NaNoWriMo 2014 is in full swing and Ellie Di Julio is ready for another productive session. Ellie is a self-described nomadic writer who used to write 500 words in an hour. She has published three books and is working on the third part of the Forgotten Relics series. This is her third year participating in NaNoWriMo and she has some advice for writers joining her in the 50,000 word challenge.
Below is a partial transcript of her interview with me:
C: I wanted to talk to you about NaNoWriMo because you have done it and you’ve done well, and you have something to show for it besides carpal tunnel.
Ellie: That’s true, although I think I have that as well. I’ve got tennis elbow from writing too much. It’s weird, I thought only athletes got that, but I guess not. It’s not crippling or anything so I can still work. [laughs]
C: Do you mind sharing what your story is about this time around?
Ellie: This year, I’m working on the third novel in a series. I’ve kind of messed with the format a little bit. I’m not doing 50k in 30 days, I’m doing 75k in 25 days.
C: [laughs] Overachiever.
Ellie: I’m doing it because I do self-published noveling and in order to survive in that environment, I need to publish quickly. So I’m trying to push my limitations and get things out more quickly. So if I can do this, it’s my entire novel draft in a month instead of taking 2 or 3 months. So that will be pretty cool if I can actually do it.
C: How do you work?
Ellie: There’s been a serious evolution in how I work. I wrote my first novel in NaNoWriMo 2012 and it was short, 45k. Those days were spent 4 hours at a time writing what I could. Some days it was really small, some days it was a lot, but then I decided to get serious about it. I used to write 500 words in an hour and so it would take me 6 hours to do 3k, which was my goal.
I started doing word sprints this year and basically it is 30-minute stints where you don’t agonize over every little word like I tend to do and you don’t get bogged down in the format. I doubled and then tripled my words. And that’s what I’m doing this time. I started with my outline and I break it out into broad strokes and then I break it down from there so I have Acts and then into chapters.
I wrote about 4,000 words yesterday in three hours and they weren’t the best words; they’re not as high-quality, you don’t have to edit this as much later. But it’s out there and it’s something that I can move on from and edit in the next stage. Doing 30-minute word sprints, I average between 700 and 1,000 words.
Ellie went on to tell me about her tuxedo old man cat, Gonzo, and a young spitfire named GI Jane. Keep an eye out for her cats in future novels. You can buy her current books here, here, and here. Best of luck to Ellie for NaNoWriMo 2014.