Meet Chris from The Kelworth Files!
Hey, everybody. I hope you can check out my blog. In early 2013, I’m going to be working on finishing the revision of my science fiction short story “Won’t somebody think of the children”, and trying to get a new short story, a revised short story, and some sample chapters for “The Gnomes are Missing” ready to submit to workshops. I’m also an admin at a great little writer’s forum, Stringing Words. Come visit us at http://stringingwords.freeforums.net/
1. National Novel Writing Month is a big deal for a lot of people. Congratulations for participating and winning! What was your biggest challenge this year? In contrast, what was your biggest moment of success?
Let’s see. My biggest challenge was probably the ailing health of my Alphasmart Dana portable word processor. I got the Dana back in 2005, and it’s been a constant companion through many years of Nanowrimo, as well as many other writing events. Unfortunately, the battery performance has been getting worse and worse this year. I actually had a few scary moments at write-ins when I’d take a moment to chat with a fellow wrimo, then turn back to the Dana, press the power button to wake it up, and see the Alphasmart and Palm logo showing, which means that it had restarted. I didn’t actually lose any words on the Dana, but I got a few grey hairs.
My biggest moment of success was probably in San Francisco, being the first to ring the bell this year at the Night of Writing Dangerously! That or Waffle-palooza, but more on that later.
2. How long have you been a NaNo participant and do you participate in any other writing events?
I did Nanowrimo for the first time in 2005, and I’ve participated every year since then, though it was 2007 before I was coming out to local events regularly. I’ve done Script Frenzy every time since it started, and I was an ML starting with the second year. That was a great program, and I’m sorry to see that it’s been put on the back burner.
Other writing events, let’s see. I’ve done Camp Nanowrimo a few times now, (three I guess, counting my amazing failure as a Camp Rebel Editor in August 2011.) I regularly try to rack up 50 hours of editing in March for NaNoEdMo . I’ve been to the CSSF Science Fiction Short Story Writer’s Workshop in Lawrence, Kansas twice, which is a great event – it’s all about critiquing each other’s stories and trying to make them better. I’ve done JanNoWriMo and JulNoWrimo several times, and going back further, participated in NaNoWriYe, April Fools Noveling, and NaNoFiMo. That last one is National Novel Finishing Month – in December.
3. How do you combat writers block: Paper, Scissors, or Rock?
The scissors, because there’s two sides in scissors, and the best way of fighting writer’s block is to talk it out with someone else, to cut through the weakest point of the block together. Paper can also work against the block sometimes, wrapping around it and coming at the problem or the scene from an unexpected direction. I’m not one for trying to bash my way straight through writer’s block with a rock.
4. In regards to your NaNo Novel, “The Snow Job” – I live in Colorado and HATE shoveling snow. Who is your main character, what are they like, and would they ever do something as mundane (and sucky) as shovel snow?
There are two main characters in The Snow Job. The first is Scarlet Smith, and she’s a student in a domed city in the snow belt of the colony planet Chazwa when she finds out that her parents put her as a security on their souvenir stand’s mortgage; when the folks default, she’ll have to go up and work trapping alien beavers with ammonia in their veins, up north beyond the snow zone. Scarlet has her secrets, and she tends to go with the flow and avoid confrontation, but she doesn’t want to work that contract.
The other main character is Ryan Fleming, Scarlet’s boyfriend. He convinces Scarlet to go with him to the big cities near the equator to raise money to pay off the mortgage. Ryan is smart and crazy brave, but he tends to get into trouble when he meddles in other people’s business.
And come to think of it, there isn’t actually that much snow in ‘The Snow Job!’ Since my main character’s hometown is a dome, the snow doesn’t get onto the streets or the lawn, and I really don’t have much weather in the big city parts of the book. I should fix that – Chazwa is such a cold place that even the equator is probably around the climate of November in Toronto – lots of cold rain and a little snow when a bad storm comes through.
5. In regards to your next project, “The Gnomes are Missing!” – Have you tried checking under the bed? Also, I have heard that Gnomes like to travel. Perhaps they just decided to take a vacation?
Well, there are signs of foul play inside these gnomes’ mound. I suspect that goblins and an evil magician of some sort are involved in their disappearance. But thanks for thinking positively!
6. Is writing your full time gig, or do you bring home the bacon another way?
Writing is my passion, but I make no money from it – yet. I work as a software developer for a small company based in Burlington, Ontario.
7. What is your biggest piece of life advice to bestow upon younger generations?
Nothing like putting me under pressure, huh? Well, in the Nanowrimo spirit, I’ll say “When in doubt, make up something that’s completely wrong. You can always fix it when you’re editing.”
8. The zombie apocalypse is upon us and you have to choose one location to hold up and attempt to survive in: Walt Disney World, Alcatraz, Australia, or Blarney Castle?
Hmm, okay. Let’s look at the options carefully. Australia, in general, seems way too open, without much good cover. You have to assume that there’d be some zombies starting in Australia pretty soon in the apocalypse, and there’s enough people to give you a lot of zombie hordes. No go there. Disney World has some of the same problems – the crowd control barriers there were never designed for actual zombies, and it’s close to big cities, right?
Alcatraz is almost the opposite problem. It’s perfectly secure, as long as the zombies can’t drive boats or swim really well – but what do you do for food and other supplies? You can’t leave the rock – and the whole Bay area is going to be overrun with zombie hordes. No good.
Blarney Castle, on the other hand, looks promising. As an old-timey Castle, it was presumably well designed for keeping ravening hordes at bay and stockpiling supplies to wait out a siege. And if you need to restock, you can pick your time to slip out carefully and try your luck on the Irish countryside – and there can’t be that many Irish people to make into zombies, right? I think we have a winner.
9. Waffle-palooza: what is it, why, and what toppings?
WafflePalooza is a Hamilton Nanowrimo tradition, originated by by Co-ML, Gale, FantasyWriterGuy and probably a few other people. The basic idea is to meet at a Williams Coffee Pub or some other writer-friendly joint that makes great big, fancy Belgian Waffles. You write like crazy to reach 50k or another goal you pick, (if you can’t make 50k, or you already have,) and then you order your waffle and hang out with other wrimos. It’s the perfect mix of last-night Write-in with fun social night, and who doesn’t love waffles?
Myself, I just have my waffle with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Why mess with perfection?
10. Firefly is one of the best Science Fiction shows ever. Are you a fan? If so, what is your favorite episode and why?
I’m a huge Firefly fan, and go into Toronto to attend most of the Browncoat shindigs. There are a lot of great episodes, but tonight I’m going to pick ‘Jaynestown’ because it has so many hilarious lines, and a lot of sweet (and disappointing) moments between Simon and Kaylee.
11. What is the worst book you have ever read? What made it so awful? Did you actually finish it?
Well, the most disappointing experience I had reading a book was “The Brothers Karamazov”, which may be because I was reading it for the wrong reasons as because of the book itself. I don’t quite remember how the whole thing started with my grade twelve English teacher, I think he was making a few cracks about trashy books when giving us the assignment for our book reports, so I asked him to give me a recommendation. I just found it hard to get through the description, or care about the characters. I didn’t finish it, and went to the Coles notes to write the end of the report, but I gave it a bed review based on what I’d managed to chew through myself.
12. Right handed or left handed?
Right handed. My Dad was a lefty, but none of my family inherited that from him. I’ve actually been reading some interesting things about left-hander’s brain structure in a cool drawing book lately, ‘Drawing on the Right side of the brain,’ which made me wish for a moment that I was a leftie. Apparently us right-handed people have pretty cool brains too, though.
13. You started your blog in June 2010. Are your creative juices officially flowing, and do you think you have gotten the hang of blogging yet? What has it been like to actively blog for 2+ years?
Well, I think I’ve gotten into the habit of blogging regularly. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have anything really special to share with my friends and followers, but I can usually manage to find something to blog about.
14. What is your favorite organization/cause to support and why?
The Office of Letters and Light! I love supporting Nanowrimo and all of their other creative events, and they have really cool thank-you gifts!
15. This is the last question?
Yes, so it appears. Some may argue whether or not it’s actually a question, but since I’ve answered it, it becomes the last question.