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NaNoWriMo Authors Discuss Their Goals and Sacrifices

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Writers young and old, published and un-, are striving towards their goal of scribing 50,000 words by the end of November as National Novel Writing Month continues. Last week we asked seven "WriMos," the affectionate nickname for participants, about their opening lines and inspiration.

This week, the same authors and aspiring authors share their favorite characters and biggest sacrifices.

To be on track to reach their word counts, which would add up to around a 160 page book when printed in the popular paperback page dimensions of 5.5 in x 8.5 in, writers should have completed 12,500 words by today. Some have far exceeded the mark, while others lament they are "way behind."

Connor, an 11-year-old participant who is penning her piece between classes, says she's not too concerned with word count. "I've been sick... I've gotten behind" she says. "It doesn't matter if I get 50,000 words, but that I actually finish writing a book for once in my life!"

Here are their stories:

Barry, Colorado
@BarryJHickey
Writing "The Witch With 300 Hats," a YA novel about a pair of adventuresome twins

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
"Each time we eat a soul cake, someone goes to heaven," Chloe smiled. "But if you spit it out, they stay in purgatory forever."

Tell us about a character in your book that you’re fond of.
My villain Buddy Beakley appears to be a dull-witted bully but is blossoming into a multi-faceted lost soul seeking approval. Very Shakespearean.

How many words have you written so far?
13,007

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I write at my office during my lunch break, driving on the interstate in my 30-mile commute and during the witching hour (midnight – 3am) when magic things happen and supernatural creatures are at their most powerful.

What do your friends, family or coworkers think of the endeavor?
Blank stares and cold detachment. I am surrounded by people living lives of quiet desperation devoid of magic in their lives.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
I’m skipping Happy Hour and my eyesight is suffering a nocturnal myopia caused from having to type in the dark while others sleep.

Chelsea, Dallas
@VampBookClub
Writing a romantic paranormal book involving mythology

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
That’s my girl. Evil descends and she goes straight for fantasy references.

Tell us about a character in your book that you’re fond of.
Thad has to protect and teach the heroine to use her abilities (paranormal novel, remember?), but isn’t sure how to handle a protection detail for someone more powerful than him.

How many words have you written so far?
12,036

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I’ve been setting aside time right after I get home from work to write. There’s a bit of a gap before my husband gets home, so I’ve been taking the alone time to get the majority of my word count out. Though, I have to admit, on the weekend I found myself hitting word count before noon. Something I never would have predicted.

What do your friends, family or coworkers think of the endeavor?
Everyone’s been very supportive and curious. There’s something to be said for having friends and family check in on your progress. My husband cheered me on when I hit the 10K mark on Sunday, and doesn’t seem to mind getting to dominate the TV remote while I’m off writing.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
It’s most certainly cut into my reading time. Typically, I read two or three books each week. I made through just one the first week of NaNo.

Sonja, Wisconsin
@SJWhipp
Writing a financial crime thriller

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
He needed to think and he couldn’t think around all of these beautiful women.

Tell us about a character in your book that you’re fond of.
I'm fond of the protagonist, Laurel. Although Laurel is going to do some pretty awful things that will negatively impact everyone she knows, including her children, her husband, and her employer, she is a sympathetic character. She really does mean well, but some therapy might have been helpful for her.

How many words have you written so far?
9,170. I know, I'm way behind.

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I'm been doing most of my writing at home in my bed. I've always been anti-working in bed, but this has worked out well.

What do your friends, family or coworkers think of the endeavor?
They are very supportive of this endeavor. They all know about my desire to write a novel, so they have been encouraging. One friend even offered to sit with me while I wrote pieces of my novel.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
I've sacrificed a bit of sleep and a few homemade meals.

Spenser, Kentucky
@feverdreamy
Writing a personal fiction piece about undergraduate English majors

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
It happened that a massive storm front moved through the region just after Dana was born—the storm ravaged the Chicagoland area with 9.35 inches of rain over the course of about seventeen hours and caused an estimated $220 million of damage—but short of contriving that the two events were somehow connected, her life began in an utterly normal fashion.

Tell us about a character in your book that you’re fond of.
Maxine Doyle, who accidentally facilitates an affair her sister has that ends up producing one of my main characters, Dana.

How many words have you written so far?
10,019.

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
Generally I produce the bulk of my word count in the afternoon and early evening, and my favorite spot to set up shop is in my living room near several large windows overlooking my backyard.

What do your friends, family or coworkers think of the endeavor?
Everyone I've told about the project is very supportive. Writing has always been my greatest passion and the idea of seeing me bring an ambitious work to fruition is almost as exciting to them as it is to me.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
I'm an awful political junky and I've had to cut back a lot on how much time I devote to keeping up with the ever-changing political landscape. Given the development of certain scandals over the past week, I'm sure there are those who appreciate how difficult it has been to make this sacrifice.

Connor, Florida (age 11)
Writing a story about a haunted mansion

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
Louis moaned and said, "Am I dead? I’m dead, aren’t I? I hit my head on the floor and now I’m dead. Or maybe I am dying. Why am I using my last seconds of thought to think about how I am dying? Stupid."

Tell us about a character in your book that you’re fond of.
I’m fond of Henry. She goes against others’ wills, and she is different than a regular girl during that time. She is adventurous, just like I’d like to be.

How many words have you written so far?
Because I have been sick (allergies) I have gotten behind... I only have 2,737 words. Of course, it doesn't matter if I get 50,000 words, but that I actually finish writing a book for once in my life!

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I do most of my writing at school during our free time. And we have a lot of it!

What do your friends, family or coworkers think of the endeavor?
When my classmates found out about it, their initial reaction was, "How in the world does someone write 50,000 words?" Then they started to understand that I wanted to do this, that I thought it was fun, and slowly some of them decided to start writing one themselves. Also, my dad's work-friend said he was inspired that I was doing this, so he started one, too.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
Not exactly... We usually do our homework in class, but because I wanted to write a bit more, I didn't do the homework in class. I did it at home, instead. Not exactly a sacrifice, since that is what we are supposed to do in the first place, but it was something I did in order to have more writing time.

Wil, California
@WilJames_author
Writing a YA book about a modern day prince with a dysfunctional family

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
For the first time in a long time, my father had been brought to mind by someone who worked with him, and my emotions were close to the surface.

Tell us about a character in your book that you’re fond of.
16-year-old Janice has the misfortune to be from the ‘wrong’ branch of the family, but she still helps the outcasts, the weakest, and the most vulnerable. She will change history.

How many words have you written so far?
19,257.

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
Mostly at home, on the weekend and evenings, set up in my favorite chair. But, I also have my old laptop at work, and I enjoy doing 1,000 words or more at lunch while I eat my sandwich. Also, there’s no internet at work, so that totally stops distractions.

What do your friends, family or coworkers think of the endeavor?
I have a coworker, best friend and fellow writer, the poet K. B. Harris, who has always been very encouraging, but particularly this month. He tells me that I ‘write from the heart’ and that I should just keep going as much as I need or want.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
I think I’ve sacrificed the cleanliness of my apartment, and perhaps just a little of my sanity. But seriously, I really enjoy the writing, so I don’t look on any of this as a sacrifice.

Lara, New York
@districtbelle
Writing a fiction novel about getting back in touch with her Southern roots

Give us one sentence you wrote today.
This isn't happening... I audibly gasped, running back towards the house, rosemary and thyme flying through the air in my wake.

Tell us about a character in your book that you're fond of.
The main character's hometown ex. He's the good guy but with a sparkle. A dash of mystery along with dependable charm. What's not to like there?

How many words have you written so far?
Just over 5,000. Not where I wanted to be, but working to catch back up.

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
So far, it's been a mix of the subway, my bed, and a teahouse.

What do your friends/family/coworkers think of the endeavor?
My friends and family have always been supportive. It's nice because they're understanding if I have to turn down some November invites in favor of writing. My sister and I plan to write together in cafes this month and my boyfriend and I plan to work together some evenings - him doing art and me writing.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to writing?
Other than neglecting my food blog, my biggest sacrifice has been sleep. I've stayed up later, specially on the first day, and I've mostly nixed my beloved subway naps. I had house guests this past weekend so I plan on foregoing the relaxing day off for Friday's holiday to instead catch up all day.

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Filed by Maddie Crum