Trick or Treat

Happy Halloween! Here is the final (intelligible) limerick I wrote for the holiday.

Trick or Treat

Trick-or-treaters out braving the cold,

Asked for candy with voices quite bold.

But a man saw them roam

And said, “Stop and go home,

You need meds and you’re ninety years old!”

Stolen Heart

Another holiday-inspired limerick for your morbid amusement.

Stolen Heart

Jim stole Susie’s heart on a whim,

But Sue couldn’t win over Jim.

So she grabbed up a knife,

Said a prayer for her life,

And then stole the heart right out of him.

The Witch

A limerick to honor the approaching holiday.

The Witch

A witch with a splintery broom

Said, “I wish I could soar with more gloom.”

She sanded the broomstick

Till it was small as a toothpick.

When she flew it, she fell to her doom.

Morris Seboris

In honor of encroaching Hallow’s Eve (and because I was bored one morning a couple of weeks ago), I tapped out a few poems before work. Apparently I equate Halloween with the gorier side of “horror,” but I do try to be funny–try is the operative term there. This is the first of a series of poems I’ll be posting for the holiday.

Morris Seboris

Morris Seboris was a choir-man florist

Whose nosegays were glorious roses.

But Morris Seboris got bored with his chorus,

So he arranged a bouquet of their noses.

Character Growth

As I’m working voraciously down my reading list (there will be no reading time in November!), one of the things I’m noting in many of the books has been the character development—or, in particular, the lack thereof.

Character growth is one of the most important aspects of a story. I would almost argue that it’s the crux of the story itself. Without it, stories read like news articles or encyclopedic entries. They tell what happened, how it happened, and who was involved, but we never fully connect with the featured people. It’s the same in a story. Our interest in what is happening is directly related to our investment in the characters.

There is, however, a serious lack of payoff when the characters in question don’t grow by the end of the book, at least not in a profound or semi-profound way (I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll leave those terms open to interpretation). The main characters (MCs) will endure the most change, while those in the background, due to their general lack of text time, won’t necessarily have as impactful an internal journey—at least that we as readers can see.

This is where I’ve noticed a few of the authors I’ve recently read go wrong. The secondary characters that are integral to the plot sometimes lack personal story arcs. That’s not to say that the author has to know what Erwin Miller, vermin killer’s middle name is, or whether he learned to play Chopin on the piano, or how many cousins he has. The author might need to know these details about the MCs. But if we’re going to see a character at one juncture of the novel and again near the end, affecting the plot, we’ll want to see some measure of change in that character.

For MCs, this is even more important, but one thing I noticed in my reading list is that a lot of established authors writing in the midst of their popular series have left the secondary characters to do most of the “growing.” The main character had his or her full growth arc in book one (and sometimes it carries into book two or three), but then in later books we’re riding on just the plot and the growth of a few new/less central characters.

Overall, character growth is paramount in every reappearing character, and should expand in a parallel ratio with the importance of the character.

National Novel Planning Month

It’s October! Three reasons why this is one of my favorite months of the year:

  • It’s autumn at last! Even though, where I live, there isn’t much of an autumn as most folks in the US might define it, it still means cool breezes, drier air, and the occasional wicked thunderstorm. Plus, it’s Harvest Festival time!
  • It’s the start of the holiday season. Yes, I’m one of those people who starts listening to Christmas music in July—well, honestly, I never really stop. Short of Christmas Eve, Halloween is my favorite holiday.
  • It’s NaNoWriMo prep time, or as I like to call it, National Novel Planning Month (NaNoPlaMo)!

I confess that I’ve been rather lax in planning for NaNo15. Each year is a little different, and the wild success I enjoyed last year will be difficult to match (I now have a full-time job, plus part-time work on the side. On top of that, I cut out exercise during November 2014, and I will not do that this year.).

I know at least two of the projects I’ll be working on: the Long Story and The Campaign. The Campaign might net me ~50,000 words, but the Long Story is more of a backup in the event that I’m stuck on my other projects and need to churn out lots of words fast. I had a brief visit from a plot bunny about a week ago, but it hopped off without giving me much info. Back to the storyboard for three or four more stories to consider pounding out in November.

One of my main concerns when it comes to The Campaign is my ability at present to write it. It’s a story that wants to be written. There’s a reason it keeps popping into my head at random moments. It’s in a genre, however, with which I have very little experience: mainstream fiction, with a dash of satire. My previous attempts to nail the plot down have met with failure, and though I’m far from surrendering, the story has resisted me at all turns. I’m not sure I can depend on it for NaNo. As evidenced by my earlier posts, I couldn’t depend on it for either Camp session, either.

In spite of this, my NaNo15 goals are unchanged. Maybe in a future post I’ll share them, but I don’t want to commit in public to numbers I can’t promise even to myself yet. Guess I’m a bit of a coward that way!

Are you excited for NaNoWriMo? How often have you participated, and what is your method for success?