Nano Spotlight: Cliff Anello from atlasArisen

Good morning, friends and followers. I don’t have long before I need to catch the bus to work, so let’s meet Cliff!

Cliff’s Nano Experience, in his own words:
This is my fourth NaNoWriMo. My favorite NaNo memory comes from my first NaNo, which I didn’t win, but I did have a friend who won. She self-published her novel on CreateSpace, and when I got my copy, it was inspiring. She had written a novel, and here it was, in paper form, in my hands, and if she could do it, so could I.

What are you writing about this year?
This year, my novel is going to be titled How to Cope with Being a Loser. I don’t know what it will be about yet, but the title came to me, and it was too good not to use. It’ll probably be horror, with deep religious and philosophical undercurrents.

Who’s the best character in your NaNo novel?
“Best” implies a value judgment, so I can’t really say which character will be the “best,” but the most interesting character will definitely be the narrator. Growing up, I struggled a lot with things like bipolar disorder, and there were times when I would “hulk out” and punch my furniture until my knuckles bled, and I’m very close to somebody with nightmare disorder and early onset schizophrenia. My narrators always reflect this experience. It’s a lot more fun for me to write, and it gives me a lot of leeway to experiment with the unconventional.

What advice would you give to all your fellow WriMos?

No matter how hard it gets, stick with it. The more you procrastinate, the more you fall behind, the harder it is to catch up. As the month goes on stress piles up, writer’s block rears its ugly head, and we just get tired, and writing half your novel in the last few days of November isn’t that great for your health. Get ahead early so you can spend more time thinking and making difficult decisions about your plot and characters later on.

Sneaky Ninja Question! Where do you get ideas for characters and how do you develop them?
My novels are always at least partially true. The narrator is essentially a reflection of myself. He goes through many of the same things I’ve gone through, and his development as a character mirrors my development as a person. My other characters are usually modeled after religious figures like Lucifer or Lilith, or after people I know. Character development isn’t something that I focus on. Character development just naturally emerges from the plot. In real life, when things happen to people, they’re allowed to be stubborn and refuse to be effected by it, but in literature this isn’t allowed. In literature, the characters have to react to what’s happening around them, they have to deal with the consequences of their actions, they have to change. How the characters change depends on what we already knew about the character and what it is that’s changing her. The character will tell you how she should react to this or how she should be affected by that. You just have to know her well enough.

I’ve been working on my first serious novel outside of NaNo for a couple of years. It’s a fantasy-horror novel titled I Went to High School with Jesus Christ. It’s a semi-autobiographical novel that describes the depression, chaos, and mental alienation that characterized most of my childhood, especially high school. Many of the scenes in this novel really happened. I started writing this book because I wanted to capture in writing the part of my life when I finally started to feel truly happy, accepted, and empowered. Although it’s still in the editorial process, you can download what we have finished so far on Leanpub. You’ll get email notifications when more becomes available, and you’ll get a discount on the print edition when everything is finished. As a special thanks to Chris, I’m giving the book to his readers for free – just use the coupon code “kelworthfiles” without quotations at checkout.

And my website and blog is at

One Response to Nano Spotlight: Cliff Anello from atlasArisen

  1. […] is just around the corner! Chris Kelworth interviewed me on his blog; check it out if you’re interested in my writing process, and what I’ll be working on […]


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