How many times have you done it and have you won?
This is my fourth attempt.
I won with just over 50,000 words of Blood and Breath in 2009. I seem to have lost the draft files on a broken external hard drive, but have recreated a story arc and intend to reconstruct it via flash fiction stories for each scene...perhaps I will begin that project this winter.
I won with about 57,000 words of Chameleon's Dish in 2011, although 35,000+ of those were a wandering journey to find the story. I completely pantsed that one. I finished the rough draft during Round 2 of ROW80 in the Spring of 2011, and plan some major revisions, including separating it into two books, during this coming winter.
I won my first Camp NaNo this August, completing just over 75,000 words of To Be or Not To Be. I got to 50,000 words in 10 days, because I had a lot of homeschooling paperwork for my children due on September 1! The book has stalled a bit, but this year's effort, Sima Garo Provides, is the sequel, so, in writing it, I will likely learn more about TBONTB, as well.
What is the best tip you can give to a first-time NaNo'er?
Treat NaNo like a game. Play. Revel. Relax. Whether you write 50 words or 50,000, enjoy it! This is an adventure, and, just by participating, you will learn and grow.
How much preparation do you plan to do before November 1st?
I generally tend to keep things loose and let the story happen more or less through dreaming and writing.
This time around though, I have found some open-ended ways to add structure without sacrificing the ability to follow where my characters lead me.
I have begun filling in a template, which will amount to a few hours' investment, and I have spent perhaps another in free writing. I ponder writing while in the shower - some of the best plot twists and resolutions happen when hot water is splashing on my head!
I am also in the process of setting up my NaNo pages, and Scrivener, where I will be writing cold for the first time.
If time permits, I will do character and scene sketches within Scrivener before NaNo begins.
I may write a flash fiction scene or two to get the ball rolling...I launched TBONTB from a flash fiction piece I had written several months before, and that worked well for me.
Got anything you'd like to tell us about this years project?
I am so excited about the novel I am about to write that I can hardly wait until November to dive in!
All of my previous novels have included a strong fan fiction presence with my original world building. I have always known the fan-fic elements would need to go, but, until very recently, I didn't know how to go about this. Now, though, I have an idea how to accomplish it without crippling the original interwoven elements.
So, for the first time, I will be writing a novel sans the fan fiction elements, and I feel like everything is fresh and new.
Anything else you'd like to share?
Tentative logline for my story:
A planetbound leader and a starfaring explorer who once shared an incendiary bond must, despite their Severing, relearn how to trust each other, to save their worlds – and themselves.
There are words that apply to me, although they don’t define me: writer, mother, lover, adventurer, wife, reader, seeker, learner, mentor, partner, intuitive, delver, playful spirit, ambassador, advocate, talker, listener. strewer of joy into the lives of others, singer, sensualist, awakening, passionate, faithful, spontaneous, strong, daring, caring, sharing, wide-eyed wanderer.
I live in upstate New York with my husband and two children who, at 11 and 8, have never gone to school. I write what brings me passion, and what is my truth.
Writing Blog: shanjeniah: http://shanjeniah.com/where-on-the-web-is-shan-jeniah/
Unschooling/Life Blog: The Unfettered Life http://memismommy.blogspot.com/2009/10/ebb-and-flow.html