13 November 2009

And that's 25K words (or, who let my protagonist drive today?)

I crossed the magical 25K mark for NaNo this morning, two days before the actual halfway point of the month.

I've been pushing the pace, more like 2K words a day and sometimes more than that. I've been trying to bank words, what with holidays and meetings and the chaos of my calendar in the next two weeks.

This morning, something interesting happened.

Maybe subconsciously, I knew characters were heading in a different direction but all of a sudden. BAM! Things are happening and all I could do was keep typing.

I generally hate it when authors talk about characters doing that because it seems so false to me. Really?, I think. They really do that and you end up with this wonderful product. I doubt it. You probably had your hand on the wheel, white-knuckling it the whole time.

White knuckles are right. I was white-knuckled for a little while this morning because I was just trying to hang on and keep some control. My brain is working over time, neurons firing, with oooh, now that I've done this, that can happen in the next chapter instead of later.

Let me put one thing straight: My characters didn't truly hijack things this morning. What they did, was act in an unexpected way, but one that's not outside the realm of their personas. Part of it comes from putting characters in conflict --when someone is stressed they act differently. People ignore the warning signs in their own heads. So while I as the author hadn't thought of what happened this morning, exactly, I had created the set of circumstances that let them act how they did.

Once I got over my initial reaction -- No Way! No Way! No Way! -- and let the scene flow and happen and develop, I decided it was a good thing.

And it helped me get over the 25K hump.

Maybe I need to say "thanks" to my protagonist.

1 comment:

Tara said...

Oh, thank you-- I absolutely agree with you about character hijacks and in that they're more natural than anyone ever says they are... anyways, congratulations on the 25k!