I am a little behind from starting my new job this weekend, but I am also four chapters in and starting to get annoyed with my writing which is slowing me down a lot. I dunno if it’s because I’m so tired lately but everything that is coming out just feels so incredibly lame. It started out really good but I feel like I have settled in with my characters are too immature. They sort of ended up acting more like teenagers or college students and I don’t feel like they’re turning out to be the adults I originally wanted them to be… (Hello real life problems with my life showing up in my writing?)
For my MC it sort of makes sense because in the scene I’m up to she is visiting a place from her childhood and ends up sort of regressing into some old habits, but because of that I feel as if I’m de-aging all my supporting characters too so they seem like they are on the same level. Which wasn’t my intention, that was just the natural way the dialogue ended up coming out.
Yesterday’s NaNoWriMo Announcement did remind me that I’m not alone though:
Sent at: November 08, 2011 14:36
Subject: Week Two: The Secret Sauce
Wrimos, it’s Week Two: a notoriously tricky time in the month-long noveling process.
You’ve committed to your characters and this story you are developing. And you’ve written enough in these seven or so days that, if you’re starting to hate one or the other (or both), it feels too late to turn back.
But I come to you with good—no, great—tidings of noveling joy.
If you’re bored with, annoyed by, sick of, divorced from, totally over, or hurling tomatoes at your characters or plot, there’s no need to turn back, and zero reason to start over.
Erin Morgenstern told us in last week’s pep talk that when she got tired of her NaNo-novel, she sent her characters to the circus. And look where she is now!
This past weekend, my über-prissy main character was making me nuts with her stuffy, uptight behavior and old-fashioned judgements. She was meant to be irrepressibly optimistic; almost annoyingly joyful. Somehow she came out just annoying. I couldn’t bear to spend one more paragraph with her. And that was seriously slowing down my word count.
For the sake of my novel and my sanity these next three weeks, I quickly realized that I needed to let my MC’s freak flag fly. Within sentences, she had cast off her government-issue uniform (and with it, her insufferable inhibitions) and I had her flash-dancing to the Hair soundtrack on LP. Weird, but effective.
That alone hasn’t completely fixed the trajectory of my novel, but it sure helped me hang in there for the next 5,000 words.
If your novel has you down, don’t give up. Get kooky! Add an element (or an apple cart’s worth) of the unexpected and the outlandish to your characters and storyline alike.
I know can’t really go back or give up at this point… not only because I am already behind now, but because I am also 1/5 of the way done. Although I have to admit I’m not really sure where to take it from here to get them back on track. The more I write the more they seem to stay in the way I’ve gotten comfortable writing their dynamic, seeming younger than they should. Maybe I need to put them in a more adult situation? I’d like to have some more serious topics come up between them but they’ve just met and are still getting to know each other. I also thought of trying to skip forward a little bit from where I am and write a separate scene just to see if I can go back to the way I had them in my head. I don’t know.
Do any of you have a suggestion?