I Am Doing NaNo And How That Unnatural Phenomenon Occurred

I have never participated in National Novel Writing Month before. 

Cue the gasps of poorly-concealed horror.

My reasoning was as follows:

“I am supposed to be writing like a fiend all time, and I don’t. So what makes you think that the fact that it being November is going to change that, huh?”


Due to an inspiring post by the lovely Christine from Musings of an Elf – and the conversation we had afterwards – not to mention being utterly destroyed with admiration over what Cait just did, I done got determined.

I decided that this story has been crawling around in my head for far too long. I have had enough.

Consider war declared, book.

School, obviously, has to be done first. But I refuse to keep allowing myself to use this fact as an excuse not to write at all. I have a smidge of evening, do I not? I have something remotely resembling a weekend.

So yesterday I sat down – actually laid down. On my stomach. On a hardwood floor. Pain is motivating, friends – and wrote almost 3,000 words.

Clearly I am not Cait yet. Maybe someday.

Again and again I have read that when authors look back over their careers they feel that the best thing they ever did to get better at writing was to discipline themselves to write every day.

I was too scared to attempt this because I knew that I would hold myself to it and my own dogged determination can be a little terrifying.

No more.

I have resolved to write daily, even if it kills me. And in the event that it does, my ghost will surely be kind enough to finish the book.

If by some strange miracle I actually finish the book before November arrives, I will most likely feel disappointed in myself for my premature plunge, but, never fear, I will join you all anyway!

Depending on how things look at the end of the month, I plan on making some outrageous goal – like editing the entire thing, or doubling the length, or scrapping everything and starting from scratch – and then amusedly watching myself fail. Good times.

Now. Around something like the 5th of every month, Cait and Sky host Beautiful People. Which actually turns out to be Beautiful Books this month in honor of the upcoming time of doom. So if you like this post – and even if you don’t – I recommend you head on over there and see what be happening.

Now onto the questions!

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I am going to preface my answer by saying that I was only eleven. Don’t judge me.

My little brother and I were playing pretend. School, to be exact. Why any kid would enjoy pretending to do school when real school is excruciating enough, I don’t know.

I was the teacher and I gave the students – myself and my brother – an assignment to write a story.

I wrote about a girl with curly black hair who ran away from home when her mother died and went to live in the woods. One day she got caught in a steel trap – like the ones in The Fox and the Hound – and a dragon-riding man in black came to her rescue. The end.

It has evolved somewhat, in case you were wondering.

Describe what your novel is about!

When Keira’s caretaker hands her over to his worst enemies, Keira’s loyalties are divided between the man she loves and the vicious dictator who saved her life.

And when she is forced to choose between them, she betrays them both by choosing herself instead and running away to the mountains.

Pursued by a mysterious brotherhood, she finds herself in a maze of subterranean tunnels where she quickly weakens without the light that sustains her.

Saint is a rogue assassin, but he has been sent on a mission to save Keira at all costs. Forced to put aside their differences and their growing attraction, they join the brotherhood that would kill them undercover.

Keira makes the decision to give up what is most important to her to save an innocent life.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Aesthetic: a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.

Ah! Now that that is out of the way…

I am committed to good quality writing that has a message – not just mindless, unsubstantial fluff. I believe that story has the power to change lives, and I do not take that lightly, or want to ever misuse that power.

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Keira is my main character, but the book is not written from her point of view. She is more of an antihero than a heroine, to be honest with you. She is reserved and cold and manipulative, a definite survivor. She looks out only for herself.

The book is written from Edmonde’s point of view. He is my villain and Keira’s big-brother figure. He’s merciless.

Alex is a sweet, boyish, unabashedly flirtatious warrior and Prince of the Nomads. And Keira’s best friend.

Saint is a freelance assassin who hears directly from God – though for many years he has been refusing to listen. He’s sarcastic and cynical and angry.

Roth is Saint’s mother and was Keira’s guardian until she – Roth, that is – died. Um, spoiler alert?

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I just write.

Obviously, inspiration comes first and I might to a little brainstorming, but I’ve found that the best way to wpork out the details is to hash it out on paper.

I do follow a rudimentary kind of outline, but that usually comes together after I begin writing.

What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Um, hearing what other people think of it?

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

The setting is diverse, which is always fun. There’s a lot of desert and underground tunnels and lush jungle and mountain crags and snow.

Recently, I was skimming through a book about the show Game of Thrones. The setting is just amazing, so I like to think of that as a kind of inspiration for my book’s setting. Don’t get me wrong, I had the idea for the setting long ago. But those pictures definitely cemented how I wanted things to look.

You may have already picked up on a fantasy vibe and that’s what I want. I want the setting to be fundamentally unlike anything from history.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Keira’s goal is to stay alive. That sounds small and mean when I put it out there like that, but its the truth. Told ya she was more of an antihero.

Lots of things stand in her way. Edmonde, the Shadow, all the people trying to kill her.

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Early in the book, Keira decides to look out for herself before anyone else.

One of the last things she does is to give up her soul to save a young girl that she recognizes as better than herself.

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Deep question.

I want the book to convey the idea that even the imperfect things can be beautiful. That beauty can be found in the midst of great pain and brokenness.

Tell me about your book! What is at the heart of the story you are telling? Who are your main characters? What inspired you to write this story? And don’t forget to include a link to your own Beautiful People in the comments – on pain of death!


14 thoughts on “I Am Doing NaNo And How That Unnatural Phenomenon Occurred”

  1. AHHH I LOVED READING THIS!! And also hurrah and huzzah that you’re going to do NaNo!! Although secret *whispers* I absolutely do NOT write everyday.😂 So if you discover that writing everyday is killing you and not making your life better, then it’s totally okay to just write in spits and spurts. I’m like a binge-writer (I KNOW, WE’VE ALL NOTICED) so I’ll go like 3+ months without touching a project, and then spend a week writing 8+ hours a day. I’m an oddball. #PROUD But every writer has a different method!! IT’S GLORIOUS.
    Also i looooove the sound of your book. And diverse fantasy setting with antiheroes?! THIS IS SO GLORIOUS I’M FLAILING FOR YOU RIGHT NOW. 😀
    Thanks for joining in and eep, good luck!! I’ll be here to smush cake of encouragement in your hair as you write!


    1. Aw, thank you so much, Cait! YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION TO ALL OF US. *wipes away stray tears*

      Haha, sounds like me! Like what kind of writer am I anyway??? I am perfectly happy not writing for hs at a time and then BAM! inspiration hits and I am ALL OVER IT!


  2. Love love LOVE your story description and setting!! This sounds so fascinating! I’m horrible at writing consistently, which is partially why Nano is always so hard for me, but I’M DETERMINED THIS YEAR! You and I – we can do IT! 🙂


  3. This sounds AMAZING! I LOOOVE the sound of your story (and also now I’m questioning why I used to play make-believe school when hated school….) and I’m especially intrigued by how your villain is your POV character??? That sounds amazing!

    Good luck trying NaNo for the first time, if you need a support group feel free to message me on NaNo!


    1. Thank you so much!!!

      I know, right??? Kids are weird… 😉

      Haha, yes! I wanted to do something different, you know?

      Gah, you are so sweet! I need all the support I van get, so…


      1. Kids are so weird! Haha.
        I definitely get wanting to do something different and that sounds so amazing!
        Who doesn’t need lots of support? Haha. Are you on twitter? I’m @TheStoryGoes_ there and always around for support and complaining about how hard NaNo is. XD


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