Who are you?
My name is Joseph Van Dorn, but most people call me Joe. I grew up in southern California, and after graduating at UC Irvine I started the post-grad job search. After finding nothing that I wanted, I decided to see what teaching English abroad was all about. I've been here in South Korea for 4 months now, and Iife has been awesome ever since.
Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November?
This was my third nano, and I've always loved the rush of creative energy that NaNoWriMo brings. I was hoping to meet a lot of fellow writers here in Korea, so way back in July I applied for the position of Municipal Liaison (ML), and the folks over at NaNoWriMo HQ gave me the position. As ML, it was my job to organize writing events and to rally the writers in forums. It was the most awesome volunteer position I ever did, and I look forward to keeping NaNoWriMo for as long as I can.
What was your novel about? Also, why did you pick that?
My novel takes places in a fantasy world similar to Harry Potter, though the mechanics of magic are pretty different. The magic users of the world keep their power hidden from the rest of the world, and as a result a lot of abuse and torment is inflicted upon the non-magical. The main characters of my novel seek to break this status quo, revealing the nature of magic to the entire world so true equality may happen. I've been thinking about this story for a long time, and about three months before November I decided to give it literary life. I hope it to be the first story in a fantasy series that I will write, existing as the explanation for the nature of my world. This is my first brush with fantasy, and I must say that I really enjoy the genre.
What is your typical writing process like?
For me, location is very important. I love being in areas with mild distraction, such as a coffee shop (Korea is an awesome place for this). Then, I set a writing goal and work through it, rewarding myself for reaching the half-way point with a pastry or another round of coffee. It terms of the actual process, its really just a matter of "go." Once my first draft is done, I give it about a month of rest before I starting the editing process, working on a writing project during the mean time.
How did your month go?
This was actually an awesome year for me! I got to the 50K mark on November 20th, and by November 30th I was at 78K. I met a lot of awesome people over the month, and I'm so glad that my first time as ML went so smoothly!
What was the hardest part? What was the easiest part?
The hardest part was balancing the other parts of my life. Sometimes my writing would take me away from other social events and other responsibilities that I have.
The easiest part? Meeting other nano participants! I love being around writers, and I hope to meet with these people many more times over the year!
What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?
I learned that writing is a part of who I am, and that I want to make it a more permanent part of my life. Ideally, I'll finish my current book within a few months, and then send it to an agent or publishing house to see how I fare in the writing world.
Where else can we find you online?
Check out my blog at jsvandorn.tumblr.com. I even wrote a blog post about my experiences as ML, where I go into more detail about what my month was like.