Apologies for being MIA for the past couple of weeks. I was busy being overly emotional and didn’t really leave my bed.. Whoops, sorry about that! Sometimes (note: all the time) looking after yourself has to come first. Self-care is very important and it is a process that I swear by to keep myself functioning. Maybe one day I’ll write something about my self-care routine! But today is not that day.
If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that I signed up for my first ever NaNoWriMo a week or so ago. If you’re not sure what that is, here’s a quick overview: a ton of people all over the world sign up on the official website and agree to write (or try to write!) 50,000 words, a full-length novel, in the month of November. For fun. We writers are strange creatures.
I have had a novel living inside my head for over two years now. It started as a tiny little glimmer, sparked by hearing a song called “Shankill Butchers” by Sarah Jarosz. Since then it has grown, evolved and morphed into a full-fledged hatchling, ready to spread its inky wings. The problem with having a whole novel in your head, however, is that no one else can read it. After years of putting it off, drawing up character arcs, writing little scenes here and there, I have finally decided to give this story the time and energy it has been craving. I am actually going to write this thing! In just over a month, if all goes to plan, I will have my first ever first-draft of a novel and I can finally introduce myself as a “writer” without the little voice in my head whispering: “yeah but, will you ever actually write that book?”
So, I am going to introduce you to my beloved brain-child (whilst simultaneously trying not to give too much away!), in the hope that by letting the idea breathe and letting these characters walk from my mind onto the page, I’ll be obliged to write their story so that one day you, my dear reader, might be able to read their story, too.
(I got these prompts from Cait over at paperfury, who is a NaNo veteran and all-round writer-extraordinairre. I have, however, omitted some of her prompts as I am reluctant to give away too much of the story at this point.)
- Describe what your novel is about! My novel is about a missing girl, a begrudging adventurer, a windswept lighthouse and a boy with a secret. There will be covens, magic, murder and stormy seas as my characters try and stay one step ahead of the mysterious, notorious and blood-thirsty gang that has escaped from haunting fairy tales to haunt the inhabitants of this alternate/fantasy-19th century Britain.
- What is your book’s aesthetic? I made this aesthetic with images from pinterest. I will attach a link to the pin for credit purposes. Whenever my inspiration is fading or feeling a little rusty, this collection of images also brings me back to where I’m supposed to be and I. love. it.credit links: top row – left, middle, right. middle row – left, middle, right. bottom row – left, middle, right
- Introduce us to each of your characters! This book revolves around three very different people: Lily Knight, the sunshine soul. Alice Blackwell, the cold and glittering moon. Jim Barton, master of the stormy sea. (Don’t worry guys: there may be three protagonists but there will not be any love-triangle rubbish going on here.)
- How do you prepare to write? I am a meticulous planner. I prefer to do all of the thinking and puzzling before the writing process, so in theory I don’t have to do much thinking and puzzling when I’m writing. This is also the reason why I never actually get round to writing the damn book. I don’t know when to stop planning and start writing!
- What are you most looking forward to about this novel? I am really excited to explore the landscapes that feature in this first book. In theory, this will be a trilogy, and the landscapes will be different in each. I also can’t wait to explore the friendships and relationships which will develop through the hardships, the pain and the anguish. I also just can’t wait to play around with magic!
- List 3 things about your novel’s setting. The novel is set in a fantastical alternative 19th century Britain, with our characters moving throughout England and Scotland, so expect lots of my favourite landscapes to feature (although the names will be changed so I can play around with my artistic license.) It begins in a sleepy countryside village, but things don’t stay safe or sleepy for long. The main body of the novel takes place either on the sea, in the sea or by the sea.
- What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over? The main themes are: magic, friendship, love (this book only contains one confirmed romance which is a lesbian relationship, and hints at another ‘will they-won’t they’ relationship that will be developed in later novels. note: Alice and Lily are always going to be platonic but their friendship is the driving force of this book.), adventure, self-discovery, witchcraft & nature. I hope that when you finish reading this story, because one day I hope you will be able to, you will feel inspired and in love. I hope that this book makes you desperate to read the sequel. I want to create a whimsical, magical world with characters that you love to spend time with.
So that’s that! I hope that this post has given you a little bit of a taster of the journey I am about to embark on, to tell the story of Lily, Alice and Jim. The process of writing this blog post has made me really excited to get writing, so I think I’ll spend the rest of my evening perfecting my plan so that on the 1st of November, I can start to bring this to beloved story of mine to life.
Let me know if you’re taking part in NaNo, or if you like the sound of what I’m creating!
Until next week,