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.