Tag Archives: characters

AWAKEDRAGON: NaNoWriMo 2017

Well then, NaNoWriMo starts in two days. I did my typical ‘I know what I’m doing!’ and then panicked waffling about a week ahead of time. I’m actually going to be working on the same project I worked on last year: only from a different perspective.

Thanks to lovely brainstorming partners, I’ve got a handle on some of the critical flaws I’ve been struggling with. Unfortunately, that means some deep rewrites, because some of the flaws were built into the structure of the story itself.

Now. I’m not completely throwing out the first draft. I’m going to turn this book dual POV, with two voices to carry the story. Since this story is a bit of a commentary on how ‘developed’ and ‘developing’ countries interact with each other, it really needs a perspective on both sides to balance the story and make it worth something.

Well, I’m definitely feeling like I haven’t outlined enough information, or discovered enough about this character’s voice to be writing 1667 words a day. Which leads to my last minute panicked waffling about what to work on.

But, the great thing about NaNoWriMo is you can use it to force you to write words even if you’re not prepared for them, to just GET IT OUT and ignore the inner editor. And I think that’s what I need to kick myself into writing this. Because there’s so much to worry and think about when it comes to this story that I’m getting paralyzed by it. NaNoWriMo has done great things in the past for me in just getting words down. Editing can come later.

Which is a funny thing for me to say, because editing scares the crap out of me and I feel like my rewrites are never intensive enough. BUT. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, because I need to buckle down and decide on something, and here I am.

I should have turned this into an experiment on making a storyboard to help me know what I’m doing, but alas, that hasn’t happened either. I keep seeing everybody’s pretty storyboards for their NaNo projects and they’re so cool!

There are two days left before it begins, but it’s very doubtful I’ll have time to build something. I have a rough outline of the plot, based off of my previous draft, but there are still some big yawning holes. Writing from another perspective made her the sole perspective and focus, and now he needs to be able to do the same. Theoretically it shouldn’t that difficult, because he has a huge part to play in the original draft. But he needs to be different enough and have enough of his own agency that I’m worried. There’s a lot of behind the scenes material I still need to create.

Needless to say November will be its usual blend of fun and stress. In the past it’s always worked best for me to work on a new project versus one I’ve been writing for a while, but I’m hoping the perspective/characterization will be new enough that it’ll work. November has always worked to jump start my creativity, and I definitely need a little bit of a boost. I’ve been editing and picking apart marketing schemes for so long I would really like to feel the spark again.

Either way, I’m wishing everyone who’s participating this year the best of luck and the most amazing time churning out your words!

Any comments? Anxieties? How ya feeling about the approacheth NaNo?

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Prequel Problems: Likable Characters

Prequel Problems with Likable Characters.png

So I’m writing a prequel to my INITIUM series, the first book tentatively due out in Fall of next year. I wasn’t sure I wanted to write a prequel, as the events in it are fun mystery details throughout the first book, and you learn about them and why my main character is the way she is as the novel progresses.

But, it’s a lot of information, and my editor thinks I need a prequel so readers aren’t lost and/or inundated with too much information right off the bat. So I’m writing a prequel. The first draft is almost done — I wrote the final chapter, but I also left a bunch of ‘holes’ in the manuscript, scenes I felt I was forcing too much at the time, to come back and complete later. I’m writing those scenes now.

My biggest frustration so far is that a lot of the events in the prequel are what make my main character interesting in the first place, so before the events happens, my characters are…

Not that likeable. Actually, they’re coming across like spoiled little brats. Which goes with the territory, are they’re the daughters of a rich upperclass businessman — but I’m really worried it makes for some difficult reading. Or apathy about reading them, anyway.

And if people don’t want to read the book for your characters, they’re not going to read the book.

Fortunately, characters being likeable isn’t so important as characters being interesting.

Unfortunately, I don’t think my main character is either at the beginning. Perhaps I’m being too critical, because I’m so used to her, 5 years later, being a snarky badass. Or maybe I just haven’t written from an insecure 14 year old’s perspective for so long it’s hard to believe that readers will really connect with her voice and struggles…

I believe my main character is interesting (and even likable) by the end, but if the beginning doesn’t hook someone, then it’s kind of a moot point.

I’ve also never really written ‘on contract,’ or written a character arc from the very beginning like this, so I might just be out of my depth and scaring myself (I’ll be writing about this whole process here soon).

I’ve also never really written a prequel (at least something this big), which I’m beginning to understand has it’s own difficulties. Not the least of which is writing a character that you know… but isn’t the fully formed character of the later book who is probably more interesting in first place.

Either way, I’m becoming more thankful that I have an amazing editor who’s excellent at developmental editing, because I’m going to need some perspective on making this work. I think I’m too close to this character, or the character arc in general, or too concerned about the ‘writing of a relatable 14 year old’ to just write the 14 year old. I was a 14 year old. I remember. Why I be making this so hard.

Anyway, it will be educational to see what my editor suggests going forward. And I feel a little lazy, looking to my editor for direction instead of figuring it out myself. But the truth is, I’m still pretty shaky on what revisions really need to look like, which is my real fear. I don’t know if I’ve fully ever revised a manuscript in it’s truest meaning, so my skill level there is… dismal.

So there’s some anxiety about my meh-characters not becoming interesting enough with this lack of skill.

Anyway, this is all a moot point if I don’t have the draft done in the first place! I’m off to finish those few more thousand words. I want this draft done by the end of this month (which gives me like two days). It’s going to be far from perfect — but all that’s left are a few holes to make this thing complete.

 

Stay tuned for the regurgitation of my thoughts about writing my first ‘on contract’ piece… in a week or two.

 

Questions? Comments? Similar anxiety-rants?