NaNo 2019 Day 13 — Bartleby

I haven’t done much blogging about what I’m writing for NaNo this year, and for a very specific reason:  I don’t like to share too much too early. It’s almost like I’m worried about sharing too much, in case I change my mind about what’s going to happen. Or maybe it’s a kind of stage fright.

But a thing happened in my writing that I loved. It has happened in every manuscript I’ve written so far, and it gives me a charge every time.

That thing is when a character you didn’t plan just shows up and starts participating. You end up shaping scenes around this person, and they make things more fun than you expected. This time, his name is Bartleby.

He started as a nameless manservant who opened a door and nodded, basically just a prop for the scene. Then another character mentioned him, and this little bit part suddenly had a backstory. Before I knew it, his door had opened figuratively as well. I realized he was having a secret affair with one of my other characters, and now he’s going to have to show up later on as an emissary from the person whose manservant he is. Might he even turn out to have surprising parentage?

Part of the beauty of being a pantser is that you leave room for anything to happen. This year I was a ‘plantser’ — I started with an outline and the general story beats — but there was still plenty of room for Bartleby when he showed up.

Now that the door has opened for Bartleby, I’m excited to see what he, and all of my other characters, reveal next!

Happy NaNo-ing

I’ll be blogging my NaNo 2019 journey right here, so feel free to follow along. And tell me in the comments about something your characters did to surprise you!

Photo by Philipp Berndt on Unsplash

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