Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Day Eighteen: Interview with a NaNoer, Part 2

Today I'm continuing my interview with Deni Hansen-Gray Weber, as she shares her experiences as a first-time NaNoWriMo participant. If you missed part 1, you'll find it below today's post.

Donna: Coming up with a title, knowing how to begin the story, or knowing how to end it--what has been the hardest thing for you?

Deni: I pretty much knew how I wanted the novel to end. The novel starts with the main character looking back in time as she is leaving to return to her hometown in what appears to be disgrace, and wondering how it all happened to her. Fairly quickly, I knew how I wanted it all to start--I soon knew how I wanted it to end. Somewhere around 25,000 words, I realized I needed a lot more "plot" than I had, and I was worried I'd not be able to make a cohesive whole that was 50,000+ words.

Donna: What do you hope to take away from this experience, what have you learned from it, and how has it impacted your life?

Deni: This kind of relates to the previous answer! I had to create a number of challenges for my heroine to face--just to fill up space--but I realized she grew through them. Much like myself, she'd look at God and ask, "Why me? Why now?" I soon realized how similar to life this is. It was like I finally figured out that life really is a series of challenges to be met. Yet, time after time, with God's help, she overcame them. She learned she needed to be reliant on God--just as I am learning that complete reliance is necessary for our family with the continuing challenges we are facing.

Donna: Would you encourage others to try doing NaNoWriMo next year?

Deni: Oh boy, would I! I'd encourage anyone who likes to write, or wonders if they have a book hidden inside of them, to try this. The NaNoWriMo site has so many encouraging forums and you can pick writing buddies to support you on your journey. My words? "Go for it!" Doesn't matter if it gets published or tucked away somewhere on a thumb drive, there is such a sense of accomplishment that "I did it!" It was helpful for me to learn that only a small percentage of those who undertake the challenge win, and it's okay not to pass the 50,000 mark. It's a goal.

Donna: Any final thoughts you'd like to share?

Deni: Final thoughts? I don't think it matters if you "win" the challenges or not. There is always next year, and I think it is more a matter of putting yourself out there and trying. To me, everyone who makes the effort is a winner. It reminds me of my favorite saying, "Success is getting up one more time than you fall down." If you continue to write, that's success! Or, maybe you find out writing is not for you--and that's fine, too. I think it's a win-win thing. It is tremendously challenging, but I'd not have missed it for the world!

Donna: One last question, Deni, do you plan to pursue publication of your NaNo novel?

Deni: I think participating in NaNoWriMo has given me the incentive to do further work on the novel. As I had stated before, December is going to be editing and proofreading month in our homeschool curriculum, so I will be going at least that far. I do think that doing these things along with the kids provides a modeling role for them that is often missing from both public and homeschool settings.

Would I like it to be published? I can answer that with a resounding "Yes!" Will I pursue it? That depends on God opening doors for me as I know nothing about the publishing end of writing.

Maybe that will be an addition to our homeschool curriculum at some point--"How to publish a book." I'm sure it would be interesting for both the children and me.

I'd love to see something I have written in print! Yet, I think the most successful part of this for me has been in seeing the creation of something that was once floating around in my head, solidly written (at least I hope so!) and in a tangible form. I am anxious to get past the edit/proof stage and print it out and see how it looks "on paper."

Donna: Deni, thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to share your thoughts and experiences with our readers. Good luck with your novel.

Deni: Thanks for asking me to participate in your blog interview!

Note to my readers: Thank you for joining us today. Your feedback is greatly appreciated and will help me in making this blog relevant for you. I welcome your comments and questions, and encourage you to use the comment form. I also welcome your suggestions for future discussion topics. -- Donna

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