I am not very nice to my characters

I’m nearing the end of Camp Nanowrimo and last night I ended up writing the most in one day that I have all month (a whopping 1,300 words), and once again my main character ended up giving himself stitches (this also happens in Hitchhikers).  For some reason I feel the need to break my characters down to their absolute lowest point both mentally and physically before I can know what they’re capable of.  I definitely felt like I had to break Kayla down in Dreamwalkers, I had to see what happened to her confidence level.  In The Beast of Gevaudan, Georges also needed some breaking down, but really that’s just brought out his inner psychopath.  Or outer psychopath… he never really hid it, but this made it worse.

In Hitchhikers, Daniel is starved, attempts suicide, gets his leg caught in a bear trap, gets shot, and falls on an axe, in addition to giving himself stitches.  Somehow in The Beast of Gevaudan I’ve also had Georges end up giving himself stitches, which I’m not sure I’ll keep in there… although I do like the similarities between Georges and Daniel, because it illustrates how different they are at the core while dealing with similar circumstances.

I guess I’m lucky all my characters have a lot of fight in them.

Nanowrimo 2012: Week 1 Update

Word Count: slightly ahead of target

Janina’s word count prowess has her in the lead, but we’ll see if she has the longevity!

I have already hit one point where I wasn’t sure where the hell my story was going and even contemplated scrapping what I had so far (roughly 5-8,000 words at that point) and starting my original 2012 Nanowrimo idea, the exorcism story.  When I met with the Townsend League of Extraordinary Writers (+1) on Saturday evening, I even announced to them sadly that my main character had no personality.

“You’ve got a Bella,” Tiger said wisely.

So I decided I would write my Wrimo buddies in the story: Janina ended up as an apathetic mermaid in the freak show, Tiger became a snake handler, and Jen was the nearly decapitated assistant to the knife thrower.  Still, I was stuck.

I spent most of one day writing out little blurbs of circus history – the real gory bits – to include at the head of each chapter, just because I had no idea where I wanted to make the story go.

Finally, I decided to make my main character, Lana Tate (last name might change…), have to overcome her lack of personality.  She’s spent her whole life being one of those obnoxiously good girls, listening to her mother’s advice, listening to what her friends think is the best course of action.  Which eventually led to her demise and her arrival at the Circus of the Damned.  So she needs to realize that she’s here and must become the performer she always could be, even though her mother always told her she shouldn’t want to be center stage.

I also threw in a romantic interest and some villainous folk, which spiced things up as well.  I’m rolling along once more.  Of course, I’m sure I will hit more road blocks along the way…

If you’re at all interested in reading, I’ll be posting up chapters on my Figment account.  Please comment or review!  Even if just to tell me it sucks!

I eat rejection for breakfast.

I’ve been querying agents for both The Abandoned and Seven Minutes to Midnight, and have met with what appear to be form rejections:

Thanks for your query, but I’m sorry to say I’m not the right agent for your book. I wish you the best of luck in your search for representation.

and

Thank you so much for querying us with your project. Unfortunately, we did not feel it was the right fit for our agency at this time. Thanks again for thinking of [name of agency removed] and we wish you nothing but the best in your publishing career.

 That is, when they actually respond (some of them haven’t).  Well, not much to do but sent them on to another, hopefully more receptive, agent and get back to writing.

Lately I’ve been working on a rewrite of The Wolven: Animal Nature (that book I’ve already written twice?  that book I thought I’d lost to the computer gods?).  I’m on chapter three and I have to say that I think it’s definitely going in a good direction.  I realized that I was so unhappy with the first two drafts because basically it was all plot and no characterization.  Sure, the characters had some traits, but then they never behaved in accordance with those traits… which becomes a problem because essentially the story can go anywhere, because the characters are not making decisions based on who they are.  They’re just doing whatever the hell they want. 

I’m going to say that I was inspired in how I am rewriting by Stephenie Meyer.  Stephen King can knock her all he wants, but she’s created some very powerful characters that have affected a lot of people (throwing plot aside).  So I’m dwelling a lot on how the characters feel and their reasoning for their decisions in this draft.  This not Twilight with werewolves, but hopefully my characters won’t be random people who describe themselves as shy then behave in an outspoken way.

I also started working on a short story I started several years ago.  Haven’t gotten too far.  I think I need to read some Edgar Allan Poe or something to really get in the mood for this story.  Still working on some edits for The Abandoned between sending it out.  Melissa wants me to hurry up and write the sequel for Seven Minutes to Midnight, but I haven’t been too interested in doing that–I’ve only written a couple of pages.