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Writers' & Artists' Blog

NaNoWriMo Week 1: Ashley Newell

NaNoWriMo advice

Word count for week one: 15,160

Words today: 0 (I’ll start after this)

The Writing Process: Getting an early lead has been super helpful. Writing over 3,000 words each day from the start has really saved me as I experienced a few blips along the way. At least I have managed to write something everyday. I did have one day where I was tempted to go to bed without a single word added, but I forced myself to go on. I only added 426 words, but I couldn’t be prouder of myself for sticking to it! I may have had to re-write most of what I added, but to drop the ball now will make it all the more tempting later on.

The Story So Far: Right off the bat my main character turned out to be far rougher around the edges than I had expected him to be. The Detective was always meant to be pretty no-nonsense, but I didn’t realize that his experiences would make him so intense. I’m still not sure if I’ll have to go back later on and tone it down a bit, but once he …

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NaNoWriMo Profile: Rachel Phipps

Rachel Phipps

Name: Rachel Phipps

Age: 21

Hometown: Canterbury in Kent.

Occupation: I’m a full time freelance food journalist, though I do moonlight doing the PR & Marketing for my family's holiday cottages business. 

When/where do you write? I usually write either at the head of the kitchen table, or on the train to and from London. 

Writing background: I’ve been writing solidly since I was about 13 years old. In February 2009 I started a lifestyle blog, and I gradually switched over from writing fiction to blogs and articles. I now write my blog and freelance full time. I write a food column for Borough Market and I have contributed to the Guardian, Refinery 29 and Great British Chefs. I’ve barely written any fiction since I started blogging and freelancing.  

Why NaNoWriMo and why now? I’ve completed NaNoWriMo once before, when I was 17, just before I started my website. This is the first year since then I have not been in education, and I think I’ve got the time. In …

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NaNoWriMo Profile: Ashley Newell

NaNoWriMo advice

Name: Ashley Newell

Age: 25 

Hometown: Prince George, BC; Kelowna, BC; and Calgary, AB – basically western Canada

Occupation: Teacher

When/where do you write? I write when and where I can. Usually it involves many late nights.

Writing background: I have been telling stories long before I could write them. Once I got the pesky spelling issue out of the way, I became unstoppable.  A short story I wrote when I was 13 years old won in the youth category for a writing contest and was published in an anthology, and then I moved on to larger works. I’ve tried my hand at novels, screenplays, stage plays, and at one point I was convinced that I’d be a song writer… we shan’t speak of that.

Why NaNoWriMo and why now?  Peer pressure. Seriously. I was in university, all the cool kids were doing it, and so I took a deep breath and sacrificed many hours of precious sleep. That was back in 2008. I fear I may be addicted now. 

Genre (of NaNoWriMo novel): In short: drama. In the …

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NaNoWriMo Profile: Shea Wong

NaNoWriMo advice

Name: Shea Wong

Age: 38 (but I dress like a 70 year old, and curse like a 16 year old, so…I guess it actually evens out again to 38.)

Hometown: Sandusky, Ohio, USA

Occupation: Current part-time MBA student with the Open University, and full time everything to my four year old. 

When/where do you write? Very late at night, or very early in the morning. Those short, dark moments keep me going when I write. 

Writing background: I’ve loved to write since I was very little, but it was mostly poetry. I did my first poetry slam when I was 13, and fell in love with it. Positively despised college writing classes, but my initial degree in theatre meant reading and interpreting a lot of text. Spread from poems to short stories, and finally longish short stories. 

Why NaNoWriMo and why now? This is my one and only November off from school during my entire grad/postgrad studies, so I went for it. Also, I tend to write really dark dystopia stuff, so I wanted to step away and …

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Teaching NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo advice

NaNoWriMo is difficult enough by itself. Once you add in the challenges of working around a very real schedule, the challenge increases exponentially. I started out with a four year losing streak during college and I thought that was hard. Then came full-time occupation and I learned my lesson. Last year was a near miss at 40k words, but it was also the first time I, as a teacher, started looking into the possibility of doing NaNoWriMo along with my students and that opened up a world of possibilities.

I guess I should back up a little. Just over a year ago I moved from my hometown all the way to South Korea to work as a teacher. It means I’m half a world away from my friends and writing buddies. As a foreign teacher here in South Korea, you either teach English at a hagwon (academy) or a normal school. Last year I was the former and NaNoWriMo couldn’t be fitted in. However, I was determined this year to push it through.

What enabled this was my changing jobs …

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