Sharon Clare fell in love with writing at the University of Toronto where she graduated with a science degree in psychology and professional writing.
Inspired by prose, she completed a program with the LongRidge Writing Institute in Connecticut. She writes paranormal romance and has published short stories, art reviews, newsletter and magazine articles.
She continues to feed her love of learning and develop her writing skills with outstanding Toronto Romance Writing workshops, wonderful critique partners and inspiring books of course.
Her favourite place to write is outside under the maple trees beside the trickling pond and blooming lilies.
Find out more about Sharon at: sharonclare.com
How many years have you participated? I’ve participated once in 2010.
What attracted you to the challenge? I was attracted by the notion that I would be forced to shut down my inner editor and just write.
Are you a pantser or plotter? I’ve been both. My paranormal romance Love of Her Lives was written with no outline at 10K words a week, but underwent extensive revisions. For NaNoWriMo, I plotted. I used Karen Wiesner’s First Draft in 30 Days to create a detailed outline that included a paragraph on each scene. I thought this would help to get those 50K words out.
What’s inside your NaNoWriMo writing survival kit? My outline, lots of coffee and chocolate nuts as a reward for reaching daily word counts. Oh, and a closed door. And easy dinners and no house cleaning expectations.
Do you have a NaNoWroMo playlist? No, I can’t listen to music while writing. I get distracted.
Where do you write? Enough of my kids have moved out that I have my own office now, finally! I love to have Second Life® open while I write, often in a virtual setting similar to whatever scene I’m writing. I feel my little office space expands.
What preparations do you make before beginning a novel? I work on character building first. Since I write romance, I always have a hero, a heroine and an antagonist to develop. I give them all a back story, a misguided belief, flaws, strengths, conflicts, motivations and goals. I sketch out the major plot points, just a sentence to get started.
How long did it take you to finish your book? Did you take a break after November or work steadily on until it was complete? Honestly, the book I started during NaNoWriMo is not yet finished. I got sidetracked in revision requests from editors I’d solicited and then received two contracts, so those books took priority. My goal is to finish the book in 2013.
Tell us about your writing process. What were the most challenging aspects? My writing process is to get the first draft written without any edits. I have to remind myself that it’s not going to be pretty, but that’s okay. Once it’s done, I focus on character growth, opportunities to add conflict and tension, plot consistency, scene relevance, that sort of thing. I usually show it to my critique group before I do micro editing like tightening and fixing sentences.
The most challenging aspect for me has become managing social media time. I’m now learning to juggle book promotion and writing. I set writing goals every Monday and share the list with 3 writing friends. I’m editing a novella right now, so at the top of the list is edit 10 pages/day. I’ve also been writing on average 3 blog articles/week.
Was writer’s block an issue? If so, how did you overcome it? I wrote a workbook, Who Will Tell Your Story, focussed on character building to overcome a case of writer’s block. It was caused by not knowing my characters well enough. I’m starting to share this material in Second Life® workshops. I also take out my Donald Maass material whenever I hit a roadblock.
How did you set about finding a publisher? I belong to the Romance Writers of America, a great resource to find agents and publishers. My chapter has member loop on Yahoo where I saw a call for submissions. I queried Crimson Romance and was asked to revise. Once that was done, they offered me a contract.
What would you say is the key to your success? The key for me is persistence and to consider writing as a job. I love writing, but it’s not easy. I’ve studied writing craft for 10 years and try to apply most things I learn. Persistence, keep writing and learning.
What do you say to those writers who frown upon the challenge? NaNoWriMo is a huge challenge. If you don’t find it difficult, then I envy you. Join a couple of NaNoWriMo groups, so you have support. Like all great accomplishments, writing 50K in a month will give you not just a great sense of satisfaction, but you’ll have those words to work with and it’s a great learning experience.
What’s the most important thing you’ve learned from the experience? I learned I have it in me to manage a challenging word count. I also learned 50K in a month is too much for me on an ongoing basis, but 40K is manageable. My first drafts are never pretty, but that’s okay. Revision is where I start to like what I’ve written.
Calum and Beth are soul mates who have lived many lives together, lusting, loving and dying for each other. While their lives are often turbulent, their eternal bond is secure—or so Calum thinks—until Beth decides to live a life on her own. Left behind in the Upper World, he sees a wrongful imprisonment in her future, so he bargains with Finn, an elven trickster to return to Earth, rescue Beth and reclaim her heart. Unfamiliar with the twenty-first century, he must determine who plots against Beth while playing Finn’s sensual game, a game designed to awaken her repressed passion and keep them on the run together.
Beth has no recollection of their lives together and didn’t ask this sexually-charged stranger to come to her aid. When she takes a risk to help an abused woman, she is horrified to find her house ransacked and her life threatened. With a secret to keep, she takes the greatest risk of all—trusting Calum. Her unfathomable attraction to the man is as much a mystery as the man himself. Her life soon depends upon re-evaluating everything she thought normal as her risk-taking behaviour pushes Calum to behave like a controlling buffoon. Their eternal bond is only saved if Beth can then rescue the man who spanned worlds to rescue her.