The big question, to WriMo or not to WriMo. Last year, 2020, I signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time. I wrote a novel in one month. I relished the challenge, the official excuse to write every possible moment and not feel guilty. I had a story idea and it took off. Little did I know how that ‘finished story’ was anything but finished, anything but the story that needed to be told.
I have spent the last year teasing out the characters, discovering the story, writing, rewriting, throwing a lot away. What did I learn? Take the time to know your characters. I mean really know them.
How do you do that? Write about them, not in the story. Put that aside. Write the life of each important character. Know what their real issues are. Their personality quirks. Their thoughts and worries in their minds.
I have written too many novels introducing characters and spinning them into complex scenes and dilemmas still having questions about why they were in the troubles they were in. Then figuring something out and having to go back and pick up the threads and hints of my discovery and give them more emphasis or cut whole chapters that were dead ends. It’s laborious.
I’m mostly a Panster when it comes to writing but what I’m suggesting is congruent with that writing method. It’s not the plotting that needs to be laid out in detail, it’s the people.
So, my advice on deciding to WriMo or not is, to spend the next few weeks, writing just your characters. Give them a point in their lives and write the scene. Pick another point and write that scene. The work that you do in mining your character’s persona will set you up for a strong run of NaNoWriMo.
I’ve just finished what I believe is a good solid, final draft of “Kill Words” by 2020 NaNoWriMo novel. I’m drafting a query letter now and getting ready to send it out. For anyone who has been following my blog for awhile, the last update I gave for the novel was in June. Choose the NaNoWriMo category if you want to read about my journey this past year. Look for the current and hopefully ready, first paragraph posting tomorrow.
Will I sign up for NaNoWriMo this year? Only if I can get some people lined up and ready to go.
Write on people! In November or December or January…just do it!