Beautiful Books is hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In. It’s similar to their usual monthly meme Beautiful People, except that this month’s questions celebrate preparations for NaNoWriMo and focus on your work-in-progress (WIP) or next writing project.
Wait! What happened to Beautiful People this month?!?!
Don’t worry. Beautiful People and its character questionnaires will be back. But in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, Cait and Sky have asked participants to answer 10 questions about the stories they’re currently working on or planning to write during November’s novel-writing madness. And even though I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, I’ve got an idea for a future novella to share instead. 😀 Here we go!
1. How did you come up with the idea for your novella, and how long have you had the idea?
Let me clarify two things right away: This novella will take place in the same story world as my current WIP, The Keeper’s Curse. It will also feature some of TKC’s characters. 🙂
I *think* I came up with the idea during the last 6 months I worked on Draft #1 of TKC (between September 2014 and February 2015). During TKC, the protagonist Eva acknowledges that she sought out a trainer to teach her more about magic and learn fighting skills (knives and hand-to-hand) that her cousin Gidion wasn’t allowed to teach her. That got me thinking, “Would Eva have told her trainer Nomaro about her desire for vengeance against the Mountain Folk? Or would Nomaro have suspected Eva’s true motives?” And then it snowballed from there.
2. Why are you excited to write this novella?
First, I’m excited about the challenge of writing something shorter than a novel. As long as I’ve been a writer, I’ve been written very short pieces (poems) or very long pieces, and very little in between (unless you count blog posts and freelance writing). It’s scary to know that I’ll need to limit myself in terms of scope and word count, but I think I can do it – and I think I’ve found the right story for it.
Second, I’m thrilled to simply write a new story. I’m not the fastest drafter or reviser, due to lack of time (i.e., my schedule at my day job), lack of speed (it takes me a while to work my thoughts into words to put on the page), and perfectionism (um… yeah). So in the entire time I’ve been working on TKC, I haven’t had time to start anything new. I still won’t be able to work on the novella until 2016 at the earliest… But knowing I’ll finally have some time for it makes me fidget with excitement.
Finally, I can’t freaking wait to write about Nomaro. 😀 More on that shortly.
3. What is your novella about, and what is the title?
Right now, the novella is titled… The Novella. Creative, right? 😉 To be honest, I’m going to wait until I finish the first draft before giving it a title. Struggling to find a name for TKC taught me to wait until “The One Title” comes along, and I’m fine with that.
As for what it’s about… The novella chronicles the 12 to 15 months that Eva secretly trains with Nomaro. It will start with Nomaro’s POV, and alternate between his and Eva’s. (So, I also have the added challenge of writing my first dual-POV story.)
As alluded to in #1, Eva tracks down Nomaro after he returns home (he fled Kasialonen several years earlier, when he was expelled from the Council of Selanaan), and begs him to teach her more about spellwork and fighting. Nomaro eventually agrees – but only because he’s suspicious of her true motives for those lessons. And as someone who’s fallen from grace, he doesn’t want Eva to follow a similar path. So, the novella will focus on their time together, the lessons Eva and Nomaro never expect to learn from each other, and the great lengths both characters will go to protect those lessons – and one another.
4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favorite to write? Tell us about them!
Eva, I love you to pieces, and it will be super-interesting to write about your pre-Council life. (The novella starts about 4 years before TKC begins.) But I’m sorry – this is all about Nomaro. 🙂
Nomaro has a fascinating backstory: He’s a former Councilor of Selanaan who was expelled several years before the novella begins due to his addiction to taigila blood. (A taigila is essentially a griffin.) Disgraced, he fled the Faerie forest and wound up in the realm of Suderland, and became involved in an “assassins and spies for hire” guild known as the Twilight Order. He then spent several years in the Order and recovered from his addiction before becoming disenchanted with his work (I haven’t figured out how or why yet) and quitting. Now he’s back in Kasialonen, with the intention of living in hiding from his own people and from the Order, since technically you can’t just quit the Order…
Backstory aside, Nomaro will be an interesting twist on the “mentor in fantasy” trope. He’s a clever fighter and talented with his magic, so he’s knowledgeable in both areas. He’s also vigilant, discreet, and self-sufficient – as well as jaded, intensely private, and distrustful toward most everyone. He’s going to be a very hard nut for Eva (and for me) to crack – and I’m looking forward to being that nutcracker. 🙂
6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
Let’s start with Eva:
- Eva’s Goal: Learn more about magic and fighting so she’ll have the strength and abilities to kill any Mountain Folk she meets in the future – all while keeping everything a secret. (She wants to kill them as revenge for her parents’ deaths and “making her life miserable” in other ways.)
- What Stands in Her Way? Nomaro’s insistence on revealing her true motives. Hiding the lessons from her relatives and, well, all of Fae.
As for Nomaro:
- Nomaro’s Original Goal: Live the rest of his days in solitude now that he’s deserted the Twilight Order. Then Eva comes along and changes everything. 😄
- Nomaro’s Actual Story Goal: Steer Eva down a more positive path in life, and persuade her to use what he teaches her to do good.
- What Stands In His Way? His own personal demons. Eva’s reluctance to tell him the truth. Keeping a low profile so the rest of Fae and the Twilight Order won’t find him.
7. Where is your novella set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
As mentioned in #1, this novella will be set in the Great Isle, the same fictional world as my WIP. It will specifically take place in Kasialonen, the forest where the Faeries live.
8. What is the most important relationship your characters have?
Eva and Nomaro’s student-mentor relationship, without a doubt. I think the earlier answers have already shed a good deal of light on this.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Hey, that’s spoiler territory! *lol* I’m going to be evil and say that you’ll have to wait and see what happens. 😉
10. What themes are in your novella? How do you want your readers to feel when it’s over?
Off the top of my head, two of the main themes will be trust and secrets. Since I haven’t done much in terms of planning yet, it’s hard to know what else the story will cover. Then again, this is meant to be a novella, so it will be more narrow in scope (and perhaps cover fewer themes) than a novel would.
As for how I want readers to feel at the end… I want them to feel endeared to both Eva and Nomaro , and encouraged by the bond they were able to forge. And knowing how this story will end (yes, I do know that much about it so far), I also want them to feel like I’ve ripped their heart out. (*MUAHAHAHAHAHA*)
BONUS: What is the one problem you foresee with this novella?
I decided to throw in a bonus question so that maybe you can help me work out one kink I see in this story…
As of right now, I’m not sure if this novella would be considered YA or adult fantasy. The Keeper’s Curse is YA, so this novella probably should be as well. The problem is that Eva’s and Nomaro’s ages don’t quite work with YA’s target age range (13 to 18). Logically speaking, Eva has to be 13 to 14 years old (so by the end, she’s old enough to try out for the Council); and Nomaro should be in his mid-to-late 20s (to account for his Council and Twilight Order tenures, and to give him time to grow from his past mistakes). That puts Eva at the very bottom of the YA age spectrum, and Nomaro beyond it.
The thing is, I love the idea for this novella, and I really want to write it. But what do you think? Should I not worry about the target age right now? Do you think this story might be a better fit for adult fantasy? Or, should I consider adjustments to make it more apporpriate age-wise for a YA audience?
What other thoughts do you have about this novella idea? Does this sound like something you would want to read?