Nano Spotlight: H. J. Stephens

November 1, 2013

Hello, friends and followers. Today is the first day of Nanowrimo, and also the day that I leave for the Reversed Polarity Doctor Who convention in Toronto, so I’ve scheduled this spotlight interview in advance. Let’s meet H. J. Stephens!

Links: Hope there aren’t too many.

Tell me a bit about your experience with Nano so far
2013 is my third Nano, though it’s the second time I’m starting completely from scratch. Last year I was reworking the story from 2011.

I always have such a good time during Nano that I couldn’t choose just one memory and call it my favourite. However, I would say that my favourite time to write is in the first few early hours of the morning with a fresh cup of tea.

What are you writing about this year?
This year I am working on the sequel to the story I wrote in Nano 2011/2012. Basically in the last book my main character had her memory wipes in order to make her more efficient and less trouble as she was captured by the enemy. The book I’ll be starting this Nano begins her journey of rediscovery. A lot of my writing deals with humanity at the core. What does it mean to be human and how does living in the world we’ve built for ourselves/are building for our children change us? This year, I’ll be delving deep into what being human really is, if we strip away all of the memories and environmental developments our personality has taken on.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
Tough question. Whilst Kalina, being my main character is really the star of the novel, I adore all of my characters. I’ve put Kalina through the wringer, I’ve had her go through betrayal, death of loved ones, physical and emotional pain and now most recently memory loss. Because of that I feel that I’ll always be most connected with her as a character. But I really enjoy writing my bad guys and building their history and involvement in the plot. I don’t think I have a ‘best character’. They are all so different and yet so important to me individually.

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?
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The Surprising power of Time Slices

January 30, 2013

Just a few short thoughts to share for today. One – about the closing of Six Sentence Sunday. First off, I have to once again give big props to all the admins over at for all the work they’ve put into running such a huge ongoing blog hop for so long. I can appreciate that the job only got more stressful once they announced that it was going to be closing, and that they’re sick and tired of hearing pitches about people who want to carry on the torch and want something from them.

But – man, they closed up the shop quickly! I’d been looking forward to reading more entries from last Sunday, and is locked up tight. Everything’s been taken down, the linky lists, the cover art ads, the FAQ and rules list – just one post saying that they don’t endorse any copycats – and commenting disabled on the post. It’s a little sad for me to see it end that way – would it have hurt anybody to leave the Jan 27th link list available for a full week? Sigh.

Moving on – as you may know, I’ve been doing cleaning timeslices for a long time, off and on. One of my 2013 goals was to keep up an average of 2 hours cleaning and tidying in my apartment for the whole year, and I had a good streak going from December too. So after I was done with work yesterday, I looked around the living room, decided that I should probably tackle the CD containers near the back shelves in my living room, as that was one of the few loci of mess remaining on the living room floor that doesn’t really belong there. Once the floor is actually clear, I can start working on sweeping and even washing the floor! (I’ve already been through this in the other rooms of the apartment – the living room is the last holdout.)

Then I did a bit of math on the numbers from the iPhone project tracker I’ve been using for my January cleaning timeslices and changed my mind. I was up to 9 hours and an odd minute, which was enough to declare that I was keeping up on my goal for the month – I could skate through the rest of the month and dive back into the living room stuff when February started. So I sat down at the Toshiba laptop and worked on some photo conversion stuff for the old Dell Axim handheld that I’d been wanting to get done.

After an hour of that, I figured that I’d done enough for that and needed to get another timeslice marked off on my calendar. So what do I do? Completely forgetting that I’d decided to give myself three days off cleaning, I log back into the hours tracker and spend ten minutes clearing mess off the living room floor! 😀

That’s the power of timeslices right there – when doing something that you’ve always thought of as an unpleasant chore becomes enough of a habit that you find yourself doing it even after you gave yourself a day off from it, or three. 🙂

Are you doing any timeslices lately? What’s the most unappealing project you’ve gotten through a little bit at a time?

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