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Curtis Chen: Using NaNoWriMo to Kickstart Your Novel

How you can use NaNoWriMo to jumpstart your fiction writing. Plus, more extreme measures to move your writing forward...if you're up for it.

By
Mignon Fogarty,
Episode #737
Waypoint Kangaroo cover

In this interview, I talked with Curtis Chen, author of "Waypoint Kangaroo," in which a superpowered secret agent faces his toughest mission yet: vacation.

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We talked about:

  • How Curtis used NaNoWriMo to help him get started on "Waypoint Kangaroo"
  • Why he uses a very old word processor called a Alpha Smart Neo
  • What it took to write and get his first novel published and how different that usually is from writing and publishing a second novel
  • How and why Curtis wrote a 500-word flash fiction piece every week for almost five years
  • What Curtis got from attending conferences, including Clarion West and Viable Paradise
  • How Curtis dramatically changed his life to be able to seriously pursue writing
  • What Curtis thinks are good short fiction markets based on his work as the secretary of the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America

You can listen to the entire interview by clicking the player above or by finding the Grammar Girl podcast on any podcasting app, but if you prefer to read it, we also have a complete (rough) transcript.

About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of the Quick and Dirty Tips network and creator of Grammar Girl, which has been named one of Writer's Digest's 101 best websites for writers multiple times. The Grammar Girl podcast has also won Best Education Podcast multiple times in the Podcast Awards, and Mignon is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame. Mignon is the author of the New York Times best-seller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing" and six other books on writing. She has appeared as a guest on the "Oprah Winfrey Show" and the "Today Show" and has been featured in the New York Times, Business Week, the Washington Post, USA Today, CNN.com, and more. She was previously the chair of media entrepreneurship in the Reynolds School of Journalism in Reno, NV. She hates the phrase "grammar nazi" and loves the word "kerfuffle." She has a B.A. in English from the University of Washington in Seattle and an M.S. in biology from Stanford University. Mignon believes that learning is fun, and the vast rules of grammar are wonderful fodder for lifelong study. 

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