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“Hi, guys. How would you like to spend a month together?”

September 4, 2011

What do you get if you import a young European with a university degree in religion and philosophy and a famous, powerful wizard who owes Death a huge favour into a world that has ended a long time ago and yet is still there?
– No, I don’t have the answer. Not yet at least.

57 days until that NaNoWriMo thing starts again. Some participants have been planning all year round. Some wait and see what happens when the fingers touch the keyboard on November 1st. Others have a vague outline of a story or an idea of writing another installment of a story in progress.
A few months ago, I wrote about searching for the perfect story for this year. I think I found it. For me, NaNoWriMo is partly about challenging myself to do something I haven’t previously tried. Having completed NaNoWriMo twice before, I have a list of those things. I’m not just writing for the sake of doing them, of course, but I think November is a playground, a place to see what works for me as a writer and what doesn’t.

This year (unless I change my mind or chicken out), I will be surprised by the story far more than I have previously been during NaNoWriMo. I am not going to plan any details. I have a stage, and I have actors, and I have a few props and a vague idea of a plot, but the actors will have to take it from there on their own.
– Which brings me to the title of this entry. I know two of the protagonists already. Years back, I ran an online comic (no, it is not out there anymore). I was about 250 pages into it before I stopped. I always wanted to finish the story and have more to do with the main character. More recently (in 2006), I was writing a fantasy story. I’m not sure why I never finished it, but I do know that even though I moved on to other genres, I have considered returning to it and its protagonist several times.

So I rounded up those two main characters and explained the matter to them. At first it seemed farfetched, but it turned out that there were very good reasons why they ought to be in a story together and indeed this particular story that I’m setting out to write. I managed to convince them of this. During the last few weeks, I have worked on their respective prequels (they are never going to make it into the story, but I wanted to get into the mood of them) and a short “test run” scene with both of them in it.
I am a little bit nervous about this project, but it feels right, and I am looking so much forward to seeing how it turns out.

Have you ever imported or recycled characters? Do you have beginnings of stories in the desk drawer (or on the hard disk) that you want to return to one day? And if you are doing NaNoWriMo this year, how is planning (or not-planning) going?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. Catana permalink
    September 4, 2011 2:54 pm

    I’ve never combined characters from different stories, but I can see the possibilities. As for planning, I’ve been into it for months — almost the entire year so far. I stumbled over Lazette Gifford’s phase outlining method a few weeks ago and latched onto it like an all-day sucker. Just exactly right thing for me. Not a formal outline, but a brief sketch of each step in the story. If I can get it done for the entire novel, I’ll be whizzing through NaNo like a speeding bullet. This is a much more complex story than any I’ve tackled, so I’ve really needed a way to stay on track and not have to spend too much of November trying to figure out what comes next.


    • September 4, 2011 6:08 pm

      That sounds like a really good method. Enough room to explore the story as you go along, but enough to hold onto as not to get lost. I usually do more planning, but I figured I’d see if I can make it like this.
      Thank you for the comment! 🙂


  2. September 4, 2011 5:24 pm

    As far as recycling characters goes, yes. If you consider doing sequels in that light. I also have a recurring character, the lead’s internal voice, which seems to have a Jersey accent and is a bit on the rude side (or so he sounds).

    This year will be my 10th NaNoWriMo (I’ve completed 9), and while I’m probably not as excited about it as many (it is now more of a routine than an exciting challenge), I expect to push my way through and hit a number well over 50k words.

    I would say to anyone who is aspiring toward the writer’s life, this is a GREAT way to experience true discipline and drive… and you really only have to do it (this time) for one month.

    Come join the party!


    • September 4, 2011 6:12 pm

      Right, sequels. I’ve done some of those too, but they’ve been so closely connected that I’ve actually thought of them as the same story moving into a new phase. I like the idea os the internal voice as a recurring character.

      This is your 10th? Wow, that’s quite an anniversary. And thank you for the encouraging words! I’m sure lots of people find it a daunting task and need that little push to take the proverbial plunge.

      Thank you for commenting & liking, 🙂


  3. Maggie permalink
    September 5, 2011 1:02 am

    I’ve thought about doing a story that contained a mixture of characters from two older stories. I’m tempted to recycle characters because honestly, I don’t feel like creating new ones. I like the ones I have.

    Good luck with your idea. It sounds intriguing!


    • September 5, 2011 10:09 am

      I have new characters turning up very often, but I like the ones I have too, and some of them (like these two) I feel have more potential than I’ve used in their respective stories.
      Thank you, and thanks for the comment as well! 🙂


  4. September 5, 2011 7:49 pm

    Oh god, is it that time again already? lol. I won’t give it a try again, though I did do it back in 2009 and ended up with a pretty good story, which I am kind of combining or kind of blending along with my boy’s novel, or something like that, not sure yet lol.

    Think combining characters or stories is a really good idea at times. My rockstar of my NanoWrimo has become my boy’s rock alterego for example. So now, my lovely boy has two names, just to confuse everyone heh heh


    • September 6, 2011 9:11 am

      Yeah, it is. 🙂
      I think that’s a good way of using NaNoWriMo, as the framework or inspiration or starting point of another story. Well, if you’re not the “planning all year long” type at least.
      We have a saying in my country, “kært barn har mange navne”, which loosely translate to, “a loved child has many names”. I don’t think whoever thought of it took our muses/boys into consideration, but they’re right never the less. 🙂


  5. September 8, 2011 3:48 pm

    Yep, I’ve “recycled” characters, and ended up with a trilogy. Still working on this. I also have several story beginnings waiting in computer files. I wonder if I’ll ever get “caught up.”

    Glad you are doing NaNo again this year- so am I! While on my yearly trip out west a few months ago, a premise popped into my mind, out of nowhere. I have no idea how or why such a morbid, disturbing storyline materialized as I was thinking about . . nothing. Anyway, I scribbled a few notes and decided this will be the story for my second NaNo. Now I’ve got to actually find these notes again. lol But if the notes are “gone,” the images are pretty damn unforgettable IMO. 🙂 November will find me hunched over my keyboard, dry-heaving. This story will push me farther than I thought I could be pushed. I’m quite gleeful. 🙂


  6. September 9, 2011 2:12 am

    Oh wow, I can’t believe it’s almost NaNo time again! Good luck — I’m excited to follow your progress.



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