Pitching Tents And Killing Trees

NaNoWriMo. Every year, during the cold month of November, writers from far and wide lock themselves in their homes and shut themselves off from the outside world, as they become lost in their own worlds, marking the start of their thirty-day struggle to reach 50000 words by the end of the month. Some may be driven to insanity, and become lost to their loved ones, and some may harbour this madness and use it as fuel for their novel. Some may burn through keyboards with their speedy typing, and some may take the challenge as a marathon, and keep to a steady pace.

But what if the challenge may be too much for some people, or what if some people need more than a month of madness to satisfy them? Is 50,000 words too much of a hassle, or could you write that much in your sleep? Well, during the months of April and July you’ll get the chance to sate your creative appetite, and tackle your own goals, finally conquering that unforgiving entity that is your novel. What is this foolish, masochistic nonsense that I’m promoting, I hear you cry?

Camp NaNoWriMo!

*Cue trumpets and horns and marching bands swarming the streets*

What do you say we stop with that now, huh? I kind of let that get away from me.

Anyway, yes. Tomorrow marks the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo, where writers can set their own word count goals for the month. If you plan on participating, then it would do you good to set yourself a realistic goal. In my last attempt at Camp NaNo, I set myself a goal of 75,000 words, even though I didn’t really have any intention of writing 2500 words a day. When it comes to Camp NaNo, I don’t have that great of a track record. I should also mention that I have no intention of participating this year, since I don’t want to end up relying on writing events to write my novel. I only just started writing frequently . . . somewhat frequently again, and I don’t want to mess with my pace so much.

But, if you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year, then good luck, happy writing, and keep a tight hold of your sanity.

Better have all your caffeine ready.

Laurence out.

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My Challenges With Creating Child Characters

Oh, that pro alliteration. My skill is unparalleled.

Alright, so I’m pleased to say that I am, indeed, writing again. I’m back in my natural habitat shunning outlines and writing whatever so happens to enter my head. I don’t know if I would say that it’s easier. I definitely find it more fun, especially considering I don’t have to spend months just to plan the damn thing; and I’m glad I don’t have to go through all the characters and write out the personalities of each of them, since I’m more than fine storing that stuff in my head.

But, I do have one big problem . . . well, six little problems that I think even an excessive plan wouldn’t have been able to fix, and they go by the names of Kathy, Lili, Obi, Alex, Melissa and Kevin.

Now . . . I’m not a parent, and certainly not one of five-year-olds. I don’t have any younger siblings, and whenever I’m out in public I usually have headphones blasting music into my ears, so even if there are little kids around I can’t even hear them. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to go to a park with a notebook and a pen, and proceed to watch the children, therefore, the only real experience I have with how children behave is my own. And with my twenty-one-year-old mind, it’s hard to look back on my memories of that age with the mind of a child.

So, when it comes to writing child characters, most of whom are wildly different from one another, I don’t have a lot to reference. I mean, there was one book I had to read for A-level English Literature that I could reference . . . if I wanted to end up wanting to murder each and every child in my book . . . Look. I seriously hated Room, by Emma Donoghue. I don’t even feel bad for wanting the kid dead. And who knows? Maybe he does die. I’m not going to pretend I was able to endure that book to the end. I applaud Donoghue for trying, for being ambitious, but in my opinion, Room is a perfect example of a little child being written awfully . . . I’m sure I was making a point before I got lost in remembering just how much I hated that book.

Ah, yes! My point is I don’t have anything to help me write child characters well. In my previous attempts at getting anything to do with this series finished, the characters were in their late teens, and while I can take a few character traits from that, it would be weird for a little child to behave like a young adult. Also in a previous attempt I had a prologue with three of those characters as children, so I could use that as a basic template. After all, they do grow up to become those people.

The thing is, some children tend to be both innocent little angels, as well as malicious little demons, and in a story that has them as consistent . . . no . . . very important secondary characters, writing them as well-behaved pretty much all the time, though convenient, wouldn’t be realistic. Perhaps I could get away with a couple of the more timid and reserved children not being annoying, but not all of them. The reason this is such a problem is because my main character is a single mother of four of these children. Quadruplets, yes. She certainly has quite a bit of help raising them, but still, they’ll be consistent characters throughout the story, and children or not, they’ll still have to be good, well-rounded and developed characters.

Oh, and Melissa . . . Jesus. How do you write an excessively educated five-year-old who sometimes even corrects adults, and her grandfather, at that?

Well, I’ve been going on instinct, and what looks right thus far, and it doesn’t seem so bad. Certainly not as bad as that spawn of Satan from Room.

Okay, okay. I’ll stop ragging on it.

I’d like to think that written in moderation (or as moderately as one could write the kids of the main characters) I can write them reasonably well.

Kids. Even when they only exist in words they can be annoying . . . even if they’re my characters and I’m far too attached to them.

At least I’ll make sure I don’t write them to the same standards of Room . . . Alright. That was the last one.

Till next time.

Laurence out.

Blogging, Writing And So Forth . . .

Super interesting title. I know.

I feel like even acknowledging my breaks from this blog, that span months, is becoming stale, so if in the future I stop blogging for about half a year, I’ll just come back and pretend as if I’ve been here the whole time. Deal?

Deal.

Anyway, this really isn’t going to be an interesting post. So, remember how I sometimes actually post things of reasonable worth on this blog? Yeah. Me neither. But sometimes I post things that aren’t total crap, and can even amazingly be passed off as advice. Why anyone would come to this blog for writing advice is beyond me, considering how drastically unproductive I am, but there we go. But on the subject of that, considering that I haven’t written a thing since November, I think I’m going to hold off on the actual informative posts for a while. At least until I get into the swing of things, again. It just doesn’t make sense to me to give advice on writing when I’ve barely even been writing recently.

So, be prepared for less “quality” and more garbage in the form of my updates . . . Is that going a little far on the self-deprecation? I don’t think it is.

The funny thing is, I consistently write updates on what’s going on with my characters on a certain thread on the NaNoWriMo forums, and sometimes I think that my lengthy comments would be far better suited for a blog post. Then I think better, and that I haven’t established my characters here, so just coming and saying, “Oh, hey! By the way I’ve decided to change Taylor’s name to Kathy, for reasons, even though I stuck with Taylor since I started writing the very first version of this story. I’ve decided to start the series with her mother, Erin, as the main character instead, and make Kathy and co. even younger kids. I’ve decided that in order for things to actually make sense my characters actually need jobs, other than being villains, so I’ve turned Night Horizon headquarters into a hotel. I don’t know whether I want Erin and Khloe to be married, since it’d create far too weird a dynamic for Kathy and Melissa. I’ve just realised . . .” You get the point, though. Many of those points were expanded far more, and were more rambled, but who would honestly be interested in hearing about how characters they know nothing about are coming along?

But updates. Let’s talk progress, and how I have no concept of the word. I don’t know why I’m going to, since it’s the same old story every time, but let’s do it anyway. In my last post I said that my writing can’t be held back by an outline, and that I’m an improviser at heart. Well, considering how the last month of my writing escapades have just been me getting an idea of the plot, writing an excessive plan for the setting, and spending a quite literally insane amount of time on just one character sheet, I’m not sure how accurate that was.

What stopped me was the realisation that if I was going to finish that plan, I was going to have to write that unnecessarily detailed character sheet out for every single one of my characters, and with a cast of far too many characters (I don’t think I’ve reached a hundred, but I wouldn’t be surprised), that I seriously need to cut down, I would never have finished.

Now I’m seriously done with plans, other than what I believe to be the minimum. Standard, basic character sheets and the setting. There. Done.

I expect I’ll start writing again, soon, once I’ve finished procrastinating on other work I should be doing, but even though I’m positive I can write in the same style I always have, I can’t shake the feeling that I may have forgotten, what with three or four months of nothing. I’m probably being incredibly ridiculous, and it’s probably just like riding a bike.

Because the last time I said this, it was a big lie, let’s say it again. I’m off to improvise the hell out of this novel.

Until next time, guys.

Laurence out.