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Monday, November 1, 2010

DEVELOPING YOUR CHARACTERS FOR NANOWRIMO

By Karen Cino


I started writing this blog a few days ago and kept changing my mind on what I wanted to share with you. Do I tell you about my recent requests at the New Jersey Put Your Book in a Heart Conference? Or do I tell you about my procrastination in trying to plot my book for NaNoWriMo? I decided to talk about neither. What I want to do is talk to you about inspiration because without inspiration, there really isn’t anything.

I believe in karma, and I believe that it’s our dreams that keep us alive and keep us going. Now, you have to ask yourself with NaNo starting today, how am I going to find the time and inspiration to write? Even though I have an outline all set up, I still have trouble getting those first few pages started.

Here are my tips for getting yourself to sit in your chair and find your personal inspiration and bring your characters alive.


Walk. Yes it is hard for many people who are at work, you do get a lunch break and travel to and from your job. All you need do is clear your mind and leave the work in the office. If you don’t have paper with you, the text-messaging icon on your cell phone does the same thing. Just save your thought in a draft. I do this all the time. Sometimes those few words bursts open your plot.

Look:  Look around you. There are some interesting characters around you. Take notice on how people are dressed, their facial expressions, etc.

Hear:  Listen to how the person next to you is speaking. Does he have an accent, does he stutter, clear his throat as he talks? Is his voice deep and does he talk loud? Does he speak slowly or fast? You will be surprised on what you can come up with from listening to a stranger.

Feel:   magine how it would feel to have that gorgeous man standing across from you, touch your face, run his fingers along your shoulder, touch your lips. Dream it, feel it, write it.

Surprise:  Think about what would surprise your character and how he/she would react? Go against every instinct. Do you remember the Seinfeld episode when George did the opposite of everything he usually did? That was an interesting episode, which I turn to when I have a problem with my characters.

Setting:  Create a setting that your characters can relate to. I like to place all my characters somewhere within a Staten Island setting. As you can see from my pictures, you don’t need to go far to create a believable location.


My inspiration has always come by following the steps above, and especially by taking my morning walks down the boardwalk. When I really get stuck, and I’m staring at a blank page, sometimes all it takes is an additional walk around the corner to clear my mind.

Lastly, your inspiration can come unexpectedly. While at the New Jersey Conference, I was surprised when my boyfriend came for the after- party, and then really blew my mind when he got up and sang a song during the karaoke part of the night to me. And, imagine everyone’s surprise when I joined him on stage. Hell, I can’t carry a tune, but I saw potential for my hero in my NaNo project.

I wish all my fellow members who are doing NaNoWriMo this month good luck, and to remember that even if life gets in the way and you can’t write 50,000 words, you are still one step closer to completing your manuscript.♥



Karen Cino is President of the RWA New York City Chapter. She keeps her muse alive by walking every morning down at the South Beach Boardwalk in Staten Island. Currently, she is shopping for a home for her novels, ROSES and MYSTICAL WONDERS and is working on her next novel.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Karen, and Good Luck to you also.

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  2. Good luck to you and everyone participating in NaNoWriMo!

    ReplyDelete