Today I’m linking up with Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In for another edition of Beautiful Books to talk about what I plan to write this year for NaNoWriMo. The title right now is “Amicable” but I’m not sure if that will be staying or not. You can follow me on the NaNoWriMo site @ mixedmargins.
Describe what your novel is about!
I’m going in this year with much less planned out than normal. My plan is to let the plot unfold as I write. But here’s what I’m going for: a love story between two college students that share similar interests but not the same values. They care deeply about each other and learn to appreciate and respect each other’s differences, but their relationship becomes more and more strained throughout the novel. They split amicably at the end, not because anyone did anything wrong, but because they’re just not right for each other.
What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
It was definitely inspired by a dream, but I couldn’t tell you what that dream was about. Maybe a library? I don’t know. I have no memory of it anymore.
It happened back in May. I couldn’t stop thinking about it that day, and ended up writing the first few scenes in a detailed outline of bullet points that read kinda like a script.
What is your book’s aesthetic?
I actually spent a decent amount of time trying to make a Pinterest board this time! (I hope it actually shows up…I had some problems getting it to embed properly.) (story of my life)
It takes place over a year, but I see it as being very rainy and autumn-like.
Introduce us to each of your characters!
Kelsey. She has recently gone back to school after taking a year off after her fiancé’s death. Beforehand, she knew exactly what her life plan was, but now she feels like she’s still picking up the pieces. She’s from St. Louis. She has a cat. Her dream is to work in intercultural communication and document design. She wants to travel the major cities of the world. She loves people-watching. She’s bold, stubborn, and logical. She was raised by a religious family, but she is agnostic. She is an only child, but is not close to her parents.
Daniel. He’s a country boy. He’s a friend to everyone he meets, and though he loves spending time with people, he prefers to be in quiet spaces. He loves reading and hiking. He wants to teach English literature. He’s not a fan of most sports, but loves soccer. His dad left when he was young, so he was raised by his mother. He has an older brother and sister. They are all devout Christians.
How do you prepare to write?
It’s different every time. I try to have at least a beginning and end that I aim for. Usually I have an outline of major plot points, but that’s not reall, a thing with this story. This story is going to be very character- and topic-driven, whereas my other stories are more plot-driven. I have a list of things I want my characters to discuss rather than a list of things that are going to happen.
To prep for NaNoWriMo, I usually make a playlist of about 20 songs to play while I write. I’ll use Pinterest to get some inspiration, but I usually don’t use it as much as I did this year. I’ll make a cover, search around on the NaNoWriMo forums, and download a wordcount calendar for the background of my computer.
It sounds like I prepare a lot, but story-wise, there’s always a fair amount of pantsing. I never have everything worked out until I start writing in November.
What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
It’s my first romance, and my first time writing new adult, so I’m looking forward to being able to be a little more serious with how everything is handled. I’m looking forward to writing about topics that feel real and legitimate, rather than the typical high-school problems in most of the YA I read. I’m looking forward to writing a relationship that is atypical—one where the people love each other and respect each other and ultimately don’t end up together.
List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
- It’s set in my home state of Missouri, which I’m really excited about. The differences between urban and rural life will play a major role.
- There will be trips to state parks, especially Elephant Rocks. Also camping and canoeing.
- It also takes place in a small college town, which I’ll probably base on Rolla but I haven’t decided yet.
What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Kelsey is trying to take control of her life again.
Daniel is trying to open Kelsey’s horizons.
They’re both trying to learn from and understand each other without compromising themselves.
How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
They both grow a lot. Kelsey becomes less hardened towards people of religion. Daniel begins to see non-Christians in a better light. Kelsey grows to appreciate the outdoors. Daniel begins to consider seeing more of the world and different kinds of people.
And they both gain an invaluable friend.
What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I want to be clear: this book is not about people changing to fit in a relationship. Kind of the opposite. This book is about how people influence us, but it’s not about changing core values.
I mainly want to show how interests and values play different roles in a relationship, and ultimately how I think that shared values are more important for a functioning relationship. But I also want to show that two people with vastly different values can love and respect each other.
Are you planning to write a novel in November? Let me know what it’s about!