Blog Party for Nathan Lowell

Welcome to my Blog Party!

For the span of November I’ll be hosting amazing authors who have either done NaNoWriMo before (we can call them vets) or first time participants (we’ll call them virgins).  Hopefully from their knowledge we can all gain some better insight and share in their experiences.

Nathan Lowell– teacher, author and podcaster extraordinaire is my first guest–and I’m thrilled to introduce him to you all!!  Enjoy!

-Name:  Nathan Lowell

 -Blog/Website Address:

-Tell us about you:

I started writing when I was a kid. I gave up on slush piles decades ago and got on with making a living. In the back of my mind the whole time, I nurtured the notion that someday I’d make my living by telling my stories.


In 2004, with the advent of podcasting, I discovered podcast fiction and started listening to podiobooks – novels produced as serialized audiobooks. After listening to a few, I set out to make one of my own. In Jan, 2007, I started writing what would become a six volume series and that was the first year that I won NaNoWriMo with an 86k word manuscript for South Coast.


-If you’re a writer–professionally speaking–what is your “normal novel” pace?  Given no restrictions on time, how long would you say it takes you to write 50,000 words?:


I’m a binge writer. When I get on a binge, 50k words is a few days–five or six. I’ll go for months at a time without writing more than the occasional blog post, but then find myself spending every waking moment writing, anxiously hammering keys to try to keep up with the movie playing in my head.

-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:

I *think* the first one was 2005. It was a lot of flailing for a few days and then my day job got in the way. I didn’t “win” that year.

-Since there is an end goal–which makes you a “winner”–did you win and reach 50k in your past NaNoWriMo’s?  How many words total did you write (more or less or dead even)?:

I won in 2007 and 2009 with about 86k and 114k words respectively. For me a novel has to be at least 80k and 100k is more “comfortable.” While I know that the old masters in science fiction wrote works in the 45-60k range, I like a reading experience that has a little more breadth to it. My goal is “breaking 80” but I seldom finish a novel in under 100k these days.

-NaNoWriMo is a lot of work, so we all want to know, what initially inspired you to join the writeathon movement and then, what has kept you coming back for more?:

Initially, it was “a good excuse to write.” I was in this event, see? So I *had* to write and the family just had to understand. (No, they didn’t but that was my mindset.) I kept coming back because of the fun. The opportunity to devote a month to a brand new work is intoxicating. Writing with a supportive community just adds icing to the cake. I entered (and failed) in 2008, because of day job commitments, and sat out 2010 because I had too many writing projects in progress to break off and start a new one.


I’m thinking that 2011 might be good year to get back into the fray.

-What were some of the things you taken away from past NaNo’s?  Any lessons you’d pass on to a newcomer and things you’d personally do different this year?:

Write early and often. Pay attention to the word counts and get on top of them early. Just WRITE. Only re-write if you find yourself in a plot hole and even then, keep going.

-What happened to your story–did you publish it?  Junk it?  Still working on it?  (this is the place where it is A-O.K to mention a published book, if that book came from NaNoWriMo’s of the past):

I won 2007 with South Coast and published it at over December 07 and January 08. It was a finalist in the 2008 Parsec Awards for Speculative Fiction (long form). It’s on the calendar for publication by Ridan Publishing in 2013.


I won 2009 with Ravenwood and published it at in January and February 2010. I will be self publishing it in October.

-What do you think your biggest personal challenge will be when it comes to NaNoWriMo this year? (examples: time, other obligations, consistency of participation, writers block)

Getting the old projects off my plate so I can focus. I want to do the Ravenwood sequel this year but I have another book that I have to finish before I can dig in.

-Since you’re obviously back for more–tell us–what prep work have you done for 2011 NaNo?  Do you have a strong plot mapped out?  Character development?  What are you current plans?:

I haven’t done a thing. What I need to do is finish my current work and then I can think about the story ahead. I have some plans, but I’m a “pantser” … I write from the seat of my pants. More accurately, I write the movie in my head and I never know how it’s going to end until the closing credits scroll.

-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?

Oh yes. That book will be podcast next year and published in text formats.


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