Thursday marked the kickoff of that crazy literary marathon, National Novel-Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), in which participants are challenged to pen a 50,000-word book in 30 days. In honour of the brave souls who are frantically scribbling away, and to cheer them on, we’ve gathered up some NaNoWriMo success stories. This special series casts a spotlight on those writers who took the bull by the NaNoWriMo horns and not only made it out alive, but found success along the way.
RICHARD W. HAINES
Richard W. Haines is a novelist, filmmaker and film historian. He’s been in the indie film business for 31 years and directed many feature films including “What Really Frightens You” (2010), “Soft Money” (2005), “Unsavory Characters” (2001), “Run for Cover ” (1995), “Head Games” (1993), “Space Avenger ” (1989) and “Splatter University” (1983).
Haines utilized cutting edge technology for a number of his pictures. He traveled to China in 1989 to make dye transfer (Glorious Technicolor) prints of “Space Avenger” which generated industry acclaim. He revived 3-D in 1995 in “Run for Cover”. “Unsavory Characters” was photographed partly in black and white to simulate the film noir look. He writes, produces, directs and markets his features through his company, New Wave Film Distribution, Inc.
Haines is also a notable film historian and wrote the books, “Technicolor Movies” and “The Moviegoing Experience 1968-2001″ for McFarland and Company. “Technicolor Movies” is on it’s second print run and is considered the definitive source of the process. Haines did the illustrations for the Children’s book, “Animal Kingdumb”.
“Production Value” is his first novel. The sequel, “Reel Danger”, is being prepared for release in 2013.
Nick Slade is a screenwriter who gets entangled in a sinister phantom film production with his actress girlfriend, Clarice Andrews. On this movie shoot, people are not only shot…they’re killed. Nick becomes a suspect in the deaths of the production manager and a producer’s assistant. When Clarice discovers that the film company is a front for international criminals who are smuggling drugs in film cans, she is kidnapped by gang. In an action packed climax, Nick saves Clarice, exposes the conspiracy and clears himself.
The story contains inside information about how independent movies are created with humorous characters and incidents derived from the author’s background as a filmmaker along with numerous plot twists and a surprise ending.
Pigtown books is the publisher of “Production Value”. Their website is: www.pigtownbooks.com.
How many years have you participated in NaNoWriMo?
“Production Value” is my first novel although I wrote two film history books, “Technicolor Movies” and “The Moviegoing Experience 1968-2001″ which were released by McFarland and Company, Inc. so I’ve had my work published before. Since I wrote the screenplays for my feature films, I’ve been writing stories for 31 years.
What attracted you to the challenge?
The indie film business is nearly dead now although I was fortunate to have participated in its zenith during the eighties and nineties when it was lucrative. Rather than write additional screenplays, I decided to adapt my new story ideas into novels which are similar. The main difference is to describe in words what I would have shown in images.
Are you a pantser or plotter?
Since I have a film background, I start with the ‘high concept’ and twist ending then work backwards with that incorporating characterization and detail.
What’s inside your NaNoWriMo writing survival kit?
Don’t try to make a living writing novels and do it as a passion while working elsewhere.
Do you have a NaNoWriMo playlist?
Where do you write?
At my computer although I often put on movie soundtrack scores for background music and inspiration.
What preparations do you make before beginning a novel?
As mentioned previously, I always start with the basic plot and twist ending and work my way backwards with that.
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?
I always have several books and screenplays in development simultaneously and work on them over the years until they are ready for release.
Tell us about your writing process. What were the most challenging aspects?
My writing process is that each day I go into the different files containing my novels or screenplays and see what nuance I can work in. The most challenging aspect of either a novel or screenplay is finding an audience.
Was writer‘s block an issue? If so, how did you overcome it?
Since I always have multiple stories I’m creating, writer’s block isn’t an issue. If I get stuck on one project, I’ll put it aside and work on the others until I come up with a remedy for the problem.
How did you set about finding a publisher?
I contacted the individual who co-wrote one of my screenplays decades ago. He had created a small publishing company so I contracted with him to essentially self publish my book through his entity.
What would you say is the key to your success?
Since I’m used to hustling my movies, hustling my novel wasn’t that different.
What do you say to those writers who frown upon the challenge?
You need a Type A personality to accomplish anything creative. If you don’t have one, learn how to adopt the characteristics of a Type A personality until you eventually become one.
What‘s the most important thing you’ve learned from the experience?
Publishing a novel is as difficult as releasing a feature film since the market is so glutted.