Well, that’s only a little bit of change.

When I wrote my NaNo MS, my main character was a guy named Ceri (which I later found out is a real female name, of Celtic origin, I believe) who was from Rwanda. His mom was basically nothing, just a character in the background. He was a university professor and had no friends (or at least, none that I fleshed out).

After doing some editing and plot overhaul, Ceri is now Cherifa, a half-demon lady from Morocco whose mother was in love with theater and revolution, aiding in the Nationalist fight against French control by writing propagandist articles that were distributed by her theater troupe. Cheri lives in NYC, working as a docent at a small art museum in the Upper East Side, and makes a living off of identity theft and what little she gets from her job.

And wow do I love her so much now.

The whole time I was writing the MS, I just kept thinking, “Ceri doesn’t feel like a guy. Xandamore feels like a guy. Mezolet feels like a guy. Ceri just doesn’t.” And making the switch in gender of my MC helped me so much in uncovering her back story, her relationship with her Mom, and also what kind of relationships she has now (spoiler alert: she actually has friends now).

I’m really excited about writing it again, because now that I’ve gotten the base plot out, there are so many details and new chapters I want to add because I actually know the path the story is going to take, how the relationships will form, and everyone’s backgrounds.

I definitely should have planned for NaNo; it would have made editing this monstrosity a lot easier. But either way, my MS has a lot of potential, and I’m super, super excited.

2 comments on “Well, that’s only a little bit of change.

  1. Now I’m really intrigued by the new version of the central character. What led you to make such huge changes? And why do you think the original version was so different from what you’re now finding satisfying?

    • The main character, Ceri, was originally a character from a story I wrote six years ago. He wasn’t even the main character in that story; he was a side character and relatively unimportant. Last May, I got an idea for my creative writing class that used the same character, but since he had relatively no background, I needed to make something for him. What I originally wrote worked, but it still wasn’t very fleshed out and I had misgivings about the situation and culture I put him in, thinking it was disrespectful, not accurate, etc.

      So after writing the MS and learning that he really felt more female than male, I realized I wanted her to be a more Northern African character – either Egyptian or Moroccan, but learning towards the latter. Once I started doing research on Morocco in the 1960s (which is when she has a very huge life event), I learned about the colonial difficulties the country was having and about its huge history in theater and theater troupes. That branched off into inspiration for Cheri’s mother and her background, who hadn’t gotten a lot of thought from me now

      Long story short, I think the reason Cheri’s character is so much more satisfying now is that I found her backstory organically. Before, I sat down and mulled it over, and fabricated something, but this new backstory came to me while I was doing research for her potential origin. I didn’t have to force it on her, it was simply something that cam to me as I was educating myself, and it fit. That’s not to say I didn’t have to spend some time thinking about parts of her history; I certainly did. But it ultimately wasn’t nearly as forced as it originally had felt.

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