NaNoWriMo Interview: Whitney Rhodes
Whitney Rhodes is the Asst. New Media Editor of the Courier-Post by day, and shares her thoughts on the latest news in the journalism world at the blog MoJo DoJo. She is also a five-time NaNoWriMo winner, and can be found on the NaNoWriMo forums as “Darksetyuna”.
Why do you do NaNoWriMo? What benefits have you gotten from your participation?
Even though I’m usually founding ranting/raving about everything but the written word, I’m really a writer at heart. November is my excuse to sit with my laptop for hours on end, typing away at something that will never be read, never edited, never criticized – writing just for the hell of it. I tend to write about real frustrations and then there are the zombies, flying alligators and super heroes that keep me sane in my daily endeavors.
How did you keep yourself inspired and motivated during NaNoWriMo?
I complain a lot. To everyone. This is my fifth year participating (and winning) … I’ve lost a lot of friends.
What sort of planning, if any, are you doing this year before you start writing?
None. I usually jump in fresh, without guidelines. It’s easier for me to up word counts when I’m not focused on strict plot paths and whatnot. I’d rather kill a character. Bring him back. Kill him again. Then bring him back as an undead antihero before making NaNoWriMo more than the chore it is.
What are some of the tools you use to keep yourself organized and on-track during NaNoWriMo? How do you use them?
A partner in suffering. My NaNoWriMo buddy and I write for 30 minutes at a time, pausing in between to read our stuff (crap), rest, smoke cigarettes, watch TV and gear up for the next 30-minute sprint. We help each other think up plot twists, character development, raunchy dialogue, etc.
What advice do you have for other writers doing NaNoWriMo for the first time?
1. Don’t care: Ignore typos, run-ons, incomprehensible ramblings. If you get too caught up in the nuances of decent prose, you’ll never make it to 50,000 words.
2. Cheat: It’s “sweat shop,” not “sweatshop” – “tear drop” not “teardrop.” Name your protagonist ‘Flaming Kelly Action Bot the Third’ (that’s six words, plenty more with repeats!).
3. Back up your files: Save a copy to your Gmail, your blog, your desktop every thousand words in. Never rely on a flash drive.