Featured Fig: Karenna Marcela Oner

NaNo-Figs, oh NaNo-Figs,
your month is now half spent.
We cannot help but wonder where
your writing hours went.

So take a minute, find a seat,
and give this post a read.
When it comes to NaNoWriMo,
Karenna’s got all the tools you need.

Every week until December 1, when NaNoWriMo ends, we’re featuring a NaNo-Fig to inspire you, give you writing tips, and help you procrastinate just a bit.
This week, we’ve got 13-year-old Karenna Marcela Oner (a.k.a. KarennaTheBookEnthusiast), a Virginian whose NaNo entry (“Oblivion“)  is already over 12,000 words long. 

Describe your inspiration for your NaNo story. 

My inspiration for my NaNo story actually came from a pocket-watch pin I found sitting in my dad’s closet. One day in September I was digging around in there, looking for something, and found it. It caught my attention, and I couldn’t help but feel drawn to it. I pinned it to my T-shirt/sweater wherever I went, or at least had it in my pocket, and over the course of the month I wrote many newspaper articles for my school that explained the functions of clocks. When October came around and I was planning my NaNoWriMo novel, I used all the knowledge I had gained about clocks to form one solid idea. In fact, I chose a London setting for the clock-tower scenes I kept envisioning. I think I always knew, even before I planned my novel in October, that it would have a London setting. As for my characters, they were entirely thought up by me. The funny thing is, I didn’t outline my novel or really thoroughly think my character’s actions through, and I think it’s good that I didn’t, because outlines always mess me up and make my writing turn out stiff. I feel like I have free reign when I don’t outline, and I can really take my story anywhere as long as it gets from Point A to Point B.

What’s the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

The best writing advice I have ever received actually came from someone online. I was moping around, complaining about how I had the urge to write but just couldn’t bring myself to open Word, and then someone who had noticed my troubles got serious with me and told me that the only person who could make myself write was, well, me . . . that really snapped things into perspective. Now I know I can’t rely on other people to make me write, I just have to hone my abilities and block everything else out.

Which mythical creature would you most like to have as a pet and why?

If I could have any mythical creature as a pet, it would without a doubt be Athena’s Owl, because it stands for intelligence, and I have a very strong connection to owls. Plus, owls can fly, and flight has always been very intriguing to me, as you may be able to see as I granted one of my characters, Fallon, the ability to fly.

Fill in the blank: “My most embarrassing writing moment was when . . .”

My most embarrassing writing moment was when I wrote a seven-page essay entitled “The Serial Comma: How to Use It Properly’’ and accidentally sent it to my English teacher, when I was supposed to send her my personal narrative about the time I received my dog. She was so impressed by the article that she read it aloud to my classmates. I tried to laugh it off, but honestly, I was mortified.

What is your NaNo schedule like?

At my school, we have 40 minutes, three days a week, that is basically our study hall. I always manage to find myself in the library, flash drive inserted in a computer and typing away. Forty minutes isn’t as long as it sounds to some people, however, and for me it isn’t long at all. Normally, after school I’ll go home and do my homework quickly before starting in on my NaNoWriMo novel. I normally work late into the night/early into the morning.

Your NaNo story goes back and forth in time and between characters quite seamlessly. What is your advice for Figs trying to do the same in their writing? 

Don’t try to time your character’s points of views unless you’re sure you can pull it off. I was going to do one chapter with Seth, one with Fallon, and keep alternating, but that’s when I realized that Seth needed the most chapters, and my other characters were fighting to get their stories in there as well.  So now, whenever I feel like one character has a prominent moment at the point of time my story is stalled at, I let them narrate.  It flows a lot smoother that way.

What inspired you to keep a NaNo journal? How is it helpful to you?

My NaNo journal was actually inspired by all the thoughts rushing through my head that I had nowhere to store. My friends aren’t writers, so they couldn’t understand, and nobody else seemed to want to listen. So when NaNoWriMo started, I decided that keeping a journal of my thoughts for future review would be a good idea. I find it very resourceful, too, because I can jot down my ideas and come back to them later, and I can also set goals for myself.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? Join Figment’s official NaNo Group to participate in adrenaline-filled writing sprints, tag your story nanowrimo11 to get a spiffy new badge, and scribble away!


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