good morning, cyberspace!
Well, folks, it’s that time of year again. The leaves are changing colors. The pumpkins are getting gutted and carved. The apples are being plucked from their leafy boughs. And the writers have started their yearly tradition of hoarding immense amounts of chocolate and screaming to the new blood moon whilst trying to write 50,000 words of a novel in the 30 days of November.
NaNoWriMo season is officially upon us, and I am 100% not prepared.
— NANOWRIMO 2019: IN WHICH THE BEAN WRITES A BOOK —
In one of my latest posts, I mentioned that I was still very much on the fence when it came to doing NaNoWriMo. Well, I think it’s safe to say that I’ve finally made my decision.
And also that I’m going to severely regret it come the middle of November.
That’s right, peasants. I–the great and powerful Kenzie–am doing NaNoWriMo once again. Is this a wise decision? Ehhhh, probably not. But I have never been one for wisdom. Creativity and chaos is where I thrive, and NaNo is basically those two things spliced together with chocolate, caffeine, and way too many notebooks. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo for the past four years (and counting!) so obviously I had to jump on the bandwagon yet again this year, no matter how desperately my brain screams at me that this is a horrible idea.
I mean, we can’t go breaking our streak now, can we? This will be my fifth year participating, and I cannot end my streak when I’m so close to achieving an odd number. Tis impossible, folks.
So, despite my brain’s pathetic warnings of us “not having enough time” and “burning ourselves out”, I’ve decided to listen to my heart and say yes to adventure. Yes to freedom.
Yes to potentially destroying my sanity by the end of November.
It’ll be fun, guys. I promise.
And the funnest thing about this whole endeavor is the fact that I’m not doing it alone! So many of my wonderful writing buddies are participating in NaNo this year, as well, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to scream along with them in terror and excitement as November draws near.
In fact, one of those writing buddies (a.k.a. the literal sweetest sunflower on the entire planet [her name is Christine and you should 10/10 check out her blog because she is A M A Z I N G.]) even created a linkup specifically designed for these last three months of the year to A) celebrate the wondrous thing that is NaNo, and B) give us writer-folk the opportunity to squeal and scream and flail about our projects without guilt.
So today I’m not only going to be participating in this linkup–also known as the “Know The Novel” linkup–but I’m also going to be spilling the beans about my NaNoWriMo 2019 project! And I’ll even give you a hint . . . this is a story you’ve already heard of.
Mwahaha! Let’s get started!
— KNOW THE NOVEL: INTRODUCTION —
i. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
Ooh! This is a good question. And one that I believe I’ve answered in a previous post, but since I feel like it’s been literal months since I’ve talked about this story, I’ll just reiterate it here:
The initial inspiration for this book came to me like a cannonball to the face whilst reading a blog post many, many, many moons ago. (which honestly sounds ludicrous because LOLOLOLOL WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME I READ A BLOG POST, AMIRIGHT??? *distant weeping*) I was sitting exactly where I am right now (in a big brown swivel chair staring at a giant desktop monitor, for anyone creepy enough to wonder), reading about someone else’s efforts to tip a commonly-used fantasy trope on its head, when all of a sudden . . . I had an idea.
A gloriously wonderfully beautiful idea. And that idea–though inspired by this person’s blog post–was so far-flung from whatever this person was trying to write that I’m actually quite confused as to how it even landed in my brain.
. . .does this origin story sound familiar? If it does, you have a rather excellent memory-ball, my friend, because my NaNoWriMo 2019 project is the ever-esteemed, completely-forgotten-about SK that I tried writing for this year’s Camp NaNo!
I know. Shocking. But even though I completely failed to write a substantial amount of this story during Camp (and even though I started WIP IT! with the intention of keeping you guys posted on this story’s progress throughout the year [aha. WIP IT. that failed, didn’t it?]), I’ve finally decided it’s time to dust it off and give it another go.
Since October is technically “preptober”, I figured this is the perfect time to not only plot out a hesitant outline (I’m a plantser. rigid outlines scare me.), but to also iron out the wrinkly first act of the book, which I wrote during Camp.
I guess this also means I’m going to be rebelling yet again this year, but I mean???? I don’t really care? My goal is still to write 50,000 words. I’m just working on an already existing story.
It’ll be fine!
ii. Share a blurb!
You’d think that since I started this novel in April, I would have a blurb worked out by now, right?
WRONG. I have no clue how to blurb. People ask me what my stories are about, and I just kind of flail around a bit until they walk away. It’s what works for me, and I’m sticking with it. . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
OKAY, FINE. I’ll try to write a blurb.
In a world where the most unextraordinary things are bound to happen, the most inordinary things are about to begin. . .
Ed Whittaker wants nothing more than to live his life quietly, undisturbed, and in the company of nobody but himself. But when 12-year-old Shelby Westburn stomps into his world with an attitude bigger than her hair and a personality brighter than the glint of her braces, his quiet existence is rather unceremoniously tipped on its head.
Through a wild goose chase of immense proportion and betrayal of the highest caliber, our heroes discover that the world isn’t the only thing in need of saving–they might just need to save each other, as well.
^^ I know. That was pretty bad. But hey, at least I tried, right?
iii. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
Okay, so this bit is quite possibly one of my favorite things: this book takes place in an alternate universe that is very much like our own, with just a . . . very slight difference. . .
What, exactly, this difference is I can’t necessarily share because of SPOILERS, but trust me . . . it’s an intriguing difference.
Another thing I really love about this book is the building in which the majority of it–or at least, a crucial part–takes place in. Again, this is a very spoilery tidbit, so I’m trying to tiptoe around this delicately, but let’s just say that I have a strange infatuation with setting my stories within very specific buildings (take EV, for example.) and this book is no different.
There’s also a very important Easter Egg in this book, as well, and while it may not seem very obvious to the average reader, it’s something I just HAD to put in there because of the story’s genre. So yeah. #vague
(I feel like all of these answers are immensely confusing. Raise your hand if you’ve started zoning out! *raises hand*)
iv. Tell us about your protagonist(s).
OOOH. A.K.A. YET ANOTHER THING I ABSOLUTELY LOVE ABOUT THIS BOOK!!!
So if any of you remember my posts about SK from before (honestly, I don’t even remember these posts, so no judgement here if you don’t), you’ll remember that the cast for this book is . . . rather large. Frighteningly large, in fact. So large that it took me FOREVER just to begin cracking open their little walnut heads. But after a few months of letting this story stew, I do believe I’ve started coming to terms with this messy little family unit.
The main character, of course, is Ed–who I am very happy to announce is still talking to me. We definitely had a bumpy start, but I’ve grown to love him as my own smol son by now. He’s sullen and grumpy with a marshmallow heart, and I just love him so much. . .
Protagonist Number 2 is Shelby, who is a spunky little fireflower of immense imagination. She’s sweet and cute and will 10/10 punch you in the face if you cross her.
Of course, I have no clue where the inspiration for this girl came from. Absolutely not even a guess.
v. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
This, my friend, would be Casey Brooke. (his last name is still under construction. it just sounded cooler to have his full name listed.)
As a great man once said, “Every Fairy Tale needs a good old fashioned villain”, and that, my friend, is exactly what I’m trying to emulate in Casey. He’s sassy and opinionated and absolutely glamorous, and I cannot wait to dig deeper into his character next month!
vi. What excites you most about this novel?
The premise. It was the very first thing I fully knew about this book, and even though it’s been stewing for a while, my excitement to explore this project has not waned in the slightest.
It’s name–not SK, but it’s actual name–is also quite wonderful, and I’m so excited to eventually share both of these things with you all in the future!
vii. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
Aha. Well, the initial plan was to make it a standalone. I’ve never written a standalone before, and I really want this to be my first completed one.
However, depending on how this book progresses, it might evolve into something with sequel potential. But as for right now I’m leaning more towards standalone, and I’m sticking with that until further notice.
viii. Are you plotting? pantsing? plantsing?
I think I mentioned this earlier but PLANTSING! Plantsing all the way! I mean, I’m trying to write a decent outline–because full-blown pantsing is my downfall–but I know that if I fill it with too much detail, I’ll be way too tired of this story to even try and write it come November. SO. I’m going for a nice split down the middle with a simple, not-too rigid outline. I want to know the major plot points before November begins, but if I don’t have every single detail plotted out, I think I’ll be okay.
As of right now, the outline is coming along okay, but my Fun & Games beat needs some work… (and if you have no clue what the Fun & Games beat is, I highly recommend checking out Save The Cat! Writes a Novel. that book is a LIFESAVER when it comes to story structure.) Hopefully I’ll be able to iron this out before November, but at the moment it looks like I’ll be winging the grand majority of this book’s middle…
ix. Name a few things that makes this story unique
If I go super detailed on this, it’ll give away WAAAAAAY too many spoilers, so I’m gonna go vague.
I’m sorry in advance.
THINGS THAT MAKE THIS STORY UNIQUE:
- The Cast — this cast is a whirlwind of weird, and I’m loving every single character more and more each day. EV’s cast was smol–four characters total–so juggling a cast of 10+ characters has been an experience.
- The Premise — I mentioned this earlier, but I absolutely adore this book’s premise, guys. I’ve never seen anything done quite like it before, so getting to write something that–in my little mind–feels unique has been such a wonderful adventure.
- The Universe — I’ve never actually written an alternate universe before, so not only has this been a learning experience, but it has been FUN. I love creating similarities between our universe and theirs and am so excited to play with the time period it’s set in. (I like to call it an alternate universe 80’s. this could potentially change in a later draft, though. . .) Every little aspect of this book is exciting to me, honestly. With EV pretty much polished and ready to roll, this book is 100% the story that has stolen my heart.
x. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!)
Oooh! I’m still working on my Pinterest board (every writer needs an inspiration board for their book, right? RIGHT???), but I do have a song to share! I ALSO have a full Spotify playlist, but that’s kind of classified at the moment…
^^ this song in particular gives me serious SK vibes, and hopefully when you listen to it, you’ll be able to taste the epicness, as well.
Another thing I can share is the theme:
I’ve heard it said that authors tend to weave the same themes into their stories–sometimes by accident–and I’m beginning to see that I’m no different. A main theme I tend to draw from is forgiveness, and SK definitely has traces of this within it. Self-forgiveness, mostly, though there’s a hint of forgiveness of others, too. (although this is complete conjecture at this point, as the story is still yet to be written. we’ll see how NaNo goes.) And even though EV also had a pretty distinct theme of forgiveness, I can’t help but feel like SK is taking a different approach to the theme, and that is something I’m very excited to explore!
TALK TO ME, PEASANTS!
And that, my friends, was the Know The Novel linkup!!! I believe there’s going to be another linkup next month which delves even more into our stories, so I’m extremely excited to participate in that, as well. If you’re participating in NaNo–or even if you’re just writing a book–I highly recommend checking out the linkup on Christine’s blog! The questions are so much fun to answer, and I always seem to learn things about my books that I never would have thought of without these prompts/questions. SO. Definitely consider taking part in this if you’re a writer!
Now that we’ve reached the end of this post, however, it’s time for QUESTIONS! Which is obviously everyone’s favorite part of the day, amiright? Of course I’m right. So let’s talk about some stuff:
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo next month? If so, what are you working on? If not, what kinds of plans do you have for the second-to-last month of the year? (and also you have some very solid self-control and I am all of the jealous. please teach me your ways, oh wise one…) And for all my writer friends out there, what are some things that make YOUR story unique? Let’s talk about ALL OF THE WRITERLY THINGS! down in the comments below! And as always, until next time. . .