Nanowrimo Spotlight: Recipe for NaNo, A Pinch of Oregano, a Dash of Chutzpah

November 25, 2014

Greetings! Today I have another spotlight interview from a fellow Storywonk, so welcome Melina Kantor! You can find Melina on Nanowrimo as MelissaDK

When did you get started with Nanowrimo, Melina?
Way back when podcasts first came out, one of my favorite authors, Lani Diane Rich, and her friend Samantha Graves (C.J. Barry) started a show called “Will Write for Wine.” At the time, I was an avid reader, but not a writer.

On October 6th, 2007 (yes, I remember the date), I was in Central Park with my dog, earbuds in place. We took a break by the duck pond, and after listening to the episode about NaNo, I rushed home and signed up. By the end of November, I had the draft of my first book. I was shocked.

This is my eighth Nano, and my third time participating in NaNo in Jerusalem.

I love bundling up in my NaNo hoodie, drinking hot apple cider at a cafe, and pounding out the words.

And a personal tradition – towards the end of NaNo, when I’m exhausted and suffering from writer’s block, I write while listening to this episode of Will Write for Wine. Of course, I’m also addicted to StoryWonk NaNo (also thanks to Lani Diane Rich).

Image - Melissa

What are you writing about this year?
Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Metamorphose Magazine

November 24, 2014

Okay, we’re into the last week of National Novel Writing Month now, and I still have a few spotlight interviews to share with you. Today’s comes from Star Davies, who’s come on my blog to promote Metamorphose.

When did you start with Nanowrimo?
I joined Nanowrimo back in late 2007 after some fellow writers created a buzz about the race to 50k. I was addicted. from 2007 – 2009 I entered the race and completed at least 50k words. In some cases far more. In 2010 and 2013 circumstances forced me to sit out on the excitement, but I was quickly back into it. While I have enjoyed the writing and the thrill of the race, my fondest memories of Nano are from the community of friends I have made over the years. Most of them have very strong characters and interesting stories I would love to see in print. They have been incredibly important to helping me grow stronger as a writer. I participate regularly on the Role Playing forum to blow off steam and de-stress from rough days. I love this community and am proud to support it.

What are you writing about this year?
For the first time since I seriously started writing, I am working on a screenplay. It’s incredibly stressful because the margins won’t work, the rules on formatting direction and dialogue are so strict, and my computer hates me. It’s a fantasy, because really, what else would I write? Last Man to Die is about an unlikely hero named Tov as he relates the horrors that humans sustained as they were exterminated by an animal-like race called the Kraits. Spoiler alert, he sustained injuries so great that he is the last human to die.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Ha! Anyone who is a fan of fantasy knows how impossible that is. Most books come in a series. There are a lot that have influenced me, but I think I would have to go with … Robert Jordan’s A Memory of Light. I have never cried so much throughout a book before in my life, and I doubt I ever will again.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Writing Warriors – Never Found 4

November 23, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Good morning! I’m sharing eight more sentences from my Nano project “Never Found”, which I started last week. My main character, Tricia, has just woken up to find a stranger at her door…


Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3

“So how does your mojo work?” Candice asked as Tricia changed. “The thing where people forget you?”

“If you’re talking about the principles behind it, bugger if I know,” Tricia grumbled.

“No, I mean, what’s it like for you?”

“Why should I tell you?”

“Well, I’m mostly making conversation because Vinny told me to if you were out of sight for a little while, like if I had to let you go to the bathroom. It’s a constant reminder, right? That doesn’t let me forget you and what I’m doing here, even though I can’t see you.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Fan Fiction, It’s not just for nerds

November 22, 2014

Greetings! I’ve got another really cool Spotlight for you tonight, from fellow Storywonker Betz!

Have you ever done Nanowrimo before?
This is my first NaNoWriMo and had vaguely heard of it before, but didn’t know anything about until I took Alastairs Steven’s Sufficiently Advanced Magic class through Story Wonk. (Note from Chris, this is kinda where I met Betz.) I love the idea of cranking out a story in a blaze of frantic typing in the course of a month, as it’s a kick in the pants to sit down and bang it out. The story that I developed taking Alastair’s S.A.M class, something original, not fanfic, I’ll be researching for the next eleven months and try and create and finish it in one month for NaNo 2015, but in the meantime, I can hash out my plot, develop my characters and do my worldbuilding.

What are you writing about this year?
Back in 2004, I began a Severus Snape/Hermione Granger challenge fanfic called “And They Didn’t Live Happily Ever After.” The challenge was the “I’m Just A Gigolo”, inspired by Irving Caesar’s 1929 adaptation of the song, on the WIKTT board, (When I Kissed the Teacher), a Yahoo Group for readers and writers of Snape/Granger fanfic. Of course the challenge was to get Severus Snape and Hermione Granger in the sack together somehow, the requisite is that Snape is a gigolo and Hermione must visit him for some reason.

As easy as it was to create something quick and full of lemony smut, I wanted to challenge the whole premise of what we knew was going to wind up in canon of Hermione marrying Ron, and Harry marrying Ginny, and how it wasn’t going to be all happiness, roses and perfection. Even before J.K. Rowling came out YEARS later to admit that Hermione and Ron were not a good match for each other in marriage, I was depicting their battle on the page. One reviewer said reading my dialogue between Hermione and Ron fighting was like eavesdropping in on a private conversation, and it was almost embarrassing, because the dialogue seemed that real. What a compliment!!!

Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo spotlight: Written Things

November 21, 2014

Good afternoon, friends and followers. My next spotlight interviewee seems like a ‘Just the Facts’ kinda lady, so let’s get right to finding out the facts about her! She’s Fan T C on Nanowrimo and has a blog at Written Things.

Have you participated in Nanowrimo before?
This is my second year participating in NaNo. I won my first year and still look back wondering how I did it. This year has been more of a struggle. I first found out from an English teacher who participated. I was too intimidated to try it at first, but then, one year, I felt gutsy and ready for a challenge. Some of my favorite memories involved writing buddy emails and people on the forums. We had a lot of laughs together.

What are you writing about this year?
This year, I am writing a fantasy mystery novel, a murder mystery, to be exact. I’m not exactly sure how it’s going. It always baffled me how Sherlock Holmes could do it, so I have no idea how I’m going to unearth these clues.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Inkheart is by far my favorite book. It involves a girl whose father can read books to life. This poses complications as he reads the villain out and his wife into the story. But the writing is so beautiful, the characters are so real, and sometimes I whisper the words out loud just in case I have a touch of Silvertongue.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
There comes a point when you feel like giving up. It starts in your brain and ends in your fingers. I’d recommend you not let that happen, because once it’s in your brain, it’s hard to get out. Winning isn’t everything, but you always have to try.

Sneaky Ninja question! Where do you get ideas for characters and how do you develop them?
I’ll admit, some characters are the product of real dreams. I used to dream a lot as a kid. I dreamed of girls who lived with wolves and boys racing through spaceships. A lot of my characters come from imagination. I let them drift through my thoughts until they’re comfortable, then I pry and poke until they spill their life stories.

fantcI’m not a big blogger. I only started one so I could blog through NaNo and then as I was going through the process of publishing my novel, “Clockwork Dreams”. But I find blogging gives me a way to express my thoughts and throw them out into the universe. A blogger once told me it’s not about the views or the comments or the followers that make a blog, it’s whether or not you enjoy it. I enjoy it very much and I don’t pressure myself to post at any given time.

Nanowrimo Spotlight: By J.E. Hunter

November 20, 2014

Good morning, and welcome to another Nanowrimo spotlight interview. Today, I’d like to introduce you to Eve, who can be found online at By J.E. Hunter.

How much history do you have with Nanowrimo?
I began NaNoWriMo in 2006, once I got a job that had a bit of work-life balance and allowed me to go back to writing – something I hadn’t spent time doing since high school, which at that point had been about six years. For some reason, I often find myself traveling in November. I think it’s just a great time of year to see other parts of the world. So I’ve done NaNo in Peru, New Zealand, Greece, and England, along with many times at home in Canada. One of my favourite NaNo memories is from New Zealand. I spent a lot of time there trekking, and after one particularly long day, I remember getting to the cabin (in the middle of nowhere), setting up my bunk for the night, and just curling up with my notebook to get my word count in the for the day. It was pouring rain and muscles were cramping up from hiking over twenty kilometres that day, but I was determined to write those words.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I’m writing and adventure novel. Inspired by my travels, particularly to Peru. I’m trying to make it scary/mysterious, and hoping it doesn’t come out too hokey-pokey.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
My favourite book at the moment is the Historian. Probably because at this moment I’m trying to emulate the same atmosphere in the story I’m writing.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Just open up your word processor or notebook everyday. Even if you intend to do absolutely no writing. I find that just seeing the document, the work in progress, is enough to get my fingers moving again, even when I’m utterly exhausted.

Sneaky Ninja question! What is your favorite genre to write in?
Read the rest of this entry »

What’s up Wednesday? Snow! (Or is that down?)

November 19, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:
Still mostly “Academ’s Fury” in library ebook format, from Jim Butcher’s Codex Alera series. I was actually busy and stressed enough a few days this past week that I didn’t read anything much!

What I’m writing:
Nanowrimo word count is up to 38,266. Still working on both the urban fantasy, “Never Found”, and the futuristic Sci-fi, “Hypermappers”.

What works for me:
Going to write-ins is still great for my word count, and my soundtracks are proving fertile ground for inspiration. I actually realized recently that I needed to flip one song to the other soundtrack: Doc Walker’s “Rocket Girl.” With a title like that, maybe I should have known it was science fiction, it really fits for Ariann and Jeff as a couple.

What else I’ve been up to:
Went bowling for the Hamilton Nanowrimo midway party, which was a lot of fun! And today we had a surprising amount of snow for mid-November, with the resulting commute issues, sigh. (I was on public transit today, though I’m not sure if it would have helped to be driving.)

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Tracey Lynn Tobin, No Page Left Blank

November 18, 2014

Hello friends and followers. It’s a little late here, but I don’t want to go to bed until I’ve shared another spotlight interview with you. So, say welcome back to Tracey, who was a spotlight victim last year! Tracey goes by Toreshi on the Nanowrimo website, and you can find her website at No Page Left Blank.

How much Nano experience do you have?
Well I’m a bit of a veteran at this point, having participated 6 years in a row (including this one). I love NaNo because it gives me an excuse to focus outrageous amounts of time and energy on writing, which is what I would choose to do if I didn’t have to worry about money.

My first NaNo was definitely my favorite because the experience was shiny and new and exciting, but every year has had its charms. If I were to pick a favorite moment, it would be when I won NaNo 2010, because that manuscript made me realize that I was going to, beyond a shadow of a doubt, be published one day, even if I had to take the reins into my own hands.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I’m actually doing a NaNo rewrite, of sorts. I am taking a fantasy novel that I wrote (but never finished) a few years back, and I am completely reworking and rewriting it to make it a four-part series. I’ve grown a lot as a writer over the past few years, so I feel I now know how to fix the problems with my original manuscript and make it something that people will enjoy reading.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
There are a lot of possibilities, but if I’m honest my absolute favorite book of all time is “Invitation to the Game” by Monica Hughes. I found it at a book fair when I was in the fourth or fifth grade, and since then I’ve re-read it more times than any other book I own. It is a wonderful, whimsical futuristic story that blew my mind as a kid and still amazes me today.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t look for time to write. Accept that time is the most difficult thing in the world to find, and learn how to just DO.

The other day while I was scribbling in a notebook during my lunch break a coworker asked me how I find the time to write. I looked at my notebook, which was flanked by my food and my work radio, and said, “Do I look like I have TIME to write? I don’t find time…I just do it anyway.”

Sneaky Ninja Question! What would you do all night if you couldn’t get to sleep?
Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Alyssa Hollingsworth

November 17, 2014

Hello, friends and followers. Today’s a very special day, so I’m sending out a special spotlight. Say hello to Alyssa!

Why don’t you introduce yourself, first?
I was born in small town Milton, Florida, but life as a roving military kid soon mellowed my (unintelligibly strong) Southern accent. Wanderlust
is in my blood, and I’m always waiting for the wind to change. Stories remain my constant. I received my bachelor’s in English/Creative Writing from Berry College and my master’s in Creative Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University.

How much Nanowrimo experience do you have under your belt?
I’m a NaNo vet! I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo in 2009, 2010 and 2013. I also did JulNoWriMo in 2009, and CampNaNoWriMo in 2014. I’ve won every time.

My all-time favorite memory is from 2009. I was a freshman in college, and I’d recruited several other writers to join me on campus for write-ins and the like. One day I was walking through the cafeteria and saw a fellow writer across the way, a girl named Anna. I had just come from the NaNo website, so I shouted across to her, “HEY! YOU! You have three hundred words more than me! You’re going DOWN.”

She looked over and shouted back, “OH YEAH? BRING IT!”

The smack talk went on for several minutes. Meanwhile everyone in the area turned around to look at us in utter bewilderment. This was the kick-off to an intense week where both Anna and I battled every day, often until midnight, to try and keep ahead. It was the first time I’d had that sort of writing friend and competition, and I still remember it fondly. (By the way, I won in the end.)
elatha quote

What are you writing about this year?
Read the rest of this entry »

Weekend Writing Warriors – Never Found 3

November 16, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Good morning! I’m sharing eight more sentences from my Nano project “Never Found”, which I started last week. My main character, Tricia, has just woken up to find a stranger at her door…


Snippet 1 Snippet 2

“So, what’s Vinny’s crime?”

The blonde girl giggled. “He tries a bit of everything, but mostly he’s a thief. Like you, I think.”

“Yeah.” Tricia didn’t like the fact that these people knew about her, and she didn’t know anything about them. It was a very unfamiliar feeling. “Listen, you never gave me a name.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 986 other followers

%d bloggers like this: