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* Day 10 – How does your love of writing manifest in non-NaNo months?

A lot of online forum roleplaying. But that’s nerdy to admit, so generally I don’t, haha. It’s a hard habit to explain and most people end up thinking you’re doing something devious or twisted or something…so really it’s better just not to explain it to people these days.

Other than that, I write other things, like short stories, sometimes, but very rarely. Fanfiction is also a rarity, since I don’t think I’m any good at writing characters other than mine. Mostly the writing comes out through honest-to-goodness roleplaying, and the characters that I have created by doing so are the ones that are nearest and dearest to my heart.

I have more to say on that subject, but tomorrow’s question is about roleplaying, in a way, so I’ll let the suspense sizzle until then, haha.

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* Day 9 – Have you told anyone else you’re doing NaNo this year? Who? What was their reaction?

I told my Facebook friends in a status and my Creative Writing class. That’s honestly about it, haha. Most people seem to think I’m crazy but also seem to respect the fact that I’m somehow keeping up with the crazy workload it requires.

I also get a lot of “Only 1,667 words a day? That’s like…three pages, right? That’s not bad at all!” And I want to ask them why THEY’RE not doing it, then. It’s easy until you hit the fifth day or so. Then you realize just how horrific that goal is.

* Day 8 -List your current, most up-to-date word count. Are you satisfied with your progress thus far?

Well, you see, NORMALLY I’d have a little widget on the sidebar telling you my word count, but since NaNoWriMo.org is falling behind on their preparation…

I’m currently at 15,967 words, which is around right on track. I’m sort of bummed. I wish that I was further ahead, but I feel like I have so little time to write with how busy I am. About the only time I really get ahead is when I’m at a write-in. Those things are lifesavers. But I haven’t fallen behind yet, so I’m satisfied thus far.

* Day 7 – Where’s your favorite place to hunker down and write?

Honestly, I love just curling up on my bed and writing there. I know many people who need to get out of their comfort zone to get these things done, but I just feel…comfortable here. I’ve felt so many things and experienced so many things and realized so many things right here, and because of that I am willing to let down all of my inhibitions and worries when I’m writing here.

But my second favorite place to write is in the presence of the NaNo Nashville group, definitely, in Paneras and Starbucks across the city. They’re a fabulous group and I love them all. ❤

* Day 6 – What is your one biggest stressor related to forcing yourself to write at least 50,000 words in a span of 30 days?

The fact that I absolutely need to complete this challenge if I am going to graduate from college. I’m writing 50,000 new words for my senior thesis, and I need to have it completed and approved by March 23rd. Can you just imagine the stress from that weighing down on you? If you don’t get this done, you more than likely won’t have enough time to finish your thesis in time to graduate.

ASDFGHJKL

All right, I’m better. I think.

* Day 5 – Name two songs from your playlist that you feel are connected with your novel in some way, and explain how they are.

Erik’s theme song of the moment is arguably “Monster” by Skillet (feel free to look it up on YouTube. It’s a very lovely aggressive tune by a Christian rock/power metal band). Some samples of the lyrics are as follows:

“The secret side of me I never let you see,
I keep it caged but I can’t control it.
So stay away from me. The beast is ugly.
I feel the rage and I just can’t hold it.

It’s scratching on the walls, in the closet, in the halls.
It comes awake and I can’t control it.
Hiding under the bed, in my body, in my head.
Why won’t somebody come and save me from this? Make it end!

I feel it deep within.
It’s just beneath the skin.
I must confess that I feel like a monster.
I hate what I’ve become.
The nightmare’s just begun.
I must confess that I feel like a monster.”

I think it represents a lot of his descent when he gradually becomes aware of it and how his hallucinations are controlling his every whim.

A song that I associate with Freya is “In His Eyes” from the Broadway musical Jekyll and Hyde (there are unfortunately no recordings on YouTube of this in its OST form, but there are still several lovely live performances of it). It is a duet between the two female characters, one in love with Jekyll and the other in love with Hyde. They are singing to themselves about how their respective lover treats them badly, ignores them, etc., and how they should really leave him, but they are so dependent on him that they eventually decide that they cannot. The final lines are as follows:

“If I’m wise,
I will walk away,
And gladly…
But, sadly,
I’m not wise.
It’s hard to talk away
The memories that you prize.

Love is worth forgiving for!
Now I realize
Everything worth living for
Is there, in his eyes!”

Erik becomes this all-encompassing force, someone that controls Freya’s every choice and decision, and she stays with him because she believes herself to love him. I’m getting to this point in my novel, actually, and it’s sort of chilling to watch Freya descend from being an actual person to being Erik’s doll.

(As a head’s up, I’ll be queuing these to appear throughout the day so I don’t just spam any subscribers with updates)

* Day 4 – What genre is your novel? Why did you pick it?

My novel’s genre is horror in the broadest terms, though I prefer to narrow it down to psychological horror. There’s no supernatural fluff going on in here. There’s no mass murderer just picking people off in the town. This is a book purely about how one man’s unattended psychological condition can drive him to do the most horrendous things that one can imagine.

I picked it because of prior experience with schizophrenia. I know someone who was diagnosed as schizophrenic a few years back, and though I am unsure if the diagnosis was correct or not, I became sort of fascinated by it. People often confused schizophrenia with a multiple-personality disorder, but that’s not what it is at all. Schizophrenia is when you literally hallucinate things that are not real. Something just…goes wrong in your brain, and the centers of your brain that are responsible for interpreting the signals that help your eyes see and your ears hear suddenly go a little haywire. You see things that are not real, but they are so vivid that you can’t doubt their realism. You hear voices as plain as you might hear your sister talking to you on the phone. It’s a terrifying thing.

I wanted to bring life to a schizophrenic. Specifically, I wanted to bring life to a paranoid schizophrenic who also struggles with neurotic and OCD tendencies. I wanted to find a way to make his disorder realistic and terrifying simply from the fact that his descent isn’t totally obvious at first. There’s really no way to do that without making the novel genre horror.

Time to play catch-up, haha.

* Day 3 – Pick one of your female characters. Introduce your readers to her, from her point of view and her words only.

Good afternoon! My name is Freya Lyfield. I’m, umm, twenty-six years old, but…frequently I feel far younger than that. I’ve lived in a bubble for the majority of my life, tucked away on Lyfield Farm. I even lived there through college and pharmacy school to care for my mother and to make sure my brother Peter got a few decent meals every day. If it wasn’t for me, I think he might stay outside on the fields and in the barn all day long.

That…makes me wonder if he is eating now. Oh, dear…

Boulder Springs is a very…interesting place. Very spiritually-minded, of course, but it is so secluded that I feel as if it is stuck around fifty years in the past. While the rest of America developed…Boulder Springs stayed behind. I believe that Pastor Randall and his wife Adele rule the town far more than the Mayor does, honestly. It’s a little frightening. They have already driven away my closest friend in the town. I can’t imagine if they drove Erik away as well.

…dear me, this is supposed to be about me and not my silly worries, isn’t it? I apologize. I…shall go back to work now.

Day 2 – What’s the title of your story? Why did you choose the name you did?

My novel is entitled Odalys. My male protagonist/antagonist, Erik, is a paranoid schizophrenic, and Odalys is the name of his chief hallucination that feeds him advice and commands based on his own subconscious.

She’s technically the one to ruin everything in Erik’s life from around 18-years-old onward. It’s also a bit of a false title, since she doesn’t show up in full glory until around 40,000 or 50,000 words into the novel itself.

Day 1 – Have you participated in NaNoWriMo before? If so, which years and what end result? If not (or even if so, for that matter), what’s your connection to writing? Why do you want to participate this year?

I first participated in National Novel Writing Month in my freshman year of college, ‘08. I failed epically. Maybe 3,000 words. I tried again in ‘09. Maybe 5,000 words. Finally, in ‘10, something succeeded. I started hooking up with my region and making friends with the people at write-ins and communicating with them all on the forums, and BAM, 80K that year. I never finished the novel, but it was nice to know I could actually do it, and when I reread my novel back in September of this year I was legitimately amazed by some of the things I had written. It will take some heavy revising due to my changing writing style, but I can honestly see it getting published one day.

I want to participate this year for pretty selfish reasons: My senior thesis, which is required for me to graduate, is a novel, and it is due on March 23rd, 2012. I am aiming for my novel to be around 100K or more, and thus far I only have 30K. Crunch time. I’m using NaNoWriMo to add 50K to my word total so that I have a better chance at finishing the novel and revising it for potential publication well in advance.