Well, I ended this year’s NaNoWriMo with a few more words than last year, but that 50,000 word goal has still alluded me. I could blame it on school work. I could blame it on holiday and family distractions. But the truth is, that’s not what landed me at 13,000 words instead of 50,000.
As I may have mentioned previously (I can’t actually remember and am currently too lazy to go back and look), Prism World was an experimental project from the get-go. I am dealing with things in this book that are entirely new to me, ranging from the era around which I am doing my world-building to the fact that I didn’t even put together a tentative outline until chapter 5. But the thing that makes Prism World more difficult than any other story I’ve written before is the voice. For once, I am listening not to an omniscient narrative voice in my head but, rather, I am listening to the voice of the main character, Lightning, herself.
Told in first person, the key to writing this story is to keep Lighting’s quick, sharp speech in mind at all times. From her short, often fragmented sentence structure to her grunts or, often, complete silence and frequent interior dialogue, there’s a lot that I have to check when writing the story. So you can imagine how hard it was to do that while trying to write 50,000 words.
While visiting my family over Thanksgiving, I got into a discussion with my mom about the art of story building. One thing that I brought up was something that she was baffled by: my characters come to life, and it is often that they write the story despite my own intentions. It happened a few times in the Star Series. It is the driving force in Prism World. There is something special about hearing the character’s voice in my mind. I close my eyes and soak it all in. And in that moment, the story comes alive for me. That’s the voice that I am trying to put onto paper. I want Lightning’s story to be just as real to my readers as it is to me. What better way to do that than to let the character write the story?
And so I have come to the end of another NaNoWriMo nowhere close to succeeding. Maybe there will be a next year. We’ll see how that goes. I expect senior year in college will be busy in and of itself. For those who managed those 50,000 words, congrats! I may not have managed the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, but that doesn’t mean the project is over. Currently standing at 26,000 words, I’m roughly a third of the way through the book. I’ll keep posting my progress as I go. Wish me luck and have a wonderful evening!