It’s four days into NaNoWriMo. I’m ahead of the required daily word count. I’ve written some twenty-five pages since November 1. There also happens to be incredibly annoying music coming out of one of the windows in my building. But that’s entirely beside the point.

My nose keeps bleeding because it’s so dry in my room. That’s irrelevant as well.

Okay, so I guess what I’m trying to avoid writing about is this: I’m not really sure whether or not I like the novel I’m writing. I have this issue that spans across almost everything I write: I create characters that I like. Almost without fail, my characters have redeeming qualities and are people that I can relate to. But that can get incredibly boring, and most of the writers I know who take this approach invariably begin churning out repetitive books that have similar voices. One of my favorite writers does this, and I forgive him because I love the style of his writing and his characters as much as he seems to: but I also know that there are probably many readers who he’s alienated this way. This is one thing I’ve developed since taking writing classes – a heightened and more realistic sense of literary criticism.

So this year, for NaNoWriMo, I’m writing about characters who are incredibly different than me. They’re people who I probably wouldn’t like very much if I met them. I have a soft spot for them – of course I do, despite everything – but I don’t particularly like them. Sometimes I get mad at them as I’m writing, because they’re selfish or annoying or mean. It’s an interesting experience, but it’s harder for me to gauge whether what I’m writing is any good or not.

Oh, well. Here’s to another twenty-six days of writing and finding out!


5 thoughts on “Progress

  1. Right about what you know. Good people have flaws that keep them from reaching their dreams.Like the great actor John Cazale used to say, to really know a character you have to know their pain. Where does it hurt, and why?

  2. Erin M says:

    Glad to hear you’re ahead of your word count!

    And yeah, it’s interesting writing about characters who aren’t so acceptable. I think most of my characters are too nice, so sometimes it’s fun just to write (near-)complete jerks.

    Hope it keeps going well for you!

  3. Awesome! There’s nothing better than being ahead on word count!

    Last year I wrote a story I didn’t like because I hated the main character (he was horrible!), but it was piece that taught me how to write in a very different way. Because of that, I’m a little more courageous with my writing. So keep going and keep experimenting!

  4. Congrats on being ahead of your word count! What you wrote about your characters being less like you than usual really resonated with me. One of my writing group members told me I needed to get out of the way of my protagonist and let him make his own mistakes. He’s very different from me, but at the point where he really becomes a jerk and makes a few idiotic hurtful decisions, the story turned flat. I still have to rewrite that section and get myself out of the way!

  5. Hmm… I am intrigued by your characters if you don’t like them! Is that weird? Haha. I’m sort of doing NaNoWriMo. I’m nowhere near where you are. I have other things to write at this moment for grad school applications so I can’t spend all my creative juices on my story. Good luck with yours though! I’m proud of you for already having so much done!

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