know the novel link-up 2021: part one ~ introduction

Hello, my friends! My, am I excited for this post. After a lot of pondering and scrambling, I’ve finally decided to do NaNoWriMo this year, for I think… the sixth or seventh year?

The past couple of years have been rough writing-wise, but I think I’m starting to take baby-steps back towards rekindling my passion of writing. I’m saving up to re-join a writing workshop I loved when I was younger, and I’m watching all kinds of writing videos (something I haven’t been able to do for a long time). And of course, I’m also doing NaNoWriMo. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with the YWP or go for the full 50k this year (for the first time ever), but I’m excited to see what happens.

I’ve seen this link-up around the blogoverse for a few years now, and I’m so excited to take part in in this year! It’s called Know The Novel and it’s hosted by Christine Smith. There’s a list of questions to answer each month for the months of October, November, and December.

Let’s get into it, shall we? 🙂

This year I’m doing something a little different for my project. Instead of working on the first book in my Starless trilogy, I’m moving ahead to the second book. The second book doesn’t have a set title, though I usually refer to it in my mind as Survivors or Surviving. I’m hoping that by the end of this NaNo, I’ll have at least a working title for it.

I still haven’t finished book one of the trilogy, Starless. I’ve been working on it for years, and I think I just need a break from it because I’m not getting anywhere with it. But I love my characters and want to do something with them, hence skipping ahead to book two.

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. It’s been so long since I came up with the idea for this trilogy. I do remember that the idea for the whole trilogy definitely sparked when I started reading sci-fi and dystopian novels. I’m very heavily influenced by books like The Hunger Games, Divergent, The Giver, and also a lot of Marvel comics and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, my villain is based off of Josef Mengele, and said villain was probably the first idea that came to mind after I developed my protagonist.

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!

Oh dear, it’s next to impossible to fit my whole story into a blurb. Though I think it’s somewhat easier with book two than with book one. Either way, I still don’t have an official “back cover blurb”, but I can certainly attempt to give a little overall summary.

The book opens with the POV of one of my MCs, Jenna Sanford. For the past 14 years, Jenna has been a subject in a human experimentation lab called the Institute. She can’t remember what life is like outside of the Institute, and finally, after so many years, all her hope is gone and she doesn’t know how much longer she can hold out, but feels obligated to do her best to stay alive so that she can try to help all the younger kids there.

Everything changes when Arendale Mayle shows up. Aren is the niece of the man who runs the Institute, and when she gets brought to the Institute, everyone immediately mistrusts her because of who she’s related to. However, it becomes very clear that Aren is nothing like her evil uncle and is just as much a victim as the rest of them.

It’s up to Aren to take down the Institute, but she can’t do it without support. Which is where Jenna comes in. And where I end my summary, because I’m not about to drop spoilers everywhere. 😉

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

The Starless world is a complicated one. It consists of many different sectors. Each sector has a different level of technology. You have some places that resemble prairie towns and small villages of the 1800s, you have some places that are like normal, modern day cities and towns, and then you have some that have technology like flying cars and robotic maids. Starless (book number one) takes place in an 1800sesque village, but book 2 (this year’s NaNo project) sets place in a modern day city. Specifically, inside the Institute.

The Institute is just all around creepy, and so I don’t think I have a favorite aspect about it. But the city that the Institute is in has some fun aspects to it. For instance, there’s a park with trees and a duckpond that my characters sometimes frequent. And I’m thinking about adding in a cat cafe and a children’s museum, but those probably won’t be relevant until book 3.

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Hehe, I’ve been waiting for this question!

My protagonist is Arendale Mayle. She’s commonly known as Aren. She’s 15 or 16 years old (I’m still trying to figure out my timeline, I keep messing it up *long sigh*), and she originally was not supposed to be the protagonist, but rather just a supporting character, and then I realized that I liked her more than my original protagonist and that making her the hero of the story gave the plot so much more potential.

If I had to describe Aren in three words, they would be as follows: Precious cinnamon roll. Alternatively, another three words that describe her are timid, kind, and stubborn.

The secondary protagonist for book 2 is Jenna Sanford. She’s 24 years old, is a mother hen type of character, and is very serious and responsible. If you’re in trouble and need medical help, another functional brain-cell, or someone to break you out of prison, you call Jenna.

Lastly, there’s one other important character in book 2, and while she may not quite be a protagonist and is more of a side character, she’s a very present side character and I feel compelled to introduce her. This character is 4 year old Violet O’Keefe, commonly known as Vi. She’s a red-head ball of energy who is always bouncing and always optimistic, despite the awful place she’s growing up in. She has a sweet tooth and enjoys building castles with her set of blocks.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

My antagonist is Ivan Mayle. He’s about as creepy as creepy can get, and while he’s very intelligent (he’s a scientist) I also feel like he’s a dumb as a box of rocks. (Don’t tell him I said that, he’d kill me for it.) Basically, he’s an evil, heartless psychopath. I hate him with every fiber of my being (as does any character that happens to cross paths with him). He doesn’t even have a weakness for puppies or kittens! How much more heartless can you get? (Not to mention that he experiments on children.)

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

That’s a good question, and I’m really not sure! I love my characters so much. They’ve been in my mind for four or five years now, and I’m always really excited to write them. And I’ve been waiting to write book 2 for so long now, so I’m over the moon to finally be getting to it, even if I always thought I’d have book one polished and ready for publication before moving on to book 2. That is not the case, but who cares? I’m going to have fun writing this book even if I have to go back and slog through book 1 someday in the future. XD

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Yep, it’s a trilogy, like I mentioned earlier. Though if I can’t fit everything into three books, I might have to make it four… but the goal is three. With a potential second trilogy following different characters. But that would be far into the future and so far there’s no solid idea behind it, just the thought “hey, that could be cool… if I ever finish the first trilogy, that is…” 😉

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Pantsing. For sure. I have never been able to plot a story in my life. Not for lack of trying. I’ve gone through hours of plotting videos and read so many plotting and structuring books. I’ve researched story arcs and character arcs and ugh. I can’t stand them. I’m sure my story would be so much better if I could bring myself to plot, but I just can’t. It drains me of my energy and enthusiasm for writing my story.

I suppose that I’ve had this story idea for so long that I do have a decent idea of what happens. But not scene by scene, just a general overview that’s subject to change. Does that count as plansting or almost-plansting? 🙂

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Uh…. human experimentation? I definitely haven’t seen that in any fictional stories I’ve read… But on a lighter note, I think I’ve got a very unique and very diverse cast of characters. Aren has several disabilities, Jenna… well, I can’t say what’s diverse about her without spoiling things, but something does happen to her during the course of the book, and I’ve got various side characters with mental illness, autism, ADHD, and other things in the like vein. I think it’s really important to showcase diversity in stories. If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know how passionate I am about stories like Dear Evan Hansen because of the diverse and important issues they showcase. So I try to make it a point in my stories. I may not always do it well, but I do try my best. 🙂

Now, if this were my fantasy novel, Autumn Rose, I’d be telling you about dwarves and dragons and the like. But this is not Autumn Rose (Maybe I’ll tell you about that project someday.), so instead you get unique characters and a unique story world for your answer. XD

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Hmm… what to share, what to share… there’s too much to choose from!

I guess I’ll share my character songs and my Pinterest board.

Aren’s primary character songs are Two by Sleeping At Last and Sound of Surviving by Nichole Nordeman.

Jenna’s primary character songs are Breathe by Johnny Diaz and She Used To Be Mine from the musical Waitress. (Coincidentally, she also shares a name with the character singing that song. That was pure, utter coincidence, I didn’t even know about Waitress before I created Jenna!)

Vi’s character song is Seven by Sleeping At Last.

I’ve got an entire playlist for the whole series and several songs from one character to another, but I can’t share those without context and the context contains spoilers. Of course, I’m always on the lookout for new songs for my playlist, so if any of you have suggestions based on what you know about the story, let me know!

And here’s the link to the Starless Pinterest board: click HERE. It’s probably a bit messy, I need to organize and delete a lot of stuff, considering that the board is filled with five years worth of pins, some of which are no longer relevant due to the fact that stories change over time, but it’s still fun.

Alright, that concludes today’s post! Due to my life being consumed by something known as work, I’m not sure when I’ll be back, but I do hope to get a couple more posts up before NaNoWriMo, because I’m pretty sure you won’t heart much from me at all during that month. I will be lost in a void of work and novel. XD Oh, and school.

Thanks for reading!


6 thoughts on “know the novel link-up 2021: part one ~ introduction

  1. This sounds so cool!!! There’s something so fun about creepy institutions. Which…sounds weird now that I’ve typed that but YA KNOW. Fun in the FICTIONAL world anyway. ;D And these characters sound GREAT. Those precious cinnamon rolls are my faaaave. Jenna also sounds like such a blast! And I already adore Vi. Children characters are the best. ❤

    The whole setting sounds SO INTERESTING. That's the coolest how diverse the setting is. I'm so intrigued!

    I also think that's really fun you're jumping to book 2. That honestly seems like a GREAT way to get inspired for book 1. Sometimes it takes learning what happens in the future to figure out the stuff before it.

    Also helloooo, fellow pantser! I am the SAME. I have written humongous, detailed outlines for novels and written them that way, but I find my stories always turn out dry when I plot them. Things flow so much better when I just let the story tell itself and see what happens. And that's OKAY. There is no single right way to write a book. It's definitely important to find what works best for YOU. If plotting sucks away your creativity, then by all means, don't do it! Definitely embrace what feels most natural and fun. ❤

    This was all so much fun to read! Thank you for joining the linkup! I do hope all the writing goes amazingly! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks so much! I love my characters to pieces. 😉
      Yeah! I’m glad I have the option to jump ahead and see what happens. I’m optimistic, here’s hoping it helps me get over my writer’s block. 🙂
      Awww, thanks so much! I’ve actually been bullied and guilted by various plotters over the fact that I’m a pantser, so it’s nice to hear that that!
      Thank you for hosting the linkup, I had fun doing it and can’t wait for the next couple of parts!


  2. I thought of Tweetsie when you mentioned Vi- both are about the same age. Tweetsie is my youngest in Tale of the Cattail Forest. She is five years old and extremely energetic and drives my protagonist nuts- there is way more than her than you think (which you will discover later in the novel). She may be a minor character, but she plays an important role in my book.

    Well, I have another misunderstood character- Marge. She happens to be related to my novel’s antagonist (Sarge). They are actually cousins (their fathers are brothers). Marge is the younger cousin, and is Sarge’s easiest target- his father (aka Marge’s uncle) was abusive towards him, which lasted 9 yrs—-Marge got the better father. Not an easy situation.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds intriguing! I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but maybe I should do an outline like this for DLTDGB. I have a planned hiatus coming up after the next episode, so maybe I’ll make an interlude post like that for new readers.

    Liked by 1 person

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