Monday, February 24, 2014

NaNoWriMo Spotlight 2014: Doddie Householder

 Today's spotlight features Doddie Householder. She goes by Doddie on the NaNoWriMo site and wrote a Horror and Supernatural inspired story for NaNo 2013. She currently lives here in South Korea along with her husband and family.

Who are you?

Ok, I m a former PR Manager who relocated to South Korea to be with my hubby who works as a professor here. We met on Discovery Online and got married in about 3 months after that. We have two sons and now I have transformed from a career girl to a Kitchen Goddess. I still write but no longer press briefs and marketing materials. I now indulge in my passion - horror/ghost stories




Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November? 

I am a NaNoWriMo newbie. Last year, I counseled a friend who took part but couldn't finish it (stress, crazy schedule, etc.) That's the first time I hear about NaNoWriMo. Said friend promised herself to participate this year and encouraged me to do it as well. With the two of us working as writing buddies, we slaved, toiled, encouraged each other and eventually finished our novels within the deadline.


What was your novel about? And why did you pick that?

My novel is about a girl who was born with the 3rd sight. It chronicles the supernatural things that she sees that no else can and eventually find out that there was a destiny laid out for her. It's a horror novel.


What is your typical writing process like?

Well, as a full-time mom of two Bottomless Pits (aka our teenage sons) and a foodie hubby, it's a full day of cooking, baking, cleaning and organizing for me. So I write at night. Being a night owl myself (or a closeted vampire as my hubby refers to me), I write better at night. I have been known to wake up in the middle of the night and fumble for the night light, glasses, pen and notepad or whatever I can grab my hands to write on and start scribbling a line or two. Those lines eventually get fleshed out as short stories or novellas. I listed to hard rock or simply rock music while I write. It helps with my thought process.


How did your month go?

I finished! Now if I could only finish editing it.


What was the hardest part? What was the easiest part? 

The hardest part was convincing myself to sit down and write. There was a couple of days there that I didn't really want to. So, I didn't and I goofed off. But I made sure to write enough the next days to make up for it. The easiest part? It was the last couple of chapters. I finally saw where my novel was leading to.


What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?

I learned that I can write that novel. I am so used to writing short stories (my idols are Poe and Zelasny with their short story anthologies).


Where else can we find you online?

I have two blogs (same name, got hacked and made another blog and got control again and kept both blogs)

http://boxofjalapenos.blogspot.kr/ (living the expat life in Korea)

http://doddie-aboxofjalapenospart2.blogspot.kr/ (food recipes - basically Filipino, Korean, American recipes)

Monday, February 17, 2014

NaNoWriMo Spotlight 2014: Jaap Kemp

Today's interviewee is Jaap Kemp who goes by the name hereslookinatukd on the site. He doesn't have a title for his novel this year, but he won! He and his wife teach at a school near my own and it was a pleasure meeting them at a write-in halfway through NaNoWriMo in Seoul.

Who are you?

I'm originally from Wisconsin, USA, then received my formal education in Minnesota and Maine. I pursued many areas of vocation for many years (librarian, hotelier, internet cartoonist, preacher, mortician, etc.) but was poorly suited for all of them. During my years in Maine I fell in with a thoroughly disreputable cadre of fiction writers, and together we founded the literary movement FICTIONSHARK. I write fiction mainly, but to date I've received my widest audience as a playwright. In my younger and more vulnerable years I fancied myself a poet, but various circumstances and experiences have since convinced me that there is no higher art (written, visual, or auditory) than a well-crafted lie, and fiction, when employed properly, has the greatest potentiality for deception. A fiction is most always preferable to a perceived truth: most people know of the apple that fell on Newton's head, but very few know, or care to know, what gravity is, what causes it, and why. I realize now this is a very roundabout way of explaining myself and who I am.

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November?

I'd attempted NaNoWriMo unsuccessfully for a number of years. Last year I was successful in achieving 50,000 words, but failed to achieve what I intended for the work when I first set out to write it, and ultimately I was deeply disappointed in what I produced. This year, having more free time available to me than I'd anticipated, I wanted to write 50,000 words, not merely type 50,000 words (the difference between 'write' and 'type' is as crucial as the difference between 'writer' and 'typist'). My sentiments towards NaNoWriMo are extraordinarily mixed. I deeply appreciate the improvement of literacy and the fostering of artistic endeavors, especially amongst people who do not consider themselves writers or artists. Yet when I see entire message boards dedicated to puffing out word counts by using as many descriptive adjectives as possible as often as possible, or by giving one's characters exceedingly long names, or by inserting a sudden and indefensible dream or drug sequence, this is an insult to all I have fostered within myself and all I hold dear regarding the purpose of writing. The goal should be the work itself, not the word count; the work itself should be encouraged. Word count is a byproduct of the process. And yet encouraging people who would not otherwise do so to write, and to write every day, is a very good thing, I think.

What was your novel about? Also, why did you pick that?

The entirety of my novel evolved from its first sentence, which was a sort of Frankenstein monster of mixed parts from the first sentences of three novels I esteem greatly and hold in high regard: 'Correction' by Thomas Bernhard, 'The Conversions' by Harry Mathews, and 'Grendel' by John Gardner. I took elements from each of these first sentences and then drafted my own. It was a sort of challenge, to see how far I could take a work just from its initial sentence. The narrator is hosting an evening of diversions at his manor house, and the novel covers the events of that afternoon and evening, a sort of highly irreverent 'Mrs. Dalloway.' Along the way to his diversions, the narrator meets with a number of other characters, both human and animal, both living and dead, and receives from each of them a story or sequence of stories, all of which seem to interrelate, and all of which center around the basic idea that the entire text of the Anglo-Saxon epic poem 'Beowulf', and, thus, much of Western culture in the 20th and 21st centuries, has been fundamentally misinterpreted. And yet none of this information truly fits together, or actually means anything. Which, I think, is how we take in most of our information anyway: Wikipedia, Google, and the media. So instead of sitting around glowing fires chanting poems, we now sit around glowing screens and search for information. At any rate, the entire thing is highly absurd and not to be taken seriously in the slightest.

What is your typical writing process like?

Most of my writing process consists of not writing at all. For me it's highly introspective, mulling through ideas and concepts, and yet also acutely observational, taking note of all words or concepts that come my way, because one never knows what thought, however insipid or useless one thinks it is at the time, might be the very thought that saves you or the work. Gene Fowler said that writing is easy, all you have to do is sit staring at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead. Most of my writing consists of staring, and appearing to the outside observer to be either very useless or very stupid. But then when the actual writing comes, every word means something. I hand write everything. This, above all, slows me down. The computer is a very efficient machine for typists but a very dangerous one for writers. It allows one the convenience of not having to think out every single word. Writing long hand forces me to think. Then, when the work is finished, I type it into my computer and make certain or uncertain edits along the way.

How did your month go?

I survived. The book stayed with me after November and I finally finished it on New Year's Eve. A good way to end the year.

What was the hardest part? What was the easiest part?

The hardest part was finishing. I knew the ending very early on, so the process of finishing the work wasn't difficult. But it was immensely difficult to end the book, to complete my creation of and interaction with this world and its inhabitants. It was an enjoyable place for me to exist, thoroughly absurd, highly existential. Some might say it was difficult for me to 'come back to reality.' But that depends on how one defines reality. For me, reality is anything that, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. The characters and world will not go away. I abhor the thoughtless assumption that there's 'fiction' on one hand and 'reality' on the other, as if they are opposites and in contention with one another, and as if this so-called 'real world' is a more valid experience than a so-called 'artificial world'. Why does this assumption exist, that the two are mutually exclusive? What we read and how we read (and also the movies and TV shows we watch and how we watch them) inform our daily lives and experiences just as much as our life and experience inform our appreciation of books, films, and TV shows.

The easiest part was the moment just after finishing: setting down the pen, having completed the work, and saying simply, 'Go, my book, and help destroy the world as it is.' That moment when the completed work is yours and yours alone, before you share it and it becomes something else to someone else.

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?

I learned above all else that there is no such thing as success. There are only varying degrees of failure. Samuel Beckett: 'Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.' It's that idea of always failing better, that is the highest aim. How to fail better was and is a good lesson to learn.

Where else can we find you online?

I can be found on the website Leanpub, where my eBook 'Gyrovagues: An Anthology of Interest' is freshly published and available for purchase. It's a collection of miscellaneous writings from the past few years that haven't found a home and I don't know what else to do with--a sort of literary orphanage. There's no fixed price for the book, so you can pay what you want, and 10% of every single purchase will go directly to Liberty in North Korea (LiNK), a non-profit that 'provides protection and aid to North Korean refugees hiding in China and, utilizing a modern-day underground railroad through Southeast Asia, rescues refugees and helps them to reach freedom.' That eBook can be found here: https://leanpub.com/u/jaapkemp

My full length play 'The Accusing Parlor' (published under the name Jacob Kempfert) is also available for purchase or performance through Breaking Fourth Plays & Press, and can be found here: http://www.breakingfourth.com/2011/12/02/the-accusing-parlor/

Monday, February 10, 2014

NaNoWriMo Spotlight 2014: ValNomad




For the next interview I have Valerie Hamer who goes by the username ValNomad on the site. Her novel this year was non-fiction and titled "Expats' Medical Mishaps".



Who are you?

I am a Brit who has lived in Asia since 2000. I've been writing since I was 13 but only got more serious about it a couple of years ago. I just started an M.A. in Professional Writing as part of my plan to transition to writing as a full time lifestyle.

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November?

This was my 4th NaNo in a row, and my 3rd victory. For me it provides a brilliant opportunity to focus on producing something concrete from the ideas that are always swirling around inside my head.

What was your novel about? Also, why did you pick that?

I chose to work on a non-fiction piece this year, as it's been on the cards for a long time. It's a collection of true medical mishap stories gleaned from expats in Asia and beyond. Although some of the tales are absolutely crazy they all have an element of humour in them.

What is your typical writing process like?

During NaNo it's akin to word vomiting: uou know you'll feel better when it's all out of you! I do tend to jump around from section to section to avoid getting bored, and if I get stuck I write some fake reviews for the finished product.

How did your month go?

I finished but it was touch and go for the longest time. Some days I wrote thousands of words and others none. It helps to be a hermit during the month.

What was the hardest part? What was the easiest part?

The hardest part is getting over the need to feel every word you get out is useful or necessary. The easiest - the last line!

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?

That I need a definite goal in order to push myself beyond what is comfortable.

Where else can we find you online?

Tweet me @Farawayhammer

Blog & more: www.farawayhammerwriting.com

FB: https://www.facebook.com/FarawayHammer


My first book: http://www.amazon.com/Picky-Sticky-Plain-Blind-Conversation-ebook/dp/B009Y3TUZK/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1389532035&sr=1-1&keywords=hamer+picky+sticky

Monday, February 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo Spotlight 2014: Joe/Unseenedge

To start off the NaNoer interviews this year is our region's ML: Joe or, as he's known on the site, Unseenedge. This is his first time as an ML and I think he did a pretty good job. The title of his fantasy NaNo novel was "The Torch Bringers".


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. 

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