On this beautiful Saturday, our first official weekend NaNoWriMo, I’m so excited to introduce you all to writer, food enthusiast, devoted daughter, big mouth with daemon tongue, and self professed geek with pagan tendencies, Kali Amanda Browne. Kali was sweet enough to stop by and share her brilliant NaNo history…so read, relax and most importantly–ENJOY!
Kali Amanda Browne
-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 have written two novels – both as a NaNoWriMo participant. I started two others but it has taken me considerably longer to reach that 50,000 mark.
There are six chapters already written on the crime novel, and 16,905 words. I don’t know how long it will take to push through to the end, but there’s no pressure and no deadline. It’d probably go faster if I were a little more disciplined.
I started a steampunk novel and have about 12,000 words. This is meant to be part one of a series but I am not sure where it is going yet.
Of course, I edited a cookbook, wrote a second one and started researching a third. I published a short story, and have another coming out before the end of the year. I may have overextended myself a little bit.
-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?:
My first NaNoWriMo was in 2009 and it was a chaotic mess but immensely fun. Despite the insanity of trying to reach those 50,000 words in 30 days, there was something incredibly liberating about trying. You may hit a rough patch here or there, but for the most part, it’s 30 days of being on a creative high.
-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)?:
In 2009, the final word count was 50,433. In 2010 the final count was 52,109 – and the published novel added another 1,000 words or so.
-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?:
Every year, for ten years, my friend Mike would suggest it; and every year I’d consider it and then reject it. Frankly, the idea was a little terrifying and while I wrote essays, articles and short stories effortlessly, I wasn’t sure I had a 50,000 word novel in me.
In 2009, I needed the escape. I registered a day late, came up with a quick idea to start it up and wrote in my blog, “This has disaster and humiliation written all over it!” I love a challenge. At that point I just felt I had to do it.
-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?:
It’s probably easier if you outline the plot and some scenes you want to cover and clearly define the characters before you start writing. Clarity makes it easier to write, I believe.
In 2009 I started with nothing and sometimes it was like running uphill in a hurricane! The more you know about your story and your characters, the better. You do not have to plan out every detail, but this understanding opens up ideas, themes, and emotional breakthroughs.
The one piece of advice I have for newcomers in particular is not to over-intellectualize the process. Write and enjoy it, don’t let your critical brain to impose itself into the process. It is a total party popper!
-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):
The novel from 2009 was so incredibly bad there was no salvaging any of it. I left it alone for over a year and when I read sections of it I blanched it was such an embarrassment. Then I re-read it in 2011. I junked it because I decided that should I die suddenly, I prefer that people find porn in my hard drive rather than that manuscript.
The novel from 2010, “Justified” was a more cohesive work. I continued to tweak it after NaNoWriMo. When I finished it, I had two editors look it over. I made corrections and rewrote the end.
I self-published “Justified” in April 2011.
-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’m not sure I will have the time this year, though I’d like to give it a try. There are other obligations that will require my time and energy. I’ll probably try anyway.
-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 have a couple of characters that I’d love to write for, although the one plot I considered seems a little too gruesome and I may abandon it. I have no explicit plans to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, but there is something exciting about starting with a completely clean slate.
-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo?:
If I take the plunge, I will more than likely try to self-publish it as well.