Where Are We At?
By: Loni Cameron
We thought that we would give you a peak into how the members of the WCYR and friends are doing, what they have done in the past, and what they plan to do with their finished projects. Doug Owen, Nanci Pattenden, Rob Rinne and MJ Moores were kind enough to take the time to answer my questions. Like other writers participating, they are going through their own journeys. With only a week-and-a-half left to go, how are they progressing?
Is this your first time participating?
DO: I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the last 6 years.
NP: No. I did WCYR’s Mini-NaNo last year and attempted regular NaNo once before that.
RR: Yes. I’ve always thought about it. M.J. and the July NaNoWriMo got my attention and I’ve been practicing setting targets and writing daily.
MM: No. I did the official NaNoWriMo in 2014 and then I started participating in the WCYR’s Mini-NaNo in 2016. I found the 50K words in one month too stressful — for me, writing is fun and it had turned into a competition. The Mini-NaNo lets me set my own goals.
When you start, do have an outline or do you fly by the seat of your pants? How else do you prep?
DO: My novels usually have at least a basic outline to follow, but more have a good sound listing of what is going to happen in each chapter and the people involved.
NP: I’m a total pantser. I frequently write a story based on something from the newspaper, so I’ll make notes. That’s usually about it.
RR: In this case, I had a rough outline from 3 years ago that I couldn’t start but couldn’t stop thinking about. As November approached, I took it out, read it over, fleshed it out on a beat-counting spreadsheet I cobbled together from some internet sources, and more and more it looked like something that I could write. As far as prep was concerned, I had been prepping since July, gradually developing the habit of trying to write something creative every day – even if it wasn’t the same narrative.
MM: I tried to “pants” my novel in 2014 and drove myself insane. I’m a planner by nature and I need a clear story arc and time-line to feel grounded when I write.
(Side note: I like the use of “pants” as a verb.)
Do you give yourself incentives or rewards for reaching your daily goal?
DO: I don’t do many celebrations until I hit halfway or further. Until then, it’s just an exercise in typing.
NP: No, I’ve never bothered with the reward system.
RR: Every day I have been writing a motivational phrase on my mirror for me to read the next morning. Then I post that message to the group. At the end of the first week, I printed out everything that I had written just so I could see it as a finished product. I guess my incentive is to have me touch and feel everything – so that it isn’t just a file on my computer but something that is real. That comes from a lifetime of being told that real work is with your hands and people sitting behind their desks are just marking time.
MM: LOL! If chocolate counts, sure 😉 Just being able to say that I put words on the page that day lifts my spirits and I can share that on the WCYR’s Word By Word Facebook group hosting the Mini-NaNo.
What have you done with your finished, or unfinished projects in the past? What do you plan on doing with it?
DO: Four of the five NaNo projects have been published. This one is a continuation of last year’s novel so it needs to be published as well.
NP: Not certain what I’ll do with the story I started last year. The previous year’s writing will be part of my Detective Hodgins novella series.
RR: I’ve made some submissions to magazines or contests but nothing serious. I’ve never been part of a writing group. As far as what I plan on doing with this novel? I plan on finishing it. Everything else is just details.
MM: In 2014 I wrote an Urban Fantasy which I’m still trying to find an agent to represent. In 2016 I wrote book 3 in my SFF series and self-published it the following spring. This year I’m writing book 4 with the same goal of publishing in the spring.
I enjoyed the varied collection of responses, probably as varied as the finished products themselves. I’d like to thank Doug, Nanci, Rob, and MJ for taking the time to answer the questions and share with everyone their NaNoWriMo experiences.
There is still one more NaNoWriMo write-in at Covernotes this month:
Saturday Nov. 25th @ Covernotes Cafe, Newmarket Main St. S. ~ from 1:00pm-3:00pm (Doug Owen)