Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo, Continued

So here I am on day 24 of National Novel Writing Month, and I'm still cranking out the prose. Last night I hit 44,860 words, which means at my current rate I'll hit NaNoWriMo's 50,000-word minimum well before I finish the story. And I do still have work to do. I figure I'll finish up somewhere between 50,000 and 60,000 words.

What's interesting to me is that my characters have done things that have surprised me. I know, you're probably thinking, "But you're the author! They're just make-believe people. How can they possibly surprise you?" Well, on one level, you're right. But on the other, if you take the approach of seeing these characters as real people, you realize that they have desires of their own, and a decision that you would have them make doesn't fit with those desires. A lot of little things are decided instinctively for me. I'll be writing dialogue, hearing these people interact, and I can tell where they're coming from and what they want to do. Their conversations and actions have a natural rhythm that fits with their personalities, and I'll write what I see in my head. And, like I said, sometimes they'll surprise me.

Examples? Well, my leading-lady character became an orphan in her late teens. Her mother died when she was maybe 10, her father when she was 18. She was very close to her father, and he taught her how to fix cars. My male lead character works on cars to relax, so that became another level on which they could bond. Or there was a character I wanted to introduce later in the story, a surfer dude my female lead (Carol) meets when she comes to Woodstock, but on a whim I decided to make this guy someone she already knows, somebody local to Florida. That makes her connection to him easier to believe. The surfer dude surprised me, too, because suddenly he wanted to make a movie about the trip to Woodstock, and interview Carol. That gave Carol a chance to reveal things in a film "interview" that might not have come up otherwise.

And so forth. I'm having fun with this process, obviously. And I still have several thousands of words to go. Onward!

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