Nanowrimo Day 15 w/Bonus Epiphany

I did what I promised myself I wouldn’t do. I switched projects, a little. Everything was going well on The Ghost War until suddenly it wasn’t. I had some decisions to make that I couldn’t seem to figure out. Instead of waiting until I had it nailed down I wrote a few scenes as if I had made a decision, both ways. Unfortunately I like both and it didn’t help me pick which way to go.

I also jumped ahead and wrote the big battle scene and then had trouble going back to the middle. I’ve never written anything in chronological order until this project. When I skipped ahead in the timeline it really threw me off. I was stuck for three days, only writing a few hundred words a day.

My muse apparently didn’t like this down time because all of a sudden I had this amazing idea for a fairy tale, with a twist. I tried to squash it at first because I promised myself I wouldn’t work on other stories during November. I failed. Finally after my days of nothingness I decided I would put down some of the ideas I had on paper. I knew better but I did it anyway. Now I have the first act (first draft) completely written and I started making an index card story board for the novel. I have some great characters (with cool names), although I haven’t fleshed out the big bad yet. It’s got some classic fairy tale stuff: some royalty – one who’s foolish and one who is not, an angry witch, possibly a sorcerer, a prince going on a quest, a dark and dangerous forest,  and a weird curse. Most importantly, it’s got a built-in twist and I love it!

I don’t know everything yet but I know the basics. I do not know what age to gear it towards. Part of me says – hey it’s a fairy tale, make it for kids. The other part says – um, the old school fairy tales were Not Disney movies and were horrifying, write for adults. I’m leaning that way. We’ll see how it plays out.

Now that I’m excited about the story I feel okay with switching to it for now. I stalled on the ghost story and wrote next to nothing for too long. I can’t really be mad at my muse for making me write something else. Instead of thinking of it as self sabotage, I’m  content that I’m at least writing!

If I count the words from the new story (and I am) then my Nanowrimo word count is 26,904 as of last night.

When I said I switched projects a little I meant even though I am working on something else right now I still consider The Ghost War my main Nano story. If I finally get unstuck I will put aside the fairy tale and go back to my original work. At least I think I will. The way I keep jumping around I’m either going to never finish any books or finish eight at the same time!

Tonight is the Night of Writing Dangerously event for my Nano region. I might go. I definitely will if I end up working on the ghost story today. For now I’m going to put aside writer’s guilt and enjoy my craft.

Long Sidenote: As I reread this post checking for errors I had a moment of clarity. I was thinking about the stories I’ve had problems with and I see they have something in common: Female protagonists. I normally use male protagonists, partly because I read a lot of fantasy and there are limited choices for good female leads, and partly because I have always struggled to write women. I grew up around pretty much all boys. My house was the communal house for my two brothers’ circle of friends. In a sense I had all the boys in my small town as big brothers. I couldn’t help but be a tomboy. As I grew older I got more interested in feminine things but I never lost the tomboy core. The most obvious result was my inability to understand the behavior of the girls around me. It influenced what I read, the shows I watched, and the people I surrounded myself with. It’s kind of hard to understand a friend’s excitement about purse or shoe shopping when there is a quest line I need to finish in World of Warcraft or Doctor Who is on. I have no idea how to overcome this but as a wise G.I. always said: Knowing is half the battle.

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2 comments

  1. So I take it you won’t be doing the Make a Disney Princess thing they posted on the WriMo page? Because I have to tell you, I keep wanting to. My protagonist isn’t a princess but she damn sure dresses like one.

    I doubt they have the sunken eyes and deathly pallor of a magic addict as a design option, though.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve had a similar problem in the past, with writing male characters. Like you I have read mainly fantasy, (dominated by male main characters) but I also grew up in a house of women… so I never felt as if I really understood ‘the male mind’. And, I was always worrying about whether my characters were realistically guy-ish.

    At some point I had the realization that the only mold my characters had to fit was the one I had designed for them; that writing convincing people, rather than convincing genders, was what made readers fall in love with a character. I’ve tried to focus on that, and it’s really helped a lot.

    Besides, characters that transcend traditional tropes are always interesting. ^-^ Embrace the ‘girliness’ that you know, and research the rest via fun romps into storyland! hehe

    Also, sometimes when I am stuck on a decision I flip a coin. For me, the idea is that if I really don’t care either way, I am happy with the choice of fate. But if not, fate’s decision can sometimes show me where my preference actually lies…

    I am still terrible with story decisions of course, but it is a useful tool when you have some clear ideas of where to go. In your case, maybe roll a D4? ^-^ The extra number can be set to ‘eat something tasty and then try again’. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

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