Nanowrimo Spotlight: P.D. Kirby

October 20, 2014

Well, we’ve still got almost two weeks until Nanowrimo, but I’ve been getting lots of people interested in doing spotlights, yay! Tonight, it’s Paul’s turn. You can find Paul at or on the Nano site as airborneporcine. Here’s Paul explaining the technicalities of his Nano history:
I pdkirbyconsider this year my first NaNoWriMo, although technically it’s my second. I attempted to complete NaNo back when I was seventeen, but I never got more than 1,000 words off the ground due to school and the like. No excuse based on the people I’ve been meeting, but it makes me feel better to say I didn’t even get the chance to start back then!

I decided to take part again because I have always had stories trying to get out, but other things in my life have taken the spotlight instead. This year, I got back into live role-playing in a few online games, and realized how much I missed being able to invent my own worlds, and really pour my emotions out on paper. I work as a software developer as my day job, so writing is also a very nice counterpoint to my normal, logical days.

What are you writing about this year?
I’m writing a psychological science-fiction novel this year, dealing with the topic of identity. It asks the question: “Why are we often defined more by our outward appearances or by our actions?” In one sentence, this will be a novel about a thrill-seeking young woman who finds herself transplanted into someone else’s body and, with help from a troubled psychiatrist, leaves her world as she knows it to search for her true identity. My working title is “Upprisa Awakening”.

What is your favourite book?
Daniel Keyes’ “Flowers for Algernon” (the novel, not the short story) has been my favourite book since I first read it in high school. I think the way Keyes used grammar and style to show the transformation of the main character was brilliant, and the conflict between intelligence and emotion really hit home for me, especially in the final scenes. Highly recommended if you like stories that make you think!

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Commit to the 50k. Tell everyone you know you’re doing it. Blog about the experience as I am. Put in enough time before November so that when you hit that slump and want to give up, you can tell yourself “You can’t just give up all that work you’ve done/disappoint all those people!” Guilt is a powerful motivator!

What catchphrase do you say often in conversation?
Being Canadian, I have to admit that I use phrases ending in “eh?” very, very frequently. It just sounds so much better than “huh?”.

Thanks for reading everyone! I’m hoping those of you who are fans of books that make you think will keep a close eye on my NaNo novel, “Upprisa Awakening” (working title). Oh, and if you have any sci-fi book suggestions or want a beta reader, I’d be happy to help! Contact me on twitter (@pd_kirby) or on my website ( and we’ll work something out, plus you can follow my progress and see some of my other writing!

Weekend Writing Warriors – Crossed Wires 4

October 19, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Still sharing snippets of the new stories I wrote this summer. This was also inspired by one of my A-Z challenge ideas: Neural Rewiring. Nathan is the leader of a stunt aerobatics flying team, and the team is practicing.


Snippet 1 Snippet 2 Snippet 3

It took him half a minute to get the shudders under control before he climbed out of his bird.

They were all waiting for him when he got down to the tarmac. “We can’t go on like this, Nathan.” Karen said.

“You want to change the routine?” he offered weakly. His routines were the pride and joy of his life, but even that would be easier than…”

“Hell no,” Seth muttered darkly. “The routine’s amazing, buddy. We just need to find another pilot who can fly them.”

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Dane O’Leary

October 18, 2014

Hey everybody. Excited about Nanowrimo yet? ;) Tonight’s interview should help. Dane blogs at Exercises in Tenacity, (soon to be moving to and can be found on the Nano site as dangeroleary. Here’s Dane talking about his Nanowrimo experience:

I participated for the first time in 2011. I also participated in 2012, but didn’t finish. I was too busy to participate last year, but I do plan to write again this year.

I’ve been working on my first, and primary, novel for the past five years, and it became my 2011 NaNo novel. I have excerpts from that piece posted around the web, and it has been met with such positive responses and acclaim. It has been so flattering and encouraging for total strangers to track me down and contact me to ask me to please finish my book because they love what they have read.

I met the goal of 50k words but did not finish my book. I then hit a wall in the writing process and couldn’t seem to finish, so I tried to write it from the beginning again. And I didn’t get very far. This happened a couple more times, starting over and not being able to finish.

Some of my fondest NaNo memories mostly involve spending hours in coffee shops writing, feeling super excited and proud of certain scenes, and the feeling of accomplishment when I hit the 50k goal.

What are you writing about this year?
So this year I’m going back to my original manuscript, the one on which I made so much progress, and I’m going to continue it. Instead of starting my word count at 50k+, I’ll count the words I add to my manuscript with the goal of adding 50k words by the end of November.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Imaginary World

October 17, 2014

Good evening!curled_dragon I’ve got another interview for you: Jess is Imaginary World over on the Nanowrimo site and blogs at princessofdragons. Here’s the history of Imaginary World and Nanowrimo:

I first found out from NaNo from a friend. There’s quite a few of us in my circle of friends who are writers, so when November came around, she mentioned that she was going to be doing this writing challenge, and I thought that sounded interesting, so I signed up as well. Never regretted it either.

That was my second year of year uni, so I had a lot of time to work on writing, which is probably the only reason I managed to finished that year, with 51K. Somehow, I’m not entirely sure how, but I have managed to win every year that I took part in. Mainly I think it’s because I love charts, and goals, and I’m quite competitive, so if I don’t feel like I’m winning I’ll push myself until I’m back on track. The first two were around the 50K mark, but last year, I managed to hit some sort of writing groove and came out with 83K. I’m going to try and equal that this year.

I think my favourite memory comes from last year, when I hit that groove for the first time. I was just sitting there at my desk, writing away. I’d done about two two-hour sessions. I then sat back for a tiny break, and counted my words to go and update my word count, and was astounded to see I had hit 5K. I’d never done that before. I was so happy, I went on to do another 2K that day, and that started a trend.

I also enjoy the small writing group that me and my friends have set up. We usually get a couple of sessions in November, for obvious reasons. It’s called typing and tea, and we sit there, have some word sprints, and then drink vast amounts of tea. It’s great! Also productive.

What are you writing this year?
As usual, fantasy, but this year I think my book would count as a gaslamp fantasy. Well, it’s steam punk at any rate. Called Mechanica Awakening, it follows Rose, a girl with the rare ability to awaken the spirits of machines and objects. Called to the city because of her father’s work, they are right in the heart of the turmoil as the country teters on the edge of a civil war. And when Rose chooses to use her ability to defend the city and her friends, the word gets out and she struggles to keep her life, friendships and free will intact as people from all sides try to get her to join them, willingly or not.
I’m hoping to go beyond 50K. My target is 75K, but I was also accept a completed first draft (which is probably more than 75K to be honest)

What is your favourite book – you have to pick just one!
All right then, one book. Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight: Mike Coville

October 16, 2014

Do you want another wrimo spotlight? I hope so, because I’ve got one for you. Let’s get to know Mike. You can find Mike at his author website, or on the Nano site. When I asked about his Nanowrimo experience so far, Mike said:

“I’m a NaNoWriMo 2013 winner, and this year is my second year. I discovered NaNoWriMo after my daughter participating in 2012. I was inspired by her to get back into writing and we participating in NaNo2013 together, and that would be my best memory from last year.”

What are you writing about this year?
I am currently working on a Medieval time period fantasy story with all magic is actually human evolution… mutants.

What is your favorite book – you have to pick just one!
The Traveler’s Gift by Andy Andrews. That book had a real impact in my life.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t try to write a book, just tell your story. A lot of time new authors worry with making a finished book while writing their first draft, and that will kill your momentum quickly. If you focus on telling your story during NaNo the word count will go by like mile markers on a highway.

Sneaky Ninja question! Who would you go to if you desperately needed help?
This question is really situational. Most of the times that I desperately need help I have been blessed with a very supportive family and Church family that is always available for whatever I need. So depending on the situation I have many different people I would turn to.

I had always thought of writing as a solitary hobby filled with introverts that shunned personal contact with others. NaNoWriMo really changed that image for me and that suites my personally better. I like to help people and see others succeed. During NaNo 2013 I met writers from Australia, Algeria, UK, Canada, and most of the 50 states. I’ve seen some of those writers publish their stories and have felt like a part of their team.

helpupubMy enjoyment with helping others is one of the reasons I launched as a way to help authors find talented service providers to help them turn their manuscripts into books. Helpupub is a directory of service providers. It’s free to be listed, free to browse, free to connect. There are never any fees to use.

I also wanted to help people get the most out of NaNoWriMo, so I wrote a book called “How To Write 50,000 Words In 30 Days, and survive to tell your story!”  I walk writers through what to expect during NaNoWriMo and how to prepare to overcome the challenge.

I’m looking forward to NaNoWriMo 2014 and seeing what new challenges I get to overcome this time around.

What’s Up Wednesday? The NanoLaunch!

October 15, 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:
I’ve nearly finished the latest Xanth, ‘Board Stiff’ from the library’s ebooks department. It’s been a fun romp so far, especially since Com-Pewter finally joined the quest as one of the good guys, wandering around in an android body. I’ve also caught up on a few Toasted Cake and PodCastle episodes, and started reading a Doctor Who graphic novel I picked up years ago at a convention.

What I’m writing:
Well, I started the rewrite for “Return to Civilization” at the Sunday write-in, and I’ve been worldbuilding and character sketching for crazy on my two Nanowrimo plot bunnies (plot bunny ranching?) With big props to the Storywonk “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” class, which has been a very fun way to get ready.

What works for me:
Umm… I’m not quite sure this week, it’s been sortuv time for kissing frogs, as it were. I actually got a bunch of character sketching done in front of the TV last night, which doesn’t always work. Some of the time, I was catching up on “Castle” and “The Big Bang Theory”, but at other points I’d turned the TV to music or just off while I worked on chasing down a particular thought. And that’s kinda cool, that I can make the writing the priority and not the television. :)

What else I’ve been up to:
Well, I got up to see the family for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, which was great. Played in the Angry Birds Epic “For the Pirate King” invasion event, made it into the 3rd place spot of whatever and scored some decent prize points. And the Nanowrimo site has relaunched, so I’ve been busy exploring the new forums and organizing spotlight interviews.

And speaking of what I’ve been reading, I updated my reading lists for the year over at Stringing Words, and it looks like I’ve read 336 short stories and 62 novels already this year!

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

Nanowrimo spotlight: Esme Symes-Smith

October 14, 2014

Hey! I’m happy to say that I’ve already got my first Nanowrimo spotlight interview of the year lined up. I’m happy to introduce Esme. You can visit Esme’s blog at or take a look at her Nanowrimo profile here. Here’s Esme talking about her Nano history:


I’d heard about NaNo before, but only vaguely and never by anyone really enthusiastic about it. It had always existed vaguely in the background, as in ‘Oh, that thing where some people write a novel in a month.’ It seemed like a very isolating and impossible-pipe-dream challenge, and not really worthy of my time.

Then, I graduated university with a degree in Literature and Creative Writing and found myself at a loose end, terrified out of my wits that I was never going to write anything again and my creativity would stagnate and die. After all, once uni was over, I had no purpose, no community and no inspiration.

Thank God for NaNoWriMo.

In October 2013, my wife suggested that we do it together. We met through fanfiction and both enjoyed writing, and the challenge was something she’d thought about doing before but never actually attempted. I agreed, pulled in by the promise of two free paper-backs, and I decided that this would be my test: If I couldn’t do this, I wasn’t worth my salt as a writer.

And I did it.

It wasn’t easy – I completely pantsed, going with a glimmer of an idea I’d had years back, rather than my plan was expanding my uni dissertation – and after three years of having to really care about quality and content, it was hard to silence my inner-critic, but once I got going and once I stopped caring, it was the most exhilarating and rewarding experience of my life. I finished on the 25th, in time for my first thanksgiving, and I remember watching the wordcount hit 50,000. I couldn’t believe it. The year before, I had struggled with 6,000 words in nine months and here I was, with a complete story (I never finish anything, ever) and I had proven that I could do it.

NaNoWriMo has given me the confidence to believe in myself. Because of NaNo, I am now a freelance ghostwriter and an editor, who can churn out good prose in a short space of time; I have met my first cast of my own, original characters that I feel like I can connect to; I have written almost every day for the last twelve months, and I can honestly, truly call myself a writer.

This year will be NaNo number two, and I’m going to make the most of every moment!

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

Looking for Wrimo Spotlight interviews again

October 13, 2014

It’s that time of year. The Nanowrimo website has finally refreshed, and I want to do some interviews with people who are doing Nano here in my blog.

The interviews will start going up as soon as I can get them coming in, and will run through November 30th. If you’re interested, either leave a comment (with an email address I can use to get back to you,) or email me at chriskelworth at gmail dot com!

What’s involved? I’d like to get a little background from all of my interviewees about their level of Nano experience. I’m going to ask a few standard questions in each interview, along with one sneaky ninja question to try to take you off guard. ;) I’d also like everybody to include up to 200 words to tell us about yourself, your Nano novel, or something you’re interested in, or shamelessly plug your website, your book, your twitter feed, or whatever. For extra visual appeal, you can include a small image (400*400 pixels, or I’ll shrink it down myself) to serve as a visual aid to your answers, help you promote something, or share a picture because you think it’s cool – but no photographs of yourself, please. Think outside the box! Pictures and 200 word blurbs are not required.

If you’d like to take a look at some of the interviews from last year, you can find them here.

You can take some time to answer your questions over email, but hopefully you can get back to me within a week of getting the interview. You don’t need have your own blog or link back to me; if you’re doing Nano and interested in filling out the interview, I’d love to spotlight you. Thanks all, and I’m looking forward to doing this one more time.

Weekend Writing Warriors – Crossed Wires 3

October 12, 2014

Welcome friends, followers, and Weekend Writing Warriors!

Okay, I’m going to switch to another of the new stories I wrote this summer. This was also inspired by one of my A-Z challenge ideas: Neural Rewiring. Nathan is the leader of a stunt aerobatics flying team, and the team is practicing.


Snippet 1 Snippet 2

Liz’s plane roared and seemed to jerk upward, maintaining altitude and putting on speed as it roared above the runway.

Nathan watched as she looped around to the end of the line and landed after Seth, not really as close as the others had been but if there had been an audience, they might not have noticed the difference. “Liz, as thrilling as that variation is, I’m not sure it’ll be a crowd-pleaser.”

“You were the one crowding her, Nathan!” Karen shot back. She’d been in the plane in front of Nathan for the landing, so she would know. Nathan’s stomach sank a little. If he’d been too far back from Karen’s plane, Liz wouldn’t have been able to come in for a safe landing without passing the danger on to Niko, and so on. It had been a split-second emergency, she’d made the right call, and Nathan hadn’t even noticed.

Visit the other Weekend Writing Warriors at

What’s Up Wednesday? October already…

October 8, 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:

More Xanth; I finished “Esrever Doom” and started “Board Stiff”, which the library had as an ebook. Also plowed through Larry Niven’s “The Magic Goes Away” in a few days, and read a bunch of stories from Crossed Genres, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and Nightmare.

What I’m writing:

I’ve started a new round of revisions on my funny sci-fi story, “Return to Civilization”, based on feedback I got at Young Gunns. I’ve also dived into doing more prep for my 2 Nanowrimo ideas, and I’ve been doing a fair bit of critiquing.

What works for me:

My new living room table workstation! This is actually based on a setup I had a while ago – my black wooden IKEA chair is set against the broad side of the table I got from my parents, opposite the comfy armchair which faces the television. There’s lots of good lighting in that area, and I have the new refurb Dell laptop set up there, and it’s been a great place to get some work done, including critiquing and getting into revisions.


What else I’ve been up to:

Getting into the new season of “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”, loading dual-boot Xubuntu onto my red netbook, and sorting out Thanksgiving dinner plans with the family! (Canadian Thanksgiving is this coming Monday, in case you didn’t know that.)

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


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