Well, I didn’t think I would do it, but here I am doing it. Participating in NaNoWriMo. (For people who have no idea what that is, don’t worry. For the longest time, I had no clue, either. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, which just so happens to be the month of November, and it’s basically a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days that make up November, with a goal of about 1, 667 words per day.)
I hadn’t planned on doing it, mind you, but late on October 31st, my friend emailed me telling me I should, and I thought to myself, “Why not?” So here I am, writing my butt off for the entire month. The book, by the way, is called Firefly Juice.
October’s Beautiful Books:
1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I’ve had the idea for, tops, a year. I got the idea by trying to think of how fairy tales get started. I thought that maybe they were just creative ways of explaining things, so I thought of a question that a kid would ask, and then thought of a creative answer. The question: “How do lightbulbs work?” The answer: “Firefly juice.” And it kind of progressed from there.
2. Describe what your novel is about!
Well, it would help if I knew more about that myself, to be honest. So far, I only have a loose skeleton. Basically, though, it’s about a post-apocalyptic world. Nuclear radiation has pretty much changed everything, and chemical clouds block most of the sun’s light. In short, the world is dying. Karol, my main character, is trying to find hope in a world that everyone is pretty sure is going to end soon.
The fireflies come in later. 🙂
3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
I want the feel of my book to be somewhat dark and hopeless in the beginning. Whether or not that changes towards the end, well, you’d have to read it to find out. 🙂 As for a visual aesthetic, I haven’t worked anything out yet. So far, I’m just working on writing it.
4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
I’m kind of winging this whole thing as I go along (I didn’t really have a whole bunch of time to prepare), so I’ve only really created a couple of characters so far, and I’m not sure how important or not they’ll all end up being. For now, though:
Karol is my main character. He’s seventeen, with black hair and dark eyes. He’s not really sure what to think about the whole “the world is dying” thing.
Justin is Karol’s best friend. Unlike pretty much every human left on planet earth, he has an undefeatable upbeat attitude, and wants to have fun and enjoy life. As I said before, this drastically goes against the grain of the rest of society.
Iggy is a mournful nineteen-year-old, rather pathetic and sad.
Alexander is Karol’s older brother. He’s a perfect model citizen in their society, not radical, and knowing exactly what he’s going to do with his life: prepare the world for its impending end.
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
I *sheepish grin* didn’t exactly prepare a whole lot. Aka, at all. I really didn’t even know I was going to do NaNoWriMo until the night before it started. I have a vague idea of what I want to happen in Firefly Juice, and I’m keeping a list of ideas for what I want to happen, but that’s pretty much it. I’m more of a “just go for it, and it’ll probably turn out okay” kind of person.
6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Just getting it written. It will be my first novel, too.
7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
First of all, it’s dark and cold. (The sun is almost totally blocked by gaseous clouds of nuclear stuff, people)
Secondly, the landscape is pretty drab and dreary. After all, nuclear bombs leveled almost the entire earth.
Third, Karol’s village is situated near a city that wasn’t hit by the bombs. Most of the people there were killed by the radiation, though, and because of change in the air’s composition, the bodies didn’t totally decay. So there’s a ghost city with half-decayed bodies filling it on the horizon.
8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
My character’s goal is to find hope in what seems like a doomed world… if there is any hope to be found. Mostly, what stands in Karol’s way is the unwillingness of the people around him to even try to hope. Not to mention, the world is kind of dying.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
How am I supposed to know?! I haven’t read it yet! Seriously, I’m rather curious myself about what’s going to happen.
10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I have a couple of themes in Firefly Juice. One of them is going to be about light. The world is in darkness (fire can’t be lit due to the changed composition of the air) and there ARE going to be fireflies in this!
Another theme is going to be hiding: when to do it and when not.
A third is taken from a quote by Mother Teresa: “What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway…. The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.”
Actually, it’s worthwhile to look up the entire quote. I’m probably going to be pulling a lot from it throughout writing my novel.
When the story is over, ultimately I want my readers to feel that there is ALWAYS hope. Whether or not I’ll succeed in that, well, I’m not really sure. I hope so. 🙂
November’s Beautiful Books:
1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?
Well. My mental state seems to be fluctuating a bit. For example, yesterday morning, I was feeling rather hopeless, but I later I exceeded my wordcount, so at the moment, I’m feeling pretty good about the whole thing. As for how my novel is, I’m certain this will be a very rough draft. Currently, I’m just writing to get everything down.
2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
From the prologue:
“The little family huddled together in their basement, breathing silently, staring at each other with large, frightened eyes. Everyone on the street did the same, and it was quiet everywhere, except for a lone dog barking in the distance.”
From the first chapter:
“The air was cold, almost frigid, though it was technically summer. It was night, the pitchest black night imaginable. Silently, the world waited for dawn, waited in terror for the darkness to dissipate, wondering if there was any hope of surviving the night in that blackest of black.”
They both need revision. 😛
3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
Right now, it’s either Karol, my main character, or Justin, his best friend. Then again, they’re the only two characters whom I’ve really written a whole lot about so far….
4. What do you love about your novel so far?
I love that I’m actually writing it, for one. Also, I’m really worried about fleshing out the rough skeleton I have for it, but so far, it’s going pretty decently. I think it’s a good sign that every time I think about it, I feel a good kind of excitement.
5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?
What, me? Mistakes? Pshaw, you’re speaking to the queen of the world right now, people.
Seriously, though, I really don’t think I have….
6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
To be totally honest, I’m not really sure, because I haven’t ever written a novel before. From the small things I have written, though, each parts have their upside and downsides.
7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
My writing habits are “Quick, let me grab the computer and type as fast as I can while no one else is using it!” So pretty much, I write whenever. Sometimes I listen to instrumental music, especially when it’s really noisy.
8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?
I rarely communicate with anyone about anything. So, uh, yeah. And, shh, yes, I am Batman, but don’t tell anyone.
9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?
Willpower, and knowing that I’ll be really mad at myself if I don’t. I also know that generally my mood about writing fluctuates, so while it may seem hard now, later it won’t, and I just need to keep pushing through.
10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?
Don’t give up. Just keep writing.
Don’t be afraid to scratch everything and start again if absolutely necessary, but don’t get hung up on everything being perfect.
Know when to take a break.
If you read through all of this, I take off my hat to you for sticking with me for so long. Thank you. 🙂