20 October 2009

A letter to a NaNoWriMo character

National Novel Writing Month starts in ten days. And already I’ve dropped my original novel concept twice for another one. The second drop occurred today—and it’s permanent. Which is all for the good, since I had to honestly assess that I didn’t yet feel energized about the concept I had worked on for the last month or so, and which I originally came up with back in February. I still think it’s a viable novel idea, but I need more research and more brainstorming to get it to a point that it begs, begs to be written.

Fortunately, something emerged today that really wanted to get turned into a novel next month. A short story that asked for a novel continuation, and in a setting I’ve already developed (and even managed to sell some stories set in it). To mark the moment, I did a “letter to a character,” a popular NaNoWriMo forum topic where writers pen out a missive directed to one of their creations. Here’s my letter to the heroine of my new novel for next month as she takes up the task of being a main character . . .
Dear Belde,

Hi, welcome aboard! Until today, you weren’t going to be the main character of my novel. In fact, the novel had nothing to do with you, it was a different genre in a different world. But today, I realized, I didn’t really want to write that novel. It was getting to be a burden thinking about it, and there’s no way I’m going through a month of hell on a premise that needs to be worked on more, thought about, and re-energized—and I don’t have time to do that now, with only ten days to go.

But . . . I have you! You see, I loved the short story that I wrote about you in Septmber. And one of my fellow writers at Black Gate magazine thought that you were the great start of a YA novel. He was right, I should have paid attention back then. You already have a great background, a motivation, and a huge adventure before you. Plus, I’ve already developed the setting over two years of short stories set around it, so I don't need much prep.

I’m already excited about letting you free on your quest to discover why you are so different from the rest of humanity, and finding that mysterious woman who saved your life on the day your parents were murdered. You’ve got a great sidekick in a dinosaur named Rint, and I think he balances you perfectly.

So, Belde, I’m putting trust in you. You've got energy + tragedy + goals. I think you can carry the book. I’m thrilled for our upcoming adventure. We don't have much of an outline, but we've got the background and the backdrop, and I'm certain you'll bring the plot with you.

Your author,