[Beautiful Books] Meet My 2016 #NaNoWriMo Novel

18:24 Cilla P 2 Comments

With a little push from Geraldine on Twitter, I've decided to join NaNoWriMo this year! I don't know if I can get to 50k, considering I do need to study for an exam. However! I'd like to at least devote an hour every day to writing this project.

Anyway, for this year's NaNoWriMo, I'm going to pick up where I left my Camp NaNo plot, because that's the manuscript I'd really like to finish. I've talked about it here before, but I've been pretty vague about describing it. So here it is! This post is linked up with the Beautiful People Linkup hosted by Cait and Sky.

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I wanted to write a retelling of The Little Mermaid, because a) I love fairytale retellings and would like to try writing one, and b) I find the premise of a girl leaving her world for another both fascinating and relatable. It's not an easy decision or transition to make, so what would motivate someone to make it? I've had the idea since 2014, but it's gone through at least three major changes in terms of plot line and world-building.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

Two days ago, I made myself sit down and come up with a (long) blurb. It's a rough draft and will likely change in the future, but here it is:

Merfolks have always lived a secret existence, but now generations upon generations find themselves confined under a dome, in the darkest part of the ocean, salvaging what they can of their world. Two girls from opposite sides of the dome find themselves unwitting players in a political battle when their paths cross.

On paper, Bethari Tang's mission is purely scientific: gather data about the state of the ocean. In truth, it is not her only mission. She wants to know was how - and why - her parents disappeared fourteen years ago. What she stumbles upon, however, is a civilisation - one that wishes to remain in the dark. What she doesn't realise is that her mission may be threefold. In certain hands, science is a weapon. 

Catriona Bask's contented - if somewhat restricted - existence is disrupted by the arrival of a stranger - a stranger who is part of a society merfolks had been taught to avoid, speaking an ancient language only she can wield. Suddenly she is a liaison, a spy, an assassin-to-be. The survival of her people rests in her hands, but right and wrong can look very different under the harsh sunlight.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

My Pinterest board is here!

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

(Top left) Catriona Bask: Mermaid, 20 years old. Historian. The only daughter of the most powerful woman in the city. A surprisingly good liar. Doesn't usually go looking for trouble. 

(Top right) Bethari Tang: Human, 21 years old. Researcher by trade, adventurer by heart. Orphaned at six; raised by Stephen, her big brother, and Alfie, her godmother/mad scientist. Sometimes asks too many questions.

(Bottom left) Lancelot Halliwell: Merman, 20 years old. Guardian-in-training. Restless. Can have very set opinions about people, and so can be very loyal. Not as noble as he'd like to be.

(Bottom right) Stephen Tang: Human, 28 years old. Military strategist. High-achiever. Prefers to persuade people with his words, but has been trained to use his hands. His sister, Beth, is his number one priority.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I tell my friends about the idea. Usually when I try to explain it to someone, that's when the idea either comes together or I find out where it starts to fall apart. I also research for world-building. The most important thing for me, though, is getting a feel of the characters, so I try to map their personalities and histories first. Once I know how they responds to different situations, I know I'm ready to go.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

I'm looking forward to getting it written! Apart from that, I'm looking forward to explore this plot I've been carrying in my head for three years. Confession: although I'm still not sure what the ending is, I have had this image in my head of the climactic scene since the first time I thought of this story. I'm keen to write that out and see what happens.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

  • The novel starts off in the Midnight Ocean Zone, a place untouched by sunlight. The merpeople make their own light. 
  • Merpeople can't venture too far from their domed city, as the ocean is a dangerous place even for them.
  • On shore, fights are brewing over access to clean water.

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

I'm going to focus on my main two girls for this, because their goals are the driving forces of the story. Beth's goal is to find out what happened to her parents when they disappeared fourteen years ago. The thing that's standing in her way is the fact that their disappearance is kept secret for a reason (dun dun dun). As for Cat, she's going to be tasked with putting Beth's mission to an end. To reach that goal, however, she'll have to decide if everything she's been taught is the truth.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

This is the problem with not knowing the ending yet - I have no idea. We'll have to wait and see!

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

I don't really think about big themes when I'm writing, but I hope that the story at least makes the readers think about stepping out of their comfort zones.

Are you doing NaNo? Add me on the site here if you are!
Tell me about your writing project! 
Aaand what do you think of my idea? Have I piqued your interest yet?


Thanks for reading! It makes my day to hear your thoughts and I will respond asap. :)