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

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