Know the Novel: Part Three ~ In Which We Have All Survived And Hopefully Have Something to Show For It

Welp. Somehow we survived NaNo.

I am literally so proud of myself for writing 50,000+ words in 30 days. I am so happy with how well plotting worked for me and how well I was able to stay motivated, despite writing ten thousand college essays during the month as well. I stayed focused and motivated and pushed through burnout to produce an almost-completed rough draft that I am so very proud of. I love every inch of my novel.

Since I managed to survive NaNo (somehow LOL), I can now do the final part in Christine Smith’s Know the Novel linkup. I’m so excited. So let’s get into it!!

The Questions:

1. How did writing this novel go all around?

Honestly, way better than I was expecting. The first couple of weeks, I found my groove and I was cranking out 2500 words in an hour and a half. Unfortunately, I lost my momentum when I took a break to go on a trip with my parents and sister. I took three days off, and when I came back, I was only writing roughly 1500 words a day. And then I got sick. But I still managed to finish on November 29th.

Aside from NaNo, November was just busy in general. I had that three day trip, like I mentioned, but I was also having to deal with four college classes, Thanksgiving holidays, and various other things that were taking up my time. So props to NaNo Mia for finding time to fit it all in.

*high-fives past self*

2. Did it turn out as you expected or completely different? How do you feel about the outcome?

I plotted the whole novel a couple of years ago and I had to wait to write it while I plotted the other four novels in the series. Then I had to come back to my old plot and make sure everything made sense, because obviously my idea of the series had changed a lot in two years. Despite putting so much time in plotting, I knew there were a lot of specific details I could have added but didn’t. Actually, a lot of the plot points for the first two books are pretty vague because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to go there and I figured I could come up with something when I actually had to write it.

I regret that decision now, but y’know, it seemed smart at the time.

Some of my characters turned out a little differently than I was expecting, but they’re mostly the same. There did end up being a couple that aren’t as prominent in the story as I wanted, but they’ll pop in more in the later books, so it should be fine.

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

Everything???? But especially the dialogue. I put a lot of effort into writing dialogue and I feel like it shows. Part of that comes from hyperfixating on the way I talk and the way other people talk, and the other part of it comes from reading a lot of Tumblr memes and building up an absolute unit of an internal dialogue.

I have issues, I know, thank you for telling me.

4. What was your least favorite part?

Ummm. . . . I’m not sure. The scenes with less action were harder to write. And there are certain characters that are just more difficult to write for some reason.

5. What do you feel needs the most work?

Grammar!!!! I never can get my commas right. There are also some descriptions that I’m not sure how well they’re going to come across. But that’s what Alpha and Beta readers are for.

6. How do you feel about your characters now? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

I still love them. I’m never gonna stop loving them. They are literally like my children. I just. I love them.

My favorite is definitely Voro, my villain. I didn’t understand anything (anything) about him before I started writing. When I reached his first scene, I just wrote with my gut and my gut decided he should be an Instagram pretty boy with an Elvish accent. But he is so sarcastic and good-natured and silly and he has an accent and he speaks my own original language— *sucks in breath* I mean, what’s not to love? Okay, he is the villain and he did try to possess my protagonist and he also hit his daughter, but otHER THAN THAT—

As for least favorite. . . . I mean, I have some boring side characters. I didn’t make them boring on purpose and they’re all distinct and special in their own way, but I just don’t always like writing them. Also Ryan. Ugh. He’s my main character’s love interest and he’s just so. . . . unrealistic. I think I’m just writing him too much like I would a girl character. So he needs some work.

OH AND MATTHEW!!! In the original Masters of Fate draft, I wanted Matthew to be serious and mysterious and dramatic and then he ended up being funny and sarcastic and not at all like I wanted. So while I was plotting, I made sure I was careful to make Matthew the serious guy. And then I wrote him. And he tried to be funny again. *sighs* They never listen, do they?

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

Well, I have to finish it first. Then I’m going to edit it. Then maybe one day I can publish it. We’ll see. Right now, I just have to focus on finishing it.

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

I would love for MoF to have a fandom like the PJO or KotLC fandoms. I want to see all the fanart and textposts and memes and just. . . . everything. Having a fandom would be wild. And a dream come true.

9. Share some of your favorite snippets!

*rubs hands together* I won’t hold back this time.

[WARNING: Unedited snippets ahead. Continue at your own risk.]

Eno beckoned his group further across the room, putting a good distance between his group and his brother’s group. Several training dummies were lined up in front of the wall, surrounded by weapons of varying intensity and size.

“Why are all those dummies lined up like that?” Evan asked, pointing.

“Are they about to have a race?” a short boy asked, scratching his head.

Eno closed his eyes and pinched his nose. “I see how this is going to go,” he muttered.

“HEY!” someone from Tro’s group shouted. Violet whipped around and saw Iris waving at Eno’s group. “HEY! IS THERE ANYONE OVER THERE WHO CAN GIVE ME A CRASH COURSE ON HOW TO KILL SOMEBODY WITH A TOOTHBRUSH??” There was an awkward silence before Iris said, “NOBODY? OKAY. THANKS FOR THE HELP!”

Harmony snorted.

Okay, context. The powerlings were having training time with Eno and Tro, who are brothers, and they’d been split up into two teams. As for why Iris wanted to know how to kill someone with a toothbrush, your guess is as good as mine. She crazy. But we established that in the last KtN post.

“Wake up, coblari!” The deep voice tore into Violet’s strange dream. She was soaring through the bright blue sky, but it turned gray, then black, and Violet fell, farther and farther and farther until she could fall no more. “Nort veepin, eck coblari!”

Violet opened her eyes. She was groggy, but she managed to make out a tall, dark man. His hair was well-kept but his outfit was covered in dirt and twigs.

“Finally!” he cried, throwing up his arms. He started ranting in a language Violet didn’t understand as she slowly resurfaced from her dream state. She suddenly became aware of the uncomfortable chair she was trapped in. Course ropes cut into her wrists and ankles, and her hair was in her face, obscuring her left eye. As her consciousness returned fully, she whipped around, trying to escape her bonds. The room she was in was dark and claustrophobic. She could just barely make out a few human-like figures behind the man in front of her, standing against what appeared to be a door.

The ranting man stopped. He peered at Violet, and she was instantly self-conscious, wondering what he was staring at.

Eck ne human?” he asked, taking a step closer.

“What do you want from me?” Violet asked, her voice threatening to break.

“Ah, youi, you are,” he said.

“I’m what?” Violet demanded. “Where am I? Where are my friends?”

“Friends?” The man laughed. “They are not here.”

Violet stayed quiet, knowing she would burst into tears if she made a sound.

“You can understand my accent, youi?” the man asked, looking a little frustrated.

“I can understand you just fine,” Violet mumbled. She’d thought the halting tone to his voice was just him struggling to speak English. “You have an accent?”

“You insult me,” he said, smirking a little.

“I thought you were just incompetent at the English language,” Violet said, her confidence growing a little.

The man laughed. “You think I am incompetent?”

“Seems that way.”

“I could make this accent go away,” he said in a perfect American accent. “But I prefer not to betray my people by abandoning the Elvish accent. You understand, I’m sure.”

“Elvish?” Violet asked, her confidence waning.

“They have not told you my name?” he asked, looking offended. “Min amin?”

“You’re Voro, aren’t you?” Violet said, the realization making her heart drop like a stone.

“So they did,” Voro laughed. “Perfect.”

“I—I wasn’t imagining you this way,” Violet murmured, trying to make her mental image match with the man—the elf—standing before her.

“They did not tell you I am hailum?” he said, a smirk adorning his face again.

“I don’t know what that means,” Violet said, “but I certainly wasn’t expecting an Elven pretty boy with perfect hair and a chiseled jaw.”

Voro smoothed his hair. “Ah, you think my hair is perfect?”

Violet shrugged. “Perfect is relative.”

“I do not know what that means, but I do not care,” Voro said, bringing his hands behind his back in a classic “handsome villain” pose. “I have learned to take compliments when they come.”

Check the Elvish! This is one of my favorite scenes in the whole draft. It was the first time I got to implement my original Elvish and the first time Voro entered the story. I had such a fun time writing it. I didn’t want it to end.

“I hope everyone is ready because we are going to have an intense training session today,” Eno said, breezing by them.

“Wait, Mr. Eno, sir!” Evan said, rushing after him.

Eno stopped. “What?”

“Um. . . . how old are you?” Evan asked.

Eno stared. “Why do you need to know that? Will that save you on the battlefield?”

Evan twisted his fingers. “Well, no, but I just thought—”

“Then I’m not telling you how old I am.” Eno took a step, but Iris appeared in front of him.

“We have ways of figuring you out,” she said, steepling her fingers and trying to look menacing.

“Oh yeah?” Eno crossed his arms. “And how are you planning to find out my age if I’m not going to tell you?”

“By cutting you open and counting the rings!” Evan suggested. Everyone burst out into laughter.

“Wrong living organism, dude,” Ryan laughed, clapping Evan on the shoulder.

Evan pursed his lips. “Counting the points on his antlers?”

Hehe, the dialogue in this scene came from a random conversation in Sunday school between the teacher and one of the highschool guys. I knew I would have to use it in my novel because it was just too funny to pass up.

Anddddd those are all of my favorite snippets that are spoiler-free. Maybe one day, you guys will be able to read the entire novel.

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

Time management was a huge one. Of course, that also had to do with my massive heap of college assignments, but I had to learn to fit it all in and push through the burnout to reach something I’m proud of. I’m so in love with this project. It’s amazing.

This will probably be my last time attempting NaNo for a few years, since I’m going to be at college starting next year (LOL, fingers crossed) and I know for a fact I will definitely not have time for NaNo. Between being a music major, being four hours away from home, and, of course, holidays, I know for a fact I will not have the time, patience, or energy to write 2000 words a day. But that’s okay. Maybe I can attempt it again after I graduate. Or drop out of school. At this point, it’s a toss-up LOL

I am very much proud of myself for what I was able to accomplish. I literally have no words. A’s and B’s in my dual enrollment classes, a completed NaNo novel, surviving multiple trips for the holidays and Other Important EventsTM, and just. . . . the amount of personal growth I went through outside of all the chaos. I don’t want to grow up, we established that in my last post, but I am growing up anyway. And I’m proud of myself for that.

Welp. I’ll see y’all in the next post. Not sure when that’ll be, but we’ll see.

🎵 Don’t Throw Out My Legos by AJR (I’m obsessed I can’t get this song oUT OF MY HEAD) 🎵

Know the Novel: Part Two ~ In Which I Fangirl Over My Villain (And Also Share Some Snippetssss!!)

It’s November! And I’ve already hit 25,000 words! I’m so impressed with myself. I think this is the most words I’ve ever written on any WIP, much less for NaNo (my previous NaNo WIPs were 22,000 words and 4700 words). I’m literally so happy and I’m somehow discovering new things about this project and my characters. Oh, and I finally know what my villain looks like, so that’s good LOL Up until now, he was just a faceless orb XD

Anyways, like I said, I hit 25k last night and I think that’s a good time to do this post! Halfway through NaNo, let’s do the second part in Christine Smith’s Know the Novel linkup! I’m so excited. Let’s go!

LOL, my sisters are currently chasing our kitten around the house. Usually she just naps all the time, but she’s feeling rascally today XP

The Questions:

1.How’s the writing going overall?

It’s been good! I was getting kind of burnt out around the third day, but then I introduced new characters and started really getting into the action and I’m cranking out 2500 words like it’s nothing! I’m trying to stay ahead because the next few weeks are a little chaotic for me, so I want to get as much words in as I can so I’ll have a little wiggle room.

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Hmm. . . . before yesterday, I might have said my sarcastic purple squirrel Tallie. She’s a unit. But now, I think my favorite part is writing scenes with my villain, Voro. He speaks English as well as the Elven language, and I’ve had so much fun sprinkling a few Elvish words into his speech. Last night, I was just sitting at my computer with a notebook in my lap, filling in my Elvish dictionary with words I hadn’t come up with yet. I came up with an exclamation of excitement which literally translates to “of excited spirit”, and the word combines my Elvish words for “of”, “excited”, and “spirit”. It’s been great. I love coming up with my own language.

3. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

Oh man, I love all of them so much, but I think my current favorite to write is Voro. He’s sarcastic and coy and Elven. . . . I mean, what else could you want? I also really like Ciela. She’s a dog hybrid and she’s incredibly smart and quick. Asyma is another of my favorites. She’s a cat hybrid and best friends with Tallie, the aforementioned purple squirrel. I was originally planning to make her kind of cold and aloof, but she ended up being friendly, so that happened LOL I love all of my characters, though. It’s been fun exploring their personalities.

4. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

How long it’s getting? I’m only a fourth through the plot and I’ve already hit 25k???? I was fully expecting to fall short of my goal, but at this rate, I’m going to go over it substantially. That makes me happy though, because my novels usually end up being too short.

5. Have you come across any problem areas?

Well, aside from feeling like everything’s repetitive when I write it, not really. And it’s not repetitive when I read over it, it just feels that way when I write it. Although, battle scenes are going to be difficult when I start writing those because I know almost nothing about fighting. But that’s what Google’s for! XD

6. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Everything, dude. From actually sticking with it and finishing the plot, to being motivated to write every day, to finally hitting 25k, the most I’ve ever written. It just makes me so happy. Even though I haven’t won just yet, I still feel like I have because of the amazing strides I’ve made. I went from not writing any words at all to writing between 1500 and 2500 a day. Wild.

7. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

I think I would be Harmony. She’s my main character’s best friend and a hopeless romantic. She’s friendly, she takes things literally, she gives good pep-talks, and she hopelessly ships Violet with her crush. I actually had a mini existential crisis when I wondered if Harmony should be my MC, but that passed quickly. It just makes more sense for Violet to be the protagonist. But that doesn’t mean Harmony can’t get her own ✨spinoff series✨!

8. Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

My first sentences kind of suck. They start with dialogue LOL

The prologue starts with:

“Ready?” Violet yelled, crouching as green sparkles surrounded her hands.

Then the first chapter starts with:

“Up! Up!” Ricky clapped his hands, marching around Violet’s room and opening all the curtains.

(Ricky is Violet’s dad.)

So yeah, not that exciting. As for favorite snippets. . . . oh boy. I’m spoiled for choice LOL

I would put the first scene with Tallie here, but it’s kind of long, so maybe not. I can put a little snippet of it here though!

Violet couldn’t believe her ears. “There’s no way I’m not dreaming.

Tallie grabbed Violet’s arm and bit it.

“OW!” Violet shrieked, jerking away and slapping Tallie, sending her flying into the wall.

“Unnecessary!” Tallie shrieked in response. “I already know I’m not dreaming!”

Hehe. I love that squirrel.

Here’s a snippet from chapter three when Violet, Harmony, and their friend Chase come across the ball of insanity that is Iris. I love her. She is mad.

Before they could start walking in any direction, a rainbow-haired girl holding a thick book appeared out of thin air next to Chase’s elbow. Chase screamed and staggered backwards, causing the girl to laugh in a way that reminded Violet of windchimes clanking together on a windy day.

“Did I scare you?” she asked in a baby voice, poking her lips out.

“N-no,” Chase protested. “You just. . . . startled me. That’s all.”

The girl giggled again. “If you say so, dude.”

“I’m Harmony,” Harmony said, stepping between Chase and the girl. “This is Violet and you’ve already met Chase.”

“My name is Iris!” the girl said. “I like Cheetos. Also regular toes. I’m not that picky.” She shrugged, her smile never wavering. The others just stared.

“Um. Okay?” Chase stammered, backing away.

“Sorry,” Iris apologized, still smiling. “There’s not much going on up here.” She pointed to her skull and made a face. “It’s like my brain is spaghetti, but the spaghetti is slithering snakes and the snakes are all wearing party hats and shooting fireworks around my skull to hear the echo. But sometimes I say something coherent.”

Chase just stared.

“My friends say that I’m so air-headed, the only reason I’m not floating away is because of how much I weigh,” Iris continued.

“H-how much do you weigh?” Chase asked, without thinking.

“I don’t know, about fifty squirrels, WHY DO YOU WANNA KNOW, SOYBOY?!” Iris shrieked, holding her book above Chase’s head threateningly.

“I’M SORRY, I’M SORRY!” Chase shouted, cowering behind Harmony.

“Did someone say SQUIRRELS?!” Tallie asked, flying headfirst onto Chase, who screamed and fell to the floor in fear.

*cringes at the unedited-ness*

Here’s a snippet from the first battle training session. Ryan and Levi are in a fight and they’re on the floor wrestling, while everybody’s watching. Honestly, this bit makes me LOL

“Ugh, what are you, twelve?” Levi muttered, trying to punch Ryan and missing by a foot.

“On a scale of one to ten, absolutely!” Ryan answered, pulling Levi’s hair.

“Did you steal that from Tumblr?” Chase shouted.

“Absolutely!” Ryan said again, elbowing Levi in the nose.

There’s like a thousand more I could choose, but I’ll just leave y’all with those.

9. Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)

Oh, hilarious typos?? I posted this one on YWW because I almost fell out of my chair laughing at it.

What I meant was that she pushed them up the bridge of her nose onto her face, but it didn’t quite come out that way XD

10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

Well, I usually don’t do any writing until the evening, after I get all my dual enrollment work done for the day and the house is finally silent. I usually start at 8:00 PM and then write till 10:00-ish, which is when my dad makes me get off the computer and go to bed LOL Depending on how much I enjoy the scene I’m writing, I can write 2000 to 2500 words in two hours, which is terrible, I know, but we’re working on it.

So, basically, I hop on the computer around 7:30 and check all my notifications on YWW and my email, etc. Then, once I have nothing else I can do to procrastinate, I turn on my music and start writing! I have a playlist for my book, but I also made a playlist for all the instrumental music I listen to, just in case I’m having trouble focusing because of the lyrics. I really need to organize my playlist according to song color, because yesterday, while I was writing the scenes with my villain, I kept getting peppy music, which was not helping me get into the right headspace for writing a VILLAIN XD

And then I just write for a couple hours. Sometimes I get distracted and pop over to YWW for a minute, or obsessively check my WordPress notifications, but then it’s right back to writing and working.

Around 9:57, I update my progress on the NaNoWriMo official website (that stats page is a huge motivator in and of itself–) and sometimes I go back through and read what I just wrote and make some small edits. And then I’m all done for the day!

I must say, I am pleasantly surprised with how well I’ve been able to keep myself writing. I haven’t missed a single day so far, although I haven’t always hit my word goal oops. But I’m 6000 words ahead, so I guess that’s alright.

Anyways, I have to go write now, so toodles!

🎵 Masked Heroes by Vexento 🎵

Know the Novel: Part One ~ In Which I Go Into Detail About the Project I Keep Talking About In Various Posts That No One Knows That Much About (But That CHanges Todayyy!!!)

My apologies for that very confusing and obnoxiously long title.

Well, ladies and gents, we’re getting close to the end of October, which means that November is coming up, which means that National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us.

Scary.

I’m so PUMPED for NaNo this year!! I’ve attempted it twice in the past couple years and I failed both times. One more so than the other…. But I have a clear goal for this year and I know what I’m doing and I’ve been preparing for this for a long time. You guys’ll see what I mean in a bit.

ALSO, this is my second time participating in Christine Smith’s Writer’s Linkup. Last year, I did the first part and then……didn’t do the rest of it?? So I will do all three parts this year LOL

Okay, that’s enough yammering from me. Let’s get this done with!

So First, A Little Background. . . .

I’m not starting a new project for NaNo. In fact, I’m going to be writing the first book in the series I’ve been plotting for about two and a half years now. I started writing this book in April of 2020, shortly before I joined the Young Writers’ Workshop. After I joined YWW, I realized that there were a LOT of things wrong with my novel. After I got burnt out on it in June or July of that same year, I decided that I would scrap the original draft and try plotting. I took all the ideas I’d had for the series when I first was inspired and figured out how they would work and what book they would happen in etc.

So, for the past two years, I’ve been plotting this five-book series, making sure everything is consistent and makes sense and works. I’m at the very end of the plot for the fifth book as I write this, and once I finish it, I’ll do one last macro edit of my plots and make sure all the threads are tied and everything makes sense. And then, I’ll be ready to write!

The Questions:

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Well, the very first version of this project was inspired by a Minecraft fanfiction series called “Diary of an 8-bit Warrior”, specifically the sixth book. Something about that book made me want to write something like it. So, I wrote down some of the aspects I liked about the book (things like plot twists and character details that I liked), and started brainstorming. And the rest of my inspiration came from Lego Ninjago. Specifically season four. That was where a lotttt of my ideas came from. Especially the whole “elemental powers” thing. Actually, the main reason I scrapped the original draft was because it felt like a cheap knock-off of season four of Ninjago, even down to some of the scenes. I changed things, sure, but any fan of Ninjago could tell that it was uncannily similar.

Now, when it comes to the current version of this series, I actually don’t remember where my inspiration came from. I know that a lot has changed since I wrote the first plot point, but I don’t remember how. But it has been fun watching this project fall into place (or be forcefully shoved into place in some parts), and I’m so attached to it at this point, I don’t know if I’ll get burnt out LOL

The title I came up with was Masters of Fate. My reasoning for this title was, the characters were called “Master of _______” (whatever their power is), and, at the end of the book, they were going to break free of the force controlling them and become masters of their own fate. After I scrapped the original draft, I figured that title wouldn’t work anymore, but I kept it as a placeholder until I came up with something new. And then…..I didn’t come up with something new. I kept Masters of Fate, BUT it takes on a whole new meaning for the reboot. I can’t share that meaning because it is laden with spoilers, but yeah. That’s the title for my series (:

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!

Here, have something that I wrote just now.

Violet Blake is different — but she’s not ashamed of it. That is, until the special thing that sets her apart, her power to grow plants with just the flick of her hand, ends up killing her best friend and forcing her and her father to move across the country to start anew. Afraid that another accident might happen, Violet hides her powers — until provocation from her archnemesis, Rebecka Beauregard, pushes her too far. Violet explains away the sudden vines surrounding Rebecka, but she knows her secret it out. So, she isn’t too surprised when a talking, sarcastic, purple squirrel shows up on her doorstep. The squirrel promises her things she’s been searching for, and Violet can’t resist following out of curiosity.

After stepping through a portal and finding herself in the strange land of Brillyntr, Violet discovers that she, and other people like her, are the only way to stop the war-hungry tyrant, Voro, from changing the entire world as they know it. The quest is not without pain, betrayal, and danger, but, with the help of her friends, family, and allies, Violet discovers secrets, truths, and promises she could have only imagined.

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects of the setting?

I’m having trouble just thinking in relation to the FIRST BOOK. I’m so focused on the latter books, I keep forgetting these questions are just for the first book 😂

The story mostly takes place in the forests of Brillyntr, at a hidden base, although there are some scenes on Earth (where? I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m thinking somewhere near Connecticut, but idk). I think what I like most about it is how often my main characters are going to be able to interact with the side characters. I put a lot of time into developing the side/background characters, despite the fact they don’t do too much, but I am looking forward to incorporating fun scenes with them. Of course, not fluffy scenes, the scenes will serve a purpose, but they’ll be fun for me to write and fun for my readers to read. At least, I hope LOL

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Alright, my main main character is Violet Blake. The story is mostly told from her perspective, although it does switch around more in the latter books. She has brown hair, emerald eyes, and a narrow face. She can grow and wither plants with just the flick of her hands (well, not that easily because her powers have limits, of course, but you know what I mean), and can be kind of shy. Her birthday is March 11 (I have decided just now) and she is 14 years old at the start of the book (because that was how old I was when she was created).

My other main characters include Ryan Dinsmore III (Violet’s crush), Harmony Sharp (Violet’s best friend), Evan and Reese Cane (siblings and I love them), and Maple doesn’t-have-a-last-name-because-it-is-spoiler-ridden (she is pivotal and has red hair). I have never loved a batch of characters more than I love the 80+ characters I have for this series, and these knuckleheads are some of my favorites. (My other favorites come way later in the series.) I literally cannot WAIT to write them. I’ve loved plotting their scenes.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Voro. An evil elf who is hoping to wipe out the humans in Brillyntr and anyone who sides with them. I mean, he’s not quite as shallow as that, he has good reason, but SPOILERS GUYS. He also has two sidekicks, R (SPOILERS) and G (MORE SPOILERS). I think I like those two more than I like Voro himself. They’re crazy, in any case.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

Everything????? I’ve been plotting this for THREE YEARS I’M READY TO WRITE ITTT!!!!!! Plus, all the crazy banter and happenings between my characters is going to be *chef’s kiss* I think this series is mostly character-driven (although the plot is very much important), and character development is one of my favorite things ever, so I guess that’s why I’m so attached to my charries. I love them.

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Series. With five books. And I’ve already started planning three spin-off serieses. Yeahhh, that might be overkill, but just in case MoF blows up, I have three other serieseses to publish afterward, featuring familiar characters *winks* And if it doesn’t, I’ll be content with just writing these novels. I think that’s one of the reasons I’m so excited to write this. I’m hoping to publish it one day, but even if I never do, I’ll still have it to read. And let my family read. And let my friends read. I’ve based several characters off of my friends, and I want them to read the series and see…..how I see them, I guess.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

PLOTTINGGGGGGGG

This is the first time I’ve ever really plotted in-depth, and it’s been great. I’ve always struggled with motivation to write, but I really feel like having everything already laid out for me is going to be a huge help. And it will definitely help with consistency with the little technicalities later in the series.

9. Name a few unique elements in this story.

Hmm. . . . I’m actually not sure. I’ve pulled inspiration from so many places, I don’t really have anything “new” per se. I’m not, like, plagiarizing or anything (at least. . . . not for this version of the story XP), but I also don’t have anything super brand-new. Although, I do really like the history of how humans came to be in Brillyntr. Basically, the Brits found this portal back in the olden days when they were like. . . . invading everything, and they, predictably, invaded Brillyntr. Because that’s what the British did back then. *shrugs*

Anyway, I haven’t seen any stories with that sort of history, so I think that’s pretty interesting. I was lowkey quite proud of myself when I came up with all of it. And surprisingly, it all came from when I named Brillyntr. I had to come up with a backstory for the name. So I did!

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!).

Hm. . . . most of my stuff is kind of personal to me, as in, it won’t make ANY sense unless you’re inside my head, but I do have a map that I can share.

Let’s just hope there’s nothing too. . . . spoiler-y in there. Also, I know some of it’s confusing. Like I said, it won’t make sense unless you’re inside my head. . . . and I hope none of you are inside my head????

Anyways, I made that map so I could have an image inside my mind of what the travel scenes would look like, because I kept getting the distances ALLLLL confused. Obviously, it’s not the best, but I’m proud of it (:

Especially because all those tiny islands took two hours to get just perfect 0.0

I also have a bunch of drawings of my characters towards the end of this post, if y’all haven’t seen it yet. I put a lot of personality into the little sketches I did, which was also surprisingly helpful in figuring out my characters.

Anddd, if you want to find out more about the old version of Masters of Fate, you can check out this ancient post which I forgot existed until today. Most of it is very outdated, but it does have a lot of information about Violet so *shrugs* that’s something.

So ya.

I guess it could be a little dangerous to write my big project during NaNo, but Marissa Meyer wrote Cinder during NaNo and she’s done pretty well for herself. I do hope to publish this book one day. I just love the world and the characters too much to not! So I guess we’ll see what happens. I have to make it through the rest of Preptober before I can even start to think about that sort of thing.

I am a little worried about how my motivation is going to hold up. I’m going to be taking four college classes all during NaNo, not to mention holidays and get-togethers and work and just. . . . stress. I’ve been having a time lately. But I’m hopeful that it will all work out and that I’ll finish out November with something. It may be. . . . a mess of a something. . . . but it’ll be a something nonetheless!

Anyways, that’s all I have for now. Toodles!

🎵 Natural by Imagine Dragons (I can’t remember if I’ve recommeded this song before but it works for my novel so. . . . here) 🎵

YEAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH– ~ In Which December is Here

It’s Christmas season. And I am living for it.

The tree is set up, the stockings are hung on the back of the front door (because we don’t have a fireplace 😋), there are nativity scenes scattered all over the house, and my Santa hat has occupied my head since November 26th. I love this time of year!

Also, I’m sorry guys, the last post I wrote was my October recap. I literally have zero excuse. I thought about writing a post several times but November was the month of procrastination, let me tell ya! Sooo, yeah.

November Memories

So, last month I mentioned that my sister had hand-foot-and-mouth disease. Turns out, it WASN’T hand-foot-and-mouth disease. It was chicken pox!! *facepalm* Everyone caught it except for me and my oldest brother. I was vaccinated when I was little, and he got the first vaccination, so we were off the hook. Unfortunately, we didn’t get rid of it until a few days before Thanksgiving. Fortunately, it didn’t ruin any of our Thanksgiving plans! We did have to miss a little bit of church and a surprise birthday party for some friends, but we all survived.

Because everyone was sick, the TV was on pretty much 24/7, which means my productivity went 📉📉📉. So I fell farther behind in school and just stopped writing in my NaNo novel. Even though I wasn’t very productive in the necessary projects for last month, I did finish the plot of a novel that I have been working on procrastinating on for almost six months! I was really struggling with how I would work my ideal plot for the next book to make sense the one I was plotting, and somehow, after agonizing over it for six months, the solution just fell in my lap. That means I’ve plotted 3/5 books in the series! I’m so ready to start writing it, but I want to finish all five plots so I can make sure all the lore and reasoning and stuff is consistent throughout. If I’d had the whole series plotted fully, I probably would have worked on it during NaNo. But, I’m making progress! (And also fast approaching two years on this project! It’s wild!)

Speaking of NaNo, I failed drastically. I wrote for the first three days, then promptly burnt out. I guess I shouldn’t have jumped on a project that I came up with three days prior, but I was so excited and so inspired! *facepalm* I’m really good at dropping projects super quickly. Oh well. It was worth a shot.

Thanksgiving was great! We were supposed to hang out with cousins, but unfortunately, there were some things that prevented that from happening. So instead, we stayed at home and ate all the food we were going to bring and watched the parade and had a good time. I was stuffed. That evening, we had a bonfire and my dad made a swing from a board and some rope and hung it from a branch on one of our pecan trees. (Side note: is it pronounced with the emphasis on “pe” or the emphasis on “can”? I can’t decide which one to use.) And also, we finally moved the chickies (now hens) from this post into the coop with the other chickens sometime last month. I don’t remember when it was exactly.

The Friday after Thanksgiving is the day we usually decorate for Christmas, and, I mean, I’m not one to break tradition! We went out and bought a tree from the same people my parents have been buying from for over 20 years. They always have such nice trees, and there aren’t exactly any other places to buy trees here, besides the Home Depot, and who buys a tree from the Home Depot? Uncultured people, that’s who! (I’m sorry, all you fake tree people. You’re entitled to your tree of choice. Except for you, Liesl. 😜) There’s this family who sets up in the mall parking lot every year on Thanksgiving and sells Christmas trees (Frasier firs, for those of you who were wondering). They usually sell out in a couple of weeks. We brought the tree home and, after Dad finished putting it in the tree stand and trimming it down so it would fit in our seven-foot-ceilinged house, I strung the lights all over it. We have loads of ornaments in all kinds of colors, so white lights work better with our tree. After that, I handed out the ornaments, and the other chilluns hung them on the tree. I’m actually a little embarrassed by how many ornaments we have XD It’s a little bit excessive! After ornaments were finished, it was time to put the angel on top! (I’m actually really curious — do y’all use an angel or a star? Or something else?) We take turns putting the angel on top, and this year was my turn! I haven’t done it in eight years, and this time, I was tall enough to not need Dad to pick me up so I could reach the treetop XD And now, the tree is looking lovely. Somehow, it ended up with the name “Veronica” so yeah, Veronica the tree.

You can also see the stockings on the back of the door

After the tree was finished, Mom sorted through all of our Christmas boxes and tubs and set up Christmas stuff all over. I found an old string of colored lights and, by some miracle, they still worked! So now, they’re strung all over my room.

And my little sisters wanted something cool in their room, so Mom found an old mini Christmas tree that I didn’t even know we had, and I set it up on their shelf. Our halls are officially decked.

Saturday, we had Thanksgiving with the grandparents, and three out of four girls (including me) stayed over to help them decorate their house for Christmas. We set up my Nana’s excessive snow village and hung ornaments on the tree. We’ve done that for the past couple of years, and it’s loads of fun. They travel a lot, so their ornament collection is wild. I think they’ve been to more than 40 states!

Also, I went to the orthodontist again, and they put brackets on my very back teeth which are absolutely slicing my mouth open. Eating is so painful. BUT, my braces are Christmas-colored so it was worth it.

Okay, I think that’s everything exciting that happened.

November Goal Recap

1. Write at least 20,000 words in my NaNo novel ❌

I FAILED YOU GUYS!!! The final wordcount on The Girl Next Door is 4781. I really shouldn’t have attempted to pants a NaNo novel, and I’ve learned my lesson for next year. Oh well. It was worth a shot.

2. Keep up with my bullet journal ✔

WOOOO BABY, I DID IT!!! I’m so proud of myself! My bullet journal has come in handy majorly, and I’m so glad it worked out! I’ve already started using my December spreads and they’re really fun. So yes, expect a bullet journal post in the near future!

3. Write in my journal at least 21 days this month ❌

Unfortunately, I only wrote 13 days, but I wrote multiple times during those days and my entries were pretty long, so I only count it as a half-fail.

4. Scrapbook August 2015 — October 2015 ❌

I’m almost finished scrapping September 2015, which is a month less than I wanted. I’m realllly hoping I can finish before Christmas.

5. Catch up on all my penpaling stuff ❌

Another fail! Wow, I really bombed last month.

6. Memorize all my lines ❌

Nope. No comment. This is just sad.

7. Write three new songs, with at least one being about giving thanks ❌

I wrote one song on my ukulele and it was actually a love song, which is not something I write a lot. It’s pretty though, and I like it.

8. Remember to be thankful ✔

I think I did pretty good with this last month. I’ve been improving in my thankfulness more often of late, and this pleases me.

December Goals

1. Finish my American Government class with an average of 90%

This is my last college class of this year, and my grade has been hovering around an 88 for pretty much the whole class. It ends next week, and I’m excited!

2. Finally finish that stupid scrapbook!

If I don’t complete this goal, I am going to be so upset.

3. Make and mail all 19 cards to friends and family on time

I’ve been working on figuring out who I want to send cards to and when I need to send them so they reach the person’s house before Christmas. I actually made a page in my bullet journal to figure it out, but it’s already full *facepalm*

4. Write at least two blog posts besides this one

I’m going to have so much to write about this month, considering how full my calendar is, so I want to remember to write a couple of story posts.

5. Write a Christmas song

On ukulele so I can perform it for everybody!

6. Do everything on my advent calendar

I made a 12-day advent calendar in my bullet journal full of fun activities to do before Christmas, and I really want to do all of them. I’ll keep y’all posted!

7. Do some kind of art

Whether it be watercolor, pen and ink, marker, colored pencil etc. I wanna do it all! Well, maybe not all of it. But some of it.

November Stats

Blog posts published: 1
Letters written: 2
Letters received: 2
Art done: 2
Words written (outside of blog posts): 4781 (not counting the words I wrote while plotting a story)
Journal entries: 17
Scrapbook spreads completed: 4
New skills / hobbies acquired: 0

I’m a little disappointed with how unproductive November was, but something tells me December is going to include lots of stuff getting done. Hopefully.

What is at the top of your Christmas wishlist? For me, it’s loads of penpaling supplies. You can never have too many stickers!

I shall talk to you sometime later this month. Maybe.

🎵 While You Were Sleeping by Casting Crowns 😭😭😭 🎵

NOVEMBER IS HERE ASKLADJGOAEWT ~ In Which….Well, Yeah

HAPPY NOVEMBER LET’S CRUSH NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH WOOOOOOOOOOOO

*clears throat* Okay, sorry about that. I’m excited if you couldn’t tell. I’m ready to crush my NaNo novel! Y’know, in a nice way!

(Hi, future Mia here. It’s only November 7th, and I’m already behind on my NaNo novel. *facepalm*)

November is my favorite month of the year. I don’t know why. I loooove the cold because then I get to wear socks and cozy up with my blanket. Also, November just seems to be the month when I attempt to get back into bullet journaling, but it failed last year, so I’ll let you know how it goes this year. I’m going with a more simplistic approach so maybe I’ll be able to keep it up?

Anyways, I’d better recap October before I get swallowed up in November excitement.

October Memories

I got two new penpals! One is a friend from church and the other is a friend from music camp. I’ve already received three letters from my church friend, and I sent the first letter to my music camp friend yesterday, so I should be getting a letter from her soon. Also, I have a mail art post in the works, so once it is sufficiently full of envelope art, I shall post it!

Our church is doing a Christmas play and rehearsals are going well! The play is by Answers in Genesis and it’s about the magi. I play Gaszi, the leader of the wise men. I feel like that’s a worthy role for me, considering how I have seven younger siblings. I think I’m also going to have a solo? My mom is in charge of the music and we’re singing several hymns that match the theme of the play. You’d think she’d tell me more of what she’s thinking for the music, but she hasn’t.

(Future Mia again. Last night, she gave me my solo. I’m singing the first and third verses of Coventry Carol.)

While on the topic of church things, my dad was officially hired as the music minister! At our last church, he was the music minister, and we ended up joining another church that was in need of someone to lead worship, so he was happy to fill in. I really enjoy being the daughter of a music minister. Maybe it’s just my obsession with music.

My sister got hand-foot-and-mouth disease and wow, that was rough. Fortunately, no one else caught it. As my brother so aptly put it, she looked like she’d been stung in the face by a hoard of bees. It was rough. The virus is over, we’re just waiting for all of her bumps to scab over and magically disappear.

Band classes are going well, besides the fact that I’m struggling to keep up with practicing my flute and all the other stuff I have to do. I recorded my part of one of the songs last week, and I have to record another song next week. I really enjoy playing the flute, I just wish my lungs weren’t so painfully weak. Most of the time, I can barely go one measure without needing to breathe. *sigh*

My shoulder got a miserable hitch in it on the 10th, and it didn’t go away for a week. I couldn’t laugh, breathe deeply, bend over, or do pretty much anything. It was agony. It still kind of hurts when I breathe deeply or lean on that arm, but it’s definitely not as bad as it was. Pro tip: Don’t lean on your elbow every night for two years to read. You will regret it.

My oldest sister, Chloe, had her golden birthday this month! And my second youngest brother, Isaiah, had a birthday the day before hers. Fortunately, there aren’t any birthdays in November, so we have a slight reprieve before December, in which we have three birthdays and Christmas. Birthday season! Wooo!!

I finished my college classes with A’s all around and started an American Government class which is so much easier but also kind of boring. I’ve been putting off my assignments because they’re not very pressing and not very exciting, but that’s not great so next week, I probably need to schedule them earlier in the week and make myself do them.

I finally found a planning style that works for me, thanks to a class I’m taking with a friend. The class wasn’t mandatory for me, but she needed someone to take it so she could earn her license to teach it to people who actually need the class. It’s a time management and organization class. I think we have one more session before we finish up.

Let’s see, what else…..?

Oh! We have more kittens! They are the children of Mittens, our second oldest cat. There are two girls and one boy. The boy and one of the girls are striped and the other girl is gray. The striped girl is named Melody Archer (her nickname is Mel or Mellie), the gray girl is named Precious Marie (her nickname is Presh), and the boy is named Soldier Tenor (his nickname is Solj). They absolutely detest everything and everyone and they have unmatched spitting skills. I love them.

Also, I won the costume contest in my band class! I painted my face orange and went as a Cheeto. To be completely honest, I was the last person I expected to win, so that was a pleasant surprise.

Alrighty, I think that’s it. There may have been some stuff that I missed, but that’s the important stuff I think. Now it’s time for

October Goal Recap

1. Write in my journal at least 21 days this month ❌

I wrote nine times in the month of October. Definitely a fail on this one.

2. Scrapbook every day this month ❌

100% failed this one, too. I just couldn’t make myself go sit on the floor for an hour or two and scrap. I only have four and a half more months to do, so I’m reallllly hoping I can finish before Christmas.

3. Write at least two posts besides this one ✔

Success! I wrote six posts in the month of October, which is a new record for me! I’m very proud of myself!

4. Watch Black Widow ✔

Another success! The movie was really good! It was nice to finally get an official backstory for Natasha. And her sister was epic! I can’t wait to see her reappear. Nat has never been my favorite superhero, but I respect her. The movie gets 3 1/2 stars from me.

5. Art ❌

Failed. I didn’t art at all.

6. Write two new songs ✔?

I wrote the “villain song” for one of the musicals I’m working on (titled “Villain Song”), finally finished a song I started writing in July (also for the same musical, aptly titled “Finale”), and wrote the first verse and chorus of a choral song with a gospel feel that will probably never see the light of day. I guess that counts as two songs? If you add it all together and do some funky math, then maybe.

7. Complete both my English and Communications classes with an average of 90 ✔✔✔

Successsss!! I got a 98.26 on my English class and a 91.9 on my Communications class! My grades were much better than I expected when I first started, and I’m very glad I passed my first two college classes with flying colors!

8. Learn two new songs on the piano ❌

Alas, I did not do this, although I mastered a song I wrote towards the end of September and transferred to sheet music, which ended with me changing the piano part and adding a full orchestra on accident.

Yes, hi, I’m the person who fully orchestrates songs on accident. Nice to meet you.

November Goals

1. Write at least 20,000 words in my NaNo novel

This one will probably end up being a bigger challenge than I hoped, but I already have 5000 words, so getting another 15,000 shouldn’t be too hard, right?

2. Keep up with my bullet journal

I’m continually trying to find a bullet journaling style that works for me. This month, I went with a more minimalistic style so hopefully that’ll help. Maybe at the end of the year, if I bullet journal through December, I can make a post with some of my spreads and some bullet journaling tips. IDK.

3. Write in my journal at least 21 days this month

Yep, I’m putting this one on my goals list again. Maybe I can achieve it this time.

4. Scrapbook August 2015 — October 2015

I’m soooo close to finishinggggg!!! I really need to pick up the pace!

5. Catch up on all my penpaling stuff

I have four letters to write right now, and I’m constantly coming up with new ideas and themes. I just need to have a bulk penpaling session one of these days.

6. Memorize all my lines

Past me wouldn’t have thought 22 lines is a lot, but present me is a little overwhelmed. I have four more scenes to memorize, so hopefully that won’t be too hard to get done in the next couple of weeks.

7. Write three new songs, with at least one being about giving thanks

Very specific, but I don’t actually have any songs for Thanksgiving. I want to add one to my ever-growing collection of both good and bad songs. Let’s hope it doesn’t fall into the latter category.

8. Remember to be thankful

Here’s a challenge: You (yes, you, reading this) should put this on your November goals list. Happy early Thanksgiving, y’all!

October Stats:

Blog posts published: 6
Letters written: 6
Letters received: 4
Art done: 0
Words written (outside of blog posts): 0
Journal entries: 9
Scrapbook spreads completed: Like….5?
New skills / hobbies acquired: 0

I think October went well. It was a satisfying month and now that it’s over, we can focus on Thanksgiving and Christmas! (Side note: Has anyone else been getting bombed with Christmas ads? Cool your jets, retail stores, we’ve barely finished Halloween!) I’m really looking forward to November and it’s already going great!

Did any of y’all complete your goals for October? And what about November? Any new goals?

Thanks for reading!

🎵 Gobble Gobble by Matthew West 🎵

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) 🎵