It’s November 30, the last day of NaNoWriMo. It was a wonderful run for me and my characters. We started out with a good lead, almost 3000 words on Nov 1. The characters were more than happy to talk to me, including Lord Tromadin – the bad guy slated to die at the end of the book – insisted that this story just couldn’t be told without his viewpoint. Turns out he had some interesting things to say throughout the book.
One of the great myths of the creative arts is that of inspiration. How many starving artists are out there waiting for inspiration to start their next project? Too many. Really, if you want to be a not-starving artist, you can’t just wait for inspiration to find you. You are going to have to go out and find inspiration, or learn to work without it. I recommend the former.
One of the rules of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month – just in case some of you missed it) is that you aren’t supposed to edit as you go. If you just sort of make it up as you go the way that I do, you frequently run into a moment when you realize something about your plot that you need to go back and add so it doesn’t come off as cheesy. For example in my NaNoNovel this year, I’m about 3/4 of the way through the plot and all of sudden I noticed that the side effect of being a telepath is that you can hear when the gods are influencing people’s thoughts. Yeah, the character has been a telepath from the beginning so there should have been some hint of that before now. Maybe, just maybe, I was brilliant enough to hint at it without noticing. Not likely which means I’ll have to go back and add it in. But that’s editing and you aren’t supposed to do that. Aaaack, what’s a writer to do?
For every person out there with a goal, there are about ten different measures of success. I’ve discovered this recently as I participated in two blog hops. The first one, Alpha Males, brought over 120 unique page views and 49 comments. The second was Autumn Harvest and just ended on Monday evening which got just over 100 unique page views and 39 comments. So which one was more successful? That depends on how you measure success. That Alpha Male comments were mostly generic, people were commenting only to be entered for the giveaways (which is totally understandable). For Autumn Harvest a much greater percentage of my comments responded to something I had said in my post. In my mind, I reached more people through Autumn Harvest than Alpha Males. My Sweetie (and web designer) was more disappointed by Autumn Harvest though. He sees things in terms of SEO (Search Engine Optimization) which doesn’t care if people actually read the stuff, only if they leave links on the site. More comments = more links. More links = higher placement in search results. Or so he tells me.
Part of the work of being a NaNoWriter is to make sure that you and your support system in ready for November. Yup, this whole thing really takes more than one month to pull of properly. In December I’ll tell you all about the recovery process.
In October one of the things that I like to do is make sure that the house if ready. I count the house as part of my support system, because it is there to welcome me back at the end of a long day of work and writing. It gives me the resources to get up and go do it all again the next day. That’s the ideal anyway. Sometimes, if I haven’t done my part, it is anything but welcoming when I come home and has nothing to give the next morning.
This past weekend I went to Gaylaxicon 2012, in St. Louis Park. It’s a wonderful little convention focused on Queer issues in Sci-fi and fantasy. By little I mean that there were just over 400 registration (though not everyone showed up). In such a small group, you get incredible amounts time with the people you want to talk to.
Let me introduce you to Sarah Bella [shelikesitverbal.com]. Sarah and I write together most Tuesdays – that is we sit at the same table in our favorite sandwich shop and make words happen. Recently we decided to ask each other “Where do those character come from?” Here is her answer.
So, umm, where do your characters come from?
Isn’t that the question that every author gets asked?
And the answer is simple. I dunno.
I know, we’re eloquent.
The truth is that my characters just ‘come to me’.