Thursday, October 25, 2012

Character Development

Well  I'm seven days away from taking on the biggest challenge of my writing skills to date. As I posted before, National Novel Writing Month starts on November 1st, and I'm gonna do my damnedest to write my 50,000 words. That works out to 1667 words a day roughly, I mean I can write, I've proven that here on my blog more than once, but 50,000 words in one month... wow. I've never thought of trying that, I've never dreamed of thinking of trying that, it's insane. Well.. so am I, or so people have told me over the years, so onward and upward.

Some of it will be typed and some of it, a lot of it I think, will be handwritten. Yes I still write by hand, pen and paper, the old tried and true method. In a world of computers, tablets and smartphones, I still carry a notebook (the paper kind not a laptop) to write things down in. It can double the time that I take writing because I write and then retype everything into the computer later. It works for me because, despite popular belief, I'm not always in a position to be at a computer online or typing away. I've been called crazy for writing that way but I still like it, heck I prefer reading printed books to eBooks, there's something about holding a book in your hand, the feel of it, the smell of it that makes it somehow more real.

The character Rupert Giles from the TV Show Buffy The Vampire Slayer made what I think is an excellent point that sums up pretty well how I feel about physical books and writing vs. eBooks and typing in a computer.

"Smell is the most powerful trigger to the memory there is. A certain flower, or a-a whiff of smoke can bring up experiences long forgotten. Books smell musty and-and-and rich. The knowledge gained from a computer is a - it, uh, it has no-no texture, no-no context. It's-it's there and then it's gone. If it's to last, then-then the getting of knowledge should be, uh, tangible, it should be, um, smelly."

Make sense? Well it does to me in my head and that's the main thing for me and my writing style and habits. Actually Giles and Buffy bring me by extension to one of the subjects that I'll be writing about, Vampires. I've said before that I have two short stories in print from Engen Books, they are Legacy Of The Full Moon and Vengeance Of The Full Moon both are parts of great collections of stories by some very talented people other than myself. I'm working on a third short right now, tentatively called "Shadows Of The Full Moon." It follows the continuing adventures of two characters that I'm rather attached to at this point. They are also the main characters for the novel that I'll be writing for NaNoWriMo.

Francis "Frank" Kennington:

Frank is the senior partner in the detective agency. He's 32 years old and stands 5'9" tall. He has hazel eyes and short cropped, black hair that's starting to go a little grey around the edges. He has an unkempt looking goatee that frames a mouth that seems to be on the verge of a perpetual frown. He's broad shouldered and in shape but starting to get a little rounder at the middle. He has a cynical, calculating mind and what he calls a very practical view of the world. He has a very forward and gruff, almost rude nature. He likes technology, gadgets and weapons and he likes the occasional drop of rum, or whiskey, or gin.

Ryan Murphy:

Ryan is the junior partner. He's 28 and stands just shy of 6' and weighs about 180lbs. He's not overly athletic but he does like to go running to stay in shape. He has medium length, brown hair with blonde highlights that hint that his hair used to be a lot lighter. He has deep blue eyes that reflect the ever present smile on his clean shaven face. He has a relaxed attitude and a cheerful yet calming personality. He's very easy going but can be serious when it's time to get down to business. Also *spoiler* he's a Vampire.

That's the by's, they're as different as night and day, contrast each other well and both have aspects of my personality built in. To an extent Frank is me, right down to the goatee. He's more me than I would like to admit sometimes. Ryan is more the ideal of how I would like to see myself, at least physically. I did look like him once and I can again, but that's a story/pep talk for another entry. On a regular basis I have Ryan's optimistic nature though it can be tempered with Frank's cynicism.

They are my protagonists, my mains, the focus of the stories I've been telling. Legacy Of The Full Moon was all Ryan, Frank only came into it at the very end and only for a few lines. Vengeance Of The Full Moon was Frank, thinking in flashbacks and talking in soliloquy. In Shadows Of The Full Moon I'm trying for a balance of both, but it's more of a Frank story whereas the novel will be Ryan's story. I want to tell the back story of how Ryan became a Vampire and I've already got a fair beginning sketched out for it, I've even got a villain for the piece. All I'll put here is that her name is Kenna Moore and that she's a Vampire (obviously.)

The strange thing about Kenna is that when I thought her up, I originally intended her to be a one off. She was going to appear, cause a bit of chaos and then get staked and that would be the end of her. The more I think about her character though, the more I like her and I think she'll be sticking around for a while. I'm not saying she'll get her own story down the road, but she is going to be a semi regular thorn in Ryan and Frank's sides.

On top of the main story of how Ryan became a Vampire and the ensuing fun with Kenna, I've got something else that will be brewing at the start of each chapter, I outlined a few of those in another journal. They aren't going to make much sense to anyone at the start, they're just going to be hints at something happening somewhere in the story or somewhere over the story. How am I going to keep all this straight? I have no idea, but it'll be fun finding out. I'm going to apply two of the basic principles that I've found on the NaNoWriMo pages; 1) Just write. Something, anything, just get the story out and make sense of it later. 2) Don't edit as you go, editing is for December, November is for Writing.

That's the biggest thing that I'm guilty of, I constantly edit as I go. I'll write a sentence and then go back over it for spelling and grammar and whether or not I like it or if I want to refine what I just typed. That slows me down a lot more than anything else and I need to stop it. I can always edit after I've finished writing and I need to get that clear in my mind and put it into practice as quickly as possible.

So that's where I stand right now, two awesome (I think) main characters, a kick ass (you'll see) villain and a story that should be a great read (even if it is only to me.) Like what I've got? Wanna read more? Well then you'll have to check out my NaNoWriMo page as I go, it's here:

Feel free to join me and follow along through my trials and tribulations as I put myself through my own personal hell, as fun and as worthwhile as it will be at the end I'm sure. The end result, hopefully, is that on December 1st I'll have a completed novel to edit and then possibly get published. I've been toying with the novel idea for too long. I've been sketching out ideas for it for too long and lord knows I've procrastinated around it for even longer. That all stops November 1st, I sit my butt down and get writing and dedicate myself to at least 1667 words a day.

You know what, thinking about this, it may not be that hard to reach that goal. After all, this blog entry is just under 1500 words now and I'm just rambling. What can I accomplish when I put my mind to directing the story that I want to tell and set my characters on the path of adventure?


Stylin' Steve

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