Wednesday, October 7, 2009

My Characters Wake Me Up in the Middle of the Night

I went to bed early and everything. Finished watching NCIS, turned the TV off, and walked into my room and fell fast asleep (well, okay, I took a shower and brushed my teeth, even changed into my jammies). Then I woke up at 2 am. WIDE AWAKE.

Now, where I live there are earthquakes a lot, so I looked on the internet - no earthquake. The dog was sleeping in the living room, so it wasn't her. I went back to bed and realized what had awakened me was one of my characters for my NaNo novel talking to me while I was sleeping.

I can see her. Her name is Cassidy Edmond. She was going through this whole song and dance about how I needed to remember this and add that. The rules for NaNoWriMo are to write a novel in 30 days. Actually, the history of the project can be found here:

As far as I can tell, thinking about the story, maybe even a little outlining is within the rules. Not that they have very strict rules about anything. Anyway. I've definitely been thinking about it and I have the story idea and most of the plot lines worked out in my head. The characters are coming to life, evidently to the point where they feel free to bug me. So far there is the main protagonist, Cassidy, and a boyfriend I have yet to name. It is a bit of a crime-mystery so the police will factor in at some point.

I tend to think of names first, giving them just the right tone for what I want the character to express. Then how they dress, mannerisms, life traumas, et cetera. I'm not sure how much I'm going to pre-characterize or if I'll just let them develop as I go. That will depend on how much time I have prior to November and how organized I can get.

I want to be the kind of writer who creates characters that are living, believable beings. I think the fact that they, in their infancy, wake me up at night is a very good sign. Makes me sleepy the next day though.

Jo Taylor


  1. Jo,
    You have to let the characters live through you, or they won't be familiar to you, and they will be tough to write about. What a great first way to start a novel. so take a nap in the afternoon, but keep a notepad and pencil by your bed for those middle of the night visits.
    By the way, Cassidy is a cool name. ha ha

  2. Hi Kim,

    Great advice from a great friend, thank you. You almost sound like you write too, do you? I love the name Cassidy, I know you do also. Now I just have to figure out how to work in miniature golf and it will be like old times. Thank you for reading.