Y’all, it’s November, and you know what that means–WE GONNA WRITE A NOVEL! November is National Novel Writing Month, and though I’m not intending to write a whole novel this month, I’m definitely going to try to write half of one? The goal is 50k, which is what I’m shooting for, though I’m already starting ahead, so I’d ideally like 70k (I KNOW), so we’ll see what happens. I’ve been averaging a lot more words than normal in the past few months, so I’m feeling pretty confident this year.
Like last year, I’m hella excited about NaNo, which hasn’t always been the case for me, but I’ve been doing a lot of healing and sternly talking to myself about what’s what, so I’m hyped. We’re gonna have so much fun. Also like last year, I’m going to be posting weekly updates every Friday wrapping up where I am for the week, though these will be coming in the afternoon, rather than my normal morning posting schedule, because I write in the mornings.
I did this tag last year, which I’m linking if, for some reason, you want to check out my big plans that I totally ignored (and I still haven’t written the novel I said I was going to, which is even worse because I’m supposed to be writing it right now, OH WELL). It was created by Sophie Li @ Sophie’s Corner, and it’s a ton of fun, so if you’re participating this year, link me your posts so I can scream about your projects!
Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!
I am writing the sequel (and finale) to my researcher & librarian story. I wrote the first one over the course of two months because it tried to consume my soul, and it succeeded, and I’m at a little over 30k words right now in the sequel. I’m honestly hoping to get pretty close to finishing it during November, so keeping my fingers and toes crossed for that.
Some background info on the first one, though: After being disowned, Frederick “Freddie” Hanscomb Wright III (hell, I love his name) leaves England following the instruction from a mysterious letter–if he continues his research on the occult in Portugal, his entire life will be funded by a mysterious employer. Freddie arrives in Portugal with his twin sister, Florence, and they quickly settle into life–Freddie steadfastly researching how to successfully summon a demon, and Florence abusing every notion of what society deems a proper lady. Hugo Santiago, librarian at the Joanina, has been assigned to Freddie to assist him with his research, and as they peel apart the layers of the occult over the course of four years, friendship drifts into romance, and really, if we’re being honest here, this book is a romance with a side dash of demons & ghosts. There’s a couple hellish summonings, an exorcism of ghosts, some really sketchy religious things happening in the background, and all seems happy and wonderful at the end until bam cliffhanger, Freddie & Florence have disappeared.
And now that you know what’s what, here’s a blurb for the sequel:
After a lifetime of diligent research, Freddie has finally successfully summoned a demon. The door to his dreams is wide open, and when he wakes the following morning, he expects to celebrate. Being buried alive in the catacombs beneath the Vatican is not part of his plan, but if it’s time, once and for all, to end the speculation surrounding Freddie that he’s possessed by an evil spirit, he’s going to give them one hell of a show. Meanwhile, safely returned to England against her will, Florence has set fire to as many things as she can get her hands on before they lock her away, and with no further disruptions, she sets about planning the ultimate destruction of her father and everything he stands for. And though Hugo is a country away from both of them, with nothing more than a furious team of librarians and a possibly supernatural cat, he will stop at nothing to return the Wright twins to their home.
As I was writing that, I remembered how much I hate writing blurbs because usually I’m just like AND THEN THIS HAPPENS AND IT’S GAY, so, noted, don’t let me write the summaries for my books. It’s gay, and there’s demons & exorcisms, and it takes place in three countries instead of one this time, and there are so many languages, and I’ve figured out how to work a small nod to Tolkien in, and there’s going to be a wedding and a happy ending, and look, I’m so excited.
What’s the genre?
Adult urban fantasy! I was going to say with a dash of historical fiction, but that’s only very marginally true because I just stick to regular history as it pertains to Portugal’s royal families with slight embellishments, and that’s buried beneath so many other things. And, you know, it’s probably just romance, but there are ghosts and demons, so even though there’s a lot of secret snogging in the library, there are also some exorcisms in the Vatican with legit demons, so. It’s urban fantasy.
Describe your MC in three words.
I’ve got three! I know, technically, you can only have one main character, but I’ve got three POVs, so you’re just going to have to deal with me being Extra.
Freddie Wright: overexcited, frantic, very gay
Florence Wright: arson, annoyed af, disreputable
Hugo Santiago: quiet, hopeful, proud
UGH I DON’T WANT TO LEAVE THEM AFTER THIS BOOK
Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.
For a second, I almost listed my villain as the entire Vatican, and while that’s actually super true, there’s someone behind all their deviousness:
Frederick Wright II: proud, immovable, unrepentant
Hugo’s pride & Frederick’s pride are very different versions, and it’s interesting to me that that word jumped out for both of them.
What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)
I’m setting it at 50k, but I’ll probably surpass it. I’m currently at a little over 30k words overall for the book, and I’m shooting for 120k, so, math tells me that I need 90k words. Well, that’s not going to happen this month, but my unofficial goal is 70k.
Is this your first draft? Second? Third?
First! If I’m writing a series, I usually write all the first drafts of each book before I turn back around and work on second drafts, which I know sounds insane, but I usually discover things later in the series that I want to work into the first one, so it makes the most sense for me to just write the whole story and then go back.
Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?
A new draft, but continuing an existing story since this is a sequel. It’s a duology, so this’ll be the last one, which is very sad for me, but I’m also so excited to dive into these characters and continue developing them.
What is your favourite time to write in the day?
Morning! I recently devised a schedule for myself, and I’m only allowed to write from 9AM-1PM, which works out really well for me because then I think about it constantly throughout the rest of the day and while I’m sleeping, and then, when I wake up, I’m practically chomping at the bit to get back to it.
Where are you going to write?
I write at my dining room table. Since the pandemic, I’ve been working remotely, and my room is basically the size of a closet, so there’s no room for a desk. Thus, I spend my entire day at the dining room table, and I honestly don’t write well while comfortable (ie: sofa or bed), so it works well for me to be here.
Computer or paper?
Computer! Normally, I outline on paper, but, as you’ll see a bit below, this novel has completely taken me by surprise, and there’s no outlining happening whatsoever, so no paper necessary!
NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment! How are you going to make time to write?
Writing in the mornings has been huge for me. I really like to read at night, and if I write at night, I just start feeling burnout so much faster than normal, so it helps when it’s the first thing I do in the morning. I also write more words per day than is required if you wrote every single day because I like to write a chapter a day, and those are usually around 3500 words for me, so my math means that, since I write M-F, I’m going to have more end of week words than I would if I stuck to the, what, 1200 words you have to write every day? Sorry, 1600. 1600 x 7 = 11,200, but 3500 x 5 = 17,500, and even if I don’t write for a day, I’m still ahead, so–wow, jfc, why am I always doing so much math with this book.
Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)
I’m so bad at participating in anything, and if it’s not in my calendar, I’m going to forget about it. I abandoned the official NaNo website about three seconds into the month last year, and it’s just not a thing that I’m good at, writing with other people, so I mostly stick to myself.
Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?
Beginning! I now have two writer friends that just write whatever the hell scene they want and figure out how it fits into the overall novel, which is insane, but I have another friend that writes like me, from beginning to end, which is such a relief because holy moly, not writing linearly sounds like smashing your head against the wall, and I’m both so impressed and terrified of those of you that do that.
Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)
ugh, it just occurred to me that there’s not going to be a lot of room for music in this one, AND I AM SO SAD
Tudo bem, normally, I’m a planner. Like, an obnoxious one, too. I’ll write a meticulous outline that has character sketches and all the history planned out, and I’ll mostly stick to it until the last third of the book, when I inevitably need to re-outline everything to accomodate the wild way I ran away from the plot, but I’m a stickler to mostly staying on track. This novel?? I tried to outline the first one, and I got about three bullet points in before I gave up because those three bullet points took me nearly a half hour because I kept walking away from the outline. I ended up not planning a single thing with the first one, and that’s how we’re doing it with the sequel, too.
What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?
I don’t eat while writing because I’m usually hyper-focused, and I actually sometimes forget to eat lunch until way past normal times because I hate interrupting the flow and not finishing the chapter. But Hugo does bake, and there’s always a ton of food in my books, so I’ll definitely be hungry while writing.
Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)
Tea! I love tea more than anything, and because I write in the morning, that usually means some kind of black tea. If I break my rule and write at night, which may happen once or twice, I’m usually drinking green or herbal (or white, very rarely), but I’m always drinking tea while I write.
Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?
My daily rewards are that I get to read if I’ve written, which is, honestly, not that much of a reward because I’m going to read at night no matter what, so it’s more just sticking to my already established schedule? I don’t know, it feels like a reward because it’s like yay I accomplished the morning’s tasks, time for the evening’s relaxation! I don’t have a set reward for finishing NaNo in its entirety? I’ll probably watch some TV. When I finish writing a book, I usually take about one or two weeks of just reading and watching Netflix, but I’ll still be working toward the end when NaNo is done, so my actual reward won’t come for a bit longer.
Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!
JUST DO IT! This is always going to be my advice. You can’t write a book unless you write a book, so even if you feel like you’ve got writer’s block or you’ve got absolutely no motivation to write, you have to do it anyway. Motivation is a farce. It’s determination that’s going to get your book finished, so write the damn book if you want to write a book.
Also, Margaret @ Weird Zeal compiled some really amazing advice from fellow writers in anticipation of NaNo, and not only am I featured (with a longer version of the above advice), there’s some really excellent advice in there that I’m definitely going to apply this year.
How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous?! Terrified?!)
SO EXCITED! I honestly can’t wait. I don’t shout a lot about my books other than in my monthly wrap-ups, and I’m looking forward to having a weekly update on what I’m working on. I recognize that I could just do this regularly, but that’s a whole lot of effort, and I’m going to be tired by the end of this month.
Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!
Since last year, I’ve figured out how to do a mood board, so here you go!
This looks wild. I feel like it needs some kind of explanation because why is Dante’s map of hell hanging out with some sewing scissors and a cat, but honestly, this is it. This is the book.