Well, I’m off to a good start for National Novel Writing Month (NanoWrimo). I have 7,127 words written (past my daily goal for today) and I could probably sit down and write out more for the rest of the day, but alas, I have other responsibilities, like 2 other novels I am already working on.
The story I decided to work on this year for Nano is a bit different than years past. I usually work on full novels that are sequels to the novels I have already put into play. One year I did a short story anthology. But this year I decided to mix things up a bit and have some fun. So I decided to do one novel, split in half, with each half telling a back story to a particular character. Both characters can be found in my Expired Reality series and both characters have been proven to be some of my readers’ favorites.
The tentative title to my Nano novel is Expired Reality: The Dark Past. One story will be based on Turquoise – Wedge, detailing the life she had as a child shortly before she discovered her giftings and her life took a turn for the worse. The other story will detail the incident in the clock tower that almost took Carrie Green and Veronica Amorou’s life. This story is hinted at in my first Expired Reality book, Endangered Memories in Carrie’s diary entries. This event sparked off Veronica’s life debt to David Corbin and pushed her to learn a dark means of protecting him, one that caused her to break her pledge of non-violent means to keeping the world of Anaisha safe.
Both stories show a lot of promise in keeping up 25,000 words each, equaling the 50,000 that I need to complete NanoWrimo 2009. But one thing that has taken me a bit off guard is how much fun the particular story I am working on is. I am currently working on the story of how Turquoise – Wedge was kidnapped from her family and stripped of her strongest powers to become the Wedge that you meet in the beginning of my series. It is a powerful story and I’ve noticed that a lot of my back stories that I’ve started working on are more powerful than some of the novels themselves. In the Expired Reality series anyway. And I’ve figured out what that more powerful entity is – character.
I am now diving into my characters back stories and truly finding out who they are. Instead of a name on a piece of paper, they are coming alive more so than they ever have before. When my characters are in their younger years, when they are children or teenagers, when they are in rough spots in their lives – spots that completely change the course of their histories forever – I realize that they are real people. They come alive on the page and they aren’t merely a warm body to keep the plot moving.
Don’t get me wrong. Before I write all of my novels, I always write out a full background for each of my characters, including foods they eat, music they listen to and who their love interests are. I even write out who their parents are and what appearance they usually take in their day to day lives. But something about writing their actual back stories just blows the profiles to the wind and really digs deep into who these characters really are.
I think, especially with my Black Earth series having just debuted, that my writing has started turning from plot driven to character driven. It is a most beautiful thing and I am happy that it is happening this way. So as I continue to work on this year’s NanoWrimo novel, I encourage all my other writer friends out there to examine their writing and see – really see – who their characters are, where they’ve come from, and what they truly want out of life. They can become some of our best friends and some of our worst enemies. But then again, they’re just characters…right?