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Saturday, November 7, 2015

My Characters Won't Behave

I know I'm not the only person that deals with this. I just feel like complaining... I started having trouble with a character being overly hostile. When I complained about it to my family, I was told to just make the character behave. I wish.



Non-writers seem to be under the impression that writers control their characters. For me, it's more like I rent head-space to my characters. Except I don't actually get the benefit of collecting rent.

When I was dealing with this particular character, I had intended for her to be rude, but the intensity of her behavior was unexpected, and told me there was more to it. So I took a day and explored why she was behaving this way. What I got at the end of the day was her character arc. It was important for me to know, even if what I actually wrote gets scrapped.

This is why I don't bother getting too detailed with my outlining. Things go off on tangents too often and I would have to scrap half of my outline. It's what works for me.

Before that I had a side character decide to tag along for the whole adventure...and become the love interest. I was not planning on including any romance in this story, but he's not going away. I'm trying telling myself that it helps add to the conflict.

So...only a week into NaNoWriMo and things are spinning out of control nicely. I've come to the conclusion is that if the characters are behaving perfectly, something is wrong.

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More about NaNoWriMo?
Four Benefits of NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo Prep Time
What I Did To Silence My Inner Editor

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

NaNoWriMo 2014 vs 2015

Differences seem to be a running theme with me lately. Especially when it comes to NaNoWriMo. For that matter, the working title of my NaNo novel is "Osiyana". Which…according to Google translate…is "different" in Nyanja. (I'll have to share more about how I picked that title later.)

Differences are a running theme in my plot. Differences and changes. The first plot point that crops up for my MC is changes occurring all around her, and she's the only one that knows something has changed. Then, because simple isn't something that my brain does well, there are multiple versions of the same character in the story. The differences are what set them apart.

But it makes me think of the differences between my NaNo experience last year and this year. They're already drastically different, even though we are only a few days in.

Last year, I was a pantser. I had no plot. I had a few characters and a setting, and some stories that I knew occurred after what I was writing, but I was a week or so into November before I actually thought of a plot. My writing wandered and reading over it now is particularly painful.

This year I knew I was wanting to participate, so I started planning. I worked up a few character sheets, and did some basic outlining. I actually developed a decent plot and themes. I even went so far as to create a Pinterest board for inspiration and a music playlist.

Funnily enough, I haven't been using my music playlist much. Last year, I relied heavily on music to help set the mood for my writing. This year, I either hum to myself or type in silence. It's a weird experience for someone that almost constantly has music of some kind around them.

The stories themselves are different as well. I swapped genres. Last year it was fantasy. This year, I'm dabbling in science fiction. I've read a good bit of fantasy, but not a lot of sci-fi, so I'm approaching it differently. I don't know much of what is expected of the genre, so I feel less confined in my writing. It's a good thing.

Lastly, the writing this year seems easier. I set my personal daily goal at 2200 words instead of 1667. And I'm hitting it consistently so far without problem. I believe it is partly due to my preparation, but I'm also more in a habit of writing. (I knew having this blog would come in handy.) My "sit down and just write" muscle is stronger this year.

What's the same? I'm still writing, still learning, and definitely still enjoying the process of both.

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Next Post
Previous Post

More about NaNoWriMo?
Four Benefits of NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo Prep Time
What I Did To Silence My Inner Editor