good morning, cyberspace!
My sincerest apologies for not having a blog post out this past week. I’ve been rearranging some things in my life, and apparently blogging fell a little bit by the wayside. Y’all know how it is. XD
Anyway! As I’m sure most–if not all–of you are aware, NaNoWriMo is once again on its way! In fact, we only have *checks watch* TWO DAYS (three days? my watch is a bit off, it seems) before it arrives! Which also means that October has somehow disappeared into the void behind us, but I digress. Time has no solidity in 2020.
Ever since I finally decided that I was going to participate again this year–and, of course, ever since I landed on what project I was going to be working on–I knew that I wanted to do some sort of introduction post. Unfortunately, I’m really, really, REALLY bad at just …. writing about my writing? It’s a very strange thing for me to do, personally. So when I saw that Christine was bringing back Know The Novel for this year’s NaNoWriMo season, I was not only relieved, but thrilled. Because this WILL be the year in which I participate in all three of the prompts, guys! IT WILL HAPPEN.
and if it doesn’t, you have my permission to kindly slap me in the head with a fish. please and thank you.
And also I’m super in love with all of the questions for Part One, because it’s exactly the sorts of things I wanted to talk about in regards to this novel! So! Without any further ado, let’s jump right into the link-up!
i. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
So. Before I answer this, I think I should probably mention something: the novel I’m going to be talking about today is not brand new. In fact, if you’re a Smudged Thoughts veteran, you might remember me talking about my novel, The Girl and The Goblin King, a long, LOOOONG time ago in the year of our Lord, 2018. It was during that year’s NaNoWriMo that I wrote 50,000 words of this book, which I soon realized was absolute rubbish.
2 years, one more edit of everlost, and a whole new book child later, I’m finally ready to dive back into this story from the ground up!
Yeah, virtually none of those first 50,000 words will be used in this book, but the main idea is the same, and–AND!!!–I’m actually plotting the book for once. Which is kind of terrifying in and of itself. (more on that in a moment.)
But anyway, to answer this question: it’s been so long since the initial inspiration for this story took root that I quite frankly haven’t the slightest of inklings as to where it came from. But Past Kenzie was kind enough to have written some blog posts during the beginning stages of this book’s drafting process, so we’ll just insert a smol clip from a previous smudge and call it good.
OCTOBER 4, 2018
About two years ago — when I was still in high-school — my mom decided to give me some picture prompts for my writing class, which I then had to look at and generate a story based on. (yes. i had a writing class. have i mentioned that my mom is the most amazing person in the whole entire world??? [also this was sort of like the pictoprompter I was doing here on Smudged Thoughts, so I mean that was actually a ton of fun.])
But anyway, one of these picture prompts was of this. . .desk, I guess? It was this kind of dark and gloomy picture, with a pencil snapped in half with its shavings scattered over a blank piece of paper and one of those old-fashioned morse code machines off to the side.
This picture — I’m not gonna lie — was epic. And as I pondered what on earth I was going to write for it, the idea just sort of came to me — this was supposed to be a story about an artist trying to draw a little girl.
I wrote the entire thing in one sitting, handed it back to my mom — who said it was kind of like The Ring. ahahahahaha. #oops? — and then gently pushed the story idea to the back of my brain to let it marinate for a while, because I just knew there was no way this story was finished yet. There was so much more it had to tell.
And I guess that’s what this year’s NaNo is for.
Um… Do we want to talk about how I’ve been out of school for almost four years now, or should we just….yeah, we’re just gonna sweep that under the rug and move on.
ii. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!
I…am actually the worst when it comes to blurbs? Like if you ask me to write you a blurb, I will actually melt into a puddle and beg you to put a steak knife through my foot instead. But alas. You ask for a blurb, and therefore I shall provide you with a blurb. (I ain’t saying it’s gonna be good, folks)
All Bartholomew Todd wants in life is to draw comics that make people smile. Unfortunately, that’s a little difficult to do when all you’re capable of drawing is the stuff of nightmares and horror films. More often than not, instead of evoking the laughter he dreams of, his readers run away screaming instead.
But when Todd is inadvertently kidnapped by the very creatures his hands have created, he finds himself torn in a war between two worlds—one he’s spent his whole life struggling to fit into, and one he never wanted to belong to–one that terrifies him to his very core.
With a rogue band of misfits in tow, Todd must retrieve a little girl’s stolen smile from the hall of the goblin king before it’s too late—both for Inkwell and himself.
Uh-huh. Yep. That’s nasty.
iii. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
So this book takes place in two worlds–one which is very much like our own, but just a wee bit more dreary (which I understand is ironic, coming from a 2020 perspective), and one which is made up of…um…illustrated sketchbook characters.
To be honest, I’m over the moon excited to dive back into the world of Inkwell (sketchbook character land), because it’s just so dark and gloomy and covered with trees and mushrooms and there’s a GOBLIN LAIR!! and guard dragons and fairies… And I have a gnome, too, you guys. For all my talk of gnomes, I actually…??? Haven’t ever written a gnome before??? So to say that I’m excited to fully sink my teeth into this storyworld is an understatement.
iv. Tell us about your protagonist(s).
OOOOH! So since this book focuses on just one (1) singular point-of-view, that’s the protagonist we’re going to be focusing on today! I’ll probably be talking about my side-characters often enough over the coming weeks, so don’t worry about missing out on them. There will be PLENTY of crazy coming your way soon enough.
But as far as my protagonist is concerned, I suppose now is the perfect time to reintroduce you all to Bartholomew Todd!
Todd is…put lightly…an introvert. He hardly speaks three words to anyone (which, of course, makes writing him and getting inside his head an absolute nightmare, seeing as though he also refuses to talk to ME), and prefers to spend his days hunched beneath a desk lamp as he scribbles out his latest character sketches. All of which turn into grotesque, slightly frightening caricatures of the creatures he initially intended to create, by the way. #plottwist
Writing Todd as the main protagonist is difficult, because his personality is so far removed from my own that getting him pinned down correctly is near impossible. But I know that as I continue to write and plot and brainstorm, I’ll eventually hit that AHA! moment that always seems to happen when writing a new protagonist.
…at least I hope it happens.
Todd please talk to me
v. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
Aha! An easy answer! The antagonist for Project Goblin is the nasty, vile, absolutely despicable Goblin King! …who may or may not be named Fumblefoot.
he’s super scary, okay, don’t judge me
To be perfectly honest, I have about three different versions of this character in my head. And since I haven’t actually reached his appearance in any of my previous draftings of this book, I have not yet pinned down which of these versions will actually come out on the page. So, suffice to say, I’m extremely eager to finally get a chance to meet the Goblin King.
vi. What excites you the most about this novel?
Oh goodness… Does “all of it” count as a good answer? I’ve honestly been excited to write this story ever since 2018, but it just never happened. I never felt truly ready to write it in the way that it was supposed to be written. And even though I STILL feel like I’m not quite there, I know that there’s really no right time to start a novel. You just kinda have to do it and hope for the best…
But truthfully, I’m really excited to simply exist within this storyworld for the next few months. (because my drafts NEVER take a single month to complete. I’ve just accepted that fact by now. XD) I’ve always said this book was a fairytale of my own making, and getting to finally put that fairytale to the page is going to be a magic unlike any other.
vii. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
A standalone! At least, that’s as far as I’ve gotten so far. The ending I have in mind will most likely leave room for sequel potential, but for the time being, I’m counting on writing a small (keyword, there) standalone!
viii. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?
I think out of everything I’ve covered in this post, this is the one answer that’s actually going to shock people.
This year, despite all odds and all negative comments made by Yours Truly in years previous … I’m going to be outlining my book.
See, I’ve always thought of myself as a plantser–a sort of mix between the best of both worlds. But I think the sad, honest truth is that I’ve just never really tried plotting. I’ve tried to write an outline or two, of course, but I never put my all into it in the same way that I was dedicated to writing actual story words.
Basically, I was just a very lazy bean and didn’t want to put in the effort for writing and rewriting a decent outline.
However, this time around, I’ve actually decided to sit my butt down and outline. And–much to my surprise–I’m…actually…enjoying…it??? The confusion is REAL, my friends. I never thought I would actually enjoy the process of outlining a book before I write it–I always thought it would kill the discovery for me–but the thing is that I’m still doing the discovering! I’m just doing it sooner than usual. And also it’s not as disastrous as when I make a grandiose discovery 60,000 words into the draft and it completely changes the entire forward motion of the first act.
Aheh. That’s totally never happened before. Trust me.
But anyway, yes! I’m plotting my NaNo novel this year! And I don’t technically have the whole thing fully outlined yet (RIP future kenzie) but I have all the essential “story beats” listed out in a 19 bullet point map, and I’m ridiculously proud of that, to be honest…
ix. Name a few unique elements about this story.
Ohhhhhh… I see we’re getting tricksy here. See, I don’t really know what’s unique about my story anymore. XD I guess since I’ve had this idea floating around in my head for so many years, everything just feels ordinary at this point:
“Oh, there’s a walking tree that’s highkey scared of the dark and breaks in through a little girl’s window so he doesn’t have to be alone? Cool.”
“Ohh, you have an enchanted talking flower who’s lowkey in love with a wizard? Awesome.”
“There are three little boys who are in various stages of bodily decomposition? Very interesting, my friend.”
See? Totally normal.
x. Share some fun “extras” 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!).
OOOOH! I love this question! And also kinda am lowkey terrified of it because I AM NOT PREPARED TO REVEAL VERY MUCH IN THIS MOMENT, OKAY. *hides behind a bean plant whilst hyperventilating*
Ahem. I mean, I’m working on a Pinterest board, and I’m working on a playlist, but they’re nowhere near finished. At least, the playlist definitely isn’t. The Pinterest board is pretty cool, so I guess I’ll share that with you all.
A few other special things that I’m DEFINITELY certain of are some “theme songs” for this story! And those include:
I’m just listening to a LOT of Michele McLaughlin while outlining this book, tbh. XD
As I start to dive deeper into this story, I’ll hopefully have some more behind-the-scenes things to share with you all, but as for right now, that’s about all I’ve got. I’d LOVE to share my current outline, but…yeah. That would be a major spoiler if ever there was one. But someday…someday I would like to share the outline.
Like maybe if this book ever gets published.
Aha. Hahaha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Heh.
talk to me, peasants!
And that’s all I’ve got for you today, folks! I’m so so SO excited for NaNoWriMo to get here already. I’ve been devouring all sorts of Nano content over the past week, and working on my story outline has seriously gotten me into the writing spirit. Not to mention that this time of year is just PERFECT for sitting down and writing a novel! Soon the snow’s gonna start falling and we can just cuddle up in massive sweaters with steaming cups of cocoa and I just!!! it’s going to be amazing, and I’m so ready for it.
But anyway, let’s talk about YOU guys now! Are you participating in NanoWriMo this year? If so, what are you going to be working on? And if NOT, tell me something you’re excited about in November! Whatever you plan on doing during this next month of 2020, I want to hear all about it! So let’s talk about ALL of the writing and NaNo and creative-y things down in the comments below!
And as always, until next time…