Introducing my NaNo 2017 Novel // Beautiful Books Linkup

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.

    Elephant Rocks In Belleview, Missouri 

  1. 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.
  2. There will be trips to state parks, especially Elephant Rocks. Also camping and canoeing.
  3. 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!


  1. I absolutely love your novel’s idea here, Emily and I so want to read that someday. I feel like this is the kind of story I could love. Your aesthetics are so stunning, I’m loving the fall vibes and colors here <3 <3
    Best of luck for NaNoWriMo, I hope you'll have tons of fun 🙂
    Marie @ Drizzle & Hurricane Books recently posted…On life’s happenings this year and celebrating a birthdayMy Profile

    1. Emily @ Mixed Margins
      October 16, 2017

      Thank you so much, Marie. 🙂 I never know if the things I come up with would be interesting to anyone other than myself, so I’m glad you like the sound of it!

  2. Chelsea
    October 16, 2017

    i like the sound of this and the atypical relationship. good job with originality and good luck with NaNo!

    1. Emily @ Mixed Margins
      October 23, 2017

      Thank you! I was worried that it wasn’t original at all (basically I’m always worried that all my WIPs are Fangirl-ripoffs). It’s definitely more of an “idea” book, so I’m looking forward to working through the differences of opinions between the characters.

  3. Cait @ Paper Fury
    October 17, 2017

    This sounds REALLY good and I absolutely love the premise/themes behind it. (Also your aesthetics are just super gorgeous and autumny and ahhh!! 😍) I haven’t read a lot of books about people in college but this totally sounds amazing and also thought-provoking. I hope it’s a lot of fun to write in November and BEST OF LUCK!!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Reasons YA Books Should Mention Food (And Not JUST Because I’m Hungry…But Mostly)My Profile

    1. Emily @ Mixed Margins
      October 23, 2017

      Thanks, Cait! I originally had it open in January/February but I’m going to have to move it to September/October because I can’t get that imagery out of my head (I realize that these seasons are flipped for you, though). I’m not sure why there aren’t that many books set in college. There’s like this big gap that new adult hasn’t filled very well. Like, I want to read books that are like YA but less overdramatic, where sex isn’t a big deal and graduating isn’t the biggest fear and people have to, you know, figure out how to pay rent and file their taxes and stuff.

  4. ilsa @ a whisper of ink
    October 25, 2017

    OMG PERFECTION AESTHETIC HERE <3 <3 I love the whole nature and fall vibe I'm getting from it! And while I'm not USUALLY interested in romance books this sounds super sweet but also really raw and realistic! AGHH so much nature things it sounds perfect!

    this is my first time doing NaNo AND I AM FREAKING SCARED!
    ilsa @ a whisper of ink recently posted…10 Titles that Describe my Monstrous soul Perfectly #relatable + all the AestheticsMy Profile

    1. Emily @ Mixed Margins
      October 25, 2017

      I’m not a big fan of the romance genre, but I do love cute romances in contemporary (like Rainbow Rowell). I think the balance between super sweet and raw & realistic is going to be a challenge, but something I really want to do! And I’m looking forward to showcasing my home state. I feel like people make a big deal about cities and monuments, which are great, but the outdoors are great, too!


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