My character did WHAT? – Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo

(Yes, I’m blogging during NaNoWriMo. So listen up, because these words are words I can’t count into my word count. :P)

Anyways! As previously discussed, NaNoWriMo is the time when EVERYTHING can happen. No matter if you wrote up 50 character sketches and a color coded outline before beginning or you just ran with it, no one is prepared for what NaNo can do to a story. Seriously, no one. It’s only day five, guys, so don’t think that because this hasn’t happened to you yet that it won’t. Because it will.

I write…fast. My friends will tell you that this is an understatement, but I’m just going to stick with fast. That means that I’m already at 12-something thousand. For the first time in my NaNo history, I went into NaNo with an outline and a pretty good idea on who my character was. After all, this is the 3rd book in my Mind Evolution series I’m writing here. I was probably one of the most in-tune with a character around the NaNo-world. But, guess what?

NaNo got to my character.

None of what I just wrote out was supposed to happen. My MC was supposed to be my innocent one. Girly. Possibly kind of airy. Funny like that. AND THEN SHE UP AND KILLED SOMEONE.

Character sketch? No good. And then the sweating starts, because I’m thinking, “MYPLOTMYPLOTMYPLOOOOT!” 5 days into NaNo isn’t a good time to be trashing that already, even at 12.5 k. Plus, I hate writing them and I’ve got a series to further, here. This is how it HAD TO GO. But with NaNo, there isn’t time to go back and fix it, so I had to move on. And do you know what?

I realized that what had happened WORKED. Believe it or not. I couldn’t myself, not at first.

As it turns out, my MC knew what was happening to her better than I did after character sketches, plots–the whole nine yards. With one action that I believed to be completely beyond her, she added layers to my plot and deepened some of the most serious plot points of her story. My plot before was good. Now, it was better. All because my character had apparently gotten out of character, and I had allowed myself to run with it.

Whether you’re doing NaNo or not, there’s something to be learned from this. There is a difference between events that happen that are out of character. Some writers think that they know their character so well or they’re so attached to their plot that the characters can’t make up their own minds. Some people might have backspaced my MC killing this person and let her be the damsel in distress she was supposed to be. I probably would have, if I had the time. But the thing is, when you’re writing, you’re telling this character’s story. This is their life. If something just all the sudden happens that just seems totally out of character, maybe–just maybe–it actually isn’t. I’m not saying, of course, to let everything fly. Some things you write that you just know aren’t right. But for just a second before you hit backspace, think about it. Experiment and see where it takes you. It might not follow your plot or be in character, but it still might be the best thing that ever happened to your story.

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Pieces of Me

Pieces of Me

You see me as the girl
High above you in the sky
Dancing on the clouds
Laughing
With my face turned ever towards the sunlight
Well
Let me tell you a secret

That girl isn’t real
She’s a ghost
Only half of herself
But yes
She’s me
See
Let me tell you a story

I fell from the clouds
Long ago
No one reached out a hand
And its fine
I wouldn’t have taken it anyway
Here
Let me tell you what happened

I shattered on the stony ground
Losing myself in a million pieces
I laid there under the pouring rain
Until somehow I found away
To pick up what was left
Well
Let me tell you a secret

I didn’t get them all
I left bits to dull in the dirt
Now I can’t fly as high because the sun hurts my eyes
It’s a cycle now
The flying, the falling, the failing

And every time I lose a little bit more

The Story of the History Textbook

I just want to say that I was at this writing retreat today, so I’m stuck with an interesting issue–I’ve got too MUCH poetry for the blog! I really want to share them all with you, and if one of my friend’s gets his way I will post me actually performing one. (Not likely! :D) But here is one of my first ones of today, for now.

The Story of the History Textbook

I am a parallelogram with the power of transformation
I hold a million things you have yet to learn
My world is black and white
But I know the colors of the rainbow

I know of the worlds you have longed to see
I understand the stories of a thousand men
What you would consider time travel
I call everyday life

I would tell you all of this
I would show you more
But you leave me drowned in dust
Unable to change my form

I cannot speak though I know every human word
I cannot plead with you in my own sentences
I must explain only the words of others
While you struggle to comprehend

Is that why you have left me
Dirty, untouched and unloved?
I’d beg for your acceptance
If only the letters were my own

June 21st – Forgotten

I suppose today’s poem has something to do with my latest short story, which was titled The Forgotten. However, while today’s poem doesn’t start today, I think it’s more upbeat than the first draft of the story! The word “forgotten” was, obviously, rolling around in my head and I got to thinking about everybody is afraid to be forgotten in the end–and today’s poem was born!

Forgotten

I don’t want to be forgotten
My name removed from all minds
My face wiped from all memories
My smile removed from all photographs
I don’t want to be the one
Who people only semi-mourn
Who leaves no mark on the world
Who slips away unnoticed
I don’t want to be the person
Left with a heart still empty
Left with a dream unfulfilled
Left with no hand to hold

I want to be someone
Whose name is on everyone’s lips
Whose face is recognized
Whose smile is glory-filled
I want to be the one
Who no one forgets
Who leaves giant footprints
Who goes out with a bang
I want to be the person
With a heart full to bursting
With a dream achieved
With a loving hand to hold

I refuse to be forgotten