Five for Friday – Interview with Pleasant Street

Welcome to Five for Friday!

I’ve decided it’s time for a regular spot on my blog. So every Friday (or at least every other Friday) I will write a post.  It can be anything from 5 tips to sell your novel or 5 reasons you should eat as much cake as you can.

So to kick off my new spot I am beginning with an Interview from the lovely Pleasant Street. You can find her blog here – In My Parlour – which I love. Full of beautiful poetry and fantastic prose, take a look if you get chance, you won’t regret it.

Pleasant Street is undertaking NaNoWriMo for the third time and as you probably know, I am joining for the first time. So I asked her some questions on her experiences to help newbies like me get acquainted.

So here we go:

  1. Had you ever completed a novel before joining NaNoWriMo?

No I hadn’t.

In fact I never wrote anything longer than a poem prior to NaNoWriMo, not even a short story. I don’t think I considered it. I’ve written poetry since childhood. Much of my reading consisted of biographies and history. I usually missed the popular novels, opting to read classics.

The great thing about the classics is that many of them give you a good model for what a great novel is. I think the first year I tried it, 2013, it was more of a lark. It was a gimmick online that others were doing and it sounded fun.

Could I really do it? I had to try!

  1. Did you decide on a process before you started, i.e. a certain word count per day/write at the same time every day? Or did you develop this as you went along?

No way, I had no idea of any process at all. I had a title and a basic idea.

In 2012, I started NaNo but never even got half way. I lost that manuscript, so I started over in ’13 with the basic concept. I mean I had a goal, the goal that NaNo puts out- 50k words in 30 days, which amounts to 1667 words/day. But the writing just came naturally and organically. I had no plan other than keep the coffee pot full and write my ass off.

  1. You say that you’ve done NaNo a couple of times before. What are your reasons for coming back this year?

I’ve come back because even though now I’m writing every day, it offers an incentive to finish. There is a great feeling at the end finishing with your buddies, and of course, your own good feeling of accomplishment.

Speaking of buddies, I do visit the forums some and sometimes participate in discussions, especially the ones that involve sharing snippets of our work and getting/ giving feedback. This is enormously helpful, getting that kind of response, good or bad.

Also the folks at NaNoWriMo have v-logs on youtube, sometimes with a live feed and interaction with us, asking questions, etc. A big part of NaNo for some people are the word sprints, you can find these on twitter at @NaNoWriMo. Someone sets a time and everyone writes until the time is up and says how many words they wrote. This can be fun and exhilarating. It can also help you not to give up.

  1. Is there anything that didn’t work for you, being on such a tight schedule?

That’s a good question.  I’d say reaching back to the last question, though the social aspect of it is fun, I find too much social interaction is distracting.  If I interact with others on a daily basis, it is before I start writing, maybe a stroll through one of the discussions, reading and offering replies. Occasionally I’ll join in a word sprint on Twitter. I think the interaction is great but if I get too involved socially I don’t write as much and I lose my train of thought where I am going in the story.

  1. Finally, what is the one piece of advice you would give to anyone taking on NaNo for the first time?

This is a good one. My advice is this- ignore the constant criticism of NaNo and the people that want to drag it down. They have their reasons and they will tell you that it isn’t good for writing a good completed novel; it is too fast with no editing, etc.

They have some good points but even NaNo doesn’t claim that the manuscript you have after 30 days is going to be a finished novel. But you will have a first draft. Without the second-guessing and constant editing, your creativity really flows. Oh, there will be typos and you’ll want to delete some of the crap, but I find it very satisfying once a year to write like mad and form a first draft this way.

Do talk to others and see how they run it. Do they write an outline? Do they write by the seat of their pants and let the story unfold? But ultimately you should run it how it works for you, and you’ll pretty much know in the first week if it is working. Don’t worry about the naysayers. It is 30 days of your life and you’ll have 50,000+ words that did not exist before, which I think is an astounding feeling. I love that accomplishment.

Thank you so much to Pleasant Street for giving up her time to answer my questions.

I’ve found them very helpful, especially the information about the social aspect, which I knew very little about. And I have to admit, I’ve heard a lot of negative things said too and I was starting to worry whether I’d made the right decision, so it was good to put my mind at rest about these issues.

To anyone looking at joining NaNo this year, I hope you  find this post helpful and I wish you the best of luck. Maybe we’ll see each other in the forums at some point.

Thank you so much for reading and Happy Writing!

If anyone would like more information on NaNoWriMo, visit their website here.

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How do you do it?

With pen and paper?

Straight to screen?

With a sparkler…or perhaps an Enigma machine for the extremely paranoid?

Each writer has their own preferred method of working.

Stephen King writes longhand onto yellow legal pads. J K Rowling writes longhand then transfers it to screen – editing as she goes. George R. R. Martin writes straight to computer using an old DOS machine.

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When you first start out, the writing process can be a little daunting. So I thought I’d talk about how I do it and hopefully some of you will weigh in on the comments later about your favourite ways too 🙂

I write with a good ol’ pen and paper. A biro suits me best, although I’m partial to the Parker fountain pen when I want to pretend I’m a really real writer.

I used to work straight onto the computer, but my children have been fitted with an alarm system that only they can hear. So if I go near a computer, open a book, or try to stuff a chocolate bar in my mouth before they make it to the kitchen, THEY KNOW.

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I also feel I’m a little less creative using a computer. It’s great for editing. I can sit there, nose pressed up to the screen with a slightly desperate expression, and most people know to keep a safe distance.

But when I’m in the first stages of a story or script I prefer the pen and paper. It feels more natural to me and I’m likely to think more about what I’m writing as it takes me longer to write than it does to type.

I write in fifteen minute bursts. It roughly adds up to about an hour and a half per day. I set the timer on my phone and I get as much down as I can. When the time is up. I put down my pen and do something else.

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I think writing this way keeps it fresh. I come up with all sorts of ideas I would never have thought of if I was doing one long stint. Plus if I can’t think of anything, I’m only staring at the page for fifteen minutes…This drastically reduces the time I sit crying, leaving more time to console myself with cake.

So that’s how I do it. How do you? Would love to know your thoughts, especially if you do it with a sparkler.

In the meantime, Happy Writing 🙂

Liebster Award!

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Thank you to Alimoongoddess who nominated me.

I’ve been ill all weekend and  been lying on the sofa feeling sorry for myself, so this has been the first chance I’ve had to post.

Here are the rules:

1. Link the person who nominated you to your blog post and let them know you answered their questions.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate other bloggers (11) for the award that have fewer than 200 followers.
4. Create 11 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them

Here are my answers to Alimoongoddess questions:

1. Have you ever had to watch a cartoon over & over & over til you want to just kill off all the characters? Which cartoon?

Re-runs of The Regular Show on Cartoon Network – What the hell is that show all about???? I’m sure the writers are on some kind of mind-altering substance. If not, they should be.

2. If you were at a donut shop right now, what donut flavor would you choose to enjoy?

All of them. Someone has to check they’re not poisoned after all!

3. If you won $5,000 today what would you do with it?

Helium balloons for everybody!

4. What does home smell like?

Right now; Oatmeal and raisin cookies 🙂

5. What was the last book you read & would you recommend it?

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – Awesome time travelling story set in post second world war and 1700’s Scotland. She creates a vivid and rich image of life for the highlanders. An absolute must read. I also believe the tv series of the same name has started over in America too 🙂

6. If a new constellation was discovered & you were picked to name it, what would you name it?

Rupert.

7. What are you looking forward to?

A cup of tea.

8. What does your last text message received say?

I don’t know my phone keeps dying on me so I’ve thrown it on the floor in a tantrum and the battery has fallen out.

9. What are 3 nonprofits that you love?

Mind – They give advice and support for mental health issues.

The British Kidney Patient Association – They give support and advice for people with serious kidney problems.

Barnardos – A children’s charity that helps with everything from campaigns to eradicate child exploitation to helping families with disabled children.

10. If someone wrote a song about your life, who would you want to sing it?

The Cheeky Girls

11. What is the most recent blog that you discovered (other than this one) that you are loving right now?

A Narcissist Writes Letters, to Himself, https://notesfromanarcissist.wordpress.com/

I’m addicted to this blog right now and keep going on it throughout my day. His posts never fail to make me smile.

I nominate these 11 people to answer my 11 questions: (In no particular order).

1. Creatopath

2. Notes from the Hammock

3. Just another snowflake

4. Michelle Hanton

5. Dusty Corners

6. HAIKU300

7. Kim Tierney

8. Heidi Busby Brown

9. Handikwani02

10. Pam Tanzey

11. A Life in Libraries

Hese are my 11 questions that I pose to these 11 wonderful bloggers:
1. If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
2. Kindle, yay or nay?
3. If you were to write your life story, what would it be called?
4. Who’s your favourite person?
5. What was your last dream about? (keep it clean people).
6. What book character would you be?
7. Can you move like Jagger?
8. Tea or Coffee?
9. Favourite cake?
10. What was the last film you watched?
11. What were you doing before you started answering these questions?