My NaNoWriMo novel is underway. I’ve already written 1,717 words. While it is a mere 50 words more than I need to meet my daily quota and I have plenty of time to write, I have to remind myself I am done for the day. I say I won’t let myself write any more but the fact is I can’t write any more because I don’t currently have anything more to write. As usual, I am in the dark about what happens next.
This morning I followed Hemingway’s advice to stop in the middle by leaving off before I finished the scene I was writing. I only know the next three lines of what is going to happen, and then I’ll be into the Unknown, but at least I have a few lines for getting started again. Between now and then, I need to come up with something more to work with. I can just write whatever pops up, but that usually results in writing I trash later. It’s a lot easier for me to write if I have ideas bouncing around in my head to pull from. They don’t have to be fully formed or even good, but they have to be there.
My greatest pleasure in this morning’s writing was perverse, but a common writer’s joy — I made my character miserable. For reasons I do not understand, I just love heaping coals on the head of my characters. It’s an unexpected perk to playing God. I laugh gleefully when I think of trouble to make for them. In this case, I did something I often do when I’m getting started. I burdened my character with a horrific name, in this case, one so terrible she doesn’t want to tell anyone else what it is.
Her name is M.T. Blue, which isn’t so bad (although M.T. can sound like “empty”). It’s what the M and the T stand for that is the problem. While she dreams of being a writer, her parents wanted her to be a famous painter. So they named her Michelangelo Titian, even after they discovered the little boy they were expecting was actually a little girl.
I adore the fact that M.T.’s parents are so lacking in creativity that they couldn’t come up with a last-minute change for their baby’s name and instead saddled her with this horrific moniker. It’s especially ironic that they dream of having an amazingly creative child. And I reveled in M.T.’s attempts today to wriggle out of telling someone her real name.
Don’t get me wrong; I love my characters. I’m not sure why I enjoy making their lives a misery. At least I can promise them that things will improve eventually, because I know I have a happy ending waiting for them. I intend from the start to improve their lives, even if they don’t always get what they think they need.
But I need to think of more problems to throw M.T.’s way so that I have something to write tomorrow, or she’ll get the last laugh. Time to go make some lists and see what I can come up with.