Okay, so I know it’s been a little while! I apologize for the absence. If you’ve been keeping up with blog, you’ll know that I had to kick up the job search again and recently acquired a part-time job that I actually started Tuesday (the day I’m writing this post). I wanted to do Novel Progress updates, but I didn’t feel like I had anything of value to say.
I have some big updates to share today. I don’t want to linger too much on the past, though so I’m going to try and make it snappy. Simply put, I decided to put Come, Beasties aside after talking to my writing buddy on Sunday.
It was not something I had been contemplating up to that point. I had actually sent my most recent outlines to her and received some feedback. We’d talked in depth about my story for the first time in a long time, and I felt bad thinking that I’d asked her to waste her time looking over a story that I felt like stepping away from. But she was so supportive and confident that I would be just fine returning to that WIP after some time away.
The New WIP
I decided look through an old desktop folder where I’ve collected most of my previous writing attempts. I didn’t have an immediate new ideas, so I wanted to scour old documents. I found past NaNoWriMo attempts, ambitious plans for short stories, and lists of story ideas that never came to fruition. I found two stories that really spoke to me.
The first was four single-spaced, polished pages of a introduction that has since evolved several times. It had actually been reworked to become the beginning of a story I had been working on prior to Come, Beasties, which had unintentionally started to develop a classic Victorian horror story vibe.
The second was my NaNoWriMo 2016 attempt. Looking at it after almost two years was really surreal. I remember my inspirations and writing while I house-sat for a professor of mine during the infamous 2016 election. I even remember why I stopped writing, how the story had begun to take a stereotypical turn I did not like. But I didn’t remember how much I had loved the story’s beginning and ending scenes.
These scenes did not have much anything to do with plot, but in my mind they were so visually stunning in a way that I am impressed that I could’ve written them at all. These scenes reminded me why I thought I could become a writer.
I’ve decided to give this “new” WIP a new title (the old one doesn’t seem to fit anymore): Troubling a Star. It’s actually the title of a lesser-known Madeleine L’Engle book that I read (and reviewed) earlier this year. I’m comfortable borrowing it, because I know the final draft will have a title I want to keep to myself. I just feel like this title evokes something that I’m going for with this WIP.
I feel like I always start writing with a character and living situation in mind along with a very vague idea of how they need to change by the end of the novel. The trouble is I struggle coming up with the meat of the novel, the story, the fun and games!
I entered this new project with a plan to keep the story very simple from the outset. I knew who the protagonist is and her problems, but I needed to figure out who the antagonist would be and what form the plot would take. I didn’t want to be too ambitious. I wanted to follow a tried-and-true story structure, adapting it for this story and fantasy world.
I had a list of four ideas, ultimately deciding on the first one. I had reread Vassa in the Night earlier this summer and it’s remained on my mind as a shining example of the kind of novel I’d like to write. I like how it’s a modern adaptation of a Russian fairytale and is so vibrantly envisioned when I read it. I decided could see Troubling a Star having a witchy villainess with whom my protagonist needs to spar to survive (external conflict) and grow as a person (internal conflict).
Other stories that come to mind as inspirations, including The Little Mermaid and Howl’s Moving Castle, but I won’t tell you exactly how I see these works relating to my own yet!
Next week I’ll share more details about how I’m plotting along with more general update on how the writing is going. I want to start officially writing pretty quickly, so I expect things to move along pretty quickly as I draft this novel.
To a certain extent, I don’t want to get hung up on mismatching scenes or messy writing. I find it inspiring to edit as I go, because I find it easier to write when there is “proof” of what the story can potentially become once the first draft is complete. At the same time, I want to write a short first draft and then be able to expand it in future, adding the layers I have trouble juggling in the plotting stage.
Ideally, I would like to finish this draft before November, because a part of me would really like to be able to participate in NaNoWriMo successfully this year with a completely new story, maybe within a genre I’ve thus far left uncharted (e.g. contemporary or historical fiction). I think it would be really beneficial as a writer to write something that is out of my comfort zone and that would require a different kind of preparation.
I’m going start making notes of news stories or historical events that might be fun to imagine fictionally. Maybe that will become a future blog post!
❧ ☙ END NOTE ☙ ❧
I could blabber on and on about more of what has happened since Wednesday, but I don’t think it’d make for a very reader-friendly post. Even if I take a short break from writing these posts, know that I do love writing them. I just don’t want to degrade them by writing anything incoherent and ultimately unhelpful for any of my writer friends out there!
I know these posts are most fun when they are short and sweet. ^_^