In an attempt to make myself do something worthwhile, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo this year. To be honest, I’m kind of scared of this.
I’ve had a novel idea in my head for about five years. A couple of years ago I started writing out the idea. That became a very basic outline for a world. Over the course of November, I hope to take that world and flesh it out into something rough and only somewhat resembling a finished novel. I need to create characters that are more thought out than the vague notions in my head right now, and I think that’s what scares me the most.
I know, somewhere deep in my subconscious, that I can write really awesome, really inspiring characters. The surface of my brain is flailing, however. “What if my character is too perfect?” “What if my character is too flawed?” “What if this guy seems fake?” “What if I do this wrong?” To combat this part of my brain, I’m taking a little bit out of my world building to make a post in which to tell myself a few things.
- Your characters do not have to be perfect in a rough draft. It’s rough for a reason, and they can be fleshed out more in editing.
- By the end of the rough, you will know your characters well. You will have gone through some great trials together. Don’t worry about not knowing them so completely when you start. You don’t just *know* about someone the minute you meet them. Getting to know your characters as you write them is like getting to know someone in real life: it happens gradually and naturally.
- If you find something out about your character as you’re writing that you should remember for later, make note of it on a document for that character. By the end of the rough, you should have a good list of traits, interests, and feelings that makes the character unique and three dimensional.
- When editing, keep these lists of things in mind. Use the tidbits of information in appropriate spots to flesh out characters and/or advance your plot.
- You do not have to publish your NaNoWriMo novel as it is written during NaNoWriMo. Don’t write as though you do.
So this is my advice for myself. Hopefully I’ll actually take it.