*This year I wanted to provide a spotlight for a few writers who have decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Enjoy getting to know them and learn from their insights! If you’re doing NaNoWriMo and would like to be interviewed, go to the Contact page and drop me a message!
Tell us why do you participate in National Novel Writing Month?
The challenge! I’m already motivated to write, so this month gives me added motivation with a firm deadline to at least hit 50,000 words (although last year I surpassed that, and hope to do so again this year).
It also has been a great way to make friends. Last year I built a close relationship with a few writers I met online…and honestly I can say, though we’ve never met, they’ve become some of my best friends. We help motivate each other and inspire, and without them I don’t think I’d be where I am in my projects now.
How/When did you first learn about NaNoWriMo?
I first learned about it in 2011. I was finishing high school at the time, and the school library was issuing a challenge for anyone who wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure what came out of it as I might have been one of the only ones to join, but I remember joining and winning NaNo! I still have that idea on standby to revisit one day.
How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo?
Let’s see…I participated in 2011, 2012, 2013, and then took a break for a couple years, only to pick it up again in 2017 and 2018. So this will be my sixth year participating!
Of the five previous years, I won three of them.
What is your NaNoWriMo project for this year?
This year I am working on Book 3 in my series, The Life & Death Cycle, titled The Towers of Knoll.
If all goes according to plan, I will be publishing the first book, The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice, next year. Last year for NaNo I worked on the backbone to Book 2, A Pool of Peony, which helped with rounding out the rough edges of the first book.
I’m hoping NaNo this year will help me the same way it did last year.
Do dreams inspire your writing ideas?
This question is EXTREMELY relevant to my NaNoWriMo idea. Yes! They do!
Often they are little snippets. For instance, I had a dream that involved towers that moved in the water. It sounds weird, but since when aren’t dreams weird? Well, I’ve added an element like that to my story! I won’t go into details…but I think it’s an interesting addition.
How do you get into the minds of your characters?
There are a few ways I get into the mind of my characters: driving, exercising, and brainstorming.
I have a 40 minute commute and often during that time I put myself in the mind of my characters and plot, daydream, etcetera. Usually this is when I work out my worst plot holes and define little things about my characters. I ask myself, oh hey, how would the protagonist react to this situation? Of course, it would help if I could write this down while driving!
Now, I know sometimes it’s hard to focus on anything but your lungs dying when you exercise, but for me it’s when I work out the biggest plot problems and really explore my characters! When I come back from a run, or from the gym, or from a swim I feel reenergized! It’s a good way to clear my head and refocus, since when I’m running…it’s just my characters and me.
Finally, by brainstorming, I don’t mean alone. I mean with others. With my writing buddies, I often toss ideas around or we ask questions like “oh hey, what would your main character do in this scenario?” or “how would they react to this?” and so forth. By working with them, I think I’ve fleshed out my characters…and helped them develop theirs as well!
What is your preferred genre to write in?
Fantasy, without a doubt! I love creating worlds and testing the limits of my imagination!
Anything else you’d like to share with us?
As I mentioned, I plan to launch my first book, The Mist Keeper’s Apprentice, in 2020. For more information you can check out my website esbarrison-author.com.
If you’d like to add me on NaNoWriMo, you can here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/elaynabwriting
Thank you so much, E.S. for taking the time to share with us a little bit about yourself and your writing experiences. Best of luck for your NaNoWriMo! If anyone has any questions or comments for her please leave them in the Comment section.