NaNoWriMo and uncooperative plot lines

I had this idea when I started NaNoWriMo this year. I was going to kill a ton of characters. Each chapter would be about one person. At the end of the chapter, that person would die. The next chapter would be about the person who killed them. It was going to be lots of fun, murdering all these poor innocent characters. And every chapter would be a new person with a new life story to share, at length, if I got stuck for words.

It just didn’t work out that way. I started off with a squirrel, and he died like he was supposed to. A hungry cat got him. Then the cat got hit by a girl on a bike, as planned. But the girl decided she didn’t want to die.

I’ve always silently mocked people who talk about how their characters talk to them and decide things and don’t cooperate. You’re the author—the characters do what you say, and nothing else. But it’s happened to me. I don’t think I have some fairy muse who whispers things in my ear, someone I can blame when I just can’t think of anything to write.

But sometimes you’re writing, and you know what’s supposed to happen, and then that thing doesn’t happen. The girl who’s supposed to die decides that she’d much rather be tackled by the dashing but insecure man just before she’s crushed underneath the BMW of a drunken douchebag. So you go from there. I think this is better – I was starting to wonder how I could keep my string of murderers out of jail long enough to be murdered themselves.

And I’m on pace to finish on time, which is good. I’m not the type to get way behind or way ahead—I don’t think I’ve ever been more than 5,000 words ahead of or behind the 1667-a-day pace, except for the two years I didn’t finish.

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