Three years ago, I wrote my NaNo novel in a claustrophobic first-person diary format. This turned out to be horribly difficult to sustain. Even I, the author, lost my suspension of disbelief that this person would dutifully sit down every day to transcribe Exciting! Dramatic! Ooooh! Traumatic! Standard Fantasy Epicwank! in exacting detail. I didn't want to turn it into a memoir halfway through, or an interrogation, etc. I should have picked a different plot for that. Probably a romance/mystery in a fantasy setting would have worked better, rather than giant magical mecha and mass slaughter and torture and stuff like that.
Don't say I don't learn from experience!
This year I went in the opposite direction. I skip merrily from character to character, not worrying overmuch about point of view. And instead of trying to think of it as one big novel (which I can't keep in my head), I think of it as a basket of individual stories that happen to be jumbled together.
I'm actually enjoying it, once I force myself to start typing, and once I set aside the "Good lord, this story sucks, is lame and shallow, has boring characters, who talks like that anyway what's wrong with my dialogue writer!?, when is everything going to make sense" worries aside. (This may all be true, but I stop worrying about it anyway, or I'd never bother to write anything.) I'm writing the story I want to read, or at least that's the idea.
So I write these characters and meet them properly, when they were only placeholder pieces in my "outline". And they inevitably turn out differently from my initial conception. This includes my so-called main characters, who always end up more boring than the so-called secondary characters. After this many years, I know to expect that. The whole classification of someone as the "main character" is now just a game I play with myself so I have a starting point to hang the novel on. This year the protagonist is secretly the character from a previous NaNo, so this project is secretly a sequel, but since in the previous novel, the character suffered from "main character syndrome", this project is secretly the "first" book after all, and the previous one was about someone else.
Meanwhile, I've skipped on to another character. Hey! It's the Annoying Child Character (TM). It's the boy from the minority culture *cough*elves*cough* that I'm making up off the top of the head. It seems they have connections to India: so Buddhism wasn't the only religion that went to China; so did what seems to be a cult of Kali. Looks like we're headed for a Mahadevi vs Xi Wang Mu goddess smackdown! (Or not.) There's also a problem with the customs of the royal family... it took my children to point it out to me. Heh. Something for me to think about.
Today I've introduced two more characters. Ha ha! The Dutiful-Daughter-Seeking-Revenge and the Rat Fairy-Beggar now have names and a scene together.
What I don't have is 25000 words. It's November 15. There's something wrong with my math... I have 18000 words right now. Blah. The sit-in-the-library-and-write thing is working, sort of. I just need to write FASTER.
But I got too hungry and came home to get food. Then I got distracted and wrote up this blog post. Which proves I wasn't REALLY that hungry, eh? Eh? *facepalms*