I'm really struggling with NaNoWriMo this year. Maybe because my normal muse was not available to bounce ideas off. Maybe because the more I learn to write the harder it is to stop editing as I write. Maybe beacuse it's just not that good a story.
I wrote this the other day, on the NaNo page:
My characters are bored. I walk into a scene, and they're all just sitting around, staring at the floor. I try to cheer them up. "Hey guys, guess what we're going to do today?"
"I don't know," Karl will say. "Debate some ethics issues to fill in time? Go for coffee and describe the whole trip in detail? Ride a unicorn?"
"Yeah," I say, "sorry about the unicorn. Not really a part of my sci-fi story but I thought it would liven things up."
"It did," he said. "Stepped on my toe, the bastard, and then when I yelled it panicked, shit on the couch, and dove straight out the window. Crushed those fairies you were hiding out there. Your next desperate plot point."
I slumped into an armchair and waved a hand at him. "Yes, you're right. I'm getting desperate. What do I do?"
"Stop writing," he said. "You know you did a crappy plan, and you know you are a plotter, not a panster."
"But the daily count?"
He slammed a fist onto the table. "Screw the count. You'll catch up. Look at us, we're all just so grey and bland looking. If I turn sideways you can see I'm as thin as cardboard. I have only a vague idea of where I came from, what my real issues are, not just the superficial ones. And I'm the protagonist. The rest are even worse off. Look at poor Davros over there-supposedly my arch enemy. Cute name but he's got maybe two lines in your Character Summary. He spends most of his time growling at me like a pirate then looking sort of embarrassed about it. Carla, Becky, Dan/Ben/Sam - whatever name you finally give him- they're barely here."
I sighed and pulled myself to my feet. "You're right. The premise is good. Government expands ID chip program to add medical records, location tracking, emotion control, even a kill switch. And a retired revolutionary has to decide if he'll take the risk of joining the battle again. But I know I need more than that. I need to re-examine you all, figure out what makes you tick. What delights you, what enrages you, what scares you. What are your goals, what stands in your way. Plot the issues in my structure, with turning points, with successes and failures and a disaster and a hell of a climax."
"You got it," he said. "Now get out there and do it. And, before you leave, write us in some beer and pizza. We'll have a little party while we're waiting."
It felt good to write something different - so much so that I added it to my writing count! But I did start looking again at my story and characters, and I think there still is hope. I'm back on track at least to finish by November 30th.