Monday, November 10, 2014

NaNoWriMo Feature: Richard Davnall

Well, it's the second week of NaNoWriMo and I bet everyone is feeling it in their fingers. How's that writing going?

Today's feature is author R.J. Davnall, who you can see in the photo on the right. What? You don't recognize him? He's the author of The Second Realm, an ongoing fantasy serial which you can actually download for FREE at Smashwords! Head on over to his blog and check it out!

You can contact Richard at:



Richard is also doing something I never saw before: he's live-streaming his NaNoWriMo writing on his own online channel! That's a NaNo first for me! Now, let's move on to the questions.

Is this your first time participating in NaNoWriMo?

This is my fifth NaNo. I was actually planning to sit this one out and just edit, because I'm in very much the same situation you reported (lots of editing to do, plus more teaching responsibilities than in previous years), but then I ended up with the first week of November off from both my jobs, and a new idea emerged on Thursday morning to make sure I really had no excuse to slack off.

What's your project?

My project is 'The Air Itself'. It started life as a horror story, but it's also a sort of cyberpunk/speculative fiction superhero story. My pitch so far is this:

Jane thought they'd escaped. She didn't know what had happened in that derelict neighbourhood, but it had stopped. They'd survived.

But Amanda lost her phone in the process, and now someone's found it. The messages he sends Jane are strange, as if he thinks he knows her but has the wrong person. And they're getting more insistent, too...

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

My approach to NaNo can best be summarised by the friend who once shouted at me 'You need to go and look up the definition of 'month'!' I love the pile-it-all-on-right-now headlong rush of NaNo, and it gives me an excuse, once a year, to devote my every waking moment to a story. The result is that I tend to hit 50k pretty quickly (my record is six days and fourteen hours), then slow down to regular NaNo pace after about a week to wrap the project up. This year I've gone even more mad; I'd love to hit 50k in five days. I think that's about the fastest I can ever hope to work.

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

What I've learned so far is that I think next year I'll take it a bit easier (he said, for the third year in a row). If I can make my 5-day target, I think I can finally take the chip off my shoulder.

As for advice to other WriMos, I'd say that 'week 2' (roughly 12-25k) is the hard part. It's the part where it can really pay dividends to pause, if time allows, and jot a few ideas down, whether it's for characters or events. This is the stage where you're developing from and expanding on your introduction, and planting good seeds at this point will mean never getting stuck for material in the later stages.

The other big piece of advice is that you're only in competition with yourself. Set goals based on what you know of your own ability, not what anyone else is doing.

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

Amanda finished her latest round of photos, looked up, and let out a pleased 'Ooh!' Jane followed her gaze to another narrow side street, barely visible from this angle. She set off, trying to match Amanda's stride and catch up to her at the corner, but the other woman, longer-legged, got there first by a good ten seconds.

She'd found the street she wanted. Arbour Lane, it was called, at least if Jane was making the right head or tail of the battered sign. Its paint was completely gone, leaving only sculpted, mottled rust. Not a long street, but longer than some of the linking alleys they'd walked down this afternoon. The terraces huddled close enough to the road that perspective pinched them together at the far end anyway.

And every one was boarded. Most had the gridded tin, but more than one had bits of corrugated sheet metal instead. There were loose and cracked gutters, trees growing out of chimneys, crumbling paint, crumbling brickwork. Someone had fly-tipped a pile of bin bags on one doorstep.

Halfway along, the steel door-board of one house stood ajar, its mangled catch gaping like a manta ray's mouth.

Thank you for appearing, Richard! Drop me a line and tell me if you completed your five day goal!

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

1 comment:

  1. Fun interview! It's always cool seeing everyone's different approaches to NaNo-ing, Thanks for sharing, you guys :)


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