In case you’re wondering: This week’s Worldbuilding post has been postponed until next week, due to exams. And studying.
Today I am telling you some more about my upcoming NaNoWriMo novel, The Surreal, Lovely, and the Strange. It’s a YA quirky contemporary which I AM REALLY EXCITED TO WRITE. (If you couldn’t tell by the caps already.)
What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Oh, I’m a panster all the way! Haha. It’s really what I’ve done, but, for this novel, the characters came first. I started thinking about how cool it would be if my main character had a pet sheep (because that’s totally a normal thing to think about…) and thus, Eloise, my main character was born. That’s pretty rare, though — usually it’s my plot that comes first.
Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?
Yep, here you are. But… just a heads up, it’s rough, and things are likely to change:
Sixteen-year-old Eloise Richardson isn’t afraid of being different. Heck — she’s a dyed blonde with a pet sheep called Avery, who listens to punk-rock, and has severe OCD. And not the cute kind. The medication-is-essential kind.
Life turns surreal when she moves from the farm to a big city and enrols in high school so her mother can peruse her dream of modelling. Eloise is left with the burning question: What am I supposed to do with my life? Forced to explore her future, Eloise sets aside her passion for sketching and aims for a more plausible career . . . like working at the chain of grocery store her grandfather owns.
Enter James. Cocky, gorgeous and smart, he knows exactly what he wants to do with his life. So naturally, she takes an instant dislike to him. But as he’s forced to tutor her in the subject she dislikes the most — science — a strange, surreal and sometimes lovely relationship is struck up between the two.
What wordcount are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
Who knows?! I’m guessing that it’ll end up being around 50 – 60 thousand words — I sincerely doubt that it will be any longer than that — but as I’m writing it I might find that I have more of a story to tell than I first realized.
Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
A sheep-loving, sarcastic vegetarian of a main character. An arrogant, impressively smart boy. And, of course, a seemingly impossible career choice.
Sum up your characters in one word each.
Avery (she’s the sheep, by the way): Troublemaker
Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!
Eloise, definitely. I haven’t had a main character before who’s quite as sarcastic as she is… so it’s going to be so much fun to craft her sarcastic, and hopefully witty, dialogue. Also, I’m rather looking forward to James’s character — except I’m going to have to a lot of research to make him realistic; I know next to nothing about scientific nerdy stuff.
What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
This is contemporary. So I don’t believe that there is any “villain” exactly — not in the traditional sense of the word, I mean. The closest thing to a villain in this novel is the character that offers the most about of conflict is Eloise’s mother. Who is yet to be named. Because names are difficult.
What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
She loves art. More specifically, sketching in charcoal, and she wants to make that her career — and the first step to that is getting a scholarship into her local art school as she can’t afford to go otherwise. Yet her mother wants Eloise to have a more stable, dependant career.
What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
When she her art teacher tells Eloise she has a chance at actually winning the art scholarship… There’s only one problem. She needs to achieve a certain mark in the rest of her subjects — and she’s failing science. Horribly. So, she’s tutored. By James. And that’s where their rather odd relationship begins.
Where is your novel set?
England! YAY. Second time I’ve written a book in the UK (no, I’ve never been there, but Google Maps is awesome, let me tell you that), set in the (fictional) town of Oakridge.
What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
Apart from her relationship with James, Eloise also strikes up a friendship with James’s younger sister, Mia. She’s in the same year as Eloise, and despite their… differences… they actually become really close friends by the end of the novel. Which is going to be fun to write.
How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
She understands her mother better, and vice versa, I think. They never got along on the farm after Eloise’s father died, so there was always this distance between them: I think this novel is a lot about bridging up broken family relationships. But more than that Eloise learns more about herself; that her sarcasm has unintentionally become a self-defence mechanism against coping with the death of her father.
Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
I literally have no clue. Pantser, here!
What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself?
Hmm. Interesting questions. This novel deals a lot with the future. I think I’m writing it because I, myself, am getting really close to my last year in school, and have no idea what I want to do with the rest of my life. It also definitely has a “follow your dreams” sort of moral, as Eloise wants nothing more than to become an artist.