this presentation that isn’t actually in the PowerPoint itself. It was on writing for children and specifically writing villains in black and white. The most important note made was that, when writing for children, you don’t want to write gruesome, but you need to make your villain black, no gray areas. When writing a villain you plan to redeem, you can add a lot of gray, but don’t make a villain who won’t be redeemed too gray. This is far too confusing for any reader, since the reader keeps asking, who’s good and who’s bad? And that question detracts from the story.

The only other important point is to give your villains a fatal flaw, just like the heroes. Don’t emphasize it, but it needs to be there, so that in the darkest hour, the hero can capitalize on it and win. Overpowered villains are annoying–they’re practically impossible to defeat. So, no Mary-Sue bad guys!

On the Distribution of Information

This one was by Iris’ special request. She wanted to hear more about a certain blog post. I don’t remember any points that weren’t in the presentation that were particularly important.

Stereotypes And How to Avoid Them

This presentation was given by my little sister, Jewel. I put together the PPT for her, but it was all her own idea.

Moving on, we presented two skits: Fandoms Collide, by Jewel, Sadie, and Jewel’s friend who was also attending, and Elf vs. Cheerleader, by myself and Iris. (She was the cheerleader and it was REALLY annoying! :-P)

After that, we ate dinner, and everyone went home. Jewel and I cleaned up most of the mess, then watched part of The Scarlet Pimpernel and collapsed into bed.

It wasn’t nearly as fun when we woke up on Tuesday to find the nine-man tent had pulled its stakes and gone missing. Perhaps it had blown into one of the backyards where we couldn’t see it when we went looking for it. Mom theorized that someone had stolen it in the night. My cabin on Camp Nano guessed that someone might have been playing a prank on us.

It wasn’t there this morning, either. So it must have been the wind’s prank.

So, anyway, if you live in the Midwest and you’ve seen a wind-blown, partially set-up tent with no one watching it that’s huge, dirty-gray-and-navy-blue, basically an oblong hexagon…

Please comment and tell me.

Anyway, sorry there aren’t any more pictures. All the other ones I took have people in them. πŸ˜›

Thanks for reading, and God Bless!