Okay, I know I’ve whinged all week about the impending start of NaNo… But I just can’t help myself. Also, due to my participation in NaNo, my appearances on this blog may be a bit irregular in November. Everybody, follow me on Twitter, because I’ll be popping in there, and eventually I’ll get new posts out here (I promise, don’t throw things at me).
So, today, before I force myself to be really positive about this whole experience, I’m going to be a mardy mandolin, and espouse about the things about writing that bug me.
For example, shipping. For those of you who aren’t aware of this book blogging term, “shipping” means reading a book and deciding which characters you think should end up as romantic couples. I have rarely done this while reading, and most of the time I just go along with what the author has established, because, hey, it’s their work and they know it best, right?! Turns out this is not the case. There are still tons of readers in the book-blogisphere who, in fact, aren’t necessarily happy about Ron and Hermione in Harry Potter, or about how people paired off in The 5th Wave trilogy, and apparently hearts are still breaking for fans who desperately wanted Bella to be with Jacob (Twilight) and for Katniss to be with Gale (The Hunger Games).
As I write my characters and their plans/interests/goals, I am far more practical than trying to figure out who they’re in love with. I am much more concerned with how their family will view their choices in life, how their decisions will affect their career or relatives and friends, and whether they need to change their major or their fashion style. Not their boyfriend or girlfriend. Maybe it’s because of the autism spectrum thing, but I am self-admittedly terrible at determining that two of my characters are a perfect love match because of the wooziness and risking everything for each other and all the emotions.
So, I’ve already decided that my readers will be shipping for me. Seriously, the beta readers I choose for the rest of the series can give me feedback on who they think should be together and the whys. It’s just better that way.
Real life getting in the way of creating a literary masterpiece. Okay, this probably isn’t a novel that will be a gold standard of fantasy/YA fiction a century from now. But to me it is the entire world, and when I desperately need to reach a 1,000 word count by the end of the day, I don’t need to care that I had pretzels and minestrone soup for breakfast, or that my children may not have had a veggie with their supper. Someone else can take care of the pesky things like paying bills and tidying the kitchen and letting the cat out of the basement.
Crafting the villain. This is one that probably many writers can relate to. You want your antagonist to be believable, but still an evil (insert bad words here), and you don’t want him/her to be cliche, super-scary but yet not impossible for readers to connect to their motivations/reasons for committing the horrible things. Voldemort is a great example. He was terrifying, and yet you could see that he thought he was doing the right thing — in a very sick and twisted way. The villain you love to hate.
After reading Warriors, I have a few really good examples of villains to look to — Mapleshade, Thistleclaw, Hawkfrost, Darkstripe, Brokenstar, and definitely Tigerstar. (Look up my review of Warriors: Omen of the Stars for the details of my feelings on these particular devious beings that totally deserved to wander alone forever in the Dark Forest.) Ahem…
Obvious plot holes slipping through my fingers. This is exactly why I take notes when I write. There are scraps of paper on my desk/kitchen table/forehead that make no sense to anyone but me, but that’s all part of the plan. As I edit my draft (which is already on its 57th incarnation), I see another missing piece every day. ARGH!!! I mean, at least I’m catching them now before I’m heading to the printers…
This is the first time I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, and I’m certainly not doing it alone (waves to all the fellow bloggers also freaking out right now). I’ve got my outline prepared (mostly), and supplies like plenty of pens (even if I have to steal them from other rooms) and extra paper (hey, White Fang won’t need all of it for school), and plenty of PAW Patrol on TV these days to keep Muffin occupied.
So, please keep me in your positive thoughts and well wishes as I undertake this craziness. And if, on December 1st, you happen to come across me looking like this…
…just bring me a fuzzy baby swamp dragon and tiramisu. I’ll perk up soon enough.