Dreaming in Character

G.L. Jackson


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A Nice Quiet Reflecting Pool

It’s a few days past the halfway mark for NaNoWriMo, and I do believe that calls for a little reflection. My mom (who is wonderful and wise) taught me when I was growing up that everything is a learning experience, and the value in it is what we take away from it. So what have I learned so far this November? A few things.

  1. I’m competitive… but only with myself.
  2. I like setting goals that are a little bit higher than what’s expected. Whether or not this is because I hold myself to a higher standard, it’s something I’ve noticed both last November and this one.
  3. Writing every day has been my key to maintaining sanity this month. I’m so grateful for it.
  4. Even on days when I start out scrambling for every word, totally dissatisfied with the way it’s going because the writing has no flow, I can keep pushing.
  5. 2000 words a day at a minimum: at least a handful of them will prove to be okay.
  6. Having my own personal cheerleader during this month has been such a blessing. I highly recommend it.

 
Those are pretty good things to have learned. Even if my novel-in-progress turns out to be utter garbage, I can still take these lessons with me.


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Full Disclosure

…I just realized that would be the perfect name for this book I’m writing. Wow. I might have to use that.

My full disclosure, though, was over the fact that against my better judgment, the story I’m writing is a love triangle romance. I’ve tried writing romances before and have failed. As a writer I have a much more evil streak than I do as an everyday human being. I like to put my characters into all manner of peril and tighten the ropes around their necks. It follows that most of my stories take a twist to the dark side of human emotions, and that doesn’t make for a very happy happily-ever-after or happy-for-now conclusion.

The task I’ve set for myself with this one is to let it be complicated but not unnecessarily ugly, to let the characters be themselves without me forcing them into contrived situations. It’s always seemed to me that falling in love is a perilous enough thing, and managing to stay in love is even more difficult. For my protagonist, that emotional journey is just as fraught with peril as the process of learning to be an adult. No, I’m not coupling a coming-of-age story on top of this. Enough’s enough, and my protagonist is in her early twenties already.

There will be no half-naked men with overly sculpted abs on this front cover. No werewolves, vampires, wizards, zombies, or other paranormal beings (although I reserve the right to use a good old-fashioned ghost if need be). There’s no time travel, no alien from another galaxy. Just humans being spectacularly human, and what I suspect could be classified as a moderate degree of heat.

I’m not sure I know what I’m doing, but I’m having a lot of fun finding out whether or not I’ll succeed. At least my characters have all started springing nicely to life, with distinct personalities, quirks, wants, and needs. I can’t ask for a whole lot more than that!

Fellow writers, how’s your work going? Most importantly, are we having fun yet?


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Checking In

It could be that I’ve spent the past ten days writing 24000 words of crap, but it feels so good not to be stuck any more. I’m glad I went with this book instead of the one I originally had planned.

Here’s my process, for those who are interested:

  1. Get an inkling of an idea.
  2. Decide on characters.
  3. Start writing and see what happens.
  4. Promise to let the story tell itself.
  5. Stubbornly refuse to make the FMC either a self-insert or a Mary Sue.
  6. Realize that I now know the perfect ending scene and stubbornly refuse to write it yet.
  7. Let the story wend its way toward it, but try not to be sad if/when it takes a left turn.
  8. Understand that 50,000 words are only the germ of a first rough draft.
  9. Commit to taking a few more months to flesh it out, shake out the fruit, and see if it’s worth salvaging.
  10. EDIT.

 
I got excited today because I’m close to 25k, but that’s not halfway through the book. It might be a third of the way through. I still have plenty of room for character development, trauma, plots that twist like the honeysuckle vine in my garden, falling in and out of love with the main characters, and dreaming about them. When I get to that last one, I know the story’s really taken hold for me.

NaNo participant or not, how’s your writing going?


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Coming Up for Air

I like this flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants business. I knew I would. My favorite type of writing is the type that happens organically, going wherever it wants to go regardless of where I want it to go.

Most of my writing has been done that way, although the pieces I’ve done most successfully (for a given measure of success) have been outlined. This time I not only switched genres but switched my entire story two days before I started. I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, but it’s going well.

Do you ever get those writing moments when the story arc suddenly unfolds and you know exactly where you need to go and a lot of how you’re going to get there? It’s wonderful, isn’t it? It’s like magic. This is one big reason why I love being a writer.


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How’s it going?

Hi, all NaNo newbies and experienced participants alike. How are you doing?

I love this challenge, because it inspires me. If you’ve been following along for a while, you know I’ve been in a little bit of a word drought. You also know that at the last minute, I switched stories (and genres) two nights ago. (It surprised me too.)

I am having so much fun. All the ideas I need are popping up at random but helpful moments. My characters are all named and becoming fleshed out. I know their personalities, their quirks, and their backgrounds. When I start dreaming about them, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Have fun writing, everyone.


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Oops! Plus Free E-Books

With only one day to go before the start of NaNoWriMo, I decided (not quite on a whim, but closely enough) to start a completely different novel from the one I’d been planning.

Wish me luck! I’ll be flying entirely by the seat of my pants at this point.

In other news, only one more day for the free anthologies from Untold Press. There are some really beautiful stories in there. Of course I’m partial to my own, but that’s not what I’m talking about. For the low, low price of free, you can find out for yourself. I hope you enjoy them.

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