Today I’m linking up with Notebook Sisters and Further Up and Further In to talk about my NaNo novel!
If you don’t know, NaNoWriMo is this huge event in November where writers all over the world attempt to write a novel…in 30 days. Or 50,000 words of one, anyway. I’ve participated in 2012 and 2013 – both times I not only wrote 50,000 words but finished the novel I was writing. That is NOT going to happen this year, because 1) I have a job, 2) I’m in year 12 and 3) I’m doing School Spec which is a massive dancing event thing.
Basically I’m crazy for attempting it. But I don’t want to break my streak!
So here we go.
What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
It’s always the characters for me.
But they feel real to me. The plot usually comes later for me, because in contemporary YA it’s the characters who are important. Actually, the idea came from the 30 day Writing Challenge, which I did…last year? I think? Maybe the year before. But anyway, the prompt for day 21 was “he or she sees their crush in the library.” And I liked what I wrote so much that I decided I wanted to turn it into a novel. It developed quite a lot from there.
Also I’m a plotter. I write a scene-by-scene outline as well as the major plot points/conflicts, and character sketches. HOWEVER. I am also NOT a plotter, in that most of the time I take no notice of my outline. Because the characters do what they want.
Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?
My working title is Grizzly.
But this will probably change. And…I didn’t have a back-cover-blurb, but I’m going to write one RIGHT NOW.
Molly and Winnie used to be best friends, but high school has a habit of pulling people apart. When Molly sees Winnie in the library, it’s a shock to say the least – Winnie’s one of the popular girls now, not one to hang around novels. She should have said something. Should have noticed something was wrong. A week later, Winnie tries to kill herself.
Winnie is alone. Friendless. Pregnant, though her parents don’t know it yet. Molly has dreams of her own – she wants to become a vet, and God knows making friends with Winnie isn’t conducive to that plan. Despite that, it’s not only a friendship that blossoms between them, but a romance.
It’s their last year of school. It’s a year of both of them working at the local zoo, sharing their love of animals; of making blanket forts; of exams and stress and giving up more than once. For Molly, though, it’s all worth it.
And they’re going to get through it together.
What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
Probably about 60-70k. That’s what most of my novels have been (except for Wanderland, which was almost 90k…far out).
Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
Two girls, falling in love in the most difficult of circumstances.
Their special places, where the walls come down and they become more like the people they’re supposed to be.
Their final year of school – laughter, tears and everything in between.
Sum up your characters in one word each.
So we have:
Molly Zhou (the main character): determined.
(I COULD say stubborn because she doesn’t give up on anything, but I like her too much)
Winifred Tang (aka Winnie): contemplative.
(This girl seriously thinks too much. But it can be really lovely as well)
Crispin (Molly’s friend): geek-larious.
(IT’S TOTALLY A WORD…but anyway, Crispin is both geeky and hilarious. I’m looking forward to writing him)
Meiying Zhou (Molly’s mum): kind.
(She’s so lovely. I can’t wait to write about her)
There are some more characters – a few teachers at their school, and Winnie’s parents, but I haven’t named them yet.
Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!
ALL THE CHARACTERS.
Probably my main character, Molly. I mean, I COULD have written it from the perspective of Winnie, but I think it would be too sad. Molly is fiercely loyal, she’s determined, she’s kind, she has a bit of a temper…pretty much the opposite to me.
But I’m also excited to write Crispin, because 1) HIS NAME IS CRISPIN and 2) He’ll be very fun.
What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
Winnie’s parents, pretty much. They’re really strict and traditional, and…um, they kind of kick Winnie out when they find out she’s pregnant. But also there are a few really horrible kids at school.
What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
Molly’s goal is to get through her HSC year with Winnie. You’d think that’d be an easy enough goal, but not with all the obstacles – Winnie’s depression, their parents, being lesbians, pressure of exams…wow, I do NOT envy them.
What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
Grizzly will actually include a prologue, which is when Molly and Winnie meet – and Molly realises what she’s missing out on now she’s not friends with Winnie. The prologue is also when Molly finds out that Winnie tries to kill herself, so that sets up a lot of stuff.
Where is your novel set?
What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
This might be spoilers, but if this is every published, it’ll be in such a long time you’ll all forget.
1) Prologue, where Molly and Winnie meet for the first time in a LONG time.
2) The first chapter. Molly is about to come out to her mum, but before she can, her mum comes out to her. Which is definitely going to be fun to write, and kind of cements their awesome mother-daughter relationship.
3) There’s a scene where Winnie really decides to trust Molly – Winnie brings her to her special place, this abandoned theme park on the edge of their town. And that’s where they really become a couple, kind of. I don’t even know. I’m making this up as I go along. But anyway, there might be an element of magical realism surrounding that.
What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
Either Molly and her mum, or Molly and Winnie – they’re pretty close. But while Molly + Winnie’s relationship develops throughout the novel, Molly’s with her mum is constant, which I really like. They have mother-daughter dates all the time – adorable.
How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
She becomes stronger, definitely – if that’s possible. And because of Winnie, she loosens up a bit as well.
Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
I do have an ending in mind, but I’m not telling! Also, it will probably change 🙂
What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?
What I’ve always dreamed of is being published, so I hope that one day, ONE of my novels will be published. Not for money, or whatever, but because I want people to enjoy the stories I make.
I’d also like to make someone cry. That’d be good.
John Green sums up my hopes and dreams pretty well.