NaNo Day 10: Interview with Ariel Kalati

Yesterday I ended up doing homework (and extra-curricular work) (and work-work) until around 9:00 PM, at which point I ACTUALLY GOT TO WRITE BEFORE ELEVEN O’CLOCK AT NIGHT.

It was a beautiful occasion.

I’m still so tired from staying up late writing all last week that I ended up conking out a little before midnight, so I didn’t end up spending a ton of time NaNoing last night. But despite that, I still got a little over 2,000 words written, putting me at 15,500 overall (and only 1.5k behind my goal!).

It’s funny how I’m now excited about a word count that is still behind where I should be at this point. Like, “I could be 5,000 words behind, but instead I’m only 1,500! PARTAYYY.” Oh well. It happens.

Anyway: Like the past couple years, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.)

Today’s interview is with Ariel Kalati, my favorite pizza enthusiast and this year’s associate online administrator for Ch1Con. Here we go!

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ariel kalati reading

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name’s Ariel Kalati. I’m a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College, studying creative writing and French. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read and so far I’ve written four or five novels, depending on whether you count that terrible one from seventh grade. My main interests are Harry Potter, Parks and Recreation, eating food, and sleeping.


2. You’re a NaNo rebel this November, meaning that you’ve taken on a writing challenge, but it isn’t the traditional “write 50,000 words of a novel in one month” one. What are you doing instead? Why did you choose to do this?
This month I’m doing “NaNoEdMo,” which is a thing I made up. I’m trying to edit 50 scenes of my book in 30 days. Since the NaNoWriMo website doesn’t work with this, I’m using the website MyWriteClub to track my progress. The reason I decided to do NaNoEdMo instead of NaNoWriMo this year is because I’ve been working on this book for almost four years and it’s about time I finish editing it instead of starting an exciting new project. Basically, I’m being responsible, and it’s weird.

3. Can you tell us about your novel?
I cannot, actually, because I suck at summaries. But I’ll try. It’s about magic aliens, some of whom want to kill all humans and some of whom do not want to do that. Two human teenagers get involved in this issue because of a prophecy and wishes and stuff. It’s slightly less cliche than it sounds.

4. In addition to doing your rebellious NaNoWriMo this year, you’re also a full-time student, involved in extra-curriculars, interning remotely, volunteering as Ch1Con’s associate online administrator, and more. How do you balance so much at once?
I’m not really sure. It involves a lot of last-minute panicking, multitasking, and naps. Too many naps.

5. Any tips for revising a novel?
Well, if it’s your first time revising a novel, I have some semi-bad news for you, which is that you’re probably going to have to rewrite the entire thing. But the good news is that writing is fun and this time you already have the basic skeleton so it’ll be way easier than the first draft was. I recommend creating a separate file where you have a detailed outline of your whole book so that you can look at the structure of the plot and find where to remove stuff, where there are plot holes, etc. I’ve never made it past the Giant Rewriting Do-Over-the-Entire-Book edits so I don’t have any tips for regular, line-edit-y revisions.

6. Quick: what is your #1, go-to snack food for when the writing (or revisions) get tough?
Depends on if I’m at home or if I’m at school. At home, I tend to go for a spoonful of Nutella. At school, I do not have Nutella, so I usually go for one of my school’s croissants. They’re basically like a stick of butter in bread form.

7. And last but not least, where can we find you online?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I also have a blog at arielkalati.blogspot.com that updates weekly.

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Thanks for letting me interview you again this year, Ariel! I always love seeing your answers.

Goal for Today: 0 + 1,500 (from Friday)

Overall Goal: 17,000

Current Word Count: 15,504

~Julia

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NaNo Day 17: Interview with Ariel Kalati

Having one of those days when it feels like absolutely nothing will ever go right ever again and I might as well melt in a pool of my own tears and never go outside again.

Which is stupid, I realize. Because I’m currently sitting in a really nice and cozy apartment at a really good university and I had a really good breakfast and two of my really awesome roommates–who I do not in any way deserve–are sitting beside me and just talked me down from the tantrum I was throwing over some news I got and yeah.

I’m so incredibly lucky. And sometimes it’s hard to remember that after getting bad news and more bad news and not knowing how to proceed from this point and ugh. But it’s true.

So I’m trying to hold onto that. And remembering that yesterday was a really good day, and up until recently I’d been having nothing but good days for a long time, and we all have to pay our dues to karma eventually.

Also, it’s snowing and I’ve got good music playing and I read a good book this morning. (Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist, if you’re curious.) So life is good. Today, even, has overall been good. It’s just about what I focus on.

And, starting now, I’m focusing on the good parts of today.

Speaking of which: Today I am thrilled to share with you an interview!

Like last year, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.) In addition, all of this year’s interviewees are Ch1Con team members!

Today’s interview is with Ariel Kalati, one of my oldest writing friends. We’ve known each other forever, went to BookCon 2014 together, she’s spoken at the previous two Ch1Cons, she has this AMAZING eye for grammar, AND she’s one of Ch1Con’s new Creative Consultants. And she is fabulously snarky and hilarious. And yeah. Take it away, Ariel.

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Q: In one sentence, what is your novel about?

(A rewrite of NaNo 2012 ’cause I’m a rebel) Two teenagers are forced to convince the beast of winter to help them save the human race from evil spirits.

Q: What is your favorite part of NaNoWriMo?

My favorite part is when you didn’t write for a few days and you’re moping about and then it’s like you’re in an inspirational movie montage and you write EIGHT THOUSAND WORDS IN ONE DAY and you’re very proud of yourself.

Q: Do you have any specific writing rituals you follow?

Not really. I like to write between 10 pm and 1 am generally, and some chocolate is always helpful.

Q: What’s your secret to juggling life and NaNo at the same time?

There’s a lot of crying involved and yelling at people that they don’t understand the hardships of NaNoWriMo.

Q: Any advice for the troops?

You don’t necessarily have to write every day. Some days are “ugh writing sucks” days and some days are “so much writing yay!” days. Try to focus more on your weekly word count than your daily word count. And remember, bribing yourself with food and blackmailing yourself with lack of food are unhealthy but efficient ways to get that word count up!

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Thanks for letting me interview you, Ariel! And thanks for reading!

Goal for today: 2,000 + yesterday’s leftover 2,000 + Saturday’s 3,000 + Friday’s 3,500.

Overall goal: 35,000.

Current word count: 27,754.

~Julia