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11/20/2012 12:03 pm ET Updated Nov 20, 2012

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

November seems to be breezing along, and so are writers partaking in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), a 30-day sprint to pen at least 50,000 words.

To be on target to reach their word count goals, participants should have completed over 30,000 words of their works-in-progress by now. Of the six writers (affectionally referred to as WriMos) whose progress we've been following, most are right on track, while others lag behind and one speedy wordsmith has already surpassed 50k.

During the first week, our WriMos talked about their game plans and first sentences. After week two, they shared their sacrifices and favorite characters. This week, they discuss dialogue, literary inspirations and the advantages of abandoning their inner critic. Check it out!:

WriMo: Marita, 37, Australia
Title: Sunlight

Give us a line of dialogue from the text.
"Your health is not a thing you just replace. We are not like the lizards; if we lose our tail, it does not grow back. Once your health is gone -- poof!" The old man strummed his fingers as if to scatter ashes.

How many words have you written?
33, 373

What have you been reading recently? Has it influenced your writing?
Two books are Swamplandia! by Karen Russell and Wild by Cheryl Strayed. The first has a vivid setting, and the second has an episodic structure peppered with eccentric characters. Both helped me think about those aspects of my own book.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of writing quickly?
Proving that you can write on demand really boosts your self confidence. And writing against the clock for NaNoWriMo "sprints" is guaranteed to silence your inner critic - your racing heart drowns out anything else! I also think writing fast helps you reach a state of flow (faster).

There's just a little over a week left. Do you know how your book will end?
I don't write in a linear way, so I've already written parts of a possible ending. But it's like building a tunnel from both sides and hoping it will connect when you blast through the center. I'll only know if the ending works once I've completed my first draft.

WriMo: Dan, 28, Toronto
Title: The Guardians

Give us a line of dialogue from the text.
“Without the wolfpacks prowling about our chicken hutches, we’ve had the opportunity to actually build on what we had.”

How many words have you written?
I'm hovering just under 28,000 right now. This month has been busier than usual at my job, so I've had to work through some lunches - not ideal for my master plan!

What have you been reading recently? Has it influenced your writing?
I've been bouncing between some much more magic-oriented urban fantasy (Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim series), tried reading Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials and gave up through the second book (queue hate mail), and right now I'm tearing through Ursula K LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven for the first time - fantastic stuff. I've got my eye on reading Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series next, as I picked up a bunch of them second-hand a while back. Everything I read influences me in one way or another, whether it's writing style (I love Kadrey's), things I want to do (some of the imagery in LeGuin's novels is phenomenal), or things I don't want to do (Pullman's plot just wasn't gripping me).

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of writing quickly?
The advantages for me of writing quickly is just getting it done. I am a horrible procrastinator (or an excellent procrastinator if you want to look at it another way) and having this pressure means that I'm going to keep writing, even if I'm behind.

There's just a little over a week left. Do you know how your book will end?
The way I am making sure that I can write as much as I am able every day is by having a complete outline before November 1st - a full five-act breakdown, with some basic summaries of each chapter. On Sunday night I wrapped up chapter six, and with it Act 1; I'm hoping to get to chapter thirteen (about halfway through my third act) by the 30th, so I won't actually be finishing my novel proper. It does mean I know how I want the novel to end, though a few of my chapters have already changed pretty drastically... who knows if that's how it will look when I'm finally done?

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

Give us a line of dialogue from the text.
"Oh no, I'll leave you girls to the lace and crinoline. I'm afraid the price tags may lead to any early death. Then who would walk your sister down the aisle?"

How many words have you written?
Well, it's taking me a lot--A LOT--longer to get through my manuscript that other NaNoWriMo participants. Quality over quantity is what I always say.

What have you been reading recently? Has it influenced your writing?
I just finished The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, in preparation for the movie. Although Quick's style is very different from mine, I love the unconventional romance between Pat and Tiffany. And I love the adorably-flawed narrator. Every book I read, I pick up a little bit of inspiration, like these details in Silver Linings. The next book on my list is a historical romance--completely different from Quick's book. I like to mix it up: it keeps me on my toes as a reader and a writer.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of writing quickly?
I'm a perfectionist, so I write slowly, revise a lot, and edit as I go. That's just how I work. By the time I get to the end, I may go back and change the whole thing, but if I'm not happy about something I've written, I can't just leave it for later. I think a lot and make a lot of copious notes before I sit down with my laptop, so I get a lot of my thoughts out on paper before I put it into the story. I guess this is my version of "writing quickly" and letting my mind just go.

There's just a little over a week left. Do you know how your book will end?
I'm nowhere near the end, but I know a couple of big plot events that will come towards the end of the story. Everything I'm writing now is leading up to this big, dramatic moment, but beyond that, I'm not sure right now. That's the beauty of being a writer, letting the characters and the events determine how the story will unfold. I will say that my favorite books have had disconcerting endings, abrupt, unsatisfying conclusions that don't often don't conclude anything. Maybe that's where my story is heading. Maybe it will have a happily-ever-after The End. I love the not knowing.

WriMo: Kate, 41, Middle East
Title: Diamonds

Give us a line of dialogue from the text.
"Fraser, I don’t make the gems, they're there already. I just set them free. That’s what we are going to do with your memoir. We’re going to cut away the rough edges and show what lies beneath." Grace looked at the tables piled with notes and photographs. "We’re going to cut and polish until your story is flawless."

How many words have you written?
63,605 - and still going

What have you been reading recently? Has it influenced your writing?
Once you're really turned on to your story, you start seeing connections and inspiration everywhere. I read a lot - novels (this week April In Paris by the screenwriter Michael Wallner, which has a great intensity to it), poetry (the daily Writer's Almanac is great for discovering new writers), online digests like Brain Pickings (which is always inspiring). One of the good things about being married to a pilot is he brings home newspapers and magazines from around the world, which are brilliant for discovering odd fragments that inspire a story line or character (this week I found a fashion spread in a US magazine which inspired one of Fraser's dandyish 70s outfits). Maybe all writers are magpies. The research for this book has taken months, so now I'm just filling in any tiny 'holes' as I go, for example reading first person accounts of World War I from museum archives to find out about how battlefield medics worked, or asking auction houses about the kind of jewellery boxes used in Paris in 1914. You can do all the general historical research you need, but you still end up fine tuning at the end for specific details when the story takes an unexpected turn.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of writing quickly?
It's the Kerouac approach of just putting a sheet of paper into the typewriter and doing it - no judgement, no procrastinating trying to find the perfect word. There may be hundreds of words for 'snow' but you simply write: it began to snow. It's very liberating and raw, and I think it gives your work a beating, energetic heart. I want to finish this first draft in the next couple of weeks, and my deadline is March so there's time to let it rest, polish, and redraft however many times it takes to get it to its absolute best. Who was it said 'writing is rewriting?'

There's just a little over a week left. Do you know how your book will end?
Yes, the ending is there. It brings the book full circle, and I hope it's bittersweet and satisfying.

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

Give us a line of dialogue from the text.
“What about last night?” he asked again, whispering the question over her skin, causing dots of her flesh to rise as though she were chilled. “What about tonight?”

How many words have you written?
32,953 - I'm behind, but will hopefully catch up this weekend.

What have you been reading recently? Has it influenced your writing?
Unfortunately I haven't had any time to read. My to-be-read stack is starting to wobble.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of writing quickly?
There's no time to doubt. It's just head down, writing. No changes.

There's just a little over a week left. Do you know how your book will end?
Yes. I've already written the synopsis for this book so I know whodunit, why, and how they'll be exposed.

WriMo: Elliot, 25, Oregon
Title: Midnight Run

Give us a line of dialogue from the text.
“Michael, I believe the man should pay for what he’s done to so many people. I hate myself for allowing it to happen, for watching him through these years and not putting a stop to it. The people out there, they want justice for the wrongs that have been done unto them."

How many words have you written?
37,106

What have you been reading recently? Has it influenced your writing?
Recently, I went back and read sections of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern and The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. I welcome the influence of both. The Night Circus has a spectacular sense of atmosphere, and though my novel's setting is completely different, it has helped me to explore the idea of location as character. The Fault In Our Stars continues to help me contextualize my antagonist.

What, in your opinion, are the advantages of writing quickly?
Writing quickly forces me to not to think and to accept that reality. There's plenty of time for editing later. Right now, I just need a stable structure off of which I can build a polished novel.

There's just a little over a week left. Do you know how your book will end?
I do. I've known since the beginning, actually, if only in a broad sense. Details and other specifics fell into place since then, but I know exactly what my finish line looks like.

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