Tis the season of people writing like mad. Of sky-rocketing coffee consumption. Of letters being worn off of keyboards, and carpal tunnel flare-ups. Tis the season of NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo! If you’re a children’s writer, you’re familiar with both National Novel Writing Month and Picture Book Idea Month.
Non writers call this month November.
And because today is the first day of this celebrated month, I’m going to ask you a question important to every writer, nay, every PERSON.
What do you want?
Knowing what you want is the first step toward getting it. (Here ends my advice for the non writers… probably.)
For writers, remember that the same is true of your characters. Whether you are embarking on a fifty thousand word journey, or an idea for text to cover thirty two pages, you need to know what your character wants from the very first word!
Take a moment to think about it. Maybe make a space for it on each page of your PiBoIdMo journal. For novelists, write what your MC wants on a post-it note and stick it to your screen. Remember that your main character’s wants will drive your story. You will build your plot around this, and create obstacles for your character because of it.
A great example of a character whose desires drive the story is Mo Willems’s Pigeon. No character in literature does a better job of letting us know what he wants. Aren’t familiar with this famous (and successful) bird? You can find out what he wants right here:
Do you know what YOUR main character wants?
Yes? Well, here’s to a successful month, no matter what you’re writing (or not writing)!
Now. Tell me what you want! I won’t see who enters what, but depending on what you all share, it could make for a really interesting post.
Pssst: Sudipta and I will both be guest bloggers over at PiBoIdMo founder Tara Lazar’s blog this month.
Day One of NaNoWriMo, 10:47 a.m., 1,000 words, 49,000 to go.
Go Mary! I really hope I can swing NaNo next year!
Sometimes you don’t really know what your character wants until you let him/her speak to you. I have often had one idea I thought my story would go, but the character lead me in a different direction. Just go with it!
True, wants can change. I try to have the goal in mind when I start out. In my current WIP, it’s what my character DOESN’T want that drives her. In other words, what she wants to avoid.
Very helpful post, Kami! (Nice to meet you, by the way…I am visiting after reading Sudipta’s entry today in PiBoIdMo) The Idea Wheel reminds me of Susanna Hill’s Short and Sweet writing prompts…they really get you going creatively. And I love your suggestion to combine/interchange characters, settings, plots and problems.:)
Thanks for stopping by Vivian! Sudipta’s post was great, wasn’t it!