Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Guest Post: NaNoWriMo ML Grace Tierney

I'd like to give a great big thanks to everyone who participated in my NaNoWriMo call!

The first feature NaNoWriMoer is GraceTierney, a veteran NaNoWriMoer and Municipal Liaison for Ireland-NorthEast.

You can visit her beautiful blog here: The Wordfoolery Blog.

You can visit her website here: Grace Tierney Writing Page.

Is this your first time participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what made you take the plunge? If you're a vet, how do you feel about tackling it yet again this year?

This is my sixth year, I’m addicted. Every year I feel differently about it depending on what story I am writing. This year I’m excited about my story which has be percolating in my brain for a few years now but I’m worried about the time I have available because my father has some health issues and that’s limiting my writing time.

What's your project about?

Title: The Light-Keeper’s Diary

Genre: contemporary women’s fiction with a strand of historical fiction set in 1917.

Setting: fictional town of Castle Cove in the West of Ireland. I intend writing a series of books all set in the town, but in different time periods.

Sometimes a diary is a place to record dentist appointments and arguments with your siblings. But the light-keeper's diary chronicles more than the passing ships in 1917 at Castle Cove lighthouse. When Dervla O'Malley, a historian researching a book on the lighthouses of Ireland, comes across the diary she finds past romance merging with her own life and yearns to find a happy ending for the lonely light-keeper.

How are you approaching NaNoWriMo? Are you in the midst of a writing frenzy, or do you have a carefully thought-out plan?

I am more of a planner, and I have to be as I need to factor in time to host write-ins, post pep-emails, and encourage writers in my region. MLs are volunteers worldwide who promote NaNoWriMo for the love of writing. I aim to write 2000 words every day, except Saturdays. In previous years I’ve even managed to reach 75,000 words in one month but my outline this year is a bit on the sparse side so that’s slowing me down. I’m sure I will make it over the line though. That’s the second best thing about Nano for me, I’ve learnt how much I can write in a given time-frame. The best thing is meeting the writers (online and in person) and realizing that I’m not the only loon who tries this challenge. I’m lucky enough to have forged year-round friendships through Nano.

Have you learned anything from this experience so far? Is there any advice you would like to share with other NaNoWriMoers?

This year I’m learning that I can write an outline at the same time as the  book, but it’s not my favourite way of working!
As for advice for others – just give it a go. Even in the years when I didn’t make it to 50,000, I did write way more than I would have without the extra push of Nano. It can be a scary total, but once you get past 25,000 it is all downhill and pretty easy to complete. It’s wonderful to do Nano in a different genre  - one month to try out a new style is a good time investment. I wrote children’s fiction last year, just for fun, and it improved my writing in all genres immeasurably.

Here's a short excerpt from Grace's project:

{Dervla, the historian, begins to read the 1917 diary of Keeper Cecil Standish, whose past life is going to entangle with her own in ways she can’t yet imagine.}

After the bright head-lights faded and her mug of tea was finally made, she opened the letter. She hadn’t wanted to risk bringing such an old document with her on her travels, what if her fishing boat transport had capsized? Instead she’d asked June to carefully photocopy the first ten pages. She could assess the quality of the information and examine the full text in the archives later, if necessary. She’d be willing to bet that June had refused to wear the proper document-handling gloves she’d left with her.

February 25th, 1917
Arrived on the 11.15 from Galway to Castle Cove. Met at station by Asst. Kpr Flannery – decent chap. Walked up to the light and was introduced to Princ. Kpr Doyle. He lives in cottage with his wife May and their infant son, Tommy. Flannery and I sleep in the base of the light, amongst the paraffin cans. I do hope he’s not a man for the tobacco.

Dervla laughed. She liked this keeper already. She checked the note June had stapled to the front of the copy, the man’s name was Cecil Standish. Cecil had a sense of humour at least and he would need it if his transport to the village was his own two feet.

Don't forget to check Grace's blog and website for updates on her projects!

Thank you very much for participating, Grace! 


  1. This is a great feature.
    As another plotter I'm not surprised to hear lack of outline has an effect on Grace's NaNo speed. Writing quickly puts some pressure on a writer, it can lead to new ideas and great scenes, but it can also cause you to stall out and get stuck. I believe it's important for us plotters to spend some time in october getting everything in order.

  2. Hi Ashley! Great to see you here! I admit, I'm a terrible pantser. I pansted my way through Serving Time, and it was a lot of fun. However, with the sequel I wanted to try out something new: plotting! I spent the week before NaNo plotting out Making Time. The extra effort paid off because I started with a bang (10k on the first day). However, my natural pantser qualities kicked in a few days into NaNo, and reaching the 50k was really tough because I now have a lot of scenes I love, but need to string them together.

    Good luck on your NaNo! Stay tuned for another guest post tomorrow!


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