Monday, November 3, 2014

NaNoWriMo Feature: Kathleen Sawisky

Happy first NaNoWriMo Monday, fellow bloggers and readers! Today I'm happy to present to you Kathleen "Swat" Sawisky, Esq. She's an incredible writer and beloved member of Critique Circle (go progress reporters!).

Is this your first time participating in NaNoWriMo?

This will be my 8th year (oh good lord) of doing NaNo. Normally I'd be raring to go and have everything worked out, but this is my last year of university and I'm swamped under school work. This is going to be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants sort of NaNo.

What's your project?

This year, as with every year since 2008, I'm doing a new draft for my series, The Code. This last year has seen the first book go through some serious changes, including my own style and abilities, so I'm excited to apply all I've learned to Book 2. My biggest joy is the multifaceted layers that grew in the first book - a lot of them come back in the second. Who was Angelo? Why did he disappear? What has he got to do with our heroine's father? It's all very thriller-suspense, with a dash of 'ermagerd deeerth' thrown in. I like killing characters. Maybe a bit too much. But above all else, I'm thrilled that I'm approaching this draft with a solid understanding of how Natalia (my protagonist) develops throughout the story. The first book ended with her in a very dark place. She's suffering from some serious PTSD that needs to be addressed, and over the course of Book 2 I get to play around with how she deals with it, as well as how the people she interacts with deal with it. Also there is a ghost and he is spooky. WooOoOooooo.

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

Urgh, approaching NaNo? I have a pretty solid outline written, but there is a section early on that needs to be changed and I have no idea how to go about it yet, so there will be a little bit of pantsing probably around day five. That will be when I apply my own Swat's School of Writing and utilize an explosion or two. You laugh, but it's worked for a few people now. Swat's School of Writing. It'll be a thing, trust me.

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

My biggest advice definitely stems from my own general philosophy about writing. I think as writer's we get too caught up in our way of doing things. We think that it has worked before, so why shouldn't it continue to work? It's a fair point, but there is a lot to be said about challenging yourself and going outside of your comfort zone. Some studies on creativity suggest that when the creator (the writer, in this case) makes themselves uncomfortable, they are often able to push their creativity to new heights. We love being made to feel uncomfortable in art, so if you get stuck in your writing do something shocking and unexpected. For example, book 3 I kill a dog. With a machete. Yeah, it's awful. Like, brutal, awful. I shared that with some writing buddies and they were horrified, but guess what? We still talk about it. Shock and awe has staying power, so make yourselves uncomfortable! Either that or make something explode.

Finally, here's an excerpt from Kathleen's current project. Enjoy!

It had taken time for her to discern the difference between the dead that couldn’t find their way off of this plane of existence, and the man who whispered to her. Ghosts, Natalia had learned from her previous guardian, sometimes had a habit of sticking around where they weren’t always wanted. That was what she was facing now. An unwanted, unwashed. Sometimes his voice caught in the wind, and his shadow would reach out to her, urging her to come with him, to run away. She had wondered for some time if it was some remnant her guardian, pissed off that she had taken his jacket, but no. No, the Steven Delarno she knew would have been happy to lend it to her. This astral presence, corporeal and vindictive, was not the shadow of her old guardian, but someone else. Someone who wanted her to follow him to the edge of the black world he occupied.

She turned away from the Whispering Man, down the road and began the long walk towards town.

Thank you so, so much for appearing on my blog, Kathleen! I hope you keep having tons of fun with NaNoWriMo!

If you are also participating in NaNoWriMo 2014 and would like to be featured, follow the instructions on this post.


  1. Yay! (I'm a fan of Swat as well ;) Happy writing, y'alls!

  2. Hi Beth! Your feature will be up soon, too! :-)


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