Emily grew up with a fantastical imagination and parlayed that into a stunning career as an author. With an unwavering belief that her books should be read–whether they fit traditional markets or not–E.S Lark has given readers beautiful stories. Today, she joins the La Bella Novella blog to discuss her 2011 NaNoWriMo plans! Thank you Emily!
-Name: Emily Lark
-Blog/Website Address: http://www.eslark.com
-Tell us about you: I’ve been writing fantasy fiction for about twenty years now. I’ve tried other genres, but they never seem to stick as long. A few of my favorite authors include Mercedes Lackey, Andre Norton, Piers Anthony and R. A. Salvatore.
-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?: This really comes down to how easily the story flows for me. I’ve been known to writer 30,000 words in as little as six days. I’m sure if a story really grabbed me, I could easily achieve 50,000 in one week. Unfortunately, it usually takes more time than that because I obsess over the smaller details.
-This isn’t your first NaNoWriMo…tell us about your first time?: Last year was actually my first Nanowrimo, but I didn’t write under this name. I was working on a piece of non-fiction at the time (making me a Nano rebel) and didn’t want to confuse my readers by using the same name.
-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 Nanowrimo last year a few days before it ended. I believe I finished with about 52,000 words, and then through edits I cut that down to around 47,000 words.
-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?: I’d seen a lot of my writing peers getting geared for it and I kind of felt left out. I’m doing it this year because I enjoy the community as it’s going on. You can join chatrooms, chat on the forums, join in writing sprints or even meet up with local authors.
-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?: About halfway through Nano last year I started to fall behind. I let myself get stuck on a scene because it wasn’t flowing as smoothly as I would’ve liked. I’m one of those writers who edits as she writes, which makes the writing process longer than it has to be.
When I realized what was holding my novel back, I forced myself to ignore the internal editor. Sometimes we forget that the first draft isn’t supposed to look polished and that it’s just there as another piece of the foundation. So, for myself and new Nano writers out there, I order you to turn off the editor. Get the bare bones of your novel down in the first draft. Basically, your head’s full of words and letters. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, and the only way to get rid of it is to throw the novel onto the page as quickly as possible. Get it out and move on. You can fix any mistakes during the editing process.
-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 book I wrote last year has been edited about six times. It’s ready for publication, but I got sidetracked with my fantasy. At the moment, I don’t have enough time to do the interior layout and cover work, so it will have to wait. I do plan on publishing it in the future though.
-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) Time management. Ever since I released my first book this fall, I’ve been unable to manage my time as well as I’d like. I tell myself to do one hour of marketing/connecting with readers in the morning, but that one hour soon becomes two or even three hours long. I do the same in the evening. So when I’m not marketing or connecting, I do my very best to write, but I’m constantly checking email, my blog for comments, Twitter and online writing communities.
-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 had three ideas for Nano earlier this season, and it kept changing. Now, with Trueblood’s Plight coming out next month just as Nano begins, I’ve decided to work on the sequel. I’ve done very little prep for this. I’m using a plot idea I had about a year ago, changing a few things and winging it. I know it’s not for everyone, but I cannot use an outline.
I feel restricted if I do, like I need to follow the exact outline. Besides, most times when I plan on something happening, my characters decide they want to do something else. They’re the ones that write my books. I’m just there for the ride and to make sure no one dies (usually).
-Do you plan to keep working on this book/novella/script post-NaNo? I do. Since I started on my road to publication about two years ago, I’ve made myself a promise. I’m not allowed to start a book and not finish it, even if I get stuck. If I gave up when I had a writer’s block that lasted two weeks last year, Trueblood’s Plight wouldn’t exist. It’s hard trudging through the meat of a novel at times, but we never know how good it could’ve been unless we finish it.