Tag Archives: character development

When Your Novel Takes the Steering Wheel

You’ve discovered your greatest idea, worthy of molding into a novel; you’ve named the characters and created an outline; you think you know exactly how things will begin and end, and maybe you even know about all those twists and turns that make up the middle – the bulk of the story, all the really good stuff.

But let’s face it – who really knows exactly where their story will end up? I suppose there are a few, but the majority of writers would say that at some point, their characters took the wheel and made a left when the author had their turn right all planned out.

I began this novel with a lazy version of an outline, which really just consists of the names of the two main characters, their ages, and a measly list of background information. To be honest, it was more to prevent contradicting myself while this thing grows. After all, it’s pretty intimidating to be 100 pages in and about to mention a name, an age, or a date and have to make sure you get it right the second time around. It’s a lot to keep track of. If this thing ever goes to print, I’d hate to get bashed in a review because Angel’s mother died in 1965 in chapter one, but 1967 in chapter 23. Maybe the cream-of-the-crop writers will scoff at my concerns, and maybe it’s just me – but I have a horrible memory for tiny things like numbers, so I have to keep careful watch.

Anyway, as I was typing away last night my novel suddenly whispered in my ear, and told me to go somewhere I hadn’t planned on. Hearing about this whole “book writes itself” thing from a few writing professors in college, I decided to listen to that little voice and let the action swerve a little bit and possibly make an illegal turn.

The result: a little piece of creativity that I am very proud of. There is plenty of editing to be done, of course, but I was left with an interesting twist in the story line – just when I was getting scared that things might be getting boring – that I think others may enjoy, some day.

Once again, NaNoWriMo has been nothing but a huge help to me as a writer. My motivation to write is through the roof, and I’ve managed to push through even the worst of days, when I feel that my creative well has dried up. While my word count is a tiny bit behind (I’m trying not to beat myself up; some days in my life outside of writing have been busier than others), I’ve still managed to reach 103 pages of a novel. It’s rough, but it’s there. Woo hoo!!

How is NaNoWriMo going for everyone else who is participating?

As for those characters who have kicked you out of the driver’s seat: has anyone else experienced this? How did it affect your novel?

I just thought this bookmark was hilarious. Enjoy

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How do you flesh out a murderous, drug-addicted, overprotective stripper in 1985? I’ll tell you how.

In this story, the hair doesn't matter.

Or at least, I’ll try. Angel Vasco is 25; young, hot, can have any man she wants and knows it. It’s 1985 in Queens: sex, drugs and rock & roll, baby.

Angel lives in a cramped apartment with her sister, Sarah: 23, naive, already defeated. Angel and Sarah lost their mother as children, and were forced to care for themselves when his wife’s death emotionally disconnected their father. Sarah allows a long line of boyfriends to take turns beating up on her, and even Angel isn’t able to knock some sense into her sister’s head, so instead she ignores the problem.

Until something happens that almost wipes away Angel’s former identity as a female powerhouse. After a performance at Angel’s club, Half Moon, an admirer enters her dressing room, and refuses to leave until he gets what he wants.

(Excerpt)

“I’m gonna head home.”

I stood up, somewhat uneasy now, pulling everything into my arms as quickly as I could. He had moved to the doorway, and when I looked into his face the features had changed. His green eyes were muddy, and his lips had thinned and lengthened across his face. A layer of sweat glistened between his eyebrows and an erection throbbed against his zipper.

“I said I have to go.”

I attempted authority, raising my chin to the air, but I could feel the walls tightening around me. No one had ever tried to follow me back to the dressing room, but the men who took to the other girls were always nervous or eager, pathetic – middle-aged and grey-haired, smoking a cigar to look important. This man had a messy confidence, and a stone face that never doubted he would get what he wanted.

I tried to squeeze under one of his arms that blocked my exit, but he lowered it against my breasts and I felt its strength against my own weight.

“I don’t think so. I haven’t gotten my money’s worth yet.”

Angel is traumatized by the incident, and almost loses herself in the aftermath. But she quickly bounces back, and has one thing on her mind: revenge.

This is a very quick look into what I am working on, to hopefully gather more interest and motivation towards finishing. Let me know what you think, and if you’d like to know more!

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