NaNoWriMo: Day 11

Posted Nov 11 2010, 8:05 pm in

At almost the half-way point of the insanity that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I have hit a wall in my project  – something that typically happens when I try to write without an outline.

What’s different this time is that I MUST push through, tunnel under, or climb over this wall in order to keep the project on track for the November 30th deadline. The beauty of a deadline, even a self-imposed one, is that it keeps you focused and sharp. When I struck walls in the past, I’d typically shelve the project, or scrap it and begin anew. Without this luxury, I am forced to listen to my characters, do things the way they want them done, not me. For the first time, I’m beginning to understand the logic behind ‘pantsing’.

I’m sixteen thousand words in and falling further behind because I don’t know what happens next. So, I powered down my laptop last night with my stomach knotted and my teeth clenched and went to bed, still not knowing. I tossed and turned, unable to shut my main character up. “Deana” wants something. Her ‘something’ does not match my ‘something.’ I kept telling her No and she kept saying, “How about now?” By four AM, I’d had enough and said, “Fine. We’ll try it your way.”

I got to work early (figured since I was up anyway…) and realized she’s right. Her way gives me a way over that wall.

Lesson learned?

If our readers are to be entertained by our stories, our characters must feel real. To feel real, who better to treat them as real than the author who created them? When I stopped trying to control Deana and force my will on her, and began treating her as a real entity, suddenly the pressure was off and a nice little experiment occurred.

Will it work?

I have no idea. And for the first time, I’m okay with this.



5 responses to “NaNoWriMo: Day 11”

  1. abby mumford says:

    this is a lesson i’m still struggling to learn. “hearing” a character is difficult for me. but i’m realizing that maybe what will work for me is to ASK and then LISTEN to what he/she/they want and move forward from there.

    best of luck to you and deana and the second half of NaNo!

  2. Linda G. says:

    Hooray for scaling that wall! :)

    I’m a pantser by nature–if anything, I listen to my characters too much. Sometimes I have to tell them to shut up already, and let me think about the story as a whole.

  3. Donna Coe-Velleman says:

    Yay for getting over that wall!! Good work. I know being a pantser can be real challenging. I hope you and Deana have a wonderful relationship.

  4. Patty says:

    Thanks all!

    I managed to get the WIP back on track for 11/30 deadline. Listening to Deana is actually quite fun… She’s becoming so much more lovable to me, which I really hope will transfer to readers.

  5. As you know I am a plotter and this new Round Robing writing challenge I am working on with Karla has done the same thing to me. The best part is each time I think I know where the story is going Harper (Karla’s character) will do something I was expecting and I hope I throw her the same curve balls. It forces me to think outside of the box and put myself into Graces shoes. I have learned alot from this project and am loving it.