Nanowrimo Spotlight #22: Holly (An Innovative Pursuit)

November 30, 2012

Well, pictureit’s the last day of November, and my last Nano spotlight interview for the year – thanks to everybody who’s volunteered and made this possibly my most successful spotlight series yet! ūüôā Today I have a brave soul who jumped in to do an alternate interview just a few days ago – Holly!

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I’ve found to keep up with my¬†word count each day I have¬†to write in some¬†locations that aren’t too conducive to focusing, but I make it work. I’ve jotted¬†down my novel¬†on paper during my breaks at work, did¬†lone write-ins at Mcdonalds, and sat in the middle of my¬†family¬†eating for Thanksgiving to meet the end of the month goal of 50K.¬†I also have tried to keep outlines, but have failed, and it tends to have killed my steam so I usually just¬†whatever happens happen when I begin the novel.

Where are your backup files?
I currently have an account with a place called Dropbox. You can download it to your computer, and save the files in that folder, and they will automatically be backed up to your account web. I have shuffled out novels I haven’t looked at in 4 years, and had on an old laptop that died just because they were still saved on that site. I also sometimes just use my email to backup files quickly by saving them in drafts.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Don’t feel defeated because you missed a few days of writing, or you’re starting late. One year I lost almost half my novel when it got erased, and needed to make up 25K words in 3 days to be able to make the 50K deadline at the end of November. I know not everyone could make up that amount of words since everyone’s time varies, but as someone who was juggling 6 colleges classes, and a 150 hour internship, I felt I had proved with some strong determination it can be done. Ultimately, focus on your own goal for the month whether that be writing as much as you can to feel satisfied¬†whether¬†that be below¬†or going beyond 50K.

Sneaky Ninja Question! Do you tend to avoid conflict with other people or face it head-on?
As someone who is very opinionated I find myself often struggling to avoid conflict. Recently, I have avoided debates, but I also tend to not back down easy if someone seems to be stirring it. So I tend to face conflict head-on. My personality doesn’t allow me to avoid it, and it makes me come off stubborn at times because I have a hard time backing down.


Holly is a blogger, photographer, dog owner, and creative junkie who finds herself passionate about too many subjects. You can find her at

Some early Nanowrimo wrap-up stuff.

November 29, 2012

Well, we’re kinduv into the eleventh hour of the eleventh month here… ūüėČ I’ve got one more Nano Spotlight ready to go for tomorrow, so today I thought I’d ramble about some general Nanowrimo stuff, looking back at the month.

My first year as a Nanowrimo ML. I had a blast, helping plan the Kick-off and taking the lead at write-ins when Gale wasn’t around or wanted to get to writing. When I was in Hamilton, I was racing off to at least 4 write-ins a week, (Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday,) and while in San Francisco, I crashed 3 write-ins in four days, plus the Night of Writing Dangerously. I made some new friends, got to spend time with familiar faces from long ago, and a lot of words done.

My new target for the month is 64,000 – a little less than I made last year. It’s also just over 10k more than the finishing word count of “The Snow Job”, and 10k sounds like a nice number of words for sample chapters, so that’s what I’ll be pushing for with my Missing Gnomes at the write-in tonight and the big Wafflepalooza write-in/party tomorrow!

I think I’m going to leave you with some favorite photos from my trip to San Francisco. The full photoset is up on flickr.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nanowrimo Spotlight #21: Cylee Blake

November 28, 2012

Hey there everybody! Nano is winding down for the year, and I know some of you are still working on your word counts, so we’ve got a short a sweet spotlight to distract you for a little break between word sprints this evening. Ladies and Gentlemen, Cylee Blake!

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
The most unusual part of my writing process would have to me the journaling. Yes, I journal when I write and have for about a year now because it helps me concentrate. I write down everything that is going on in my head (which can be really random) before I move on to journal about my writing. I ask myself questions about my novel and answer them. This helps me move forward with whatever I’m writing and makes the plot flow much better. It also helps me sort out certain scenarios or scenes that have several different outcomes. Basically, my entries are a way to clear my head and give my muse room to work.

Where are your backup files?
I use Google Drive and Clementine, my external hard drive. The writing software I use save my back up files to Clementine (and my desktop) automatically, since I set it up that way. Google Drive is what I save my work to manually so I know that it’s saved. I also like that I can access it anywhere. This make it easier to go out and write.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Always have something or someone to turn to when you get stuck. This could be something like Write or Die or writing prompts. If you have a writing buddy, bounce ideas back and forth with each other. Also, don’t be discouraged if your novel isn’t going down the same path as your outline. Your muse directed you in a different direction for a reason, figure out why.

Sneaky Ninja Question! How will you know when you’ve reached success as a writer?
Unfortunately, I haven’t gotten to that point yet but I think that when I decide that my novels are good enough for people to read would be when I’ve reached success as a writer. If I’m able to share my writing with other people, I know that I’m confident that I’ve written something to the best of my abilities and that I will need other opinions and criticism to improve my writing.

I’ve been trying to keep a blog but I have the tendency to forget about it. My blog usually consists of writing, music, occasional pictures, and home life (if something big happens). If you want to drop by, visit me at or find me on twitter

The new Stringing Words

November 27, 2012

A new version of the Stringing Words forum launched today, and I’m both excited about it and a little sad to see the old edition go away soon. The exciting part is the people – especially the fact that my good friend and Co-ML Gale has gotten involved in the community again, and that I’m getting to know my fellow admin Rinelle.

The disappointing part is that it seems like a technical step backward with fewer neat ‘toys’ to play with on the site. None of them are terribly important – the shoutbar of messages that were always visible down the left side of every page, the custom smileys, the nice home page layout that showed the twenty threads that had been updated most recently, whether they were in the same section of the forum or widely scattered.

The new edition is on the domain, (which is part of the family,) and the decisions to move there were mostly on account of money – the old version was on a paid hosted solution registered to¬† one of the founding admins. She’s been very busy with publishing success lately and hasn’t had much time to keep up with the community, and asked that we make a move so that she doesn’t need to worry about bringing the forum down if she misses a payment. I did volunteer once to take over responsibility for the payments with the old hosting company, but she seemed to think that would be a pain, and I didn’t pursue it any further.

So, that’s where it is. I guess I should focus on moving forward and all the great people who’ve made the move over to the new site, rather than the bells and whistles we’re leaving behind, huh? ūüėČ

Nanowrimo Spotlight #20: Nano Finish Line

November 26, 2012

Hey everybody. We’re well and truly into the last week of November, with the weekend behind us, so it only seems right to give you a good look at the Nano Finish Line… blog, and its author Jenny. ūüôā

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I am a planner. Give me a date and time to be somewhere and I’ll do my best to be there. I will work my day around it, if I have to. You would think that this would mean when it comes to writing, I would also be a planner. But, I’m not.

I’m a combination of both a planner and a pantser. I have the general story arc in mind most of the time. I usually have a detailed beginning planned out and an ending before I start. But the middle is usually made up as I go along.

I’ve tried writing outlines for my story. I usually don’t finish them. I get the bare bones of the plot in place before I begin. Then I write, referring to my outline when I get stuck. When the outline runs out, I’m stuck with making it up as I go along. I usually plan a scene or two ahead of what’s on my current page, but I’ve run into my share of problems.¬†Hmm. The kingdom is surrounded and outnumbered. How are they going to win the war?¬†I solve most of my plot problems, but normally not until I have to.

My local NaNo friends would probably site my weird hand motions while I’m figuring out the next few words as their answer to this question.

Where are your backup files?
I bought a cute little flash drive that lives in my purse. The backup to my current NaNo story is there. Hmm. I need to back up my story again. Thanks for the reminder! Read the rest of this entry »

Six Sentence Sunday: Missing Gnomes

November 25, 2012

Hello friends, followers, and fellow Six Sentence Sunday-ers. Thanks for all the great thoughts last week, and once again, I’m moving to a new piece! ‘The Snow Job’ is finished, yay! I’ve started a new manuscript to finish off November, and I may need to do some revision on it soon, because I want to submit sample chapters for it to the CSSF Novel Writer’s workshop¬†in Kansas next year. So I’d love to hear what you all think about the opening scene!

Kinwer tried to look like he was actually about to do morning chores all the way through his father’s north wheat field. Once he was next to the fence he checked back at the farmhouse to see if any of his family was watching, ducked between the rails, waded across the stream, scrambled across the rocky ground and around the hill, and stopped at a mound of earth about as tall as his father. “Hello, Gibbs – I’m here.”

There was no answer. Kinwer circled around the mound, so that he was even less likely to be spotted by anybody from the farms near the village. He wanted to be patient for Gibbs’ sake, but he couldn’t wait here long.

I’ll send some friendly gnomes to visit everybody who leaves feedback! ūüôā

Nanowrimo Spotlight #19: Kristina

November 24, 2012

Thank you to everybody who volunteered for a spotlight interview – even the few people who I assume are having scheduling problems as I haven’t heard from them since. ūüėČ I’m kinda-sorta-looking for a substitute interviewee for next week, but in the meantime, here’s Kristina!

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
My writing process is unusually, unreasonably difficult. I envy the blessed people who can write wherever, whenever, wearing whatever kind of pants they choose. I can be unreasonably compulsive when it comes to my quirks in general, and this translates over to the way I write. I understand that every writer has their little things that they do, but my entire process is comprised of all those little things.

One example is that I can only write between 7pm ‚Äď 12am. Any attempt at any other time is not worthy of the recycle bin on my computer. Understandable, as everyone has a time of day where they are at their peak. But then there‚Äôs the less sensible components, such as how every door in the room must be closed, the pants I am wearing must be soft and the smell of chicken cannot permeate the air at any point. (I love chicken. I cannot write if I can smell it. I do not know why.)

Where are your backup files?
Three different folders on my computer, three different usb sticks and across three different computers. I believe in the power of three, and the importance of meticulous backing up. I’m disorganized, clumsy and accident-prone РI have learnt how many precautions I should be taking.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
Drink water. Eat steak. Love words.

Sneaky Ninja Question! What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Besides writing? Watch Doctor Who. If I am not writing my own world, I am repeatedly falling in love with the world of Doctor Who and becoming inspired all over again. The incredible scripts often take my breath away and always remind me the beauty and power of words.

Kristina is a fledgling teen writer from New Zealand, a lover of country music, a madly obsessed Doctor Who fan, and a girl who has two options in life. Become a nine to five, financially stable accountant, or take a risk and struggle down the sink-hole ridden road to becoming an author. She’s picking the second one. You can find her at

Nanowrimo: Endings and new beginnings

November 23, 2012

Well, I’m full of great news today. After a few days of not being sure if I could scrounge up any kind of an ending to ‘The Snow Job’, I managed to end it at the Williams Pier write-in last night. The ending is a little abrupt and a downer, but it fits with the rest of the book.

One of my main characters, Ryan, ends up in jail, taking the fall for a mission he completed for the Orbitals undercover agents. His boss gets the data that Ryan was sent in after, but Ryan got caught by a security agent and his sidekick security-bot. Ryan’s ex-girlfriend Scarlett comes into the Police precinct to talk to him, doses him with a hypno-drug and gives him instructions that prevent him from testifying against her, the orbitals, or blowing anybody’s cover.

So that was fun. And I’ve started my next project, as yet unnamed, inspired by Gale’s missing gnomes, which is the Hamilton regional challenge this year. That’s going pretty well too. My main character is a young boy living on a medieval farm, who made friends with an adolescent (35 years old, only!) gnome, despite neither of their families approving. Kinwer, the MC, is starting to realize that the entire community of gnomes is missing, the mound that they were living in is empty, and there are signs of a battle in the main hall – including a mysterious scrap of black fabric with a bloody knife embroidered into it. Where will that clue lead him? ūüôā

I’m not going to finish the gnomes story in November. Ideally, I’ll have some sample pages that I can revise quickly and send off to the CSSF Novel writer’s workshop in Kansas for this summer.

How’s your Nano going? Have you reached any endings or exciting beginnings yet?

Nanowrimo Spotlight #18: Amanda

November 22, 2012

Hey everybody! I still have a few interviews left in the bag, so let’s break on through to Amanda.

What’s the most unusual part of your writing process?
I seriously doubt any of my writing process is too unusual. ¬†I basically just sit down and write. ¬†Though when I’m serious about writing, I grab my netbook and power supply, glasses, and earphones and sit at the kitchen table away from all the distractions in the house. ¬†Occasionally¬†I will shut off the wireless card to keep the internet from distracting me. ¬†The oddest thing I probably do while writing is wear my little blue knit hat, it’s sort of my “Thinking Cap”

Where are your backup files?
Back up files… why they are everywhere! ¬†I swear I have a copy of my stories on every computer in the house. ¬†They aren’t all at the same spot in the story, but mainly I keep them on a flash drive that get placed in a draw for safe keeping. ¬†This year for NaNo I am trying something new and writing with Google doc through¬†

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
The advice that I would give other Wrimos is not to worry about the 50,000 word mark.  This whole thing is an adventure, enjoy the challenge and write.  Be proud of yourself whether you reach the goal or not.  If you push yourself too hard you will burn out.  However you approach November, Good Luck with your writing!

Sneaky Ninja Question! What is your favorite genre to write in?
My favorite genre to write it would probably be Literary Fiction. ¬†I love my characters and want everyone else to as well! ¬†I tend to ramble in real life and with Literary Fiction it’s like giving me a license to ramble! ¬†Though I do tend to keep a strong plot and make an outline of where I want to go.

Feel free to stop by my blog Boring Ol Me for writing updates, photography and other boring adventures I may go on!

Thanks for stopping by, Amanda!

Party Time in the Bay Area

November 21, 2012

Well, the last time I posted about my yearly pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Nanowrimo, I’d caught you up to Friday evening. Saturday, as it happens, was my birthday – the first time I’ve spent it away from home in quite a while.

But I had a great birthday weekend. First, breakfast up at Lori’s Diner, where I met a fellow wrimo and let the staff know that many out of town writers would be meeting there the next day. Then I packed up my laptop and took BART out to Emeryville, to join an East Bay write-in. I’d like to send a big shout-out to East Bay Co-ML honeywell¬†for inviting out-of-towners to her weekend write-ins, and even sending me detailed directions for how to get there on the free Emeryville shuttle when Google Maps failed me. She’s also very generous with really cool stickers.

After the write-in, I rode back into the city for the ML tea party, which was a new tradition for me, since I’ve never been a Nanowrimo ML. This was great fun, though I wasn’t a big fan of the tea or the fancy little tea party sandwiches. The shortbread and raisin scones were alright, and the company was amazing. I had a great time talking with fellow MLs and Nanowrimo staffers.

After the tea party I returned to the hotel for a quick stop, catching up with some blog business like posting a new spotlight and preparing my Six Sentence Sunday excerpt, and then it was back up Market Street to Schroeder’s for the out-of-town Meet and Greet dinner. It was raining again by this point, but that didn’t stop the high spirits once dozens and dozens of wrimos were safely in the back room and enjoying the appetizers buffet. (I made a point of ordering the viener-schnitzel instead, and it was delicious as always.)

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