1. Describe what your novel is about!
Okay. *breathes deeply*
In a nutshell: pizza, Youtube, dogs, social anxiety, success
In a bigger shell: Girl with social anxiety goes to college but is miserable and decides to drop out. She goes back to work at the pizza place she worked in as a teenager, lives by herself in a crappy apartment, and plays a lot of video games. She adopts a dog (subplot here that I don’t have time to go into). One day, a Youtuber she follows walks in and orders pizza. They become friends. She helps him with his videos sometimes, and one day they record a mock educational video of Joanna. He posts it without telling her. It grows popular. She starts her own Youtube channel for educational videos, and gains a large following. But the success of the channel starts to weigh on her, especially when people begin to recognize her in public and the criticisms start rolling in.
2. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
(I swapped the order of these first two questions because I do what I want.)
It’s been growing for a few months now. I think it first came up in late May/June, when my husband was away at an internship for the summer. I started to think about what it would be like to live in an apartment by myself with my dog. I also watched a lot of Youtube videos. And I’ve been wanting to write about what it means to be successful for a long time, and I’ve also been wanting to write about social anxiety. I also worked at a pizza place for like 5 years so I’m quite familiar with the turmoils of that position.
3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
I’m really not a big Pinterest pinner for my novels. I always have the hardest time finding things. But I tried really hard to find pictures for this one:
4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
Joanna, our MC (who I see as kinda Lorde-esque?)
Zackery, our Youtube star
Kalin, our video editor
and Nell, our adopted German Shepherd mix
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Chocolate, lots of hot baths, scribbles in a notebook, lots of Post-Its, a disappointing Pinterest board, watching videos of other Wrimos, reading through the forums on the NaNo website. Last year, I drew a big timeline on my wall with notecards and yarn (it’s still there). This year, I’m trying to plan more than I usually do, so I’ve actually written a sort-of outline and am trying out the corkboard on Scrivener for the first time. So far, I think it’s going pretty well.
6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
I’ve never written a contemporary before! I’m kinda looking forward to the ability to draw from real-life experiences, which I’ve never really been able to do in my fantasy/science fiction novels. But that also makes me nervous because that makes this one more personal than the other things I’ve written.
7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Suburban city. Maybe in Illinois? Lots of college students.
(Obviously I need to put more thought into my setting.)
8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
She really doesn’t know her goal in the beginning. She’s kinda grown complacent where she is, even though part of her really wants to do more and be more. She feels like a huge disappointment to her family, but doesn’t know how to change that. She feels safe online, where she can just be a username and interact with people without actually interacting with them. But that changes when she starts making her own videos. Suddenly, her safe place becomes hostile.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Zackery tries to bring Joanna “out of her shell” by forcing her into social situations that make her extremely uncomfortable. But by the end of the novel, she learns that there are better ways to deal with her social anxiety that put herself in control.
10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I want to write a book about what it means to be successful. I want my readers to know that success isn’t the amount of money you make, and it might not even be complacency. It’s in personal growth and strength.
I also want to showcase social anxiety in the realest way I can. It’s more than shyness. It’s more than being introverted. It’s wanting to do the things that come so easily to others, like making a phone call or talking to customers or hanging out with a group of people, but being unable to mentally and physically.
Let me know if you are doing NaNo, and leave a link to your introduction post if you are!
currently listening to: Hearts Like Ours by The Naked and Famous