My Characters Are Driving Me Insane

When I logged into NaNoWriMo today, I was informed that in order to finish on time, I need to write 3,280 words per day.

I was also told that at my current rate, I will finish my novel on January 1, 2014.

I don’t want to give up hope because I really, really like my characters. I feel bad for them. They’re really fun in a quirky, slightly demented way. I identify with both of my main characters so much.

My mainest main character, Eva, is severely… oh… distracted. But in a very, very focused way. She forgets to buy cat food, buries herself in her work and avoids human contact whenever possible. She’s funny, but only in her own head. Not that she has a bad sense of humor, but more that her internal dialogue is much more verbose than her external. (She was sitting in her therapist’s office wondering if there is a higher-than-normal percentage of serial killers in Alaska.)

Her internal struggles were what really drew me to her. She is a reminder that you never know what’s going on in someone’s head; she has demons that make her scared to get up in the morning and stop her from living a normal life. While she’s okay at battling the demons, she’s not very good at winning against them. But she’s great at winning everything else she tries. She’s not very nice, sweet or happy. She’s not kind, but she cares very deeply. When people don’t live up to her expectations, she shuts down. She has a hard time interacting with people on a friend basis—there has to be a purpose, a goal.

On the other hand, my slightly less main character, Darren, is extroverted, enthusiastic and intuitive. He’s also nosy, opinionated and determined. Once he gets an idea in his head, it’s really hard for him to let it go. He cares about Eva because he feels like she needs him, and he doesn’t like it when she pushes him away.

I’m still figuring him out, mostly because Eva is still figuring him out and the story is written from her perspective.

That’s the problem with characters. They wiggle deep into my subconscious, and suddenly I’m a little more like them without even realizing it. I’ll be in the grocery store and think that Eva really needs to go grocery shopping because her fridge is empty except some expired mustard and a lone carrot. Or I’ll buy a coffee and realize that Darren would order the same thing. When I’m driving, I think about the scenes where they interact and how each of them would feel and respond and look at that particular moment.

But for the past few days, Eva has receded from my subconscious a little. I can’t hear her thoughts quite as clearly. And I’m not sure if she’s losing her voice, or if I’m losing mine.

Basically: I need Darren to tell me to buck up and get to work and Eva to look up from her computer and say something to let me know she’s still there.

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