A Peek Into Don Britt's Act of Insanity!!

Writer Don Britt is still busy over at 24novels.com.
But!
I snagged him to answer a few questions for me. I'm so excited to have him here!!!!!

For those of you who don't know his story;
Don has committed to write 24 novels in one year.
Oh, it gets better... 
The 24 novels must be written live- ONLINE.
Crazy enough, right??? oh no, not for this Saskatchewan boy.
Each one must be written in 72 hours.
yup.
He calls it an act of insanity. As a writer, I agree with him. Yet, he knows I support him in his madness. Honestly, it's too blasted amazing not too. I get a rush just dreaming about courage like that. So far he's got twelve first drafts tucked away nicely on that website for all the world to read.

And read some, I did.
I've even sat in while he wrote one. Well, not the entire time-- I have my own worlds to create, after all. But, I caught chunks of it. 
Reading a first draft is always thrilling, and his are no exception. I love the raw truth that explodes from them. 
THE FALL MAN moved me to tears. (yeah real live tears)
 AN EXERCISE IN WISHFUL THINKING had me chuckling several times. I love that guy's voice.

I'm excited for Don-- he's made it halfway!! 
So without further ado, I welcome Don Britt... 

So Don, how does it feel to reach the midpoint of your journey?
I'm of two minds, I think. I'm glad to reach that point of no return, for sure. I've proved to myself that I can pound out 22,000 - 25,000 word novellas on a regular basis, and some of the sights along the way have been really exciting. But I'm also tired. The weight of this project has really been pressing down on me lately. A pneumonia diagnosis a few weeks ago didn't help. At 42, I guess I can't make any claims to being young and naive, but it's certainly true that I didn't appreciate the magnitude of the this thing I've taken on. I'm still standing though, and confident I'll see it through.

Do you find your writing is changing through this process? If so, how?
The most obvious difference is that I'm seeing results.  I'm producing tales with a beginning, middle and end.  Back in the day (six months ago!) my feelings about the project would get in the way.  I might get eight to ten thousand words into a thing and decide I didn't like it, and walk away.  Now I set my egg timer at three days and just go for it. 

Maybe the biggest surprise is that a lot of the stuff I write quickly is at least as good as the stuff I took ages to produce.  There are exceptions, for sure.  Sometimes, late at night with the clock ticking down, I just go into survival mode and pound out copy that might make me cringe in the light of day. But overall this experience has blown up the myth in my brain that good writing has to come slow, and I think I'm growing as a writer as a result.

Are there some stories that you're eager to return to polish? If so, which ones?
Two stories are set in my native Cape Breton Island, THE REDEMPTION OF WILBUR BLAKE and my latest, THE MAN IN THE TAR PAPER SHACK. These are historical fiction, set in the 1940s, a time that was very intense back home. Workers came back from the war and just weren't willing to accept the conditions they once faced. Things were very confrontational. Strikers would tie crowbars to their pickets and the joke was 'You might walk through a Cape Breton picket line once, but you'll never be able to a second time.'  I'm saturated with tales from that era.  I'd love to return to those stories later, and maybe flush things out into a full length novel. 

Tell us about an experience that's marked your journey and why.
A few months back I wrote my first 'live' entry, at Chapters in Regina. It was just loopy. I ended up being interviewed for radio and television, had articles in The National Post and The Western Producer, and also had my story covered by the national radio program 'As It Happens'.  When it was time to write my next entry I came down with a nasty flu.  I was sure that I was going to crash and burn. In fact, I decided to call it quits. 

Then my dear wife Georgia politely but firmly pointed out that failure was a luxury I couldn't afford.  In the wake of national press coverage, with people watching for the first time, I just had to reach down and get the job done. I did, but only thanks to her. When I didn't have the determination and resolve I needed, she gave me hers. 

Where and when will we find you doing the next live writing?
My next live gig is happening April 25 - 27 on the NewCap Radio Stage at West Edmonton Mall.  It's nothing less than the biggest event of my life as a writer, and I'm quite frankly terrified.  Should be fun! 


Thank you so much Don for taking the time out of your busy day to stop by.
Glad you're feeling better, and all the best.

For those who want to check it out, his work is posted at




16 comments:

vbtremper said...

An act of insanity, indeed. I wouldn't want the public reading my first drafts. You are a brave man, Don!

My aunt and uncle have spent summers on Cape Breton for 20 or so years. They are artists and have a gallery. My husband and I visited them there almost 8 years ago. Beautiful place!

Bravo and courage!
-Vicki

Juliana L. Brandt said...

Thanks so much for posint this, Tanya! I hadn't heard about Don and his insanity. I'm excited to keep up with his writing now.

What a completely tremendous goal.

Margo Berendsen said...

There's also a fellow that pledged to write 1,000,000 words in 2011 and he's been posting it all on his website too - but I can't remember his name. These guys are incredible! Don if you are listening in, did you plan out some of your stories before you got started? Or do the ideas just keep generating themselves? I've noticed the more I write, the more ideas I get. It's pretty amazing. Best of luck - and keep up - I'll be checking!!!

And Tanya, a few more hints about my mythical creatures on my blog today... methinks you need to share more about the Whisperers soon. Or let's interview each other!

brookerousseau said...

Wow, that's amazing! Like Margo, I wonder how much planning you do before you write. I'm a big planner/outliner/plotter/over-thinker. Good luck to you. And thanks to Tanya for bringing Don to our attention!

Tanya Reimer said...

Thanks gals for stopping by. Glad you all enjoyed the interview! It truly is incredible.

Margo you got me curious... a million word novel? I will be looking into that! yikes.

Hopefully once Don is done in Edmonton he'll stop by to answer your questions. Don't be shy about leaving them on his site either.

cherie said...

Wow, that IS crazy! If I were to do something like that, I think I'd find myself losing my hubby, my kids, and my sanity. LOL Kudos to Don for sheer bravado ;)

Richard said...

I could never do that; maybe one novella a week, and that would be hard.

I think Don might find a lot of material for future projects within those novellas, though, maybe enough for a lifetime's writing.

Samantha Sotto-Yambao said...

WOW. Wishing Don the best of luck! :)

Betsy said...

That's fantastic!!
And Tanya, it's been a while since I've stopped by (sorry!) and your site looks FAB!! Reading some older posts too. Kudos!

Tanya Reimer said...

Oh Cherie! You're so funny! But it's true, it takes a family to stand behind us when we write. We can't forget who is behind us. Don proves that. I'm sure it would be hard without his wonderful wife and family/friends to support him.

Richard, I agree, looking at his work, I do think he's going to have some great novels explode from this journey. At least I hope so, some of his characters I would love to read more about!!

Samantha, thanks for stopping by. Still looking forward to reading your book!

Oh thanks Betsy! Don't be sorry, I was out for a month so you didn't miss much! Nice to be back. I'll stop in.

E.C. Smith said...

Wow...thanks so much for posting this. I had no idea! And I'm so intrigued by Don's jounrey. Will definitely following along on his next one.

Love the new site design too.

Tanya Reimer said...

Thanks E.C.!!

Don Britt said...

Oh yes, I should add that my next entry starts this Friday, May 13th. (Thankfully I'm not superstitious.) Hopefully this weekend will see me finish the fourteenth entry in my marathon. So if you'd like to check out a work in progress, drop on by at 24novels.com .

Cheers!

Don

Tanya Reimer said...

Oh yay!! Friday, May 13th, a lucky day like that should be easy to remember! Thanks for the remind, Don. Nice to see you made it back safely from Edmonton. All the best.

Tanya Reimer said...

Here's the link to Don's comment. Thanks for stopping by Don.

http://tanyareimer.blogspot.com/2011/05/don-brett-shares.html

Tanya Reimer said...

Don did stop by to reply. twice. Blogger ate his one reply and refused to post the other. That blogger.

See the link below. I reposted his longer reply, because I was so touched by his words.

http://tanyareimer.blogspot.com/2011/05/don-brett-shares_14.html

Thanks for feeding blogger Don, and for stopping by!