Monday, October 19, 2015

Beautiful Books #1: NaNoWriMo 2015 edition!

So, Beautiful People is changing tack this month and going into NaNo mode. Normally I'd be featuring my current WIP, The Last Coffee Shop (which was my epic NaNo failure last year). But in the hope that I might actually "win" this year, I'm going to flesh out my NaNo idea along with the theme.
Picture Credit
As always, a big thank you to Skye and Cait for doing this meme. Make sure you check out their respective blogs: Paper Fury (Cait) and Further Up and Further In (Skye). To learn more about Beautiful People, click here.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Well, I love butlers/the idea of butlers, and I've always wanted to write a book with one for a protagonist. I also wanted to write something very different from any of my other books. I also wanted to get out of my "writing comfort zone," and challenge myself to write about types of characters/themes I don't normally!

 As for how long . . . just came up with it (on my way to work) a few days ago!

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

As I said, I haven't written anything like it. And I've found that really weird books tend to keep my interest the longest! And I'm already in love with the characters-which is the only way a book and me happen, anyhow.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

Set in an alternate 19th century, where the continents have never split, and primeval monsters roam the earth. All the nations combined long ago to protect their young people, building a walled continent and letting the youngsters live in relative peace and luxury. But outside the walls, the rest of humanity struggles to survive, and expand westward for more resources. My story centers on a sweet, but naive young lady who makes the (ill-advised) decision to accompany her titled boyfriend behind the walls, disguised as his manservant. But naturally, things don't go as planned when 1. Her bf's scandalous sister comes along, and 2. Ghastly murders, disappearances, and rumors of dastardly deeds.


-I've given it the silly working title of "The Butler Did It," because it was the first random thing I thought of.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

Apparently, some people put much more prep and thought into NaNo than me. But I will do my best! (Note: All art is properly credited to the artist. I can (tragically) take credit for none of it)

1. Ernestine Grey (MC-also known as Ernest or Ernie) - Impetuous
Make this kid a few years older and BAM! Perfection.
2. Atlantis de Carrefour (her boyfriend*) - Ambiguous
Time Traveler by Seunghee Lee
3. Pasifica "Sif" de Carrefour (his sister) - Overwhelming
vershitel by alice-insain on
4. Mrs. Klaus (Sif's maid/chaperone) - Sleepy
Basically your average Victorian matron. Or is she??
4. Sydney Smith (the surprisingly young (?) head butler/house manager/servant) - Dubious
I couldn't find exactly what I wanted (guys are hard!) - but an older Haruma Miura with darker/longer hair and some Gallic (French/Spanish in my AU) blood . . . I can see it. (And he's my cool "butler" tribute character!)
^^Haruma Miura, if that wasn't obvious

5. Ronin Kuznetzov (commander of the Siberian Volki squadron) - Scary
A note - I basically picture all of the Volki as a Eurasian fusion of samurai, cage fighters, and survivalists. So this pic could be any of his squad members.
Copyright Christopher Perez. Source

Those are the major players as of now. My NaNo projects tend to mutate. Extravagantly.

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favorite to write? Tell us about them!

Ernestine, because she's different. I usually avoid the lovelorn ingenues, so this is very against type for me. Of course, Ernestine has hidden depths and all sorts of good qualities. She's a hard worker, and she is an excellent manservant/junior butler. Also, she's very loving, open-hearted, and surprisingly resilient. (Which is good, because the romance goes about as far south as you can imagine . . . *evil laugh*)

Sydney is another character I'm excited to write. I anticipate writing about his passive aggressive relationship with Atlantis, and his master/apprentice/brother relationship with the disguised Ernestine. Is he really fooled by her male disguise though, I wonder? And of course, he's my "cool, mysterious" character. And he's named after Sydney Carton (<3<3<3)

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

To live happily ever after with Atlantis de Carrefour and be acknowledged as his social equal.

Well, their social status (she and her two brothers were raised by the family butler, which is where Ernie got her skills. They are old, old blood, but somewhat out of fashion). The de Carrefours are wild and sensational and very popular. Rich and titled, Atlantis has promised that he'll prove her worth to the world . . . And as far as Ernestine sees, this is the only barrier (Spoilers: she's wrong).

Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

In the City of Nations (a giant walled nation that is pretty central on The Continent). As I said above, I am visualizing an Earth where the continental separation is minimal. However, I've basically adapted/adopted world cultures, and fused them. The West is untamed and dangerous, but people need room to spread, so they're always trying to build railroads out that way. And did I mention there are primeval monsters?

What is the most important relationship your character has?

Her bond with her adoptive father and her older brothers (though they ran off to join the navy, which she hasn't forgiven them for.
Also, Atlantis, who surprised her by returning her affections after they grew to know each other last season.

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

She's more self-aware, and she values herself more. She's also stronger and wiser, though undoubtedly scarred by what she experienced. Basically, her arc takes her from "Kind but naive girl," to "older, wiser, stronger, more confident young woman." Her personality doesn't change, and she still has struggles, but this is where I hope she'll end up.

What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

It's a subverted Cinderella, in a way. So courage in the face of adversity and bad choices, perseverance, owning your own decisions, coming of age, friendship, valuing yourself, that sort of thing. Though I normally focus on "story" than "theme" and hope the themes follow along!

I hope they have a rollicking good time, and like the characters as much as I do. And I want them to feel like they need to read more of my books, you know?!

BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

Weeeelll, considering that I am an epic NaNo-failer, I don't feel qualified for this. But I have finished in a month before, and I don't give up on my NaNo projects, so here goes:

1. Take a few little breaks to read a few chapters of a totally different book, or watch a movie.
2. DON'T EDIT. This will kill your word count.
3. Don't worry about writing a masterpiece. And if the story isn't coming, throw in something crazy and random and keep going. You can always edit/rewrite the minute December rolls around.

So that is my super random (and very last minute) NaNo idea. Would you read it? Any thoughts? Do you like alternate history? (I love it!) Are you doing NaNo, and if so, what are you writing about? Feel free to add me as a buddy!

*Boyfriend is not technically an accurate Victorian term (1909 is the first recorded usage in the romantic sense, I believe). But that is hair-splitting for the purpose of my BP post.