@ShinySouthpaw Shares Fun Facts

Sitting at my computer, staring at this little blinking cursor, I’m reminded of a few fun facts about myself.

First, the genre that flows best for me is Fantasy, and while writing in my chosen genre, I can hold my own when given an assignment of sorts. But give me the task of crafting a blog post, something that’s both creative and non-fiction, well… that’s when my confidence waivers. I won’t go into how many times the backspace key’s been hit or how many different evolutions this posting has seen.

Second, I have a weird username for my NaNoWriMo account. Starchampion. It certainly is not your typical name for an online presence. I’d like to think it was created back when I was such a newbie at creating an online persona and didn’t know any better. Now, well, I guess I keep it for nostalgia.

Third fun fact, I write. Yeah, I know we all write, but I mean it in the literal sense. When I wield my craft, I do so with a pencil and a spiral-bound notebook. I’d like to think, that being a lefty, and write longhand, my creations travel an unfiltered path from The Source to the page. The only time I’m at a keyboard is when I’m transcribing my work into a Word doc or editing an existing story.

Ha. It’s most likely a combination of fun facts one and three that’s contributing to my struggle to craft this post.

NaNoWriMo 2016:
My title is still pretty rough, but it should be close to: The First Champion [From a Union of Two Armies].
Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

My inspiration for this year’s project came during my chapters of SCBWI’s fall conference/retreat. I was telling a fellow writer about my current work in progress (WIP) involving a set of triplets and the prophecy they fulfilled. She asked about the timeline and backstory about my WIP and its cast of characters, specifically one of them. As I went into those details, the realization hit me that one of the girls fell victim to the classic “middle child syndrome”. Thus my project for this year was born.

This year marks my 5th November participating in NaNoWriMo. My first one was back in 2009. I took a few years off but then, my inspiration for doing this wacky event—Rochelle Bradley—tempted me to try it again in the best way possible to try my hand once more at the annual challenge: meeting up halfway through the month for a weekend write-in and catching up.

I’ve also attended 3 NaNo Camps, making use of revisions to current WIPs or just adding to their word count. While the November projects enforce the regular practicing of my craft, the camps are more fun for me. I think it’s because the relaxed word count meshes better with my crazy lifestyle, where I keep trying to balance more and more projects and duties into my daily life.

Okay, back to my method for bringing my imaginary friends and their adventures to life. Being a long handed writer normally has it’s own challenges—broken pencil tips, used up erasers, and smudged hands/pages—but things get especially interesting during NaNo.

Unlike most NaNo participants, I don’t have a computer to keep track of the word count. So, competing in Word Wars require a great deal of patience from the other people involved as I manually count out each word. Believe it or not, if the flow is really there, I can hold my own in the number of words produced in those wars and that in itself is pretty gratifying. At the end of every writing session or series of wars, I take a few minutes to total up my word count and then go online to the NaNoWriMo homepage to update my month-to-date totals.

To those fellow long-handers out there, I salute you. We wield an ancient craft in a way that is quickly fading. Participating in NaNoWriMo is tough enough, but doing so onto paper deserves its own merit.

To everyone, I wish you the best of luck at reaching your goal, whether it be to “win” NaNoWriMo, or to see how many words you can write.

As for me, I’d just be happy beating last year’s personal best. One day I will reach that goal of 50,000 words. It may not be this year or the next, but I have faith it will happen. So far, each year I get closer and closer.

In addition to beating last year’s personal best, I hope to keep my website (www.shinysouthpaw.com), Facebook profile (https://www.facebook.com/shinysouthpaw/), and Twitter account @shinysouthpaw) current in my progress. Wish me luck!!


  1. Thank you, Sharon, for sharing your story with us. I admire your ability to write all those words with a pencil. My hand cramps after writing me name. lol. Good luck with Nanowrimo!

  2. That is impressive doing the whole thing with pencil and paper! Once we were traveling 8 hours for Thanksgiving and wrote it out long hand, since I couldn't bring the computer. That was only one day though! It is a lot harder than one would think. Great job!

  3. Awesome post. I applaud you for taking on the challenge despite the obstacles presented by everyday life. I originally wrote all my fiction longhand. That process does make a difference, even to right handed folks. Perhaps I'll do that one of these November days. :) Happy writing!


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