NaNoWriMo: Day 11

This is about where the guy who’s been eating potatoes and only potatoes starts to sound a little freaky in his blog:

Potatoes originated in the mountains of Peru. These varieties are wild and beautiful and come in an assortment of colors. One color you can often find here in the US are purple potatoes. My question is, if you ground them up in a blender and put them in your hair, will your hair turn purple? Tune in tomorrow for the answer!

Hopefully nobody’s dyeing their hair over NaNoWriMo. Yet.

Another big difference is we can eat whatever we like to get through this month. Hopefully we’re still focusing on nutrition like our spuds-inclined friend Mr. Voigt.

It is nearing the middle of the month, however, and it can feel a bit like one is standing in a dark tunnel. There will be light at some point, I promise. At the end of the month is a huge, rewarding accomplishment. And that sense of success is born out of days like this one. It’s a lesson in becoming a pugilist of sentences.

Yesterday I wrote about intention—what characters want in every scene. That gives us a better sense of those characters. They may be searching for something, running away, collecting items or emotions, willing themselves to forget a past, anything. Some of what I’m writing now is going to be struck later in revision, but that’s okay—the writing is still true, even if I decide it’s better as only the back story I know and not part of what’s shown. I will always know the back story better than anyone else. It’s my job to make that translate on the page so that the characters are still true when read, even if all of the off-stage storytelling isn’t there.

If we’re keeping up with or close to the NaNoWriMo pace of 1667 words a day, we’re in the crisis heightening phase of the book, as far as the protagonist is concerned. We need to be careful not to paint a two-dimensional picture of the antagonist(s), or the whole book will sound flat. Everyone loves thinking about the dimensions of their lead character; this person is often what brings us to the story idea in the first place. But we need to remember that antagonists, despite the connotation of evil in the name, are full-fledged characters, too. They’ve done something nice for someone at some point. We may not ever see it in the story, but writers have to know what those moments are. Antagonists need their humanity to be real.

Also, don’t worry about writing too much right now. We’ll all revise later, after we’ve toasted our success on November 30. So will Mr. Voigt, because his potato crusade ends then, too.

 

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Categories: ponderings

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3 Comments on “NaNoWriMo: Day 11”

  1. November 11, 2010 at 11:55 am #

    And I had mashed potatoes for lunch. Excellent point. Antagonists. What are they motivated by and what are they up to while the good guys stumble around? What is Snidely Whiplash plotting that our hero is “oh so slowly” starting to perceive?

    • evmaroon
      November 11, 2010 at 11:56 am #

      SNIDELY WHIPLASH!! I love it.

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