Monday, 7 December 2009

On winning NaNoWriMo and then failing for a bit.

I did it!

Which you probably all know by now. It's been a week after all, and goodness know I think I posted about it pretty much everywhere when I finished. I actually got to 50,000 words on the Sunday, mainly because I didn't want to leave the vital last couple of thousand words for the last couple of hours and partly because we were going out on Monday night. There was much rejoicing, and like last year, a sense of extreme tiredness.

As I predicted, Ink for Thieves isn't anywhere near actually being finished, and is in fact only about halfway through. This is okay. It turned out that the story had a direction it wanted to go in and I was unable to stop it, or even steer it vaguely back onto the path I had originally expected. I think most writers will recognise this lack of control; normally it means things are going well, believe it or not.

In a similar vein, a friend of mine has been ribbing me lately on my choice of name for my main character, Guido Foss. He rightly pointed out that a) it's a man's name, b) it's a bit silly, and c) it's slang for a thug in certain parts of the world. This is all true, and I've no idea where the name really came from (unless it's because that was my favourite Samurai Pizza Cat). It came to me randomly one day and stuck, even though I knew the main character was female, and the truth of the matter is... I've no more control over what the character is called than I have over where the story is going- I'm currently writing a very long section, for example, that I had no inkling was in the book at all when I started it. As often with these things, I was still considering whether or not I should include it at all when I realised I was already writing the bloody thing! Stories are sneaky like that.

Guido Foss is now Guido Foss to me, no matter how ludicrous the name. At 50,000 words in, I just can't change stuff that is so established, because in the end, the important thing is that I get the story out; the bumps and kinks in the road can be sorted out later. NaNoWriMo creates an odd situation really, because it encourages you to put up pieces of your writing while you're still working on them, and normally during the writing process you wouldn't do that.

In short, I'm following the story where it will take me, whether that means silly names or unexpected diversions in the desert. The polishing comes later. :)


  1. Don't change the name, it's edgy. I have heard something like that in one other book. In Clive Cussler's book Night Probe (~1980), he had a fairly nasty character named Foss Gly.

  2. Thanks for the support :) I'm far too fond of the name to let it go now!