And the blog party rages on!
Sean Van Damme- television video editor, writer and soon-to-be husband joins the blog to share his NaNoWriMo experiences.
Sean Van Damme
-Tell us about you:
I am a video editor for TV news by trade, and a writer by passion, hopefully in the next few years I can drop the by trade part. I’m in my mid 20’s live in a nice little house with my fiancé our little Dachshund named Gaius Baltar – yes the Battlestar Galactica Character, we are nerds—and our cat Gracie. I work at night so unlike most people who write after work I do so before work. I grew up in a military family moving all around the country spending time in Mississippi, Southern California and Japan, before finally coming to Virginia. Interests outside of writing are video games, TV Movies and annoying people by wanting to watch the local news for strange places I might travel. Most of those strange places are because until just recently my fiancé and our dog competed in Agility which meant a lot of traveling in the VA, NC, and MD areas. For a while I wanted to be a director and after failing to get into film school because my drawing ability tops out at stick figures, I went into video Journalism because they will give anybody a camera. It is only in the last two years that I returned to novels which I was obsessed with back in middle and the early part of high school.
-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?:
At present it is a side profession, but when I am writing and not trying to decipher my horrific spelling, I generally can knock out about 2,000 words a day before work so between about 10am-2pm. On the weekend I shot for and normally hit about 3,500 words. Given no restrictions I suspect that I could write 50,000 words in probably three weeks.
-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:
My first NaNoWriMo was last year. I had meant to do it in 2009 and completely forgot, and was busy playing Dragon Age (I didn’t yet have the best work ethic at that point). On Nov 1 I sat down with a story that had been kicking around in my head for well over a year. All I had were the first few scenes for a Noir story and a Macguffin that I didn’t know the true value of. The first few days were really easy, aside from the working so fast that I switched from first person to third without even realizing for about seven chapters. I slowed down, as the plot started to get more confusing, but thanks to the wonderful woman that I live with I managed to push through finishing with a few days to spare. The major problem and one I don’t plan on making again was that I almost ran out of plot, which can really kill your flow, and desire to keep working.
-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 did manage to win and wrote just over 50k, around 50,200.
-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?:
For a while I had trouble finishing any project that I started; only finishing my first novel because I set an arbitrary be finished by date. I saw NaNoWriMo as another mandated finish date that would help me plug through and polish those writing habits. I keep coming back for more because I love the work, and the feeling that you get when you finish that first draft is one of the best feelings I have ever felt. It is like a drug and you just need another hit, which means writing another book.
-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?:
Outlining. I wish I had done more of that beforehand so that I would have seen the running out of plot coming, and maybe could have compensated for it early in the month instead of scrambling in the last few days. Aim to write 2000 words every day that will leave you with 6 extra days incase life happens, which it always does. That super productive 3k day can help offset that day where you have to go grocery shopping or work overtime.
-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):
My story is with an editor right now after sitting fallow for about six months because I wasn’t happy with it come December 1. So hopefully it will come out in early November or late October, we’ll see.
-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)
I suspect time will be my biggest challenge this year, since I can see wanting to work on the two manuscripts that I have still in the edit phase and not want to add a third. Thankfully I think I have the work ethic down this year thanks to last year. That first year is always the hardest.
-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 am outlining a sequel to last year’s book. Though if that outline isn’t up to snuff by the first I have a sci-fi novel that I have been starting and stopping for the last year. I see NaNoWriMo as a great way to push it forward as there is a good 80 or 90k words left to add to the already written 40k.
-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?
Yup, NaNo is a great way to push out a manuscript and having a bunch of people doing the same thing fuels you and helps push a writer though those times when they lose faith in the story and themselves. I see no reason not to finish a winning book.