I have missed you so!
I am so happy to be writing a blog post again. It is, admittedly, not the ideal time to do so. I am currently sitting in my college library where I originally came to work on school. I have papers due on Friday and Monday, a group presentation and a test in two days, and copious amounts of reading and translation for all my classes.
But. How could I not do Christine’s linkup? I’ve been doing this Know the Novel thing for two years now and I didn’t want to miss it. It is a very helpful excuse to get back into blogging, too. In fact, I want to (tentatively) announce that I am returning to blogging! If you’ve been around here you’ll know that I tend to blog sporadically anyway, so there will certainly not be any sort of consistent schedule in my posting, but I thoroughly hope and intend to post again in the next month or so. And again. And again.
I’ve missed this a great deal.
All right, on to the NaNo stuff.
Know the Novel is a way for writers to share about their NaNoWriMo projects! NaNo is a month-long challenge in which writers attempt to pound out a 50,000-word-long novel in the 30 days of November. It’s stressful, it’s delightful, and I won it with a completely handwritten project in 2019! Last year I wrote 10k on a current project (my sadly neglected novel Remnant).
This year I am once again choosing to be a NaNo rebel! Rather than write 50k words, I’m setting a goal of reaching 50k words on a current project. (Which I am very excited to tell you all about!!) College is very busy and I would like to have time to complete homework, attend classes, socialize, and sleep. It’s hard enough when you’re writing barely at all (as it’s been for the past two months for me). Writing this much will be enough extra 😛
So my NaNo goal is this:
- IF AT ALL POSSIBLE reach 50k on my WIP (it currently sits at 20k, so I’ll have a daily goal of 1k)
- EVEN IF THE ABOVE DOES NOT HAPPEN I must write at least a paragraph of my novel every single day
Clearly, the second goal is much less time-consuming than the first. It’s there because I desperately want to get back into writing. I’ve been terrible with this lately. So making myself write every day will be very good and, I hope, will form a habit that can continue into December and beyond.
All right. On to actually answering Christine’s questions. I am sorry that this post is so long, but then again… I’m not really sorry. You haven’t heard from me for a few months. You can stand to read a long post 😉
1 ⟡ What first sparked the idea for this novel?
Wait. I actually haven’t told you anything about this novel at all. Most of you probably don’t even know it exists. (There’s a little mention of it in this post, but otherwise, nothing.)
This is exciting.
It doesn’t technically have a name, or I would certainly tell you that. Currently I refer to it in my brain as the “Erith story” because the main character sometimes goes by Erith, but its technical name is the “seamages story” because it heavily features sea magic. A possible title is Thalassa or something similar. For now we’ll just call it “Maya’s WIP.”
The idea for this WIP came from a dream I had about four years ago. I don’t remember it very well, but it involved pirates, a big family, a lodge by a lake, and a battle on the beach featuring magic boots. I wrote about a chapter of a story inspired by this dream soon after I had it. And that was that.
It’s almost completely different now, but there are still pirates, a big family, and a lodge. There may eventually be a beach battle. Sadly, the magic boots have been cut.
(A moment of silence while you all mourn the passing of Ryo’s boots.)
2 ⟡ Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!
I was raised to believe a lie.
Orphaned at age thirteen, Luca Erith — along with her seven brothers — are mysteriously taken in by Liam, the king of Damakos. He offers no explanation for his kindness and refuses to answer Erith’s questions. While seeking answers about the manner of her father’s death, Erith learns that it may be connected to the deaths of the previous rulers, Liam’s parents.
Everyone knows that mages are evil, and that the king and queen were killed by one.
But no one ever told Luca that her father was a mage.
Mage blood flows in my veins.
3 ⟡ Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
Okay, this is pretty much my favorite part of this story! This WIP is set in a Greece-inspired fantasy world. The characters live on the coast of a sea which is similar to the Mediterranean. The town nearby is inspired by the town in the movie Luca (which did not exist when I named my main character, fyi), the lodge/castle area is inspired by Luthe’s house from The Hero and the Crown and the palace in Thorn, and the lodge grounds are similar to the grounds in The Secret Garden as well as the topography of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
And the names! The names are (mostly) inspired by Greek and it’s such fun to come up with them and give them significance and everything!
Another thing I really love about my setting is the clothing. My characters mostly wear casual linen and cotton clothing, and it’s sort of a mix of medieval dresses and modern day styles. (I am not doing any historical research for this story. Ignore the things that make no sense for the time period — there is no time period.)
4 ⟡ Tell us about your protagonist(s).
My protagonist, Luca Erith, starts out as a thirteen-year-old. She’s opinionated, quiet, serious, and awkward, and also very worried that she may possibly be evil without intending it. She has sea-grey eyes, long tangly red hair, and freckles, and she blushes easily but refuses to back down even when embarassed.
The neat thing about this story is that I’m writing it as if I am Erith. The book itself is an in-world account written by her years after the events of the story. It’s been a lot of fun because I get to discover her unique voice (I intentionally try to make it different than my regular writing voice), plus I get to imagine what details she would include and which she wouldn’t. She is writing it as someone who knows everything that has happened, and also assumes that her readers know the outcome, so she occasionally makes little references to things that haven’t happened quite yet.
5 ⟡ Who (or what) is the antagonist?
There are two main conflicts going on throughout the novel. We start off with Erith’s internal conflict — what does it mean to be a mage? Can you be one and not be evil? What makes someone bad? She’s wrestling with this also while trying to figure out if she even is one in the first place. Once she figures out what she is, she has to figure out if that automatically makes her good or evil, and why.
The second conflict is external and there’s a person who’s the antagonist! But this bit is also quite complicated because for a long time Erith doesn’t know who is on which side. In fact, she doesn’t even know what the different sides are. It’s mainly an argument/war over whether or not seamages should be trusted, and why (which connects back to the internal conflict), and once Erith figures out who’s on which side, she has to pick a side. And that’s complicated. And then people keep switching sides, and Erith keeps changing her mind, and we’re going to come out at the end of the novel with a nuanced view of both sides and perhaps no real, single “bad guy.”
However, Fane Gavriel is a really neat character and he opposes Erith with force (in cool magic battles) a lot. Even if sometimes they agree. So he could be called the antagonist.
6 ⟡ What excites you the most about this novel?
I’m excited about most of this novel, but the relationships are a really cool part of it. How the different alliances shift throughout the story, who’s on which side in the end, and various romantic pairings are a lot of fun to plan, especially because Erith knows all of it from the beginning (and assumes her readers do too, so doesn’t take the time to explain it, just hints at it).
7 ⟡ Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
The current plan is for it to be a standalone. Let’s all hope it doesn’t expand itself because I don’t have the time or energy to deal with that. I have enough standalones-turned-series to write already.
8 ⟡ Are you plotting? pantsing? plantsing?
As always, I’m plantsing. I have a general idea of where the story is going and several specific scenes in mind, but there’s a lot that’s unknown, and I really enjoy the process of discovering that as I go.
9 ⟡ Name a few unique elements about this story.
- I think the voice and the in-world-ness of the novel is somewhat unique, and it makes me happy 😀
- The setting! Which is vaguely medieval but also a mix of random things I like.
- Tax evasion (*winks at Lilly*)
- Seven brothers! I think that’s cool (and I have experience since in real life I have close to that number)
- It’s certainly unique in that my character names are a mix of Greek-inspired and decidedly not (those ones are holdovers from my first chapter, back before I decided it was a Greekish world). For example, we have Erith, Maryka, Persis, Demetrios, and Kostos, to contrast with Liam, David, Jem, and Levi.
Another unique thing is all the books this story was inspired by! If you like any of the following books you might like this WIP.
- Thorn by Intisar Khanani
- The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
- Fable by Adrienne Young
- Chalice and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
- Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
10. Share some fun “extras” of the story.
Here’s the playlist I write to:
Some of the songs from this playlist that relate most to my book’s plot/aesthetic are “Crossing the Bar” by The Longest Johns, “Sirens” by The Gray Havens, “Hoist the Colours” from POTC, “Saints out of Sailors” by Flannel Graph, and “Coming Home” by Skylar Grey.
I also have a Pinterest board! It’s not organized whatsoever but I think it’s still fun to look at:
And there you have it! My NaNo rebel plans, a bit about my WIP, and a promise to return soon. I look forward to seeing you when that happens! (Check out Christine’s post if you want to participate in this linkup!)
Until then, tell me what you’re doing for NaNo and ask me questions about the seamages because I would love to talk about my project some more (: