Lyla Campbell

NaNoWriMo 2010 has come to a close. And I have to say that I'm glad it's over. I started off strong right out of the gate getting in just over 2,600 words down on the first day. I stayed ahead of the target word count for the first 10 days or so, then I hit a wall. The idea well had dried up. It was imperative that I kept moving forward so I would write parts and pieces that weren't to my liking, but moved the story line forward. It would get me to a better place where I would pick up the pace when I got to a happier place with my plot. I rode this manic-depressive writing roller coaster for the last two-thirds of the month. There were some very dark and bleak times during the month of November where all hope was lost and I thought I wouldn't make it. In the end, I managed to pull it off by the skin of my teeth.

The result is a 50k word manuscript that needs a lot of TLC.

So where do I go from here? The obvious answer is edit. But, where do I begin?

Before I move forward, my instincts are telling me to take a few steps back. The plan is to first revisit my characters. Some of the less than pleasing parts of the story are a result of not being able to answer the question, "What would this character do next?" Now that I have more time, I'm going to go back and do a more detailed character study for each of my MCs. Getting to know them better will help me work out some of the kinks in the plot. I'm going to do this first, even before going back and re-reading what I've written.

Why? Because if I have a better handle on my characters, as I'm going back over the manuscript, I'll be able to provide more constructive criticism on the story. I'll be able to provide comments like "Have the MC take her dog for a walk first as is her normal routine" rather than "This part really sucks"

If you're at the same point in your writing/editing process, you might find these character sheets helpful:

  • Tara K. Harper Character Worksheet

  • Pamela Dowd Character Worksheet

  • The Lazy Scholar Character Worksheet
  • 4 Responses

    1. At least you made it through! I know a lot of people that hit the wall and turned around to go home.

    2. I wonder if not knowing their characters very well isn't the biggest problem for a lot of writers. Unless you're going for pure action and the characters are just cardboard cutouts that you can move around any way you want, your characters control the story. You have to know at least the basics about them at the start, and then let them reveal themselves fully.

    3. K.M. Weiland Says:

      Congrats on completing NaNo! Exploring character personalities, backgrounds, and motivations is always one of my favorite parts of the writing process. You never know what goodies you're going to discover. I don't know how much it adds to the wonderful worksheets you linked, but you might find a few useful ideas in the "Character Interview" I included in my free ebook Crafting Unforgettable Characters.

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