Nanowrimo Spotlight: Al Stegall

November 8, 2014

Good morning! Nanowrimo started on a Saturday morning this year, and here we are, back at Saturday morning, ready to go again. If you’re participating, I hope you have a great wordcount to show for the week. Today’s spotlight, Al, can be found under yangnome on the Nano site. And I’m pleased to host an interview with the man behind a key element of Nanowrimo lore–but more on that later.

How long have you been doing Nanowrimo?
2014 is my 11th NaNo season and 10th year as ML in Monterey, CA. Overall, NaNo has been a wonderful experience (if not, why would I keep subjecting myself to it year after year?). Sometime in late Oct 2004, I read someone’s internet post about Nano, clicked on a link to the site and signed up. At the time, I believe the NaNoWriMo slogan was something about writing your one day novel now. The basic premise was that many people have a story they’d like to tell one day, why not sit down and make that dream a reality. In 10th grade (about 13 years or so before my first NaNo) my teacher had us write the first chapter of our one day novel. This idea had stuck with me over the years, so I decided to use NaNoWriMo to sit down and write the thing. On Nov 1st at midnight, I started working on my novel and within a few hours I had knocked out about 6,000 words—far more than the 1667 requirement. Then I went to bed and never opened the document again.

I’d written myself into a corner and since I didn’t have a community around me for encouragement, I didn’t continue. Over the year though, the idea of writing a novel (and particularly NaNoWriMo stuck with me. I knew if I was going to succeed, I’d need to find others like me to help bolster each other along. A got in touch with NaNo HQ and arranged to start a region in my home town. That next Oct, I reworked my concept to something slightly different, with similar themes, but a more workable story. I started anew on Nov 1 and within about 7 days (taking a couple days off) I’d crossed the 50k line and pressed on to finish the novel at about 79k words. That was both a blessing and a curse. It showed me that the 50k goal was easily achievable, but that knowledge also fed into my natural propensity to procrastinate. Over the last ten years, we’ve built a great supportive community in our region and each year help push each other to success.

My favorite NaNo memory is a conglomeration of memories between 2005 and now. That story I worked on in 2005, was a very dark and gritty novel about a political prisoner in a north Korean prison camp. That novel forced me to go into some dark places. One night, I was participating in an online word war chat when I wrote a scene where the MC witnessed a prison guard bash another prisoner with a shovel, leaving her for dead. It was a pretty graphic and depressing scene and after the 30 minute word sprint, to clear my head a bit during the break I shared what had happened in the scene. We went back to do another sprint and upon returning, another member of the chat had unexpectedly had a character killed with a shovel. Then, another sprint and a shovel death unexpectedly appeared in another novel. Read the rest of this entry »


Nanowrimo day 27: Seeing the sights

November 28, 2010

Current word count: 63,187 words

Tentative target for November 30th: 70,000 words

Words written over the past 2 days: 2150

I’ve finished the new short story idea that I started Tuesday evening, ‘Alien artifact.’ Struggled a bit to find a new project to keep writing on, and I’ve possibly settled on beginning an idea that I was thinking of doing for my Nanowrimo before I settled on ‘The onus of Grace.’ So it probably won’t be something I can finish in the next four days, which is probably to the good. I can stop it once I get into December and then get back to that start later.

In other news, I haven’t writen much lately because I’ve been spending more time on touristy stuff and less on write-ins. My time in San Fran is definitely starting to draw to an end – I have only two full days left, in addition to what’s left of tonight, and Tuesday, which is the day I fly home.

Yesterday (friday): Spent all day on the bus tour to Monterey and Carmel, which was fun, but a little exhausting. Had fried chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes from a Forest Gump-themed shrimp shop in Cannery Row. Squeezed in a few hundred words at the pebble beach golf course, and at Carmel before the twilight faded too far. Got rather lost in Carmel after the sun went down – it’s a town without many street lights, but managed to find the bus just in time to not get left behind. Left my umbrella on the bus when I got dropped off at my hotel.

Today (saturday): Rainy. Got my umbrella delivered in the morning by a tour bus driver. Went down to the Cow Palace to take part in the Dickens Fair Victorian Christmas, which was mentioned by some people on the sfbrowncoats group. I was hoping to be recognized by some of them in my browncoats t-shirt, but the only one I actually met was Louise, who had posted details about where to find her and how to recognize her. Still had a great time, filled up the memory card on my camera, had a roast beef dinner for lunch, and the Legion Fantastique stuff was awesome!

Went home a little on the early side, and got some more words written.

Tomorrow (sunday): I have a booking for the Alcatraz ferry at 11am, and a bus tour to Muir woods and Sausalito starting at 2pm. Looking forward to it.

Monday: Nothing particular planned, except for meeting a guy from the area who I first met through a Roswell fanfic community, and have stayed in touch with over IM for several years. I’m going to BART all the way out to Dublin, and we’ll have lunch.


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