Tuesday, November 06, 2007

NaNoWriMo | I Don't Care About My Characters

Barely one week into NaNoWriMo I'm already thinking of chucking what I wrote and writing something else.

Maybe it's because I spent so little time planning the story and the characters; I can accept that I'm clueless on how the plot will turn out, but right now I have no idea how to write the characters. They are new to me, I don't know them, have not decided who they are or what motivates them. This makes it hard for me to write, because when I put two antagonistic characters together, I don't know how they are supposed to react to each other.

The questions that keep popping into my head: Who is smarter? Who is more confident? Why are they fighting? Why do they hate each other? (Is it really just clan-rivalry or sexual jealousy over a woman?) In this argument, what is one character hiding from the other? As I keep making things up, I find myself going back to re-write dialogues that will illustrate these emerging conflicts and background.

It's driving me nuts, not knowing what to do.

When I was studying I used to write a little fanfiction, and some stories of the gothic/fantasy/cyber-punk/noir genre. Before I actually start writing, I spend a lot of time day-dreaming -- something I have always enjoyed on long bus-rides. (Actually, I enjoy the day-dreaming more than the writing) I usually have a chance to create a whole back-story, personality and family history for them -- so when I actually set pen to paper -- I have something to work on.

Right now I'm looking at my main protagonist, Julian: He's a spoiled younger son from a family of Shadow Hunters. He was content to allow his older brother to be the Shadow Hunter while he goes off to be a playboy, professional wakeboarder and stereotypical rich brat. He is a selfish character -- and I have no idea how I'm going to redeem him. Yet.And I'm not even sure how to develop the supporting characters.

If I'm going to change the story I have to do it as soon as possible.

I have just written more than 350 words in a ramble -- and yet I have trouble doing this kind of word-count for NaNoWriMo. This is harder than I thought.


chrisa511 said...

We have complete opposite attacks here! I never know where my story is going to go when I sit in front of the computer...didn't know when I started. And now it's just starting to kind of catch up with me. I thought it was a good plan to go in with no outline and no pre-planning, but now everything is so tangled and the plot is so messy. I'm just hoping it unravels itself.

It sounds like you have such a great story! I know I want to hear it :) I say just start typing and see where your characters take you. That's what I've been doing, but I know that doesn't work for everyone...and it's getting me in trouble now, so maybe don't do that :p

I'm sorry, I'm probably making things worse for you than before! lol...I hope things become clear for you soon, D-O.

darkorpheus said...

Thanks for the encouragement, buddy. I really thought I could just plunge in -- guess I'm not that kind of writer.

You just keep going with your flow -- 10,000 words! You're one-quarter through!

Anonymous said...

arg! that sounds incredibly frustrating!

but, at least you've gotten to know that you're not that kind of writer - and as frustrating as the experience has been, you've learned something valuable about your writing style from this!

sorry i haven't commented in a while. like a fool, i've been checking your first post, and kept seeing the same one... and so i thought you weren't posting (even though you'd said you'd make it a sticky (but i didn't know how you'd do that)).

darkorpheus said...

Jean Pierre Thanks, well, I did learn I'm not a very disciplined writ. ;p

Don't worry about the posting bit. Actually, the sticky post is pretty easy -- you just date the post to a later date. So, if today is the 7th -- I want it to stay around for 1 week, I date it 7 days from today -- 14th.

Ana S. said...

If you really have to change it, it's still not too late. You'll have to make an effort to catch up, but I bet you can do it.

I need to do a lot of daydreaming before writing too. That part actually takes a lot longer than the writing itself.

Also, remember that this is just a first draft. Even if the dialogue doesn't quite feel right, you can always change it later.

I hope things start going better soon!

darkorpheus said...

Nymeth Thanks. I think I'm going to stick with it for a while -- you can tell I'm stubborn, yes?

Meanwhile I'm adding new characters to try to push more action into the story. Will see how it goes.