When I started NaNoWriMo ten days ago I was fully enthused by and committed to the project and stared rattling off my opus. It was ( note WAS) about a woman who is confined to a psychiatric hospital following a suicide attempt and the relationships she forms while there - particularly with one poor woman, christened 'Maddser' by the other patients. I thought I had the whole novel plotted, was happy with my two main characters and promised myself that this would be it. The novel that would finally be published.
A tangent grew into another character. A young female teenager who was a participant in X Factor and ended up in the psychiatric hospital. This young woman fascinated me and I started to explore her back story. I met her mother, her grandmother, her childhood friend, the people in her neighbourhood, her school. The local newsman who became obsessed with her and her quest for fame. Her agent, manager, the judges on the show, the other contestants. Of course I can't call it X Factor as I'm quite sure the title is copyrighted so I'm calling it ? Factor as I wait for it to title itself. You all realise of course that this initial part of the process has absolutely nothing to do with me. It is only in the edits, all 10 to 12 of them, that my skills are called for. I just sit here, giving myself tennis elbow and carpal tunnel syndrome while my characters tell their tales. Then I have to knit all those tales together in a manner that will grip a reader.
So Maddser and my depressed first heroine have been thrown to one side and I am now writing this X Factor contestant's story. It's bloody fascinating, even though I never watch the show I would have to have been confined on a desert island with no access to any media to be unaware of the phenomenon that is this television programme. I suppose what fascinates me is the drive that must be part of the psyche of anyone who would put themselves up week after week for rejection. Jesus. At least politicians only have to do it every four years and most of the rest us can rely on an interview at a max of one a year in order to keep out chosen jobs.
My character is fragile like us all as are her family. What impact could something like this have on ordinary lives? At the moment the book is meandering all over the place ( much like my heroine's troubled mind) but I am actually enjoying the process.
Maddser will have to wait to be released from her incarceration ( unless someone wants 8,000 words on the subject!) until I let this young lady either win, or lose.