The Insecure Writer’s Support Group convenes the first Wednesday of the month. Participants share their worries, insecurities, triumphs, hopes, and fears.
This month, the IWSG question is:
What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?
As a historical writer, I absolutely love the rich research which comes with the territory. I also love bringing these bygone worlds to life, virtually travelling to so many places, and living vicariously through my characters.
It might surprise some, since my “getting ready” routine consists of throwing on clothes, packing up whatever I’m bringing with me, and going out, but I particularly enjoy researching and writing about vintage clothes, shoes, hats, even makeup. In so doing, I’m living vicariously through characters who represent a type of woman I know I’ll never be.
I decided to switch gears re: which book to rebel with during NaNo. For quite awhile, my pace on my primary WIP had slowed to a crawl, and I just wasn’t feeling very inspired. Maybe it’s because the flashback Part II ended up way longer than I’d predicted, or maybe I’d been with these characters for too long of a stretch.
It also would’ve been a logistical nightmare to calculate daily and overall wordcount, and copy and paste the material into the validator, since I’d be writing out of order, editing, fleshing-out, and deleting text which needs replaced with actual narration instead of serving as wraparound filling in the blanks.
I tried going back to my fourth Russian historical on 30 October, and the difference was just amazing. I wrote over 1,000 words in just two 20-minute sprints, and knew the decision had been made. Last NaNo wasn’t the best time to begin that book, even though I did write 71K. As a result, I hadn’t touched it since 30 December.
I copied and pasted the rest of Chapter 14 into a new file, to which will be added each new chapter file to be written during November. So much easier to calculate wordcount that way!
I’m also thrilled to have discovered some unplanned secondary characters. I wanted to give Sonyechka, Lyuba and Ivan’s next-youngest child, a fellow outcast friend at her new school. All I knew was that she was Catholic, and thus the only other non-Protestant at that school. Then I looked up countries with a high Catholic percentage, outside of obvious ones like Poland, France, and Italy.
I thought she was all Croatian at first, but then I decided to give her a Croatian father and Serbian mother. Her name is Kleopatra Novak, and she’s my latest left-handed character. Her family just immigrated from Banja Luka, Bosnia, and survived the horrors of the fascist Ustashi régime in the puppet Independent State of Croatia.
Kleopatra’s father is an archaeology professor who survived Jasenovac, and her mother is a surgeon who served with the partisans. Kleopatra and her older brother were hidden by a Bosnian Muslim family. Prof. Novak is a perfect patient for Lyuba and Ivan’s son-in-law Andrey, a future psychiatrist who wants to heal people traumatized by the war.
I do hope once again to be a NaNo overachiever, but at a realistic overachieving wordcount. I can’t stand the humble-braggers who say things like, “I was so lazy yesterday and only wrote 30,000 words!” or “I really failed NaNo because I only wrote 700K instead of a million.”
Are you doing NaNo? Did you ever change your mind last-minute re: what you were going to work on? Ever started working on a book you came to realize wasn’t the right thing to write at that time? How long did it take to go back? Ever discovered unplanned characters?
P.S.: I recently wrote a guest blog for 4thWaveNow, “Transing the dead: The erasure of gender-defiant role models from history.” It discusses the ridiculous new trend of declaring women like Joan of Arc, Radclyffe Hall, and George Eliot were really men, and that men like Prince and David Bowie really had to be women.