Camp NaNoWriMo Participant Interview Morgan Hyde

Tell me a little about what you are writing for Junowrimo.
Err… is this a bad time to admit I’m actually writing this for Camp NaNoWriMo? Which just happens to also be in June (and August!)? I hope not. I think both Camp NaNo and JuNoWriMo are awesome. Anything that gets people writing is!
Anyways, for my unspecified June novel writing challenge, I’m doing a rewrite of a YA fantasy story that began life during NaNoWriMo 2010. It’s called We Who Are About To Die (WWAATD), and I’m on my fourth full draft. This June, I’m making some of the biggest changes so far, re-focusing the story on my protagonist, and her personal growth. WWAATD is set in a world similar to ancient Rome, in a land with an insane king who has established blood sacrifice as the state religion. The story follows Renata, a wealthy farmer’s daughter, who tries to rescue her cousin from the High Priest, and ends up convicted of treason and sentenced as a gladiator. She must then learn to fight and face the loss of friends in the arena, eventually gaining the strength and skill to figure out how to save her cousin.
Is this your first time doing this type of challenge?
Nope. I’ve done NaNoWriMo three times in November, and this is my third Camp NaNoWriMo. Plus I’ve done Script Frenzy three times (once doing a movie version of WWAATD), and FAWM (February Album Writing Month) for the past three years as well. As a procrastinator, and someone who works well in high pressure situations, these challenges are an amazing resource to give me the motivation and community support that helps me finish projects. I’ve kind of become addicted!
What did you learn from the last challenge that is helping you with Junowrimo?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned from all my ‘creativity with a deadline’ challenges is that the quality of my writing & storytelling drops as I speed up. But I’ve also learned that I can mitigate this loss of quality by having a rough plan in mind. For example, despite huge plot changes since draft #3 of WWAATD, I knew what a lot of the key story points would be ahead of time for this draft. I’m filling the time between the key points very differently, but (spoiler alert) I’m still killing off her boyfriend, and she’s still going to successfully rescue her cousin.
As well, albeit indirectly, participating in NaNoWriMo 2011 helped me figure out what needed to happen for this draft. In December, I posted in the forums, opening up WWAATD for critique, and to my surprise and delight, plenty of people were interested in reading it. The feedback I received from them was invaluable in shaping the changes I decided to make for this draft. Truly, one of the best things about NaNoWriMo-style events is the community. 
What was your writing schedule like this past week; time of day, # of words per day?
My last exam (I’m a graduating senior in high school) was last Friday, so I’ve been writing 2000 to 3000 words per day since then in an effort to catch up. But I was extremely far behind before that, and I’ve been lazier than I should have (sleeping in, relaxing, enjoying NOT studying), so I’m still WAY behind. I’ve generally been writing in two separate sessions: one immediately after breakfast (around 11am) and one in the evening, sometime after 10pm.
Did you do any planning for Junowrimo? If so what type of planning and how are your plans working out so far?
I didn’t do any planning specifically for this challenge, but I had accumulated plenty of notes and ideas for this draft, since I originally planned on finishing it this spring, not starting it in June! I basically had the existing drafts, a few specific major changes I knew needed to happen, and a general idea that the story needed to centre more on my protagonist. In writing this draft, as I make all sorts of changes (including a POV change to first person), I can feel the story becoming so much better than before, and that’s incredibly rewarding.
Although I didn’t have a detailed plan before June started, I’ve ended up with one since then, mostly by accident. Because this is June, and I was in school for most of the month, I wrote a lot during my spare, and so I decided to keep my novel in an Evernote note, accessible from my computer and online at school. This is a big change from my past habits of handwriting and later writing in Scrivener. As it turned out, having my entire novel in one document really helped me plan. When I wrote something that I wanted to reference later, I just added a line about it further down the page. When I got an idea for more plot, same thing. In this way, a novel plan now nearly 500 words long grew organically just below the text of my novel. It’s easy to change, easy to reference, and really helping me stay on track.
What is your word count as of June 28th?
32 000 words. I’ve never been this far behind so close to the end; I’m generally one of those annoying people who writes roughly 1667 words a day without fail and wins a day or two early. This month, I will be lucky to reach 50k. I’m still aiming to finish, but whether I win or not, I’ll be proud of what I’ve accomplished and happy to have a lot more novel than I did on June 1st.
We will forgive Morgan for not being a part of JuNoWriMo.  Any of us who take on the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month are all on the same side of crazy.  
Good luck with the rest of the challenge, Morgan!
For more information about Morgan, please visit her blog and follower her on twitter.  
Twitter: @Amethystars

Would you give up a year of your life to . . .

I recently read an article in the July 2012 issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine.  The title of of the article was Would you give up a Year of Your Life to Sleep With Ryan Gosling?

The article proceed to pose several opposing scenarios and it got me thinking how would I answer these questions?  I decided to give myself a little quiz.

Would I give up a year of my life to sleep with Ryan Gosling?

Maybe, but for Johnny Depp, Ben Foster, Troy Aikman, Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Chef Michael Votaggio, or Orlando Bloom – absolutely.  Just as long as I got to tell people and I got to leverage the encounter in order to gain either tabloid magazine money, a book deal or become the host of my own talk show.



But, if there was potential for a long lasting relationship with any of the above, disregard the previous sentence.  For the sake of love and all that.

Would you adopt Rosey Perez’s speaking voice if it meant you could sing like Adele?

No, but if I was given the ability to create a unique and distinct voice that produced the amount of accolades and recognition that Adele received, then I would.  There will never be another Adele.

I would just sing everything.  You ever see Whitney Houston’s reality show, she sang all the time.

Would you sleep with a rat in your bed every night for a month to have the ability to fly?

No, I don’t do rats under any circumstance.  And, who would want the ability to fly?  Do you realize how dangerous it would be?  You would have to compete with planes and birds and the occasional pterodactyl.  It could happen.  If humans can fly, dinosaurs can return.  Having an effective communication system would be your biggest concern.  You don’t want the Air Force thinking you are an enemy bogey and shooting you down every day.  That could get annoying.

See How Much Trouble Ironman Had

Would you vajazzle your frenemy’s hoo-ha to have anything you want from Tiffany? 

This one was hard for me.  I can’t think of any circumstance where I would want to be near anyone’s hoo-ha except my own, but I do love Tiffany.  Now if we are talk sterling silver infinity charm, no.  If we are talking white gold channel set 4 carat diamond ring, I won’t lie, I would consider it.  I love diamonds.

Pretty, but . . .
Diamonds – Enough Said.

Would you give up sex to be able to eat everything you wanted yet magically be thin?

No way in hell. And, why the hell would you want to?

Would you give up your sense of taste for the ability to read peoples minds?

This one is easy for me.  Like all of the super power questions, I don’t want that kind of pressure, or responsibility.  Just think of the all the crazy stuff that goes on in your own mind.  Then, compare that to the stuff you actually put out in the word.  Yeah, there are some things I just don’ t need to know.

And, if I slept with Chef Voltaggio and gave up a year of my life, I would at least want to taste the breakfast he would prepare for me the next day.

Would you get a face tattoo for five million?

I would get a face tattoo for 100,000 dollars.  Anyone want to start a collection?

Maybe I need to rethink this one.

Would you give up your memory of the last five years if you knew the next five would rock?

This questions was the most interesting to me because I have been in China for 5 years.  While I have had some good experiences, it hasn’t been the best time of my life.  It hasn’t been the life I wanted to live.

On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to give up the lessons I have learned over the last 5 years.  The biggest lesson is that I will never put myself in a situation where I would even consider this type of choice.

The goal going forward is to create a life that I want to live.

So, would you give up a year of your life to sleep with Ryan Gosling or Jennifer Aniston?  Is there any time in your life you would consider giving up?  

Photos courtesy of, Food & Wine &

JuNoWriMo Participant Interview A.M. Schultz

Here is the next installment of my JuNoWriMo Participant Inteviews.  Please welcome A.M. Schultz.

Tell me a little about what you are writing for Junowrimo.

I had been toggling ideas for three different WIPs prior to JuNoWriMo. The one I choice to focus primarily on for JuNoWriMo has been a fantasy piece. Choosing Fantasy over the other two has had some advantages, but there is so much world building required that much of my “word count”  has been used to outline characters, nations, etc. I’m not sure I’d have made nearly as much progress without the challenge aspect, though.

Is this your first time doing this type of challenge?

Something this formal, yes. I used to write fiction pieces on weekly deadlines here-and-there, but this is my first time taking a multi-writer challenge of this magnitude.

How has it meet your expectations so far?

It’s been “different,” in the sense that I won’t have 50,000 pages of a manuscript completed at the end, but I will have a much more developed world at my disposal by the time the month is done. I started 7 days into the challenge, and intentionally took on a project that I knew would need tons of polishing either way.

What was your writing schedule like this past week; time of day, # of words per day.

My schedule has been pretty bonkers. I am a full-time student through the year and actually took the Summer off, so I assumed I’d have tons of time to just write. I still hold a full-time job, too, and between setting up a better platform for my website, redoing the graphic work, etc, and then working on book cover graphics, blog posts,  I’ve just had to squeeze writing in when I can.

I carry a pocket Moleskine notebook about with me everywhere, though, and sketch an idea down, expand it in one of my larger notebooks, then type out the ideas later. For the fantasy world, I actually used the PC game “Civilization IV” by Sid Meier to create the map (which crashed on me after about six hours of plotting the world the first time), and it has been incredibly helpful.

All-in-all, JuNoWriMo work and miscellaneous stuff, I’m logging a good 60-70 hours a week, so hopefully this all pans out eventually.

Did you do any planning for Junowrimo?  If so what type of planning and how are your plans working out so far?

I actually found out about JuNoWriMo on the 7th of the month after seeing a few friends on my Twitter feed using the #JuNoWriMo hashtag, so no planning. I was aware of NaNoWriMo, and had told myself I would consider taking that challenge later in the year. If anything, I think I realized that this isn’t the type of challenge you can complete successfully without some type of gameplan.

What is your word count as of June 22th?

I’ve got about 8,500 words, which is WAAAAAY off the mark. But, I have a better idea of where I want the story to go than had I just started writing aimlessly, so I’ll take it. I’m hoping to be sitting around the 15,000 mark by the end of the challenge.

To learn more about AM Schultz, please be sure to visit his site and following him on Twitter.

Website: and Twitter:  @am_sch

New Award, New to Facebook, Again & New Followers

New Blog Award

I am once again honored and humbled by the generosity and support from the blogging community.  I have been award the Beautiful Blogger award by the very interesting Lightningpen’s Blog. His witty blog posts intermittent with random rants make for a fun read, so please check him out.

In regards to this blog award responsiblities, I will now fulfill them to the best of my ability.

7 Deserving  Blogs:

  1. Jeremy Powell – The Hopeful Author – He is a writer on a journey and has a great attitude about the process.  Plus he has his priorities in order; family first.
  2. Falls Into Writing – Jenn is a Southern girl from North Carolina and has been thinking about writing a novel for years and now she is doing it.  I can relate.
  3. Confessions of a Popcorn Addict – JuNoWriMo peep and a true believer in prewriting, as I am.
  4. The Phantom M-pire – Mark has great movie reviews and I love movies.  But, he also has a few random post, that make you think. His latest; If I were in Charge
  5. Wendy Lu – The Red Angel – She is a Chinese American who seems to have fifty different jobs (2 blogs, journalist, magazine editor, traveler and novelist) and I picture her doing all of them with the same smile on her face that she has on her profile photo.
  6. EM Castellan – I meet during JuNoWriMo and had the privilege of interviewing her for my site.  Her blog is full of fascinating post and she lives in an English castle, which is just cool.
  7.  Amanda Fanger – Another new discovery from JuNoWriMo, she has a smart and fun point of view on her writing process.

New to Facebook, Again 

Well I did it.  I set myself up on Facebook . . . again.  I like Facebook.  I really do. And with the sharing capabilities connected to everything  you read online it makes it easy for others to see what you find interesting.

The reason I took a long break from Facebook in the past is because it got to consuming and to  overwhelming.  It is hard to keep up.  I mean, one of my friend went on a trip to the Grand Canyon and posted a gazillion photos, I went to the Great Wall and felt obligated to share a gazillion and 1 photos.  It took the fun out of the real life activities I was participating in because I had to make sure I had the best pics, stories and antidotes for my Facebook friends.  It was exhausting.

But, I am back and will be smarter about it.  If you would like to be my friend, go check me out.  I am the Sydney Aaliyah in China.  Head on over, but just don’t make me feel guilty for not posting 400 photos of my visit with my nephews.

Besides, I only took 350.

New Followers

Before I get to my new followers I would like to pose a questions to everyone: What would you rather have new followers or comments on blog post? Let’s discuss.

New followers, thank you, thank you, thank you!

Next Weeks Schedule

Monday – Junowrimo Participant Interview – A.M. Schultz

Tuesday – Movie Quotes

Wednesday – What Would You Do that if it Could Get you This – Cosmo Article Inspired Blog Post – can’t wait to share.

Friday – Junowrimo Participant Interview – Morgan Hyde

Sunday – My Weekly Update

*Continue to check out Sydney Aaliyah Writes for my daily JuNoWriMo updates.  I hit 50,000 words last week and then some.  I hope to have over 70,000 words by the end of June.

JuNoWriMo Participant Interview EM Castellan

Here is another great interview from a talented JuNoWriMo participant EM Castellan.

Tell me a little about what you are writing for Junowrimo.

I am writing a YA dystopian novel which has been at the back of my mind for a while. BLACK ROSES is set on the American continent at the end of the 22d Century. A virus has wiped out most of the world population ten years earlier. The only survivors are Humans (who weren’t affected by the virus) and Immortals (who have survived the virus and been turned into supernatural beings). Immortals rule the country and its capital New Wentworth, while Humans live on the margin. However, a third category of people is caught between them: Keepers have survived the virus but haven’t been turned into Immortals. The ruling class needs them in their new society, making them targets for rebel Humans. Seventeen-year-old Nessa is a Keeper. To her, this Friday is just like any other day. She hasn’t planned that Humans would choose it to stage a rebellion, that her life would suddenly be in danger, or that she would fall in love.

Is this your first time doing this type of challenge?

Yes, it is. I hesitated a while before deciding to join in, for two reasons. First, I spend an average of 62 hours a week at work, which means that I only write between 30 minutes and an hour a day. Second, I am a slow writer: I cannot spill 1000 words onto a page in half an hour. So the prospect of having to write an average of 1667 words a day was quite frightening. But I still decided to do the challenge, as it is a great way to keep motivated and to interact with fellow writers.

How has it meet your expectations so far?

It has met my expectations because I am interacting with fellow writers and keeping motivated (sprints on Twitter are especially good for me!).

What was your writing schedule like this past week; time of day, # of words per day?

I have been writing every single day, in the evening after work. I am very pleased with that. My word count, however, has been lower than the required average of 1667 words a day. As of today my average is 1160 words a day. But I was expecting such a result.

Did you do any planning for Junowrimo?  If so what type of planning and how are your plans working out so far?

I did plan my story before the start of JuNoWriMo. I had a full outline, as well as a good idea of who my characters were going to be. As this is a dystopian novel, I also had a clear design for my world-building beforehand. So far I have been following my outline, which usually how I write.

What is your word count as of June 16th?

16935 words. And counting!

EM Good luck with the rest of the challenge!

For more information on EM Castellan, be sure to visit her at the following links: