Beautiful Books – in which I talk about my NaNo novel

Beautiful Books is hosted by Cait @ Notebook Sisters and Sky @ Further Up and Further In.

Be honest: how is your writing going?

IT’S GOING QUITE WELL. I just want to finish it at this point, though. November is a CRAZY busy month.

What’s your first sentence/paragraph?

Caution: swearing.


It’s weird how many F-words I’m using in this novel. I don’t even say it in real life.

Do you have a book cover, and/or pictures that reflect your book?

grizzly coverI DO NOW.

Okay so this is the worst thing ever created, but it’s got a bear, so that’s nice. Actually, I’m not even sure why I called it Grizzly.

That’s what second drafts are for, though, right?





Do you have pictures of each of your characters? If not, describe them for us! (Be as descriptive as you can.)

I’m going to refer you to my Pinterest board.

What scene are you most excited to write?

The end one. Mostly because I want it finished.

But weirdly enough I like writing the sad scenes. And also the scenes with Crispin (who is hilarious).

Share a snippet or a scene that you really enjoyed writing.

I’ve shared SO many snippets, and I’m running out of funny parts, but if you insist.

snippet 8

Now that you’re writing, have any of the plot details, or the process itself, turned out different from what you planned or imagined?

Yes, lots of things have changed. For instance, I had no idea a particular person was going to die. Every NaNoWriMo is a new experience – last year I wrote about a girl who got homeschooled by her granny, and for some reason there was a talking spider (I DO NOT KNOW WHY SO DON’T ASK). This year I’m staying to the structure, for the most part, but there are still big changes.

Is there a character or aspect of your plot that’s difficult to write?

All the sad stuff is really hard. The old “write what you know” thing has never been as applicable – a lot of it is really personal and that’s difficult, but hopefully it’s more truthful because of that. I don’t think I’ve ever been as invested in a group of characters as I am with writing this one.

What’s your favorite aspect of this novel so far? Favorite character?

I really love Crispin. He brings humour to it when it’s severely lacking. I also love Molly and Winnie’s relationship – they are just SO cute together, seriously. I ship it (is that allowed?).

Have you drawn off of any life experiences or people you know to create your novel and your characters?

Yes! And I’m not saying who or what those people/experiences are (people I know IRL read this blog, guys…I would be killed). But yes, there is a lot of my life in this book, more so than any of the others I’ve written.

Do you have a playlist or certain song for your novel and/or characters?

I do! One word: Birdy.

Her songs fit SO well with what I’m writing that it scares me.

This is the playlist I listened to if you’re curious.

Let’s have some fun for a moment: imagine you are somehow transported into your book’s world. Which character are you most likely to be found hanging out with?

Crispin. Have I said it enough yet? He’s a combination of a couple of characters from manuscripts I’ve shelved, as well as some of my friends in real life. But right now he’s still a bit flat, so in my next drafts I’ll need to work on that.

How do you keep yourself motivated to finish your daily wordcount? (Pinterest? Internet breaks? Chocolate?)

Chocolate for sure.

And also Twitter. Twitter is a BIG help. But I think chocolate helped more.

What’s your favourite writing quote or piece of writing advice?

The fact that THIS guy is a New York Times bestselling author gives me hope.

Also the quote “I give myself permission to suck” (in relation to writing). That’s always been really helpful to me.

How does this book make you feel so far? Are you laughing? Crying? Frustrated?

There have been some almost-tears. Lots of laughter. Some frustration when parts don’t go right. But I just have to keep reminding myself that it’s a first draft – that I can make it better.

And ultimately, first drafts remind me why I love writing, and that’s been a really useful thing for me this month.

How’s NaNoWriMo going for you? Or if you’re not participating – what’s something you’d love to see more of in YA (that maybe NaNo novels this year will provide)?

24 thoughts on “Beautiful Books – in which I talk about my NaNo novel

  1. What an awesome post! I’m not usually into sharing much about WIP (and in fact, I don’t even think I’ve discussed by current novel I’m seeking representation for), but considering NaNo is slightly more open format, I might do one of these Beautiful Books things myself.

    I do love the humor in your snippets. I…can’t really do humor. I write more aggressive, tense thrillers, and anytime I try for humor it just comes across weird. Which is odd, because I’m always joking around in real life, albeit more sarcastically. I can’t translate that to pen and paper, so I just add more guns and higher stakes, and it seems to work out.

    It’s been great following your NaNo progress! Keep up the good work!

    • Haha, I’m probably going to regret it – I’m going to read back these excerpts and think “what was I thinkkkkking.” But that’s okay. It means I’ll be a better writer 😛

      I find it hard to do humour sometimes. But it depends. Contemporary is a great genre for humour 😛 haha, I joke around in real life as well, but it’s a very PARTICULAR kind of humour (as in, most people don’t think it’s funny at all, just weird).

  2. Emily, from all of those little snippets, I am convinced that this novel is going to be amazing. The idea (I totally stalked that Pinterest board) is awesome and it has WINNIE THE POOH. I love that dude.
    I have never been much of a fan of Birdy but I understand what you mean about the song fitting the writing so well. I had that last year when I was doing NaNo excapt my artist was Landon Pigg. I would put all of his music on repeat and just write. It was amazing.

  3. My first drafts are spent with me repeating manically “it’s just a first draft, just a first draft” because ohhhh I make SO many mistakes in mine. >_< I'm glad Grizzly is going well and HUZZAH! At least you have finished the NaNo part right?! *parties quietly on behalf of you which involves guzzling your chocolate* I love your snippets. I love that it’s called Grizzly although, to be honest, I’m expecting cute teddy bears or absolute freaky bear attacks. One or the other. There is no inbetween in my head right now. *nods*

    • Pretty much exactly me. And then my stupid brain goes “but other people’s first drafts aren’t as bad as yours” and I’m like SHUT UP, BRAIN. Excuse you. That’s my chocolate. *steals back* You know what, I think cute teddy bears and freaky bear attacks will feature heavily in the second draft 🙂

  4. YAYAYAYA Keep Nanowrimoing! (I made it a verb). I love your little excerpts from your story. And also, wut, a talking spider? Charlotte’s Web? Wut. That’s pretty interesting, I would’ve loved to read your last years NaNoWriMo haha!

  5. I’m not sure if I’ve said something similar on another of your NaNo-ish blog posts, but, YOUR NOVEL SOUNDS FREAKIN’ AWESOME. Especially Crispin, because a) THAT NAME and b) he’s hilarious. I so wish I could write humour as well as you do! Aha. My NaNo was SUPPOSED to be humorous… but I think it just came out sounding awkward. Oh well. I’LL FIX IT LATER. (That’s pretty much my mantra for NaNoWriMo.) 😉

    • You know what, you’re definitely allowed to keep saying it 😛 haha, it IS a pretty great name, right? And I’m sure he likes to think he’s funny. Oh gosh, I wish I could write humour as well as Cait, and fantasy as well as you. WE’VE ALL BEEN THERE 😛

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  7. Ahhh Em, your story sounds amazing and I’m loving Crispin as well! Not sure how Grizzly comes into it but intriguing! Loving the cover, good luck on finishing it! I used to write but have never finished off a WIP so your speed never ceases to amaze me 😀

  8. How do you inspire me and make me feel so worthless??:D
    Okay, not worthless, but very not-accomplished. I mean, seriously. You are amazing. And I’m over here failing at life. Don’t even get me started with NaNoWriMo :/
    I got about 1200 on day 3 and haven’t seen my novel since… I have written a bunch of other stuff, i.e. college applications and an attempt at a writing scholarship. I have A LOT of new ideas for novels. I even have a lot more plot for some of my WIPs. But I have written not word for any of these ideas… So…
    As for Birdy, I have never heard of her? And when I saw the first song on the playlist was Skinny Love I was prepared to hate it. Because I love that song. But WOW her voice is perfect for that song… and also White Winter Hymnal.

    • Ohhhh no, don’t feel worthless! You’re worth very much. At least your weight in chocolate 😀

      1200 words is more than 0 words, and dude, college applications are important!!

      Birdy is AMAZING OH MY GOODNESS. And she’s so young. And she makes ME feel worthless 😛

  9. Oh wow!!! Your NaNoWriMo novel looks incredible! I have to say I’ve kind of given up at this stage. I didn’t get a chance to plan it properly beforehand so I went to panster it and then exams happened and last minute stuff and oh god I don’t think I can write a novel in a week! I have like, 1,100 words and that’s about it!
    I already love Crispin too and I really hope one day I get to read the whole thing if it gets published!
    And as for playlist
    YUP BIRDY ALL THE WAY!!! SO PERFECT!!! I think I’ve listened to I’ll Never Forget You about 400 times now!
    And also, yes Pinterest is best! Looks like Winnie is a very interesting person! 🙂
    Thanks for the update and congratulations on what you’ve done so far! I believe in youuuu!!!

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  11. Um, sorry, but I don’t think second drafts will be required here. Nope. It’s okay. Just finish it and get it published and then I can swallow it and have feels. I already know. Don’t worry, I’ve built up my chocolate-and-cat stash. (I JUST LOVE ALL THE EXCERPTS EFHGFUIHSIUHWUEHADJFKDJ… feels already *le gasp*)

  12. Birdy, though. HOW AWESOME IS BIRDY. The fact that you listen to her songs for inspiration already tells me that I love this book. (I mean, already love the excerpts you’ve posted. But, y’know, just in case you conveniently decide to drop some more. HINT, HINT.)

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