My NaNo Survival Kit / Tour of my Desk

Well, folks.  One week of sanity remaining.

Since NaNoWriMo is only seven days away, I thought it was high time that I gave y’all a desk tour.  Most people would call this their “Survival Kit,” but mine happens to all be at a desk, so….

THE DESK TOUR! (With photos)

The desk itself:

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Unicorns on the top!  Because… fantasy story.  With unicorns.

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The “Inspiration Box.”  If I wake up one day and have no idea what to write, then I will open this beautiful box, reach in, and grab two items.  The idea is that I MUST use one or the other in my story.  So say I pull out a candle and an ipod.  Then I could either light something on fire (in the story), or play some music (in the story).  Or have the character smell something, or hear some music, or something.  Basically, it’s the box for Unsticking the Plot.

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The Emotion Thesaurus.  (Don’t tell anyone that I couldn’t spell Thesaurus.)  I blogged all about this nifty book here, but I’ll just sum it up real quick: it tells you how to show emotion by giving physical actions for each emotion.  Wanna show Eagerness? Have your characters be leaning forward, licking lips, smiling, bouncing on toes, rushing one’s words, etc.  It gives you amazing lists of reactions to each emotion.  It is wonderful.

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This next book has nothing to do with writing.  It’s just there in case I need to give my brain a few minutes off.  I’ve heard it said that sometimes it’s helpful to have a book to read just to remember how words are supposed to go together.  This is one of my all-time favorites (It’s Sundancer by Shelly Peterson) and I’ve read it so many times that I can just jump in and read a few pages without being sucked in too much.

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Lights.  Lighty orb balls of happiness.  So that I can have some lovely light-filled inspiration or something.  (Five dollars at Target, people!  Definitely worth it.)

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Slippers of fuzziness and a blanket.  Because my basement is cold.

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Random flashcards stuck everywhere!

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My personal favorites: when all else fails, blow something up, and Philippians 4:13 for goodness sake!


Then we have the Reward Graph to encourage the word count to keep going up.

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NOT PICTURED: Kleenex, hand lotion, lip balm, note cards, markers, a character binder, a notebook, my laptop, a large music playlist, a NaNo calendar, and a box of assorted candy.


Finally, we have the great NaNoWriMo mug, for lots and lots of caffeine.

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I hope this tour has inspired you in some way, or maybe given you a new idea about your work space.  Is there anything I’ve left out?

Some Late Night Ramblings on Character Development.

It’s October 1st.IMAG1488

The leaves on the trees are turning red brown.

There’s a chill in the air.

Fuzzy slippers and hot cocoa are calling my name.

Oh, and NaNoWriMo is a month away.

But that’s just a side note.

What I really want to talk about today is character development.

My characters for my NaNoNovel are all coming together in bits and pieces.

Here’s five things I’m focusing on for each one right now:

  1. Their name.  Okay, yes, it’s sad: I don’t have a name for any of my characters yet.  Okay, I have ONE name.  But the rest are just “the MC” or “The MC’s Friend #1.”  I have a feeling I will spend some time prowling around the Appellation Station forum.
  2. Their backstory.  Obviously, it’s important to know where my characters are coming from.  How their parents act.  Who their friends are.  What their life experience is.  Who they are before page 1.
  3. What they’d wear.  This may seem a bit strange, but I’m really having fun with this.  When we meet someone for the first time in real life, we judge them by what they wear.  And even after that, the way they dress says a lot about someone.  Obviously, I care a lot more about who my friends are on the INSIDE, but how they present themselves on the outside sometimes reflects a part of their personality.  I’ve gone online and printed out some pictures of clothing different people would wear.  So that when I go to write them, I can visualize.
  4. How they talk.  I’ve had issues in the past with wanting to introduce a character but just not being sure how they should sound.  Not every character needs to have a specific “dialect” or “accent” (wher ye’ write all da werds like dis ta convey how dey’s tawking).  However, I do find it helpful to be able to hear a character’s voice in my head.  Is his voice deep?  Does she giggle a lot?  Does he curse?  Does she babble?  Does he say “Aw, man!” all the time?  Knowing how my characters are going to sound ahead of time lets me write dialogue without even thinking.
  5. Their place in the story.  I’ve developed three main supporting characters already (not to mention the antag and another side character).  What is each character there for?  How do they meet the protag?  How do they get along with each other?  Does this character add tension?  Will they surprise the reader?

What are you guys up to this next month?