"Thus, in a real sense, I am constantly writing autobiography but I have to turn it into fiction to give it credibility."
Some characters started off as patterns of people I know but many of them took on their own unique personalities throughout the story and ended up looking nowhere close to who I imagined them as. In a few scenes I found myself unintentionally paying homage to authors I admire - towards the end I found I had written shades of Edward Cullen and Boo Radley into two of my players. I borrowed some names from old friends, and have since reconnected with a few while offering my thanks (you rock, Tonya). Most of them are common enough to never be traced back to individuals but one of my challenges was creating believable names for the cast - though Clarissa and Pablo really had to be Clarissa and Pablo. And I butchered science. I didn't intend to, and I feel a little bad about doing so, but it made for a much more exciting story. That's why it's fiction, right? I'll be curious to see if the minor flubs are caught or if it's only through close technical knowledge that things appear ridiculously fake. I'm still pretty genre-less. I classified myself as Mainstream Fiction because there was no listing for Scificklysterymance (that's sci-fi meets chick-lit meets mystery meets romance. It's no coincidence that that describes my reading tastes too.
But the bottom line is - it's done! I finished! I wrote a novel! I won! As part of the NaNo celebration, once I validated my word count I got a pdf file of a winner's certificate. I like the description they give on it (emphases theirs):
This literary honor is bestowed but once a year upon the bravest, most dedicated, and GIFTED of writers who have achieved their creative potential in ONE absurdly challenging month. The bearer of this certificate shall forever occupy a revered place in the firmament of HIGH-VELOCITY NOVELISTS, and his or her work shall stand as an INSPIRING testament to what can happen when one courageous writer triumphs over the naysaying and self-critical voices that stymie the flow of ART AND MERRIMENT in the universe. Congratulations, novelist. The Office of Letters and Light salutes you.
Of course, I almost wish I had been able to read that piece of encouragement before I started. "absurdly challenging month...."; "Revered place in the firmament...."; "stymie the flow of art and merriment...."; those are some great noveling words... I might have to keep them in mind for November '08!