Beautiful Books #1 // NaNo 2015

NaNoWriMo is here!!  Before I start giving my daily updates, I wanted to link up to Beautiful Books! The novel I’m writing this year is a continuation of the story from last year, so many of these questions will be similar to what I wrote in this post, but I still wanted to do it to get ready for NaNo.

How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I’ve had this idea for ages, but it developed slowly. It started with a dream about a girl in the woods fighting zombies. Then a few other dreams. Then I developed most of it for NaNo last year, but I was only able to write the first part of the novel. The second part still has some gaps in the plot, but I’m hoping everything will fall into place by the end of the month.

Why are you excited to write this novel?
I’m exciting to actually finish something for a change, which is why I decided to continue the same story rather than starting something new. It seems there are more subplots and scenes in this story than those that I typically write, and the scenes are not told linearly, so it’s fun to see everything woven together. It makes me feel so accomplished.

What is your novel about, and what is the title?
I’ve titled it Eminence, though I’m not 100% sold on the title yet. I’m going to steal the three-sentence summary I gave for last year: In this fictional world, everyone has either died or has contracted a mysterious infection. Everyone, that is, except for the MC, who lives each day with her pet leopard and is absorbed in memories of her civilization. She thinks that she is the only one with her memory intact until she meets a man that holds memories of one of her friends that had mysteriously disappeared four years prior to the outbreak of the infection.

So, basically we have a girl and a leopard in the midst of an outbreak that has turned everyone else into zombie-like creatures. When we meet her, they are traveling to get water. Meanwhile, she is thinking back through her past and the events that led up to the infection. Right in the middle of everything, she runs into a young man who is infected, but when she touches him, she sees a few of his memories, which show a her friend that had disappeared before the infection. The young man’s memory comes back, then a lot of stuff goes down.

Her real name is never revealed, but she goes by the alias Eminence, which was what she was going to name her boat the day the infection broke out. (I’ll hereby refer to her as E.)

Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
I’ve changed my answers a bit from last year! I know my characters a little better now, so here we go:

 :
(she later cuts her hair to resemble Ava. So basically Korra)
A Defining Moment | Episode 2 - Korra Alone | Book 4: Balance | Legend of Korra | Avatar | (gif)
E – stubborn. 
Chace Crawford // Elayer:
Elayer – revolutionary
 :
Ava – strong
eddie redmayne by marc brenner 2009:
(I don’t have a good photo of him, but Eddie Redmayne kind of captures the vibe.)
Festus – caregiver 
charlize theron // Center:
Center – relentless
~~Dark shadow stare... ~ black jaguar by Seb Photos~~:
(except she has silver spots and red eyes)
Rolla – protector

Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
I always love writing Ava, but she only shows up in memories, so scenes with her are few and far between. I’m hoping to be able to include more of her back story in Part Two. She was one of the few Arcadians who realized what was going on, even though she had been “Arcadia’s sweetheart.” She was one of their best and fiercest warriors, but she’s also the one who left. It’s a huge character shift and I’m looking forward to exploring it more.

I also kind of like writing Elayer, because he comes across as so…educated and condescending and I love it.

What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
She doesn’t really know her goal until about halfway through Part Two. (There’s a lot of backstory and exposition, which takes up the bulk of Part One.) Once she learns that she has the ability to restore memory, her goal is to rescue the Arcadians from the infected Galts that are keeping them hostage.

Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
It’s a fictional universe! I tried to draw a map last year, but I’m really terrible at it. Basically, there are two main locations in the story: Arcadia and Galt. Arcadia is on a peninsula, but there is a huge cliff that separates it from the mainland. Galt is a nearby volcanic island. Arcadians have a wealthy society, whereas Galts struggle to survive. Arcadians see their race as superior. They ship their traitors to Galt if they do not meet Arcadian standards, and they execute any Galts that sneak into Arcadia.

Also, the people look differently. Arcadians have silver skin and Galts have black skin.
And Arcadians get facial tattoos when they graduate into the community.

 :

What is the most important relationship your character has?
This is a hard one because she has relationships with so many different people and they are all different and important in their own way. She’s close with her father, she has a special friendship with Festus, she spends six months in survival mode with Rolla, she emulates Center, she relies on the information from Elayer. But I’ll have to say that the most important is her relationship with Ava (because AVA.IS.BOSS). They grew up together, they developed their ideals together. Ava’s disappearance affected E more than she’d like to admit. (I think she was a little in love with her, tbh.)

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Such a big change. I can’t go into too much without giving things away, but in the beginning, even after the fall of Arcadia, she still has full faith in the government and ideals she was raised to believe. After reflecting on her memories and what Elayer tells her, she begins to question this system, until finally, she realizes that she was part of a terrible society.

What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
I WANT THEM TO FEEL EMPTY INSIDE. No, not really…but kind of. The story is not a happy one. The ending does not feel good, but I think it will (hopefully) say a lot about culture, prejudice, and mindlessly following a belief system/government without question.

BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
1) Feel free to skip scenes! I try to avoid this, but if there is a part that just will not come out, I’ve learned to skip it for the time being. Sometimes you have to work on something else for awhile before things start to make sense.

2) Find your community. Most of us are introverts, so we understand the desire to wall yourself up in your room and not tell a soul about your quest to 50K, but believe me, you’ll need the support. It’s difficult to do what you are doing. You need an emotional outlet. You also need the encouragement and support! So find someone–someone you know, someone online, it doesn’t matter–and share your progress with them.

3) Write every day. It’s better to try to write a little in the morning to get a head start on the day, but this might not be possible. Last year, I spent the last hour or two every day writing my daily word count. If you decide to skip a day, it’s easy to feel discouraged when you see your numbers drop. Try to write a little every day to stay on track. Otherwise, it’s difficult (but not impossible!) to get back on track.

Also, if you’re struggling with a plot, I’ve tried something new this year that has actually helped quite a bit. Usually, I write scattered notes in a Moleskine notebook, but this year, I wrote broad scenes of my plot on sticky notes and taped them to my wall. Now, I’ve started adding smaller scenes to them whenever they come to mind. This way, I can visually develop my plot and easily rearrange things when necessary. It’s been a great way to kick off the month. =)

See you guys at 50K!

–Emily
currently listening to: Next Year by Two Door Cinema Club

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