Less than a week to go before the start of NaNo. On one hand, I feel quite lucky that I have a coherent plot already mapped out (loosely) on notecards using James V. Smith's "Ten Key Scenes" technique. I can tell where the story's going to go without feeling the need to have a death grip on my characters, so I'm free to let them do whatever they like within reason.
But that brings me to my main problem. I don't know my characters. I know that there are four female friends comprising the cluster of mains and there are a few male supporting characters, but aside from their professions and (in the case of only a few) their physical details, that's it. No names, hobbies, tics, quirks, weaknesses, backgrounds, nothing. The sections of the Mole I'm using to organize details for the characters is blank in most areas. I'm beginning to become somewhat nervous, though I generally come through in the clutch so I'm more worried about putting myself through unnecessary stress than I am about failing.
There are a lot of things I'd like to have right now that I haven't produced yet. Mostly I'd like names, a little background, some character-specific playlists to add to my iPod like I did last year. I'd really like to know my main character, since she'll be telling the story. She's in every scene, for crying out loud.
Last year I used small bribes to make my deadlines on time, some of which I failed to meet. This year, I think I'm just going to go with one main bribe. If I finish NaNo in time, with a complete story, I'm buying a brand new Zojirushi lunchbox set. Otherwise, nothing. Who knows whether or not I'll be able to stick to this plan. I have a terrible habit of deviating from things at the last moment, the way I did with my 50 Book Challenge itinerary. Once I hit 50 back in September, I petered out and went back to writing my own fiction.
And that brings me to my final point of bitchery. Other people's fiction. This year I'm going to find the time during November to read. I'm going to read voraciously. I'm going to read every YA title I've wanted to read from the 1960s forward, including L'Engle, Bradbury and Dahl. I'm going to finish my Francesca Lia Block books. I'm going to read Poppy Z. Brite's short fiction. I'm going to even, believe it or not, read Breaking Dawn. I'm not putting the rest of my life on hold this year. Considering the fact that I'm taking the first week off work and immersing myself completely, this shouldn't be too hard of a task to accomplish.