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Gimme some NaNoWriMo 

Why you should get started now on your novel.


Between working her 40-hour-a-week co-op job and studying at Mount Saint Vincent University, Sarah Linders is already pretty busy. But the public relations student has taken on another challenge—competing, once again, in National Novel Writing Month. Linders took some time away from her lunch hour to chat with The Coast about NaNoWriMo, word counts and keeping your social life active.

Is this your first time taking part?

This is my second time. I did one back in 2011, and I'm doing it this year too.

How'd 2011 go?

It went really well! I won, and well, winning is just finishing it. That year I was what the site calls a "NaNo rebel." So when you do something that isn't technically within the rules, but you're welcome in the community anyway. I co-wrote my first one with a friend. This year I'm doing it solo, though.

What was that book about?

It was a young adult fantasy one. It's still in editing hell. But that's been on the backburner. This new one is a paranormal thriller, which I haven't planned as much as my usual. I guess part of the spirit of NaNoWriMo is just going where it takes you. It can actually be a lot harder when you're planning things, if you have everything mapped out, to write that much. You kind of get stuck in your own head. That's what the month is about, is getting past what they say is your inner editor—kind of killing it for a month and getting everything out.

How have you planned then for this month?

For this one, I had a few general ideas and things like that. I had my characters, and certain scenes and ideas I wanted to explore. But for the most part I don't really know where it's going to go, and that's kind of the exciting bit. I think they say you can be a planner or a pantser—so going by the seat of your pants and seeing where it goes.

Is it too late for someone to jump on board and try to get a novel written in November?

Oh, absolutely not! You have a lot of people who kind of forget about it and then they'll come in a few days later. If you do, every single day you have 1,667 words that you need to get. Of course, you can change that around. It's definitely welcome for latecomers to get in the game. It's to see how much you can get out of it. Even if you get a few words done, it's still better than what you could have had. You could have just not done it at all.

Is this something where for the next month your social life is gone?

I don't think so, actually. You end up getting a lot of support, because all you're doing is talking about writing. All you're doing is saying, "Oh, don't bug me," or "Oh, I love you but please get away."

Interview conducted and edited by Jacob Boon

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