Tuesday, October 06, 2009

NaNoWriMo Q & A

Okay, I'll admit, I shamelessly stole this from my fellow blogger (and AW bud) Scarlett, but it's with her permission and all that, so I guess it isn't really stealing per se. Besides, I got nothin' else. Still finishing up Tiger Eyes, and really, how many times can I blog about revising the same stinkin' book?

On that note:

1. When and how did you find out about NaNoWriMo? How did you go?

I found out about it when I first joined the Absolute Write Water Cooler. I liked the idea of challenging myself to writing 50,000 words in 30 days or less, so I figured why not give it a shot? 

2. How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

This is my second year.

3. How many times have you won? If you haven't won, what was your best result?

I won last year, with days to spare. I think I hit 50,000 on Day 14. It's a little fuzzy, but I know I had plenty of time, and by Day 30, I had something like 80,000 words done. Just about the entire book (my word count goal is generally 85,000/manuscript.)

4. How did you go last year?

I had the faintest hints of an idea last October. I had just finished up a book that I hoped would be the beginning of a series. It made perfect sense to just write the next book in the series. I knew which hero's story I wanted to tell, and I knew the heroine's name and I knew it would be an historical romance. Aside from that, it was all up in the air.

By the end of November, I had 9/10ths of the book finished. I spent last spring and part of the summer revising and rewriting, and now it's almost ready to go out the door to my editor.

5. Where do you write and with what you do you write?

That depends. I did last NaNo in my office, but the older I get, the worse my chair is for my back. After an hour or so, my back and shoulders begin to hurt. But I have a laptop, so I'll just bring it upstairs to work in my bedroom. Or maybe out on the deck, so I can watch the kids play. I love the flexibility. I've been thinking about getting a netbook, but it just isn't in my budget right now, Maybe Santa will bring one for Christmas?

6. How do you find time to write?

I make it. My husband and kids know this is important to me, they know my writing is important. They also know they are not to bother me when I'm working unless someone is bleeding or the house is on fire. And even then, that's only if their dad isn't around. People who claim they just don't have the time are lazy and don't want to admit it. They can't be bothered. And that's fine. But everyone's got other responsibilities. It's a matter of prioritizing. If you really want to write, you'll find the time or make the time - but not everyone has that drive or that need - and claiming I've got no time is justification for not being willing to make the sacrifice.

7. Are your partners, friends and families allies or enemies?

Allies, definitely. I'm surrounded by very supportive people - and I know I'm lucky in that respect.

8. What are your strengths and what do you use to help you get to the end?

When I get the story rolling, it almost tells itself. Once I get past roughly page 30, it's pretty smooth going. I also like to play the "What If?" game. You know, you think about your characters and say, "What if XYZ happened?" I've found stories take off in a direction I might not have chosen for them. It can be interesting.

9. What are your weaknesses, obstacles and challenges that hinder you from finishing?

It's too easy to waste time checking e-mail, or doing "research" on the 'Net (you know, it starts as serious research, but then you get on Facebook, or read a bunch of blogs or whatever.) Once that happens, I'm ion trouble. It's not easy to redirect back to the writing, but I manage.

10. Do you plot/outline/plan or do you write by the seat of your pants? How much do you plot or how unprepared are you?

I plot in the sense that I know who my hero and heroine are, and how they'll meet. I do a bit of preliminary research to get a feel for my time period, and that's about it. I've tried outlining. I would love to be an outliner. Unfortunately, each time I've tried, it's totally killed my creative inspiration and the story dies by the end of the third chapter. I envy those who can outline and still write. I'm not one of them, though.

11. Do you participate in the real-life community, go to write-ins and meet-ups in your area?

No. The closest I come is the NaNoWriMo sub-forum on Absolute Write. I far prefer my company to the company of people I don't know in real life.

12. What are your writing aids? Special snacks, music, totems, rewards or punishments?

I don't have any. I write because I need to write and I love to write. My reward is if I end up with a finished project that actually stands a chance at becoming a real, live book. I can't listen to music when I write because I end up flipping radio stations, or jumping around the iTunes because "Oh, I want to listen to THAT song!" takes over and the next thing I know, three hours are gone and I've written one sentence.

13. What are the titles of your past and present NaNo projects?
Last year's project was Tiger Eyes and it's currently undergoing the (hopefully) final revision before it goes off to my editor. Keep your fingers crossed.

14. Is hitting a certain word count really that important? Doesn't writing at speed result in writing crap?
No. Why would it? When the story goes, it goes. I've done first drafts of 100k+ in less than 30 days. As long as I don't edit as I go (which can be a problem sometimes. I have to remind myself that a first draft doesn't have to be perfect.) If it's crap, it would be crap all along, no matter how long it took me to write. I don't do this just to do it, I do it in the hopes of sparking creativity and coming out of it with a saleable work at the end. Last year, I found that NaNo lit the creative fire - I've written 3 1/2 books since last NaNo - and three of them are thisclose to being ready to go out into the world. So for me, speed writing results in a flow of ideas that just doesn't stop and that's always a good thing, as far as I'm concerned!

So, there you have it - feel free to steal this if you want. If you do, leave me a comment with a link to your answers, though. Or else! =)

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