Know the Novel: A Writer’s Linkup ~ In Which I Embark on a Journey of Self-Discovery (Or At Least Novel-Discovery)

National Novel Writing Month is coming up, and I wasn’t planning on starting a new novel. But, after reading Liesl’s post, I was inspired to start…..a new novel. Y’see, last year for NaNoWriMo, I started a novel about Jesus’ life and childhood from Mary’s perspective. It’s called Mother of the King and I managed to reach 22,247 words in it, before I got burnt out. I really like the story, especially since Mary is a cool gal and the Bible doesn’t say much about her. It was fun to come up with my own take for how Mary dealt with her pregnancy and Jesus as a child. (Can you imagine how helpless she felt when she had James and he was nothing like his older brother? No wonder James didn’t become a Christian until after Jesus rose! “James, why can’t you be like Jesus?? What is wrong with you???”)

However, I was in the mood to start something new this time. So I did.

After spending a couple of hours scouring my prompt collection, and other prompt collections saved on my computer, and brainstorming my own, I still didn’t have any ideas. Then, last night, while I was reading Left Behind, I got an idea!

Well, actually, I remembered an old idea that I had years ago, but that still counts.

My idea is called The Girl Next Door (yes, this is the title that I came up with a long time ago, as well), and I have no idea what I’m doing. This is as much of an “Introduction Post to My Novel” for you guys, as well as me. *sheepish grin*

Thanks to Christine Smith for hosting this! It’s my first time doing this, and I’m excited! So, without further ado, Know the Novel!

1. What First Sparked the Idea For This Novel?

To be honest, I don’t even remember. Like I said, I’ve had this idea for a long time. It popped into my head once and–

WAIT, I think I wrote about it in one of my journals. Hold on. BRB.

Okay, it took a bit of searching, but I found it! It’s an entry in my first journal from January 19, 2018. The idea is newer than I thought, but it’s still kind of old.

I think that’s the only time I wrote about it, and I didn’t explain where I got the idea from. I’m pretty sure it just popped into my head one night.

Anyways, it turns out the plot I have planned is quite a bit different than the original plot. I switched around who the main character is and the ending of the story, but the premise is still there. I think it’ll be fun to write!

The main reason I chose to write this rather than Mother of the King or a fantasy project or whatever is because I really wanted to write something contemporary. I haven’t done that in awhile, and I kind of miss the ease that comes with writing something in the same world we live in. No need to invent new languages, social norms, laws, monarchy. It’s already there! (Thank goodness!)

2. Share a Blurb (or Just an Overall Summary)!

*doesn’t have summary yet*

*decides to make one up on the spot*

*realizes the characters don’t have names yet*

*panik*

BARBARA AND FLIMFLAM

*facepalm* Whyyyyy do I do this to myselffffff????

Okay, I think I’ve got it.

Claudianna Gray is not excited.

Her parents have dragged her and her little brother, Sam, to the small town of Maywill, in hopes that the more peaceful town will help calm the chronic stress that Claudi’s mother has been suffering from for years. The rural town and its surroundings are a huge culture shock for New York-raised Claudi and Sam, and the openness and excitement of the townsfolks make the Grays uncomfortable. Because the town is so rural, there is only one available house. It sits next to the house of the only crippled child in town, Gwyne Lancy. For years, the house has remained empty as Gwyne’s condition makes her presence uncomfortable for the townspeople. Building a new house is out of the question and, with some trepidation, the Grays move in next to the Lancys.

Gwyne Lancy is tired of being friendless. Being the only girl in town who needs a wheelchair has taken its toll on her, and her normally sunshine-y disposition is slowly melting away. The undeveloped roads and overgrown grass and shrubs make travel difficult for Gwyne’s wheelchair, and the only people willing to push her are her parents and Pastor Bill’s family. Her Christian faith has carried her through the hardest times, but, without having a good earthly friend, Gwyne is slipping into depression. When she hears the news that a new family will be moving into the vacant house next door, she is eager to make a new friend. Claudianna Gray seems like a nice girl, but Gwyne is intimidated by her tough New York personality and obvious dislike of the church.

Despite all odds, Claudi and Gwyne become friends. Though Gwyne’s obvious love for Christ makes Claudi uncomfortable, the two girls become closer than any of Claudi’s friends back in New York. Despite their closeness, Gwyne’s pleas for Claudi to attend church fall on deaf ears, eventually threatening to drive a wedge between them forever. However, when a tragic event rocks the very foundation of the Gray household, Claudi must turn to her Christian friend to understand what she must do next.

A story of love, friendship, and the Gospel, The Girl Next Door shows that the bonds of God’s love are stronger than anything — even death.”

Sure. That sounds good. *nods*

3. Where Does the Story Take Place? What Are Some of Your Favorite Aspects About the Setting?

The story takes place in the fictional town of Maywill, Georgia. I chose to put the town in Georgia so I can maximize my writing time by not researching climate and state laws, and I never see stories set in Georgia, so thought I’d add one to the mix. The town is really rural, and shockingly similar to a frontier town. (I love frontier towns!) It does have more streets and cars than a frontier town, but it small. It real small.

Most of the inhabitants are Christian (to a degree 😅) and the two churches are usually pretty full on Sundays. Only one of the churches does Wednesday Night Bible Studies, but those are relatively packed as well.

I’ve never written a contemporary story in a small town, so this will be an interesting challenge. Although, I know what it’s like to live in the country in an area that consists of more dirt roads than necessary. And the paved roads are usually bumpier than the dirt roads.

So yeah, I think this’ll be fun!

4. Tell Us About Your Protagonist(s).

This is another section where I figure out a lot about my story XD Let’s see what I can come up with.

My first protagonist is Claudianna Marie Gray (yes, the name meanings play a massive part in the story). Her nickname is Claudi, though she prefers to be called Anna at the end of the story (and I won’t tell you why mwahahaha). She’s prickly and guarded around EVERYBODY and not that great at making new friends because she comes off as haughty more often than not. She’s a good friend though, once you convince her to like you, and a good listener. She is an avid lover of trivia and science and can rattle off loads of random facts. Her favorite snack is French fries and ice cream (eaten together, not separately), and her two favorite artists at the beginning of the book are Imagine Dragons and Owl City, and at the end of the book, they are TobyMac and Britt Nicole.

(I chose some of my favorites so I can choose random songs for her to listen to throughout the book, heh heh. Writer hacks.)

She plays ukulele and saxophone (I can feel your glares, Liesl), and can play the chords to some tunes on the piano.

She has two brothers, an older brother named David, who attends college in the north somewhere (still not sure where), and a younger brother, Tristan Cameron. They call him Sam because Claudi didn’t like the nickname Cam, so she started calling him Sam, and it stuck. He’s very annoying and loud.

My other protagonist is Gwyne Elizabeth Lancy. She is paralyzed from the waist down and has been in a wheelchair for almost half her life, after a spine injury when she was eight. She is an only child, and her entire family consists of strong Christians. She accepted Christ when she was six, and her paralysis only strengthened her faith. She has a secret crush on Matthon, also known as Matt (because this wouldn’t be a good story without romance! Well, it might, but I can’t resist). He is the preacher’s son, and one of Gwyne’s closest friends. Gwyne looks up to her older cousin, Megan, a lot, and is really inspired by her life — until that changes. (Shhh, no spoilers!)

Gwyne is incredibly talented at singing and playing the piano and violin. She loves to write, both songs and stories, and, despite having no training, she does a beautiful job. She sings in the adult choir at her church, despite only being 15. Her vocal range stretches from C3 to E6 (similar to mine, except with a few notes added at the bottom). She has a pet cat named Abel and a snake named Cain, although that snake wouldn’t hurt a fly.

Ooh, okay, wow, I really like both of these girls so far. This story is just falling into place.

5. Who (Or What) is the Antagonist?

Oh gosh. Um…probably just negative feelings, Satan, as always when it comes to a Christian novel, some personal villains for the girls, like people they trust or love that let them down, etc. Not really sure.

6. What Excites You the Most About This Novel?

Literally, I’m so excited to write Gwyne. She seems so cool so far, and I just cannot wait to start exploring her personality and life. And backstory! Like, what was the accident? Why couldn’t she just have her spine realigned? Why is she such a strong Christian? Those will be fun questions to answer.

Also, I just realized that some of these characters were DEFINITELY NOT inadvertently inspired off of people I know. Matt is totally not someone I know IRL and Gwyne is DEFINITELY not someone I *cough* know IRL, and their relationship is MOST DEFINITELY FICTIONAL AND NOT REAL AT ALL.

ANYways, moving on.

7. Is This Going to be a Series? Standalone? Something Else?

It’s supposed to be a standalone. I’m roughly 67% sure I’ll be able to keep it that way? I mean, let’s be honest, it’ll be a miracle if I can even finish the heckin’ thing, much less add more the series.

8. Are You Plotting? Pantsing? Plansting?

If it isn’t glaringly obvious by this blog post, I am 100% pantsing. I haven’t pantsed a story in…..like, a year, so this should be fun.

(Although, I’ve barely written anything besides college essays lately, so I guess I don’t get to say that LOL)

9. Name a Few Unique Elements About This Story.

Oh gosh.

I mean, it takes place in a rural town in middle Georgia, which is something that I have never seen before. Does that count?

It’s also unique for me to be writing a Christian novel. I have such a hard time writing about Christianity without making it sound really preachy, and having characters accept Christ a little too quickly (at least so quick that it doesn’t feel natural), so I’m hoping I can pull this off. I think it’ll be fun, and if it doesn’t turn out, I can just burn it and start over!

10. Share Some Fun “Extras” of the Story (a Song or Full Playlist, Some Aesthetics, a Collage, a Pinterest Board, a Map You’ve Made, a Special Theme You’re Going to Incorporate, ANYTHING You Want to Share!).

Well, since I have been making this up so aggressively, I don’t really have anything. I did put together a playlist earlier, though. It already has more than 50 songs on it, and that’s just from combing my personal playlist while knowing very little about the story. I’ll probably add more songs as NaNo goes on, but it’s just what I have so far.

Here’s the link to my unlisted YouTube playlist!

I have organized the playlist, so here, How to Decipher the Organization:

1 – 4: Background music to write to

5 – 21: Songs that encompass the whole book

22 – 29: Songs that Claudi likes to listen to

29 – 39: Songs for Claudi

40 – 52: Songs for Gwyne

That will probably change as the series goes on and I add more characters. But that’s what I got so far. If you guys have any suggestions for songs, I’d be glad to hear them!

Well, that was actually really fun! It was a little confusing trying to figure out my novel on the spot, but I feel like I really got to know everything well enough to make a really REALLY rough outline (really just a list of my ideas). I’m actually really looking forward to NaNo now!

Thank you for reading!

(P.S. I’m hoping to post a new Silver Sterlings snippet soon! ‘Tis in the works! Okay bye!)

🎵 Deal With Destiny (that one song from the Empires SMP) (Still a little shocked by Lizzie and Scott’s voices they are shockingly good) 🎵

7 thoughts on “Know the Novel: A Writer’s Linkup ~ In Which I Embark on a Journey of Self-Discovery (Or At Least Novel-Discovery)

  1. Aaaahhh this sounds like such a sweet and impactful story!!! I’m already totally invested in these characters just from your descriptions of them, and I love the disability rep and how Gwyne has chosen to grow through it and inspires Claudi. This just sounds beautiful. ❤ And small towns are always such delightful setting for stories.

    Also, I got way too excited when you mentioned Owl City being one of Claudi's favorite artists because YESSS. Owl City = LIFE!

    I absolutely loved reading about this. Thank you so much for joining in on the linkup and sharing all this goodness! I do hope the writing goes wonderfully! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, this sound so. fun. I need this novel in my life, please and thank you. *squeals* (I’m tired from work but I’ll probably come back and squeal over this amazingness when I’m rested XD)

    Liked by 1 person

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