Wow. November is tomorrow. Like the past two years, I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month where you write 50k words toward your next novel project.
I’m participating this year for multiple reasons, but the main reason is that I need to. If you’ve been following this blog for a bit, you know I’ve fallen off my rocker this year. The PTSD has pretty much stolen all remnants of self-esteem. NaNo has always been a source of positivity for me. Between achieving the challenge itself and the NaNo community, November has just been a good month for the past couple years.
So when I say I need to participate, it’s really a matter of needing to prove to myself that I can still do a thing that makes me happy and fulfilled. And like last year, I’ll be participating in the BEAUTIFUL BOOKS meme hosted by Paper Fury and Further Up, Further In.
Here’s post 1 of 3: An Introduction to my NaNo Novel
Question 1: What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
Redeemed (working title) is book 4 of the 5-book YA Fantasy series I’ve been working on. And to say it’s kinda been an enigma (plot and character-wise) would be an understatement. Since I first developed the series, I knew the main character’s abilities, where the story would take place, and what needed to happen (in terms of the series’ big picture) for Book 5 to work, but other than those three things, I was at a loss.
Gwen, the MC, went through a million name changes. Nothing stuck. There was Blaire, Alison, Winifred, Jaclyn. I had zero luck ironing down any details with her character. Then I finished the final draft of book 1, discovered a character that would play a huge role in book 4, and from there, everything started clicking into place.
Looking at my working outline and notes, I can see where I’m pulling different inspirations from. And honestly, most of it comes from friends and other incredible people who have entered my life.
Question 2: Describe what your novel is about!
Here’s the very shabby synopsis I have on the NaNo site:
Gwen Carter has visions. Some of the near future. Some of the past. But when she sees a future where a woman named Helen tortures her family to get to her, Gwen takes off.
Now halfway across the country in Seattle, Washington, Gwen realizes she can manipulate her visions and seeks out Helen from her nightmare to lure her away from her family.
Helen isn’t the only one searching for Gwen, a man who can shift into different animals is also on the hunt. But there’s something different about him, the men he travels with call him Tadgh and clearly trust and respect him.
So Gwen seeks his help. Unfortunately, there’s only so much Tadgh can do when the lives of his men are being held as collateral for his allegiance to someone else.
Question 3: What is your book’s aesthetic?
I think the aesthetic is going to be equal parts grit and clarity. If that makes any sense. Between Gwen’s abilities and the plot itself, there’s a lot of potential for some dark, gritty moments – think NBC’s show Hannibal (except no cannibalism). But there’s also opportunity for bright, beautiful moments like Disney’s live action Cinderella. We’ll see how well those two mesh. Lol
Question 4: Introduce us to each of your characters!
Gwendolyn Carter – Gwen is the most innately heroic of the protagonists in my series. While she doesn’t seek out danger, she can’t sit idly by and watch injustice unfold either. Her ability to hear thoughts and see others’ choices makes her decision-making far more strategic, so nothing she does is impulsive.
Tadgh O’Connell – Tadgh, a shapeshifter of sorts, is defined by his leadership role in his clan. Integrity, camaraderie, and loyalty are his core values, and he can’t/won’t sacrifice them for anyone or anything.
Helen Veritas – Helen is the descendant of the Roman Goddess of Truth, Veritas. She can sense when you’re lying, and if she chooses to, she can literally carve the truth out of you. She’s vicious and unapologetic.
Celeste – Celeste can manipulate earth and air. She’s desperate to save her kin from the Council and is running out of time to do so.
Question 5: How do you prepare to write?
I am a planner through and through. I have a scene outline, a beat sheet, character profiles, and other extraneous notes on the world and its many complexities.
Usually, I’ll start each day with a goal sheet of what scenes I’d like to accomplish based on what mood I’m in, what inspiration is striking, etc.
Question 6: What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Eek. Just to see what it turns into. Last year, I went into NaNo having a pretty clear vision of what book 3 was going to be, and it still surprised me. Redeemed is already a complete enigma, so I wouldn’t put it past these characters to throw me for several loops.
Plus there’s the whole thing of this being the second to last book in the series. That’s fairly terrifying. lol
Question 7: List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Overcasts, Ferries, and an Amalgamation of charming old storefronts and sleek new construction. It takes place in Seattle, WA.
Question 8: What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
All Gwen wants is for her family to be okay, but in order to do that, she has to lure Helen and Celeste away from them.
Question 9: How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Uhhhh. Honestly I have no idea. I think I’m going to just be pantsing this bit.
Gwen is a fairly well adjusted character compared to the MC’s of my first three books. So we’ll see how this ends up.
Question 10: What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
The major theme in this novel is to greet others with an open heart and an open mind. None of us have the ability to know someone’s full backstory upon meeting, so stereotyping or making snap-judgments only prove to hurt ourselves and extinguish progress.
As for how I want to readers to feel, I want them to be even more excited for the series conclusion in book 5. lol
And there it is, what I’ll be working on this next month. I can’t tell you how excited I am to see how this turns out, especially with it being the final adventure before the big showdown in book 5. This series has been such a fun place to live in and I’m still finding new things about the characters and the world. I just hope I can do all the characters’ stories justice.