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NaNoWriMo 2012 Week Two: Six Writers Each Pen A Book In One Month

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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an event for which writers buckle down in an attempt to complete 50,000-word stories during the month of November, is nearly halfway over. This week, the authors we are following have shared their favorite characters, favorite sentences and their current word counts.

To be on track with their word counts, writers should be finished with just under 20,000 words by the end of tonight. Some of our participants are ahead of schedule, while others remark that they are "pitifully" behind. Either way, they've been sacrificing television-watching and lots of sleep in order to achieve their word count goals.

Check out what these WriMos from around the world, including a stay-at-home mom and a published author living in the Middle East, have to say about their works-in-progress:

WriMo: Marita, 37, Australia
Title: Sunlight

What's your favorite sentence that you wrote this week?
"In photos of Jimi at the same age, he is diving into the camera's frame, already in flight."

Describe a character in your book that you're fond of.
Phil, the oldest of the Hope kids, is a social climber desperate to escape his quirky past. He's ditched his birth name, Fidel, and reinvented himself in real estate. But deep down his bond to his family remains strong, and when they're under threat, he's spurred into action. He's the funniest character, and the most fun to write.

How many words have you written so far?
It's Day 12 for me, and I've written 20,053 words.

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
My phone alarm, which sounds like a cricket, goes off at 5:55 AM. By 6:00 AM, I'm at my desk. I wake before my toddler, which feels like I'm contravening a law of nature, so I have to tiptoe upstairs to our attic. There are skylights in the roof, and because it's summer here, it's light and warm once I start typing.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to your writing?
Twice I didn't reach my target in the morning and had to write in the evenings (including Friday night). But sacrificing some forgettable TV shows and forgoing a few end-of-week wines was not, in the scheme of things, such a great loss.

WriMo: Dan, 28, Toronto
Title: The Guardians

What's your favorite sentence that you wrote this week?
"She was college-aged and ready to rule the world."

Describe a character in your book that you're fond of.
This is hard to choose! I guess I'll go with October, a shy young woman with a bit of clairvoyance that is going to become a very important character as the novel progresses.

How many words have you written so far?
Because of a hectic weekend I'm only a little over 17,000 words - a few thousand behind if I don't find time to write today!

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I do most of my writing at work, on my lunch break. I put headphones on so that I can focus and just write like mad.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to your writing?
Only keeping up with TV - there are certainly worse sacrifices!

WriMo: Samantha, 22, New York
Title: The Heart Wants

What's your favorite sentence that you wrote this week?
"Even though she's subsisting on coffee and Indian takeout, Hannah has never been happier."

Describe a character in your book that you're fond of.
Two characters, really, Hannah and her father, because of how close they are and they inside jokes they share. I designed their relationship as a hybrid version of my relationship with my parents. I'm equally close with both of them. Hannah isn't your average daddy's girl; whether she likes it or not, she's much more like her mother a perfectionist, a planner, the kind of person who'd rather do something herself to insure it goes done her way. Jack is much more laid back, so they balance each other very well.

How many words have you written so far?
2,254 (so pitiful).

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I sit at my kitchen counter early in the morning before I leave for work and late in the evening after dinner. Those are the only times I have free to write (hence the super low word count). I try to write some on my lunch breaks, but one hour just isn't enough time to focus and zone back into the story and the characters.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to your writing?
Sleep, most of all. And a few favorite TV shows--which I watch online later. I wish I could say it was the other way around; I wish I could sacrifice a little bit of some of the other stuff going on in my life (ahem, 3 jobs) so I could write. This week, I'm going to try to schedule two hours every day to devote to my novel. It means more coffee and less sleep, but it will be worth it to see the word count go up next week.

WriMo: Kate, 41, Middle East
Title: Diamonds

What's your favorite sentence that you wrote this week?
"The sun broke through the clouds, and jewel bright ruby, sapphire, emerald patches of light from the Chagall stained glass window shifted over her like a glimmering cloak."

It's a rare moment of peace for my protagonist, Grace. Poor girl, I've really thrown everything at her, (that shard of ice all writers are supposed to have in their hearts is firmly in place!).

Describe a character in your book that you're fond of.
I'm really enjoying Fraser - an eccentric British aristocrat who is writing his memoirs with Grace's help. He's trying to make sense of his past and find the love of his life, a mysterious American woman who disappeared the night before their wedding thirty years ago. He's unpredictable, and has given me some nice surprises as his story takes off.

How many words have you written so far?
23,179

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
At my desk, transcribing the handwritten pages. Scribbling notes in traffic jams, on the school run, in the middle of the night. I love it when the story comes to life and you're racing to keep up with the characters.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to your writing?
Some sleep, some 'down time', but the children are back at school after half term break and my pilot husband has been in Japan this week, so I've made the most of the long, quiet evenings!

WriMo: Beth, 44, California
Title: A Deep and Dark December


Describe a character in your book that you're fond of.
This is a difficult. I'm fond of all my characters. If I had to chose one I'd pick Graham. He's the sixth generation sheriff of the small town he grew up in. It wasn't a job he wanted, but the town and his family need him. He's sarcastic, pig-headed, and cares deeply for his friends and family. More than he wants to admit. The poor fellow has been through so much and he's about to go through a whole lot more. This is his story and he's about to discover something about himself and the town that will change his life forever.

How many words have you written so far?
18,553 bone-crushing, mind-numbing words.

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
The last week it's been really rough to get away and write so I've been hunkering down at home.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to your writing?
Television. I've cut way back on my TV time. Although on the days when the writing is difficult I use TV as a reward. If I meet my goal for the day I get to watch Castle, Sons of Anarchy or Revenge. I work well with rewards. Sometimes it's the only thing that gets me through.

WriMo: Elliot, 25, Oregon
Title: Midnight Run

What's your favorite sentence that you wrote this week?
"Row upon row, instruments of death lined three of the shed’s four walls."

Describe a character in your book that you're fond of.
My protagonist's father is turning into one of my favorite characters. In the beginning, he's perceived as one-dimensional because his son fails to imagine him complexly. But as more puzzle pieces fall into place and we learn more about him, he's not just a rigid, gruff man. He's a loving person that tries to protect his family from the hard realities of their world. That's been a lot of fun for me to explore.

How many words have you written so far?
23,040

Where and when have you been doing most of your writing?
I write at home, mostly, because it's really easy to get distracted elsewhere. I even downloaded an app that deactivates my computer's ability to connect to the Internet for whatever length of time I need. I sit on my bed, listen to music, and go. Typically in the evenings, with a few morning sessions mixed in.

Have you had to sacrifice anything in the past week in order to devote yourself to your writing?
I've sacrificed sleep more than anything. (Election night specifically was responsible for that.) In the beginning I was writing strictly when I got home from work, but I realized waking up early and tackling the first half of my word count before I left for the day opened up my evenings. This way, I don't force myself to fill a 1,600-word hole every day when I got back from the office.

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