Nano Spotlight-A Wrimo’s Journey: Dollars for Words

October 28, 2014

Well, I said that I’d be back to your regularly unscheduled spotlight soon, so tonight is the time! I’m shining the spotlight on Jennifer, who goes as writerfangirl on the nanowrimo site, and who wanted me to link to her fundraising page. Here’s Jennifer about her Nanowrimo history:

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo since 2001–I believe I heard about it in one of my English classes.  I didn’t know when it was, and had never looked at the page. Sometime after this, I purchased Chris Baty’s book.

In 2003, I had tempted doing NaNoWriMo–but opted not because I was working on my Bachelor’s thesis in Creative Writing. I didn’t even think I could use my short story collection that was my Bachelor’s thesis toward the 50k! I feel like I had another login that I have forgotten about? In any case, in 2005, I signed up and I made a personal pledge to myself: I would complete the 50k or I wouldn’t be a writer.  Since 2007 or 2008, I have been organizing write-ins for people in the Pomona Valley–my little area that is nestled between four different counties, and even cuts into two or three of them, but is its own unique thing. We are not Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange County, or Riverside.  And in fact, Pomona Valley was once considered to be made into a county with Pomona as the county seat, but so was dismissed because of disputes among the different counties.  Pomona Valley has been its own region for NaNoWriMo since 2011.

I love writers, I love writing, and I love reading. I have a BA in Creative Writing, worked at Borders (RIP), was a writing tutor at my community college alma mater, was a fiction editor for the literary journal Rhapsoidia, and am now a creativity coach. My goal is to bring the different pockets of writers that are throughout the Pomona Valley together and to facilitate collaboration.  There are so many wonderfully diverse voices here! Last year we were working with Upland Public Library primarily and this year we are continuing the relationship with the Upland Public Library and are now working with the dA Center for the Arts in POMONA as well!! 😀  I am so happy that we are having regular write-ins in our region’s name sake.  Every year we get more people homing to us and every year we get more write-ins.  My other goal, during NaNoWriMo, is to have a write-in in every Pomona Valley city every day of the week.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2005 and have won it seven times (The only two years I didn’t were 2007 and 2009–and 2009 is the year I went to the Night of Writing Dangerously.) Last year I wrote 100,000 words during NaNoWriMo because I wanted to up the ante of the challenge.  This year, I am challenging myself to 250,000 words in 30 days. It’s a two-part scenario, though.  I am also fundraising because I want those words to matter to the lives of other people now. For every dollar I fundraise, I am writing a word–and I am planning that to be 250,000.  😀  Want to help?

What are you writing about?
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Nano Spotlight: The Dark Side of Dreaming

November 14, 2013

Good morning, friends and followers. This morning for your spotlight, I’ve got an interview from E.R. Womelsduff.

Tell us a little about your experience with Nanowrimo:
This is my first year doing NaNoWriMo.  I’d heard about it in passing before, but it wasn’t until my brother said that he’d signed up for it that I really checked out what it was and committed to being a part of it.  Sometimes it takes a little familial support (and healthy sibling rivalry) to get your butt in gear.

What DarkSideCoverare you writing about this year?
I am writing a sci-fi / cyberpunk crossover called The Dark Side of Dreaming about a girl who acts as a court jester in a world where those with the strongest wills can create anything with a single thought.  Referred to only as “The Glitch,” the leaders of the five interconnected worlds cannot control her because they do not know her true name, and she spends her time pointing out the fallacies in the systems they have created.  But when these leaders are murdered and their worlds begin to unravel, the Glitch finally understands her true, disturbing purpose.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
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Nano Spotlight: S.G.S.

October 31, 2013

Good morning. I’m pleased to welcome S.G.S. back to the spotlight – she participated in my Camp Nano A-Z spotlight series earlier this year!

S.G.S’ history with Nano:
This is my second year participating in NaNoWriMo. Although I did not win last year, I managed to get farther in my novel than I thought I would. I participated in the 2013 camps. I only won the April session. I really enjoy the NaNaWriMo experience, it pushes me to try my hardest and to have fun.

What are you writing about this year?
I’m writing about a girl who doesn’t believe in fairy tales and ends up in a fairy tale world of sorts. She is mistaken for a princess and is entered in a competition for the Prince’s hand. As a result she encounters a bizarre cast of characters including the prince’s younger brother, a clever and dashing thief, a fellow competitor and a priest who seems to think that this girl is the savior not to the mention the Prince in question himself who is very odd. And of course there is something more sinister going on which threatens everyone in this land and our own.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Gareth, my thief should be the most interesting considering his personality and the role he will have in the story.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
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What process do you write in?

September 26, 2012

There was some great conversation between the four of us who showed up to Chester’s Beers of the World for the Hamilton Writers meeting last night – once they turned down the music enough that we could hear each other speak, that is. 😉

One interesting topic that came up was our choice of writing process – specifically between three very different experiences – typing on a keyboard, scribbling with a pen or pencil on paper, and speaking into a voice recorder. It was interesting to see how different people reacted to the different options.

I’m a typer; I have been since I was very young; taught myself how to go beyond two-finger hunt and peck typing, though it took proper typing lessons to cure myself of looking at the screen. I have handwriting so horrible that I can’t read it myself, and I get very nervous about the sound of my voice and my ums and uhs if I try talking into a voice recorder. But I’ve never really needed an alternative to typing – it’s a process that works very well for me.

The new gentleman who brought up this topic for conversation said that he found that a voice recorder and Dragon Naturally Speaking work very well for him – especially after he’s reached the halfway point in a story, which is where the tough part usually begins for him. He can usually cruise through the first half on a keyboard, he said, but then gets blocked if he can’t talk it through. Another writer that I’ve known for many years mentioned that she associates keyboards as a tool for a day job, not a part of her writing process, so she writes her first drafts out in longhand.

Have you found the process that works for you? Is there some special subprocess within those big three that you write best with, (a particular keyboard device, that perfect notebook paper, or whatever?) Do you ever wish that you could find a better process than the one you’re writing with now?


C is for Celtx

April 3, 2012

The Script Frenzy A-Z challenge so far…

Different people use different software for Script Frenzy, including MS Word and Final Draft, but no script writing program has quite become a part of Script Frenzy culture, in my opinion, like Celtx. It’s the only program that has a forum devoted to it on the Script Frenzy message board.

There are lots of good reasons that Celtx gets plenty of love with Frenziers. It’s dedicated to scripts and other media projects, yet versatile enough to do reasonably well at lots of different kind of scripts. It can be used collaboratively, in browsers, or with a single computer offline. And, possibly the biggest factor in its favor is that you can use Celtx for most things without having to pay for it. 🙂

I started using Celtx for Script Frenzy… let’s see, it was probably my third year, 2009. What motivated me was the fact that it could be run on my newest toy, the eeePC netbook. In fact, they had a special eeePC version as well as the vanilla linux version at that point. So ever since then, I’ve got a lot of mileage out of using Celtx both on the road and at home, copying my screnzy.celtx file to whichever computer I’m going to use next.

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Six Sentence Sunday – The Storm Mirror 6

March 25, 2012

One. Two. Three. Four. Five.

So, Melvin has come up to the house on the clifftop, looking for the old, ugly witch who was sending the storms – and found a pretty girl instead, who told him the witch is gone.

“My name is Sorina.”

If she wasn’t a witch, what could it hurt? “I – well, I’m here because somebody told me that the witch is bringing the storms.” 

“No, those aren’t her fault.”

Melvin looked more deeply into Sorina’s face. “Did you bring them?”

Thanks for reading, and all comments or critiques are very welcome!


Campaigner Spotlight – Kaylie Austen

March 6, 2012

Good evening, Campaigners! As the Campaign winds into its fifth week, the spotlight shines down on Kaylie Austen.

Who would you go to if you desperately needed help?
My husband, hands down.

What have you learned from writing?
A lot! Most of it can be summed up by three words: perseverance, skill, and organization. I keep writing, querying, editing, and marketing to build my brand. Along the way, people have pointed out key issues with my writing, such as passive verses active, redundancy, 2-dimensional characters, etc. The more I write and incorporate these new skills, the better my writing becomes. Organization is needed in three major areas: plot, have to keep the storyline seamless, consistent, and believable; querying, there are a ton of agents and publishers, but we have to keep up with them and their world if we want to break into it.; organization also applies to time-management.

What’s your beverage of choice for a writing sprint?
Thai iced tea, readily available from the local bubble tea place.

What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Keep working on your craft. Learn by reading novels in your genre and keeping up with successful authors to see how they do it, ie: queries, hooks, revisions, etc. If you hit that brick wall and decide you can’t keep fighting, the grief isn’t worth it, it’s okay to give up. Know this: if you’re a writer, nothing will keep the ideas away. Quit now, the writing bug will get you again. There’s no shame in taking a break, that is, if your muse has mercy on you.

My blog details my adventures in writing, from the first spark of a new storyline to editing to querying to cover release, and all the things I’ve learned along the way. I hope someone will find value in my experiences and learn from them. My blog is also a way of explaining that writing and getting a novel on the bookshelf is not quick and easy. It takes a lot of dedication, hard work, sacrifices, and a level of humility. Also, I rant about upcoming releases and random things that make life great.

Thanks for joining us, Kaylie!


Campaigner Spotlight – Clarbojahn

March 3, 2012

Good afternoon, campaigners, and Happy March! Today, I’m sharing a spotlight from Clarbojahn, aka Clara Bowman-Jahn.

What has been the greatest achievement of your life?
The greatest achievement has been to raise two wonderful productive young men. After my late husband died it was rough going for awhile but they made it. One is a mechanical engineer for the Research Naval Institute and the other is a Co-op director in the Northwest.

Would you rather visit the past or the future, and why?
Future. To see how I can best practice the present.

What book have you read most recently?
“Taconi and Claude- Double Trouble” a mid grade adventure about an Aboriginal boy growing up in Australia and his Cockatoo  as a review for an author friend.

What advice would you give to all your fellow campaigners?
Just enjoy it. If you don’t do all the challenges or play every game that’s OK.

Soon, soon. My Children’s book will be published by eTreasures about a little girl who celebrates her birthday every hour with a different adventure. It’s about clocks and time and is called a basic concept book by schools. I wrote it in 2010 and got a contract for it almost right away but has taken all this time to get it published. I organized an illustrator for it myself which isn’t the way it’s usually done. You can read more about it on previous blog posts on my blog. Some of the titles are Annie’s Special Day! Coming Soon! , An Author Blog— Can it Help Sell Your Book? , and The Nerves . Thanks for reading!


Unusual and obscure card games

February 18, 2012

I inherited from my father a love of interesting and eccentric games – and several of the books he owned on the subject. My favorite was a thick paperback by renowned card games scholar David Parlett, which must have had hundreds of games and thousands of variants all organized into families. I can’t find that particular book at the moment, (though I remember flipping through it within the past several months,) or remember the title – though I remember that it has an Ace of Spades design on the cover.

I have been able to retrieve three other David Parlett titles from my bedroom bookshelf, at least – to refresh my memory when a Storywonk podcast quoted the name of the two-player tricks and combinations game ‘Bezique’ as a top-scoring Scrabble word. These books are organized by the number of players required – there’s one book of ‘Card Games for Two’, and ‘…for Three’ and ‘…for Four’, so that you can flip through them when you want to settle down for a night of parlour games, depending on the number of players available.

I don’t think I’ve ever played Bezique – most of my fondest memories are of the games in the ‘Card Games for Three’ book, used on occasions when it was just my parents and I interested in playing. There’s Bismarck – which is really four different card games in one, because the rules change from deal to deal – first no trumps, then random trumps, then the dealer calls trumps, and finally no trumps again, but all players trying to lose tricks. One player deals for all four variants in a row, and then the deal passes around the table, so the full match ends after twelve hands – which makes for a full evening of cards.

I’ve mentioned Tyzicha in passing, and it’s possibly one of my favorite games from ‘…For Three.’ You play with a short deck, ace through nine, and three of the cards are dealt into a blind pile in the middle of the table, while the rest are dealt out to the players.

Each player then bids a contract of points that he thinks he or she can make, (with the player left of dealer stuck for a contract of 100 points if nobody bids higher.) The highest bidder gets to take the blind, sort through his hand, pass any two cards to his opponents, and lead to the first trick.

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My calendar of goal tracking is in trouble!

January 25, 2012

Because it can’t stay on the wall. 😦

I think it was on Sunday that the calendar fell for the first time, while I was across the room. I let it sit for a while, then figured that maybe that first adhesive hook had run out of life, and that since it stayed stuck for about three weeks, maybe I should just keep going through the rest of the pack of nine, and it could last me for another six months or so.

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