Monday, November 21, 2011
As I checked off my plot points and completed the scenes, I became more and more divorced from the characters. They were wooden. They did not belong to me, and I certainly didn't live their lives. Just actors across a stage, they flitted in and out of the pages. Their stomachs rumbled, their hearts dropped, their palms sweated, and chills ran down their spines. They bled and fought on schedule. Kissed or killed because the plot dictated it.
Can the story be saved? Yes. But I need to get away from it first. Then go back and rewrite. Let the characters go where they want, and who knows? Maybe they'll end up somewhere else. But I would have gone along with them and gotten to know them. And that takes time. Time to absorb their personalities, explore their desires, dig into their motivations, and discover their deepest secrets.
I started another story November 15. It's not a NaNo story. I'm up to 37K words, but I'm not racing the clock. I don't do character sheets, not really. I live the story, and daydream their backstories. I run scenes from their lives in my mind, and I dream their dreams. I cannot force the story out. It has to come to me organically. How to fake emotions on a schedule is a skill I do not have.
It was fun and I enjoyed it. The camaraderie was great. Would I do it again? It depends on whether I can resurrect my NaNo story or not. Will I ever get the enthusiasm back for those characters? Or did the NaNo overdose inoculate me against them forever?