Novel Status Update: Does Mulling Things Over Count as “Work”?

Since NaNoWriMo ended, I’ve actually gotten a fair bit of writing done… unfortunately, very little of it has been on my novel. Instead, I’ve been following my muse on little flights of fancy, writing a few short stories that are too far off the weirdness scale to do much with. They’ve been fun to write, at least.

I’ve also been letting my subconscious mull over various ideas for the novel, letting them simmer, occasionally poking them with a fork and turning them over. I suppose this doesn’t really count as “working” on it, but I’ve had a few moments of inspiration, mainly ideas on how to improve the characters and setting.

When I submitted the prologue to my writing group, most people were in agreement that they weren’t able to identify with the main character. This is partly because of how I like to begin stories– fast action sequences that sort of punch the reader in the face and say, “welcome to my world.” It’s probably a result of watching too many James Bond movies. Nevertheless, that’s how this prologue operates, and while I try to mix it with character development and world building, it’s still, at its heart, a fast and somewhat bloody action sequence.

Another part of the problem is that I haven’t been able to nail down the voice of the main character. She’s an assassin, and I’ve had difficulty reconciling her hard-as-nails “warrior” side with her softer, more emotional side, which she needs in order to connect with other characters. So one “aha” moment I had basically involved letting my struggles as an author be reflected in the character. If I’m having difficulty defining her, maybe it’s because she’s having difficulty defining herself. It’s definitely an idea I want to explore; it may also mean that I set aside revising existing chapters and just work on new chapters, so I can practice and experiment more with her voice.