An interview with Lawrence's NaNoWriMo winners
Shaun Hittle talks with Jason Arnett and John Bond, winners of the Lawrence NaNoWriMo contest, about their writing process and their new books.
Other contestants who submitted a 50,000-word novel
- Perry Shepard
- Nitzan Meltzer
- Muriel Green
- Farrah Brumm
- Jileen Shobe
- Tom Mach
- Deborah Miller
- Kaitlyn Adams
- Wayne Klick
- Ronda Miller
- Jessica Levine
Lawrence resident John Bond says there's no easy answer for how he finished a 93,000-word novel in 30 days.
"I just didn't sleep or do much of anything else," he says.
It was Bond's first year participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), an annual event that challenges authors nationwide to write a 50,000-word novel all in the month of November.
As a successful WriMo'er - the term for event participants - he can place a large checkmark next to one of his life's "to-do" list items thanks to the completion of his first novel, "Dream Solver."
"There aren't that many people out there who can say they've even written half a book. ... I've done something that I never thought I could do before," says Bond, who, when not busy clicking away on his old-fashioned typewriter, teaches piano at the Lawrence Piano Studio.
Bond, along with local author Jason Arnett, were the winners of the Journal-World's first National Novel Writing Month contest. They were randomly selected from 13 local writers who completed a novel under the national event's guideline. As the grand-prize winner, Arnett will receive five bound copies of his finished novel, which will include book cover artwork from fellow WriMo'er and local graphic artist Melissa Lytton. Bond received a $100 Downtown Lawrence gift certificate as the runner-up.
Arnett, a food services manager at Kansas University, finished a novel for the second year in a row. This year's novel, "OverTime," was a sequel to the one he wrote last year during the event, titled "AfterLife."
Even for a veteran of the monthly writing event, Arnett ran into some tough moments: such as the middle days of the month, which he calls "the wall." When he hit that wall, he relied on the support of other local writers. Every week, the Lawrence Writer's Group held write-ins, where fellow WriMo'ers shared experiences and offered support.
"It's kind of inspiring to just be in that room with that energy," says Arnett of the group, which also meets throughout the year on the first Sunday of each month at Mirth Cafe, 745 N.H.
Though they both successfully completed their novels, Arnett and Bond are tough critics of their finished product.
Arnett says he's pleased with the beginning and the end of the book, but not the middle 15,000 words.
Bond, on the other hand, is torn about how he feels about his first novel.
"I like it, but I don't really like it," he says.
Despite his own critiques, Bond says the finished product was worth the sleepless nights.
"When you're done, you just kind of sit back and you feel on top of the world," he says.