As hundred of thousands of writers around the globe move into the second half of NaNoWriMo, I want to give my update and observations.  My update: over 35,000 words and counting.
My observation #1: My characters have taken over my story and I love it. TJ (also known as Todd) has turned out to be a most interesting character in book two of the FreeForm Series, FreeForm Reborn. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that he’s part alien who also has shapeshifting abilities but who is trying to stay true to his human personality and form. Unfortunately, (but fortunately for the story) he’s finding this a particularly difficult challenge.
Observation #2: When one or more characters begin to take over a story, it can produce its own set of challenges. For one, it can actually slow down the writing process, at least for a time, and especially if you’ve previously outlined the story as I’ve done with FreeForm Reborn. Suddenly, the character takes the story off in a new direction but it may be a new direction that requires further thought and/or research. Both of these can slow the process…and that’s okay, at least in my mind it is. You see, the ultimate intention is to write as engaging and entertaining a story as possible. This takes precedent even over the word count goal (which is to complete the novel or write 75,000 words, whichever comes first).
These two intentions aren’t mutually exclusive of course, but it is helpful to keep them in the proper order and perspective. So, I’m off my intended word count by just a bit. Okay by a lot. I should be around 42,500 and I’m just at 35, 647, but boy, is the story becoming increasingly interesting.
My advice from these observations? Let your characters take over your stories. In fact, encourage them to do so. You’re likely to find your story will become far more entertaining and will keep you and your future readers much more engaged.
Now, back to words that I can count towards my NaNoWriMo goal.