I don’t want to write long, because of NaNo. Writing time is tight these days. The big news is my main character changed last night. Though I sketched out the plot and characters in October, once I started writing, the characters took the story in a direction of its own. Which is pretty cool. The first three days of writing was hard, like the 2nd stage of labor, that baby wouldn’t come out. By the 4th day, like everyone said would happen, I started to hear my characters’ voices. I felt like their channel. I just had to listen and write down what I heard. I’m really glad that right before NaNo, I had a conversation with my sister about “hearing voices” in the creative process and I could go with it.
In October, I started prep by doing research on anthropology in order to create, or more accurately project, my world. My story is set in the future (800-1000 years from today), though a reader would recognize it as being very similar to our past. I focused especially on the transition between Stone Age to Bronze Age and Bronze Age to Iron Age. I also did a lot of biblical research. I had to get some things straight. Lastly, I researched some current or revived economic theories that formed the basis of the history of my future world. After this, I used the Snowflake Method. A Daily Post gave various resources on novel writing prep and that one seemed the most formulaic and like I could get my teeth into it. It was helpful. I didn’t do all nine steps and I certainly didn’t take as much time as they suggest taking on each step. I used it fast and loose. I did end up with a list of 20 chapters with short synopses to guide me.
November 1 came. I was in New York City with my family, writing after everyone had gone to sleep, amidst snores and a baby wriggling right next to me. I ended up writing according to the outline for the first five chapters, which ended up at 8000 words. The story had taken a different turn though, so I re-read the first 8000 words, scrapped my original vision for the remaining 15 chapters and wrote out for myself 23 bullet points of scenes, or themes, or even just questions to guide the rest of my writing.
My main character had been a female, Thein. Her husband, Niran, had been a supporting character. Once I started writing, he wanted to pop up in every chapter. In the chapters he was not in, I would run out of steam and cut them short, thinking I would fill them up in December during the edit process. Then, I started running behind. I was thinking and thinking and could not seem to get the words out.
Last night, I put my foot down and promised myself I would write at least 2000 words (approximately my daily word count if I want to finish on time). I just went where the characters took me and stifled my desire to think and craft. It was all Niran. I felt very uncomfortable when I finished. This story was not supposed to be about him. How would I bring it back to Thein? I felt bogged down.
I haven’t done my run in a while because I’ve been busy at work and, hello, I’ve been writing a novel. This morning, I put my foot down again. Enough is enough, I would run before work. As soon as I took off, I thought, “The story is about Niran!” The whole world opened up and I thought of an ending. Then, I thought, “Of course it’s about Niran.”
Now, I have to go write. Niran is calling.
The featured image is an ink design on paper by Leonardo da Vinci from 1480. It is entitled “Automobile”! You can find the original at Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy. The works of Da Vinci are in the public domain.