Countdown to NaNoWriMo

I am attempting the craziness that is NaNo again this year. I have yet to “win” but even if I don’t reach my word count, here are some great reasons why I like to participate:

– it helps train myself to write everyday

– I get a substantial amount of my work in progress completed

– I have a valid excuse not to do the housework for a month 🙂

 

 

NaNoWriMo procrastination: thoughts on killing off characters

November madness has encroached upon my blog writing time with the start of NaNoWriMo and my race to write 50K in a month. However, the last few days I stumbled upon a roadblock when I realised the character’s deaths I had planned wouldn’t work. I had plotted my character’s deaths perfectly except when the time came for my first character to die she just wouldn’t do it. She threatened me with her spear and insisted her character arc wasn’t complete. Stubborn bitch just won’t do what she’s told.

After starting to write my novel I’ve also worked in ways to show the threat of the world I’ve created without killing off so many characters. So I’ve been spending the past few days reworking my outline and reconsidering my character deaths and it got me thinking about the character death’s in stories that I love and hate. Here are a few that have resonated with me (warning may be spoilers).

Star Wars
In the original Star Wars, Obi-wan and Darth Vader were perfect  examples of meaningful and symbolic deaths that were essential to the plot.

As for Star Wars I –III, Meesa thinks a few characters could’ve said good bye. You bought the rights Disney, now do your job.

Serenity
I have many friends who lamented the death of Wash and some who were even angry at Josh Weddon for killing him off because Wash was the most loveable character. I also hated this death, not because Wash was likable, but because I felt Zoe’s reaction was the total opposite of what it should have been. In the series, the only thing that ever threatened to break her tough persona was when Wash was in danger. Wash’s death wouldn’t have made her tough and determined, it would have made her an emotional wreck. Everyone has a breaking point and I have no doubt that Wash was hers.

Game of Thrones
Ned Starks death was executed (excuse the pun) perfectly.  Not only did the unexpectedness of it work, but also the loss of knowledge that occurred when he died and how this completely changed the direction of the plot. Also Ned didn’t really have a role in the story anymore and Jon Snow began to take on the story’s theme of honour and loyalty. As for the rest of the series… All the deaths have lost their impact as there is a chance George may bring them back to life again. And for the reasons above, the end of A Dance with Dragons just pissed me off. It’s almost enough for me to put down the series. Okay, not really. I’m still hanging out for The Winds of Winter. Hurry up George. Who am I to talk? I can’t even write a 50K word draft in a month. It’d probably take me several years to finish a book that large and complex too.

Anyway, that’s enough procrastination, back to my novel. Now I’ve reworked my plot, my characters will probably act like lemmings and all want to jump off a cliff.

What character’s deaths have inspired you or pissed you off?

Character coming to life

I’ve often heard professional authors comment on how their characters end up taking on a life of their own and end up acting autonomously, but I’ve never really believed it until now.

With my NiP (novel in progress) I really wanted to avoid cussing as I’m not one to swear in real life, but my character, Walter, won’t let me cut out the swear words.

I had a long heated argument with him the other day where he told me in no uncertain terms that I was a bloody effing muppet for trying to make him censor his language. I told him he could try punching the table or slamming his fist into the wall instead of cursing, except he yelled back at me that if he did that he’d hurt his hand and effing swear his head off. Needless to say, I didn’t win that argument and he’s been effing and shitting all over my novel ever since.

Once he started talking to me, he just wouldn’t relent and now all I hear every time I write a scene with him it in, is ‘Bloody heck, woman. Is that really what you think I’d do in that situation?’ I could just kill him off and that would shut him up and stop him cursing at me, but them my plot wouldn’t work as well

All I want for Christmas…

…is to finish my NaNoWriMo project.

Unfortunately work got in the way of reaching 50,000 words before the end of November, but I am determined to get there before Christmas. This novel is really starting to take shape. I’m at 45,000, and the novel will only end up being about 60,000 words long. So I’m almost there.

The working title is ‘Dust Devils’ but I’m also considering calling it ‘Petrichor’. The structure is similar to Pan’s Labyrinth and it is set on a drought-ridden farming property. The story is told from the POV of a 12 year-old boy and he creates a fantasy world around him to escape from the realities of life in the bush during times of drought, including dealing with rural suicides, financial hardship and workers walking from their farms.

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

Alas, I didn’t win last year on my first attempt, but I’ve cleared my back-log of “real” work and I’m determined to make the word count this year. I’ve plotted out my novel (working title ‘Dust Devils’) and am eager to get started. If you are NaNo-ing this year come buddy-up. I’ll be lurking about the site as Flexi.

www.nanowrimo.org