Camp Nano Spotlight: V for Victory

April 25, 2013

Good morning! No, I didn’t make my Camp Nanowrimo goal yet, though I’m getting close. Today, my scheduled A-Z challenge interview is with Kathy Szyamnski and she kinda wanted to handle the spotlight a different way, so let’s see how this goes:

So, tell us a little about yourself and your writing
Hi, I’m Kathy Szyamnski and I’m a new author, having published my first book this year (inspirational fiction).   I wrote the book years back, the writing of it was easy.  Life and kids took up my time and I didn’t get back to it seriously until the last year.  Multiple edits and rewrites took much more time and were “less fun”, more drudgery.  But any good book needs multiple edits and rewrites.   I ended up working with a professional editor, who was most helpful.  You need professional input on your work.  Authors can fall in love with characters and scenes and won’t want to delete them, or revise, and sometimes it’s necessary.  (If you’re not falling in love with your characters and scenes, something is wrong.)   It’s a fresh pair of professional eyes that are qualified to critique your manuscript.

Why did you get involved with National Novel Writing Month?
Friends at Nano can do that.  Some NaNo-ers are highly proficient and capable of giving good writing advice.  Many NaNo-ers are wanna-be writers, of varying levels of knowledge in the writing craft and ability.  They may be able to give you a perspective of your writing from a reader’s view (an important thing), but possibly/probably not excellent editing advice.  SOME will be able to, but not most.  And honestly, those really good top notch editors on Nano who are there to help others (there are some) are limited with their time.  A good professional editor is going to charge (with the exception of some things they might do like help out newbie writers on nano so many hours/week).  Side note: not all people who say they are professional editors and charge ARE.  Anyone can say anything today (even a degree is no guarantee they are good at their work).  And even a good editor may not click with you and your writing (that doesn’t mean he/she likes everything about it- not at all.)  Sometimes you may have to find a different one.  I lucked out and got a great editor my first try- AND we were able to barter for her services!    Anyway, Nano can be a place to get a certain kind of feedback- it alone won’t make your book ready for publishing.

What was your Camp Nanowrimo experience like?
I joined Camp NaNo because I’d heard so much about it being great.  Once there, I discovered it was huge.  I tried to find writers I could connect with, who shared my genre, some of my ideas and values, etc.  I did find one.  But it took a fair amount of time and energy to sift through all of it.  The forums are huge and one can easily lose track of time looking at posts.  My cabin was a dud (and I had requested cabin mates who said they would post at least daily).  It’s mid-month and I am the only one who has posted any word counts.

Why did you decide Camp Nano wasn’t for you?
I think for many, NaNo is a motivation.  I’m not the kind of person who needs external motivation.  I realized that becoming a NaNo “winner” really doesn’t mean anything, Except that you met some stated goal.  That is good, but I kind of say, “hurrahhh” without excitement.    Writing 50,000 words IS an accomplishment, but I don’t need Nano to tell me that.    For my Nano goal this month I am editing my second novel, 65,000 words.  All of it.   As I got to about Ch 8, I realized something wasn’t quite right.  It was all okay, I had fixed some sentences and things, but the novel just was gripping me like the first one did.  Okay is not good enough.

I realized I needed to go back and spend some time really getting into the scenes.  It has the same main character as my first novel, and i am well acquainted with him, but I needed to place myself in his shoe more IN the scenes, feel what he was feeling, ad so on.   I have begun to do that and began again with Ch 1 rewriting and it is coming out much better.  It also takes time, and I know I won’t meet my goal.  But that is fine.  I need to spend the time getting it right much more than I need to reach the 65,000 word editing goal.  So I won’t be a NaNo winner.  And that’s fine.

I guess I was expecting more intimacy with Nano, finding a nice small group of serious, somewhat like-minded writers and didn’t get it.  It had been hyped up to me by so many, maybe I was expecting too much.  The chat room was big, with lots of different people each time and many considerably younger people (teens).  I’m fine with younger folks, but I didn’t get a real sense of many of them being serious writers who really wanted to learn the craft of writing- they just wanted to write and have fun.   They want  to produce a good book, but didn’t seem willing to really work at the hard things that make a good book.   I’m not applying this to all who do Nano, I’m sure there are many who do work hard and want to be excellent writers. Cover 15 Front only small But those folks can easily get lost in the vastness of Nano.  I didn’t find many of them.

So, what’s next for you?
I’ll work away on getting into the scenes of my next book.  (Part of my problem has been winter!  I walk an hour daily, but when I walk inside it’s on my treadmill and I watch TV while I  walk.  When the weather is nice, I walk outside and my mind often goes to my books, characters and scenes and things blossom- lots of time to imagine.  It’s April, Minnesota, and snow is still on the ground, so I have done little walking outside since last fall!  Soon, though, soon!)

Kathy is offering a  special on her book EXCLUSIVE to Kelworth Files readers, good until May 2, 2013.  Simply go to her website, www.ChangeTheWorldBooks.com and order the book (a PayPal purchase), and use code CHRIS3 to get $3 off the paperback or ebook!  Thanks, Kathy!

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