I love that quote from Ernest Hemmingway – it’s true. And I’ve felt that more than ever this year during NaNoWriMo, having to juggle so many things but still write. And then, of course, there have been those annoying moments when I can’t get my characters to act like they should – they decide they’re going to be little goody-goodies and I just can’t stop them from it. So yes, I’ve been bleeding all week, but still loving it. I’ve been so motivated to keep going by some of my best friends and others – I’m not going to give up. I’ve finally come to the point where I know that my characters are the most important thing, more so than getting the historic details like the color of the wallpaper or the floor plan of a house correct. I’m not writing a history book – yeah, I did just get that this week. Don’t judge.
Can I tell you a little more about it? Yes? Okay. My big focus this week has been to work on the way I show my characters to my reader – not exactly by telling each and every though that passes through their brains, but showing who they are and what they believe through their words, actions, and through the specific words I use when writing about them. I was going through Our Mutual Friend and noticing how often Dickens used very simple but very effective words to immediately give you a picture in your mind of someone. Words like darkening, gloomily, calmly; or observed, retorted, interposed, and pursued – each have a certain mood associated with them, and give you a glimpse of the person who’s being described.
It hasn’t been easy to go slowly and choose each word deliberately, but man, it’s worth it. Suddenly one of my main characters (the hero) stopped driving me nuts (I’ve had a problem with hating him for the past few months. He just wasn’t cooperating.), and is coming along nicely. In fact, I really do love who he’s turning out to be. And I love that I’m being forced to work on all the conversations extra hard – because it’s in those that you find the people. So that’s where I’ve been all week, and where I’ll be all month – sitting at my “typewriter,” writing. Are you doing NaNoWriMo or writing a book? How’s it going?