A day in the life… #1

of a writer struggling to know her characters.

It’s Friday. Last day of a veeeeeery long work week. Day after a severe allergy attack that brought me close to a migraine. It’s also the one-third mark of the August session of Camp NaNoWriMo. This is my fourth round of NaNo and the first time I’ve really struggled with the characters. It’s a feeling I do not enjoy.

A few nights ago, I’m cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, thinking about my novel. It’s the completion of my Northern California trilogy, the thought of this book has only existed since mid July and I do not know these characters. Unlike the hero and heroine from the first two, I haven’t “lived” with these two for years. I don’t know their quirks, their personalities, their histories. It’s disconcerting.

As I’m washing the dishes, I silently plead for my characters to talk to me. Please, tell me where you want to end up. Tell me how you want YOUR story to end. I feel like I’m forcing you in a direction neither of you want.

Trevor: Well, you could have us get engaged.

Me: Nah, too forced and predictable.

Trevor: You know I like her. And she’s got that loser boyfriend bothering her so why not?

Me: Because she thinks you’re like him, a player, a womanizer.

Trevor: I am not.

Mentally, I look at him with a raised eyebrow

Me: You’re going to have to prove yourself to her.

I get a determined look wrapped in a sensual smile.

Trevor: I can do that.

Folks, I literally looked over my shoulder to make sure he wasn’t standing in the kitchen with me. Then looked into the living room to make sure the hubby didn’t see me standing there grinning like an idiot because I just had a conversation with a character.

Sometimes this happens while I’m writing. Other times it happens while I’m taking care of the daily mundane tasks. Oh, and it’s good to know I’m not the only struck by inspiration while shampoo is streaming down my cheeks. πŸ˜€

It rarely happened when I waited for inspiration to strike. It happens quite frequently now that I write every day. It’s a heady feeling. While my conversation with Trevor helped my writing earlier in the week, I’m at a point again where I’m not sure how to have them proceed. I attempted to rough outline (read: scribbled ideas on notebook paper) this novel. Trevor and Helen have peeked at it and I’m not sure they liked what I came up with because they haven’t really done anything I initially scripted.

At the end of theΒ  month, I’ll at least have a first draft complete and maybe know these two characters a little bit better. Hopefully the edits will go a little smoother than this draft.
Have a great weekend.


I’d like to hear your encounters with your characters. What’s the craziest thing they’ve said or asked you to write?


9 thoughts on “A day in the life… #1

  1. Good luck with NaNo. I’m so impressed you found time to update your blog too. Do you participate in November too?

    The strangest thing I’ve ever done with one of my characters is wrote a couple of hundred words of me and her in a pub talking. I found it easier for me to go to her than have her come to me – she’s very private.

    I’ve recently started compiling a list of questions that I ask my characters though. things like the most memorable moment of their childhood, what they never leave home without, stuff like that.

    If you have any tips on balancing character with plot I’d like to here those.

    1. Thanks! It’s tough. I’ve done the last two November sessions. For some reason, these camp sessions have been tougher for me.

      I really like that idea. I don’t think it’s strange at all. Actually, I’m reading a book where two authors are having “conversations” with deceased female authors. Interesting take on those womens histories.

      I’ve tried doing the list thing, but as I write, I learn more about them and it usually never fits the list that I started before writing the novel. Strange, but I guess my characters want to reveal themselves to me slowly so I don’t bore the reader with too much back story. As far as balancing the plot, as soon as I figure out how to do it, then how to break it down for others, I’ll let you know! lol

  2. I’m not sure if my character is speaking to me but I can clearly hear her thinking that I’m making her sound so boring. Now I have to figure out a way to spice up her life without trashing the whole story :-s

    1. She did speak to you! I’m having that trouble now. My heroine just started revealing her character to me. I may have to go back and tweak a few things in the beginning to make her more likeable.

  3. Huge amounts of luck completing Nano! It sounds like a really tough thing to complete. I’m sure you can do it.

    It’s interesting your characters speak to you! I have often found my characters like to speak to each other inside my head, but never to me πŸ™‚

    Good luck!

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