Oct 19, 2010

A breakthrough in the nick of time


Last week Patrick and I were talking about the upcoming NaNoWriMo. I've had this story idea in my head for a little while and thought I'd try it out on him and see what he thought. The first problem I ran into is that I hadn't really come up with a nice, concise description of the plot. Instead, I went in circles, trying to describe my main characters and what was going to happen. Yikes. He started asking me all kinds of questions I wasn't prepared to answer. I planned to delve deeper into my characters' lives and begin outlining the plot last week, but things were crazy with work and Duncan being sick. And honestly? Every time I sat down with my notecards in front of me, my mind wandered off in a different direction. It's not that I'm not interested in this story. That couldn't be further from the truth. I'm tired and stressed and I have this annoying little habit where I just want to get down to business and while I know I need to plan and prepare, I just hate it.

So here's the question that Patrick asked that stopped me in my tracks: Why should I care about her? What makes her unique? Gulp. I didn't know what to say, so I got angry and left the room. Once I calmed down, I really thought about it and started to take a look at my main character (as well as the other characters) and tried to get to know her better. I found an exercise in one of my writing books that has you conduct an interview with your characters. You know what? It helped. I also realized that I was making her too sympathetic. That's not a bad thing, but I didn't want her to fall victim to her upbringing, so while she's had a tough life, she is a fighter.

Through this whole process I also came up with an ending that I was not prepared to write. I didn't see it coming, but I think it works. It also will be a challenge to write, but I'm looking forward to it.

We're down to less than two weeks and I really need to get in gear. I feel much better about this than I did a week ago, and I definitely feel more prepared than I did last year.

If anyone is interested, there's still time to sign up {nudge, nudge}.

4 comments:

Katie Ganshert said...

Yay for breakthroughs! And even though those questions were probably driving you nuts at the time, what a good hubby you have to ask the hard stuff! At least you know he's listening and not just saying, "That souns good honey." :)

Allison said...

This is wonderful. I'm so glad women writers are writing women that are strong and fighters (unlike Stephenie Meyer's idea of women: whiny and helpless).
By the way, how did the interviews turn out? Any good news??

tracyellen said...

I am really grateful he asked me those questions! I was more frustrated with myself than I was mad at him, but I still got a bit snippy with him - I need to work on that.

Erin said...

Glad to hear that the breakthrough came!!!!!!!! that is a great idea for an exercise with characters!!! I think some credit is due to Patrick for his ????????????????