Prepare for NaNoWriMo:Characters

Prepare for NaNoWriMo

Nothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, “prepare for NaNoWriMo” unless it’s actually taking part in NaNo.

What is NaNo? From their website:

“National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. 

On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.”

50K in one month is daunting. I’ve written that much in the official NaNo month of November; during my writing group’s preferred Winter NaNo-February meeting to March meeting. On my own, I NaNo’ed one May and, most recently, this past July. One of the key elements to a successful writing month is to have an outline. Yes, I know some people like to sit down and let the words flow, but with a daily word count of 1,667, it’s not practical.

My accountability buddy, Kim, and I have challenged each other to complete NaNo next month.

NaNoWriMo, Step One

The first step is deciding what to write. For me, it’s a no-brainer—the next installment in my Enchanted Forest fantasy romance series. The clues I sprinkled about in the first book, Snow White and the Eighth Dwarf (available in January), pointed toward using the Red Riding Hood tale as the foundation. (I’m toying with Red Riding Hood and the Big, Sexy Wolf, or Red Riding Hood in the Big, Very Bad Wolf as titles. What do you think?)

NaNoWriMo, Step Two

The second step is to find my characters. As the fairy tale does this for me, I need to zero in on their personalities. I’ve tried various way of refining personalities, including using the Meyers-Briggs test, but this time, I decided on using mythical archetypes.

I have a seventy-two card deck of Carolyn Myss’ Archetype Cards. Using my spidey/author sense of drawing cards, this is what I picked (or the cards picked me).

For Oliver, the wolf in my story:

The Warrior—strong, skilNothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, "prepare for NaNoWriMo" unless it's actually taking part in NaNo.led, disciplined, toughness of will, hero, self-sacrificing.

The Shapeshifter (He is a wolf after all)—skilled at navigating through different levels of consciousness, projecting any image that serves his personal agenda.

Child wounded—blames all dysfunctional relationships on childhood wounds.

Athlete—dedication to transcending physical limits

For Red (possibly called Rhoswynn or Rosewynn):

Nothing strikes terror into the heart of a writer more than the phrase, "prepare for NaNoWriMo" unless it's actually taking part in NaNo.

photo courtesy of arenamontanus/flickr

The Hermit—Seeks solitude to focus intently on her inner life. Serves her personal creativity.

Dilettante—Delights in the arts without having to be a professional.

Monk Nun—Selfless devotion and single-minded dedication to Spirit. Removed from the real world.

How do I take these attributes and mold compelling relatable characters? I’ll explore that question in my next post: Prepare for NaNoWriMo:Plot, as well as introduce the archetypes for the secondary characters.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? What preparations are you making? Please comment below and let me know the details.






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