Sunday, November 18, 2012

NaNoWriMo Feature: Robert D. Marion

NaNoWriMo feaatures are drawing to a close. Today's feature is yet another NaNoWriMo veteran, Robert D. Marion!
On to you, Robert!

Name or nickname
Robert D Marion. The name is a pen-name. It's an amalgam of my grandparents' names.
Blog and/or Twitter handle
I'm online at, and you can find me on Twitter @RobertDMarion

How do you feel about tackling NaNoWriMo yet again this year?
Nanowrimo means different things to different writers.
The first nanowrimo, authors will struggle to just make writing a habit. That is where nanowrimo is invaluable for new writers. There's simply no way to complete the 50k a month without establishing writing as a habit. It forces new writers to write every day and to write without letting their inner editor take command.
For established writers, it's a challenge. Pure creative abandon. It's a month of the year that I can usually rely on to complete something new. Typically it's a month that I try to challenge myself. Write outside my genre. Last year, I wrote a love story. The year before, a globe-trotting historical thriller. It's a way to push and expand myself as a writer and not have to worry about making it "marketable".
What is your project about?
The elevator pitch for this year is as follows: "Scientists discover a massive door at the bottom of the pacific, and are horrified to discover what waits inside when it opens". The story, at its heart, is an action-thriller with some elements of horror and religious iconography mixed in. It's loosely based off the true story of the Deepsea Challenger and it's pilot, film director James Cameron.
Only it asks the question - "What if?"
How are you approaching Nano?
I'm a little more meticulous than my earlier suggestion of "creative abandon" might imply. November is for writing, but October is for outlining. I typically outline the entire plot as completely as I can, foregoing characters. Those I develop on the fly. But usually, I have the events for nearly every chapter mapped out.
And, typically, by 20 thousand words, my outline is useless. It's pretty rare that my characters do what I expect them to do.
Have you learned anything from this experience so far? Is there any advice you would like to share with other NanoWrimoers?
My first piece of advice, especially for new writers, is don't be obsessed over the finished product. If you're only focused on the end novel, then you're robbing yourself of what Nanowrimo is really good for - making habits. Learn how to write every day. Learn how to master the craft. Don't worry about making your first great novel. The first novel is never great. It's a learning experience, and the second one will be better.
Here is an excerpt from Robert's "Deepwater Atlantis" (Working title).
Chapter 2
The two dull-green United States Navy Seahawk helicopters arched their flight path to cross above the deck of the Oceanic Jewel. The lead chopper cut its forward momentum with a flare of its main rotor. The second roared past, entering into a low orbit around the sea-bound vessel, its weapons aimed out and manned and brimming in nervous preparation.
Ropes fell out from either side of the hovering Seahawk. The long coils snaked out to the deck of the ship. Marines flushed out either side and fast-roped down. Boots clomped on the aft deck of the Jewel. Weapons came up.
The unarmed crew of the utility ship – adorned in nothing but their bright-yellow vests and blue jumpsuits – stood absolutely still with their arms held high.
The Seahawk – its contingent of Marines dispatched – tiled forward with a heavy wash from the rotors. The aircraft roared onward, snipers leaning out to either side. The shipboard Marines ignored it. Sensing no resistance, the lead soldier waved his men forward.
They moved out, eyes leveled with the sights of their weapons, ignoring the four-squared white-blue-and-red flag flying above the ship.
Crew members backed away as the soldiers approached. They said nothing. They stormed across the crane deck and up the white metal stairs leading to the midship forecastle deck. One man stepped in front of them. Started cursing and raging in Spanish. He pointed a finger at the face of the lead Marine, ignoring the weapon in the soldier's grip.
A boot lashed out. Connected with the deck-hand's knee. He wailed in pain and collapsed to his good knee. The lead soldier reversed his rifle. Smashed the butt of the hilt into the man's forehead. He flailed back and sprawled out across the deck and stopped moving.
Nonlethal. Yet harsh.
The guns came up again. Nobody moved. Still, the Marines said nothing. A silent order went out, little more than a wave of the lead Marine's hand. The soldiers started moving again.
But this time, no one dared to impede their siege of the Oceanic Jewel's bridge.
Marines surged into the screen-filled bridge of the Oceanic Jewel with a wash of noise and a spit of profanity from the radio operator. Captain James Stuart waved the man down. He saw the look of frustration on his face. The young officer had tried for almost an hour to raise someone. Anyone.
But aside from the acoustic deep-sea communications coming from Logan seven miles underwater inside the Deepwater Atlantis, nothing. Dead silence over the wire. Even the satellite uplink had died.
Which meant one thing. The Americans were jamming the Oceanic Jewel's communications.
“Captain Stuart,” one of the Marines snapped. His gaze settled directly on James, even in the cramped, crowded space of the bridge. “I've been authorized to inform you that your vessel is now under the command of the United States Navy.”
James felt the back of his jaw grind together. He noticed his chief officer, a forty-something small-town Brit that recently determined he had spent more of his life at sea than on land, had balled his fists. A pointless gesture, really. There was nothing they could do against a contingent of American Marines. Though he did appreciate the sentiment.
The captain of the Jewel stepped forward and forced himself to breathe before his frustrations consumed him.
“This ship sails under the flag of Panama, soldier,” the Scotsman said, his words evenly and slowly spoken despite his thick accent. “Mind telling me what the hell you think you're doing on my ship?”
The truth was that he already knew. Why else would the Americans risk violating international maritime law? Why else would they dare to put armed soldiers on the bridge of a ship sailing under the flag of another nation? There could only be one answer to that question. They had monitored the communications coming from below. The acoustic communications system could be easily gleaned. Easily listened in on.
The Navy heard what was transmitted from below.
They knew the secret that laid at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, seven miles beneath the surface.

Thank you for participating, Robert! Have a great NaNo!


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