This November I have undertaken my third attempt at NaNoWriMo, a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. So far I have been doing really well, I’ve been writing consistently and I’ve managed to stay a little bit ahead of the target. Today I crossed the halfway point, 25,000 words, with a day to spare. So, YAY!
The last two times I’ve done this I’ve been writing love stories. I’ve been writing about people who are generally heading towards a happy ending. This year, for various reasons, I’ve decided to explore the darkness. I’ve heard writers talk about their characters as though they’re real people, as though writing a book is about sitting down and listening/watching the characters interact and writing it down. I’ve never really felt like I understood that concept until I started this story.
With each chapter I write, I feel like the darkness in my characters becomes more real. I feel like they’re evolving in a way that I hadn’t anticipated. It’s amazing and it makes the task of writing them really interesting but it’s also a little bit worrying. Where is this darkness coming from? What part of me is generating these awful scenarios? Am I a bad person for coming up with this stuff?
I know that I’m not, I know that everyone has darkness in them, that voice that whispers ‘drive over the edge’ on cliff roads. And I know that there are people who spent a lot of time analysing why the public are so enamoured of crime novels. Something about catharsis, about expressing our violent urges vicariously through the characters. I guess I’m just a little bit surprised by how easily this stuff is coming out of my head.
Hopefully the end result will be something people want to read, and not something that’s so completely depressing that no one can finish it. I guess I won’t know till it’s done and I give it to someone!
Onwards little words, marching towards 50,000. Now I’m going to watch something funny on the internet.