Winterlife: Who You Are
Your Nweb and NaNoWriMo usernames, were they inspired by anything?
NW username: winterlife
Reason for it: I live in Alaska, so much of my life is spent "stuck" in winter much like Narnia was during the White Witch's 100 year reign.
NaNo username: Kate_A
Reason for it: It is just a twist of my first and middle names
Who are you?
I am a 17-year-old homeschooled high-school student. I love writing, although I usually write music more than prose. I play the guitar, and a bit of piano. I have been published (I wrote a short quiz on introversion for Susie Magazine; it will be published in January).
How were you sucked into NaNoWriMo? Did someone person brainwash you into joining?
I believe NW's RubyGamgee (I can't remember her NaNo username) was the one to introduce me. It was one week into November of 2009, so I started late. I wasn't going to sign up, but she told me the support was wonderful, so I did, and I have participated every year since.
Was this your first, second, tenth time participating?
Third time participating, first time winning.
What was your novel synopsis (or original idea) at the beginning of nano? Genre?
My original idea was based off a dream I had about a girl trying to rescue her father from wrongful imprisonment by a tyrant. The plot was about how she and her uncle, along with her ditzy best friend and an annoying former juvenile delinquent, navigated the enchanted tunnels below the capital city to get to the secret underground passage to her father's cell. I suppose it was supposed to be a sort of fantasy/adventure novel.
Was your synopsis the same or different at the end? Or did you end up writing something completely different?
Totally different. The idea morphed so much during planning and writing that not only did I completely remove the original story line, I totally changed the genre, too. It changed to a period romance about a girl who falls in love with a traveling jack-of-all-trades who turns out to be the long-lost prince.
Did you finish? What superpowers enabled you to write 50k in one month?
I finished, despite several days that I was out of town without a computer. I attribute my win to two things. First, my mom was very supportive and gave me the last day off school and let me stay up late, so I could catch up with my last 8k. Second, I just did it. I stopped the procrastinating that I love to do and just wrote. I would give myself breaks, of course, so I wouldn't go crazy. But I limited my break times so they wouldn't take all of my writing time, and when it came time to write, I wrote.
What method of writing proved to be the most effective?
I'm not totally sure what you mean by method of writing, but I'll take a stab at it anyway. When writing, I like to briefly study the mood of the scene I am about to write, then put on music that matches that mood. I usually listen to instrumental music because lyrics usually distract me, but at the right times I find music with lyrics to be very effective in putting power behind emotion. For example, during my most emotional scene, the scene where my MMC basically lets God know everything he's angry about, I listened to the song "I Cry" by Leeland. I could hardly write because I was crying so hard, but the scene turned out quite touching.
Did this method involve glue, ropes, caffeine or some other forceful inducement?
Well, I did have some caffeine, but as a general rule caffeine does not keep me awake or give me more energy. I don't know why; it just doesn't. I would say my biggest motivator was seeing my word count bar fill up. I became rather obsessed with watching it be added to, and I hated having days where it went up less than 3k.
What lesson(s) did NaNoWriMo teach you this past November?
Just do it. That's the main thing I got from my novel. When I would write 4 or 5k in a day, people would always be amazed, but I never was, because I had never before realized how fast I can write when I actually just do it. I can write 1k in 45 minutes when I don't procrastinate. So I apply that principle to everything now. For example, when I don't procrastinate on chores, I have more time for reading or playing guitar, or other things that I enjoy doing.
Website, blog, twitter, etc you want readers to know about?
www.alaska-song.blogspot.com is the only one I can think of. It has my novel prologue on it.