Well, it’s November 1st once again… seriously, where the hell did October go? I swear I blinked and missed it! Since it is November (though I’m still finding that hard to believe), it’s that time of year again – the time when this foolish girl who was never much of a writer tries to write 50,000 words because a bunch of people on the Internet are also doing it. It’s NaNoWriMo time! In case you’ve somehow managed to avoid the phenomena that is NaNoWriMo, let me briefly explain. National Novel Writing Month is an annual event in which people pledge to write 50,000 words in 30 days… or die trying… ok maybe not die. Roughly speaking this means writing 1,667 words a day, which doesn’t seem too difficult on the surface but when you haven’t written a single word for 5 days, well, those daily word goals stack up quite quickly. (I know this to be true.) The key with NaNo always seems to be making time – a novel isn’t going to write itself after all! And I’ll bet quite a lot of people would put “write a novel” on their bucket list. Well – now’s the time!
This year I’m going to be attempting to turn last year’s failure into at least a half-decent attempt at a novel, so I’m reworking the same idea, but I’ve had a year to occasionally think about when I’m daydreaming on the train. And since it is the first day of NaNo and all is still optimistic and exciting, I thought I would share a little bit about my novel via the wonderful Beautiful Books link up at Paper Fury. I have answered a few questions below to help “Introduce My Novel” which all sounds rather grand!
1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
4 main things: I love the pirate bit of the Stardust film; I have a penchant for steampunk and gas-lamp fantasy (though I didn’t know that’s what it was called when I was reading and loving it); I enjoy the gritty-history/Victorian-y tone that seems to be popular in TV nowadays with the likes of Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films, Ripper Street, and Peaky Blinders (yes I know Peaky Blinders isn’t Victorian but just go with me on this one); and I’ve always been fascinated with the Industrial Revolution’s effect on society. So I’m trying to smush all of that together, because clearly I’m interested.
2. Describe what your novel is about!
I’m not sure yet! I have a concept, some characters, some scenes in mind, and a beastie (maybe), but I’m not sure that I could answer what it is about until I’ve (hopefully) finished writing a first draft. But broadly speaking? I love Tennyson’s poem The Kraken and I’ve always wanted to do some kind of fantasy-esque novel with a kraken-like creature… or maybe it’s not quite what the poem would make it seem. Intrigued? (Please say yes and make me feel better about the fact that I’m terrible at pitching!)
3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
I have a Pinterest board, if that helps? Essentially think Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes, but more flying pirate ships.
4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
I feel like a lot of them would be very annoyed at being introduced by a third party. So, quickly, before they catch wind of it! I have a male MC, a wannabe-inventor-cum-accountant (because, hey, we all need a boring day job). I also have a female MC who is a less-than-impressed trophy wife who dreams of being captain of her very own ship (because when you’re not even head of your own household, clearly you might as well aim for the world, or a ship). Her friend is a not-so-prim-or-proper little lady who happens to be the sister of the male MC. And I also have female MC’s husband who is clearly a tyrant. Basically I have a lot of people who frequently have civilised dinner parties together but no one actually says what they’re thinking because they’re English, duh.
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Generally? I don’t. This is one of the pros and cons of how I write – if you tell me I only have 20 minutes to write, I will crack out something, anything, I will word vomit all over that (metaphorical) page. So I’m not sure I know how to prepare properly. I’ve tried, but I keep just reading peoples’ blog posts about preparing rather than actually actively preparing. I have some characters, some scenes, I’m going to forcibly throw people together and see what happens. I should probably also stock up on snacks… note to Liz – we need to go NaNoWriMo supply shopping!
6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Hopefully actually getting further writing it than I did last year! I hit 10,000 words of random scenes (like I said: word vomit) and then realised I didn’t know what story I wanted to tell. So just having a better grasp of where I want this story to go would be a great outcome at the end of November.
7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Flying pirate ship
8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
My female MC hates being stuck in a marriage to a tyrant and longs for her freedom from him/her life. So, clearly, to her liberation must equate to ‘I need to captain a flying pirate ship’. I think the “But what a ship is, what the Black Pearl really is, is freedom” line from Pirates of the Caribbean might have wormed its way into my subconscious.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Well, we’ll see, won’t we?
Which is my slightly obnoxious way of saying I don’t know what character development will happen, I’m going to see where my protagonist wants to go!
10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
As far as thematic goes, I’m really intrigued by the whole idea of The Industrial Revolution, as I said way back in answer to question 1. The fact that technological advances were accelerating rapidly, changing the face of industry forever, really intrigues me about that part of history. But I also am wary of that kind of sudden and swift change – I’d like to tell a story where too much ambition and striving and industry could actually prove to be the ruin of a place, largely because the ‘wrong people’ are the ones in charge of this particular Revolution, and they end up creating (or unleashing) something they come to wish they hadn’t.
That all sounds a bit vague and flimsy, doesn’t it? I’ll hopefully have a better idea once I start writing properly.
As you might be able to tell, I have a lot of thinking still to do before I can properly get writing my NaNoWriMo project this year. However, by answering these questions I have been given a lot of food for thought… I’m hoping this will prompt me to do a bit more by way of actual prep for November. Revisiting last year’s failure is good for me because I’ve been annoyed at myself for giving up last year and this is a chance to correct that (hopefully!). We’ll see anyway-
Are you participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo? Or do you just happen to be writing a book at the moment?
Comment below, I’d love to hear about your stories!