Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo?
How many times have you done it and have you won?
This is my third year and haven't won yet ... I'm hoping the 3rd time is the charm!
What is your greatest fear?
(Even though I haven't won, I'm going to answer this anyway). My biggest fear seems kind of strange, it is finishing my novel! Why do you think this is scary? I've never done this before! If my novel is complete, I still have to edit it, but then the real scary part starts - querying and trying to find a publisher OR deciding if I want to try the self-publishing route.
What is the best tip you can give to a first-time NaNo'er?
The best tip is to just DO it! Just write. There are guides and books and blog articles left and right dispensing advice and a how-to on how to be successful. The only failure is NOT TRYING. Don't let the word count seem so imposing when you start. The longest journey starts with a single step, as does your novel. War & Peace started with a single word, and so will your novel. So don't just talk about writing, but WRITE.
How much preparation do you plan to do before November 1st?
I am a 'plotter' so I have an outline prepared, character sketches, plot points lined out (basically just a rough idea of how I want pivotal scenes to go). The outline isn't hardcoded, and I have been known to switch chapter around, but provides a guide on how the story is going to go. I tend to ramble, so if I don't have an outline to follow, I will be in the middle of my story and realize that I have gone off on a tangent and have totally missed the point of the story.
Character sketches, I think, are the most important, maybe even more so than an outline (no matter how rough). Your story can't grow and develop without well-drawn characters. A story will fall flat with flat two-dimensional characters. So do that character sketch and get to know your characters inside and out, what his or her motivations are, what their goals and dreams are, what they look like, what foods they like, where they like to go on vacation, are they in love (or hate?), are they educated? All of these things create more than just something on a piece of paper. The majority of the sketch will never actually make it to the novel, but it will make it easier for you to write when you know the person you are writing about. (Sorry about the rant...LOL)
Got anything you'd like to tell us about this years project?
I am working on a paranormal/suspense novel based in Maine. It is a story I started in Nano last year but only got ... maybe 6,000 words written. I have gotten a little further since then but I'm still far from finished. The focus of Nano will help me pound out another 50k words and finish this. (And although I've already started, I am only counting what I actually write during November, otherwise that wouldn't be fair!).
Anything else you'd like to share?
I've made some great friends through Nano and the various flash fiction contests I've entered and it really helps to have people in your corner helping to cheer you on ... that know of the dedication that Nano takes and are people you can lean on if you are stuck on something, whether it be a phrase or just how something is flowing. I know that I will be more successful beause of their support. I am also lucky to have a great support system at home. My husband knows what Nano is and is prepared for me to be glued to my computer next month and has promised to not be too crabby by the end of November. LOL
I really got back into writing when I stumbled upon fanfiction several years ago. After having fun in someone else's playground for awhile, I forayed out on my own. Through Twitter, I discovered a huge and diverse writing community that helped spur me on, including flash fiction contests.
When I'm not writing, I can be found toiling away at my day job as an office manager or spending time with my husband and our three pets (all rescues).
I can be found at:
My blog: http://mlgammella.blogspot.com/
Daily Picspiration blog: http://picspiration.blogspot.com
Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/MLGammella