Beautiful books has a link up for authors participating right now in the NanoWriMo.org challenge, to give an update on the status of their novel writing. (Nanowrimo is a yearly challenge to write a complete novel, or 50,000 words of one, during the month of November.) So here's my post on answering their questions, regarding the novel I'm writing called Better Late than Never, second (but standalone) novel in the Native Romance Series.
Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
My mental state is awesome! I'm feeling energetic and excited. This is only day 3, but everything is going better than I expected. The story is flowing out of me, writing itself. I suppose it's because I kept it bottled up for a few weeks, waiting for November. This is the first NaNoWriMo I've done and I think the technique is a good fit for me.
What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
It felt right to be back in Jersey. Standing here near the cold Atlantic, he breathed in the smell of the sea. It was so powerful, the salted air, the loud crashing surf, the relentless shrieks of gulls that flew around him as he stood facing East assaulted all his senses. This place made you prove yourself. He knew it could sense the fear from you. It was just like Carrie, and he was ready for it. He was determined. This time he was going to find a place here, a place to belong. This time, he was going to take it head on. He was going to take her head on. She might have scared him down to his cowboy boots once, but he was just a boy then. Now he was a man, left his boots and hat behind and he was determined to win her over on her own turf – her own beach, her own Jersey Shore.
Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
The man in the above paragraph - our hero - Manny Chattoche. He is the son of the hero in my novel Helping Each Other. So, he comes from a good family. I'm falling in love with him.
What do you love about your novel so far?
I'm allowing myself to write about my true love, which is the ocean beaches where I live. It's a strong presence in the story. I'm a Jersey Girl and so is my heroine.
Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
It was not hilarious, at all. I could not get my novel document opened yesterday. I spent the whole morning trying to get Siri to help me. There's something really odd talking to Siri. I feel like I'm talking to a toddler, rephrasing my requests again and again. I was very proud of myself, how patient I was with her. Finally, I realized I needed to update my LibreOffice app. No thanks to Siri! It was a walk on the beach that helped.
What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
I like writing the beginning, where all the characters are introduced and we get a sense of the story to come. It's like setting out on a journey.
What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best?
No music or radio, I need to hear the voices in my head. I try to write my word count first thing in the morning. When I need a break I take my dog to walk with me at the beach. I try not to think of anything, it's like meditation. When I come home, it never fails, I'm refreshed and ready to write more. Regarding snacks, remember this is November 3rd. I ate way too much Halloween candy on day 1 and 2. Now, I am so sick of it, there's a huge bowl near me and...I've only had 2 pieces today.
How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I prefer a Batcave. I am actually in the kitchen or on my back porch, weather permitting though. There are incredible colors of Autumn in the trees right now, but I'm staring at the screen instead.
What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
Is this hard? No, this is not hard. I think about all the time I have wasted on social media and realize I'd rather be digging up the stories I hold inside, rather than scrolling posts for hours until my eyes bleed.
What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
1. Leave your fears at the door. Tell them you'll come back for them another day, after the final draft.
2. Write towards a bigger purpose, make the world a better place, because your novel is in it. If just one person is inspired, then mission accomplished.
3. Just do it. Now is the time.
The current political mess clearly shows one single truth we should all be able to agree upon - truth is in the eye of the beholder. One side can't even see the truth the other side sees so clearly. How did we get here? Most important, no matter the election outcome, how can we move on to a better society?
As a writer, I see a need for communication. At the root of communication there must be trust. How do we get there, to a place where we can trust each other? Well, think about it. How did you learn to trust anyone? It is usually through experience, right? One of the main gifts of fiction is allowing the reader to experience something they have never experienced in reality.
So, writers have an opportunity to expose their readers to other viewpoints, lifestyles and cultures. Are you doing this? This is my call for action to writers, to communicate, to enable respect and understanding. Of course we must try hard to write on what we know and not reinforce stereotypes.
We all have different approaches and formats for our fiction. For me, the choice is to write novels that share multi-cultural romances. This is because I believe the ultimate sign of peace is love, respect and trust between two people of two different cultures. That's my higher goal in writing and my daily sense of purpose. Keeping that in mind makes it easier for me to face this land of misunderstanding and write in the midst of mistrust.
Please let me know, do you believe your work is serving to change the world in some small way? Thank you for your thoughts and thank you for your writing. The world needs your book, the world is waiting!