Friday, November 9, 2012

#NaNoWriMo Interview: Sydney Aaliyah

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo?
This is my first time doing NaNoWriMo, but I participated in JuNoWriMo this June and CampNaNo this August. And, I am happy to say I won them both.

Why did you decide this was the year?
At the beginning of the year, I wrote down some goals I wanted to accomplish for 2012 and participating in all three writing challenges was the first item on the list.

At the end of the year, I wanted to be able to say I had 1st drafts completed on three novels.

WriMo gave me the best opportunity to complete that goal.

What is the best tip you can give to a first-time NaNo'er?
The best tip I can give a first NaNo’er is to prepare. Have some sort of plan. I know this makes all the pantsers out there go crazy, but really, I can't stress enough how a little bit of prep is going to help you around day 15 and 16.

During Junowrimo, I had to take 4 days off to outline in the middle because I ran out of stuff to write about. I outlined to prepare for JuNoWriMo, but it wasn’t nearly enough as I realized. It was so stressful, but I was determined to win. So, I took those days and planned out the rest of the novel and ended up with over 75,000 words.

With CampNaNo, I created a detailed outline, but only ended up with 54,000 (only, right?). That story is still not finished, which is a whole other issue, but the point is I am 100% convinced that I would not have won either challenge if I had not done the prep first.

How much preparation do you plan to do before November 1st?
I have been prepping my NaNoWriMo story for about a month. This is the most fun I have had with outlining a novel because I didn't rush through it and I worked on it when the inspiration hit.

I open a new Fiction Project File on Scrivener (the best), delete all the unnecessary stuff and then I am ready for a new project. I use the scene and character forms and just start filing stuff in. I collect photos about characters, settings, places that the scenes will take place, etc. I usually find photos of what my characters look like on the Internet, as well.

In the research section, I will put website’s I want to return to for research or basically anything that will give me information at quick glance.

Next, I break the story into scenes on Scrivener and document where the scene takes place and who is in the scene.

I love writing dialogue. If I think of a witty, clever or funny line that I want to focus the scene around I will put that down, too.

Then on November 1, I am ready to write.

Got anything you'd like to tell us about this years project?
This years project was inspired by the movie Savage by Oliver Stone. I am tentatively calling it trinity (with the lower case t). The story started out just dealing with this dynamic between three people and how their relationship develops. Is it possible for a woman to be in love with two men at the same time? And, it goes through her trying to choose between the two because well, society says she has to.

But, then it turned into so much more. It will be a suspense filled story about relationships; father and daughter, man and women and man, best friends and there will also be some guns, drugs, sex, torture and death, but it will be funny, too. How's that for a description?

Anything else you'd like to share?
During NaNoWriMo, I will be posting a daily updates about my writing sessions at the end of each day. I did this exercise for the other two writing challenges which I have provided links below. But, they are more for me because it helpped me shut my brain off for the night.

I write about how the day went, if it went according to plan or not. If I met my word count goal or not. And then, I record general observations about the story, the characters at this point or whether my writing session was “in the zone” or did it feel more like I was pulling teeth and why.

JuNoWriMo Daily Update
CampNaNo Daily Update
NaNoWriMo Daily Update

Twitter: @sydliyah
Pinterest: Sydney Aaliyah
NaNoWriMo Profile: sydliyah (add me as a writing buddy)



  1. Great interview Donna. And, I'm not just saying that because it's me. Thanks for the opportunity.

  2. Some great advice too Sydney, I've enjoyed reading your updates!

  3. Awesome Sydney! Thank you for the tips and advice - I've been amazed that you can consistently shell out those 50k words for these 30-day challenges. Good work!


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