"Small Accomplishment" @ iStock

My niece Dahazee is 15 years old.  She is a writer.  She is already good now.  At the rate she is going, I think she’s going to become a great writer.  How do I know this?  Because this kid does her work.

Last year was the first time she participated in NaNoWriMo.  Not only did she complete the 50,000-word challenge, but she went on to complete the entire manuscript.  (It’s big.)  She was 14 at the time.  Just a couple of days ago, she completed this year’s NaNoWriMo and hopes to finish her second novel by the end of next month.

I am so proud of her.  I should also mention she’s a regular member of our local writer’s group and holds her own, thank you very much.  I think I can safely speak for the rest of the group members when I say that Dahazee is inspiring.  Naturally, I wanted to share the motivational goodness, and D was kind enough to grant me her very first interview.  (Thank you, Dahazee!)

So, without further ado, please to enjoy….

Stats: Dahazee, age 15.

How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing since summer 2007.

Title, genre, length of the work?

The title is “Pulse,” and the genre is sci-fi-ish.  I’m having issues deciding on the exact genre.  It’s 340 pages in Microsoft Word 2007, and approximately 137,800 words.

How long did it take from beginning to end?

FOREVER.  No, about nine months, from November 2009 to August 2010.

You wrote this novel during NaNoWriMo 2009.  Was this an idea you came up with for NaNoWriMo, or was this something you had already done some development on?  How long did it take for you to develop the idea to the point where you felt ready to write?

This was something I already had in my head.  The title popped into my head at two in the morning, and I went through a couple of plot ideas to fit it before deciding on the one it is today.

As for the developing, I’m not entirely sure on that one… Not long; I probably should have planned more, actually. I knew what I wanted to go on in the beginning and the end, but only a basic idea of what I wanted to happen in the middle, even when NaNo started.  No doubt that’s why the middle is so weak. *cringes*

What are your writing habits?  Do you write daily?  In your robe? Only while drinking orange juice?

I try to write something every day, usually while sitting in the recliner in the living room.

What is your experience as a writer?  Do you write short stories, vignettes, fan fic, what?  And how prolific are you?  Are you a dabbler, a part-time lover?  Or are you the guy that never calls in sick even though he’s got a billion hours of accumulated unused sick leave?

I started out with fanfics, mostly for video games.  Then I moved on to original fiction, mostly when “Pulse” came into being.  Almost all of my ideas are novel length; I have quite a few of them.  Unfortunately, most of them have stayed in my head and are still trying to make me start on them.  Like I said, I try to write something every day.  The day depends on how much I actually get done.  Lately, I’ve not been feeling very inspired to write much of anything, but I’ve had an idea recently that I’m hoping will help me get back into a groove.

What kind of career are you hoping to build as an author? What types of media do you want to work in?

A professional one, maybe?  I at least want to get a couple of books published at some point.  I just want to write fantasy and sci-fi, mostly, for young adults.

At what point in the novel did you feel the most discouraged, and why do you think that is?  What did you do to get yourself writing again?

When I had written most everything I knew I was going to write about, but still had loose ends to tie.  Plenty of them.  That was a low point.  I was ready to give up on the thing.  My friends helped me through it by saying they were looking forward to seeing the book on the shelves one day, that they believed I had it in me to finish it…corny things like that.  But it really helped.

What element of fiction writing do you find the most challenging?  Building characters, picking titles, writing dialogue, envisioning clear scenes, what have you?

Mostly fight scenes, which is annoying because most of my books are riddled with them.

Which element do you feel like you have the easiest time with, that feels natural and hardly work at all?

Character development, definitely.  Usually, the characters pop into my head, ready-made, before a plot even comes to mind.

What’s your next step with this project?  Give us a time line.

I expecting to finish the rewrite by next year ? I’m not sure how long it will take me — hopefully not quite as long as I’m expecting.  I’m cutting out a lot, and the middle of the book will definitely be stronger.

What’s your short-term goal with fiction?

Mostly just to write every day and get my novel ready for publication.

What’s your next long project? Another novel?

Yes.  I’m doing NaNo again this year, with a mafia novel which I have a much better clue about to start with than “Pulse.”  I also have a trilogy which I’m excited about working on, involving shinigami in modern-day Japan.

Any advice to the fellow writer struggling through their first novel?

Don’t give up!  You might go through a dry period, like I did, where you honestly feel there’s nothing to write anymore or you just don’t feel like it’s worth finishing.  It’s worth it.  Keep going.  Believe in yourself and in your novel.  YOU CAN DO IT.


* The underlining is mine.  This is why I think Dahazee will make it as far as she wants to go.  Have you written today?




I’m at Starbucks right now as I write this.  I’m literally hanging on to my table to save me from forever embarrassment (as I rather enjoy writing at this particular Starbucks).

But whatever happens, you should know, I was ambushed.

The Bee Gees were already playing over the sound system when I walked in…LOUD.  Instantly, my feet aligned themselves to the beat.  It was physically impossible for me not to walk in time.  Before I realized it, my free hand was swinging my John Travolta paint can and I was lip-synching the words.

“Well, you can tell by the way I use my walk, I’m a woman’s man, no time to talk.”

That’s when I started to feel the familiar sweat of mortification.  And as I was trying to randomize my step, my rear end started doing a little swagger and now I’ve got this idiot grin I can’t get rid of.

I’m this close — THIS CLOSE!!! — my friends, to grooving out across that wide open tile floor and spinning on my heels before dropping into the splits.  Yow!

I gotta get a straw.  I’ll be right back.


I’m back.  Oh, Jesus.  It’s the devil’s music!  It possesses you!  It took everything I had to make it back here with only a pronounced bounce in my step that just happened to display a strong sense of musicality (but I can’t help that).

There’s only two other people here:  a college kid studying for her biochem exam, and the grandpa with his new iPad.  I see her pen tapping in time on her paper, and Grandpa’s toes are wiggling.  I’m trying to decide if they’d be game.  Are they made of the right stuff?

The way I see it, if I just jumped up right now and busted out some cool disco moves, Grandpa iPad would undoubtedly skip-jive over to me and do his hippy shake thing, relieved that I finally broke the ice.  Then the studious girl would flip over us and tear it up around the floor before we settled into a synchronized (and apparently psychic) choreography.

The song’s almost over.  I’m gonna miss my chance.

I can’t do it.  I’m afraid they won’t jump in.  Damn scaredy cats.

And what divine butt did the Bee Gees kiss to create music that makes people walk like that against their will?  Starbucks really should have some sort of marquee out front that displays the current song selection so patrons can be forewarned.

One of these days I’m just not going to be strong enough and a lot of people are going to end up EMBARRASSED.

Anyhoo, many thanks to everyone who’s taken the time to check out my blog.  It means a lot to me.  I can’t believe I’ve written 100 posts already.  Lots of fun.  I hope y’all will stick around…and boogie with me.  (snapping fingers)  Hmm.  Peeps might be getting embarrassed today.

Oh, yeah.  In other news, NaNoWriMo is going on.  Have you heard?  What’s my word count, you ask?

Oh, shit.  Can’t talk.  Strong, disco-gravitational pull taking over me.  It’s got my shoe!

“Life’s going nowhere.  Somebody help me, yeah.  I’m stayin’ alive!”