Beautiful Books, Vol. 1: The Novella I’m Planning to Start Next Year

Beautiful Books

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?!?!

Harry Potter jaw drops

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!

(Visit the Beautiful People category page to catch up on past BP posts.)

(Also, make sure you check out the thank-you giveaways! Click here to find out how you can win free tea, a free book, or a critique of your WIP’s first chapter.)

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 CurseIt 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!)

Eva: Vengeful

Nomaro: Troubled

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. XD
  • 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? 

34 thoughts on “Beautiful Books, Vol. 1: The Novella I’m Planning to Start Next Year

  1. Wow! You have made out quite the task for yourself. I’ll have to check out your current WIP a little more, but from what I’ve read here it seems really intriguing. I wouldn’t worry too much about the age of your characters. Many books I’ve read that involve very young people or even College students were widely considered YA or you could always call it New Adult if you feel more comfortable with it.
    Dual perspective can be difficult, I am kind of trying to do it in my edit of last year’s NaNo-novel, which was originally only with one POV. Even though I know that my characters are different in many ways, I have difficulties making them sound like different people.
    I wish you good luck with your project and hope that you have fun while writing it :D!
    (Also, thanks for stopping by my post. I loved hearing your thoughts!)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Kat! 🙂

      I probably should have done a better job explaining certain aspects of The Novella in case anyone new stopped by. (Sorry about that. *blushes*) But the novel-length WIP (currently in Draft #2 revisions) is an epic fantasy / quest story with life-size flying Faeries, magic, and racial / cultural tensions. My head has been stuck in the same story world for almost 3 years as a result… so I guess it’s no surprise that I’d think of something new to write about in that “realm.”

      The Novella is going to be a challenge, I agree. I’ve never done a dual POV story before, and keeping the story under 50,000 words will be interesting, to say the least. (I tend to put waaaaaayyyy too many words into my first drafts.) But it’s a fairly self-contained story, with little in the way of subplots. I hope it will work out in the end!

      You’re welcome, and best of luck with Dreamer! I’ll be sure to follow you and your progress. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • No, not at all! You did a great job and you provided the link to your WIP, so everyone can check it out if they have questions or feel like not getting it all. It’s all good 🙂
        I know the feeling of being stuck in the universe or the realm of a certain story. I could only get rid of it by writing it down, but there is also nothing wrong with remaining in that exact same world. It works perfectly fine for Cassandra Clare.
        It’s funny – I think I had real troubles getting to 50,000 words last year. I sort of ran out of story to tell and I wasn’t that big on descriptions. But I have to say that I did a Contemporary Romantic Comedy last year and I am so glad to have a sort of more “magical” topic this time around!
        Thank you 😀 I’ll definitely keep checking in at your site as well!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds like a really fascinating story for a novella. As for the target age, I can’t really help you even through I am a teenager. I personally like reading books about any-aged characters, whether children or adults, so I think it’ll be fine to keep it YA or just not to worry about it for now.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. *Flails* Is it okay to say that I already love Nomaro to death? Seriously. I want to read about the League of Twilight – it makes me think a little of DC comics’ “League of Assassins.” (A good thing!) You wrote enough to sell me on this idea for sure. (I love master-apprentice/warrior training/grim mentor stuff). I think this is fabulous, and I want to read it.

    But to opine on your last question – I wouldn’t worry about the readership when you’re first drafting. I don’t know about you, but that sort of thing distracts me from writing the story I really want to tell! And if you just start writing it, the story itself may help you out here. For example, my book that became “Knight of the Blue Surcoat” was originally going to be middle grade, but after the first few chapters, I transitioned to 10 and up/YA, and now it is solidly YA. But I had figured all that out by the time I got to the first rewrite, based on where the story went. Despite more adult themes and characters, Melora is sixteen and her internal struggles are more YA than Adult, due to her age.

    I have read “tag-on” short stories and novellas about characters from a full series before, and they never seem to have as targeted an age group. After all, it’s more of a thing you would seek out if you were already the fan of an author/series. Granted, if you novella was a huge departure in tone from TKC, you might want to work on that in the rewrites anyhow.

    I hope that helps a little, despite the rambling! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sweet stars, yes, it does help! 😀 (And I totally just used Fae slang from the story world. *cracks up*)

      It’s perfectly OK to love Nomaro already. 😀 I do, though I still have a lot to learn about him and need a better grasp on his personality. But when I was thinking about Eva’s mentor, I thought, “Hmmmm… I don’t want her to have a typical mentor. NO. I want to make his life as messed up as possible.” *lol* Plus, I’ve already caught myself saying once or twice, “Oh yeah. Nomaro’s got a couple novels worth of tales to tell.” 😉

      Your response to the target age group question just reminded me of something: I had the same issue when I was working on TKC’s first draft. There was a point where I didn’t know whether the story was more appropriate for YA or adult fantasy. Then, after listening to Lucy Christopher (YA author) confess that she originally didn’t know what her debut novel’s best audience would be and how she wrote the story anyway, I took her advice and plowed forward. History is repeating itself now. *lol* So, thank you for reminding me not to worry about it too much, and simply write it. 🙂

      That’s sort of what I was thinking, that fans of TKC would be the ones most interested in reading The Novella. And I don’t think it’s going to be a huge departure in tone from TKC. The narrative style will be slightly different (two third-person POVs), but I’d like to think that someone who reads TKC will like The Novella, too.

      Of course, I need to have time to write the darn thing first. *lol*

      Thank you as always for your feedback!!

      Like

      • Don’t you love it when your books creep into your everyday life, lol? I put my book characters in Apples to Apples when I’m playing with my sister (my first proofreader and bff), and we talk about them waaaaay more than we do real people!

        Aww, thanks, I tend to get all tangled up in details/minor worries before I’ve even put words on paper, so I feel your pain!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I do. And I hope it stays that way. 🙂 Although I can’t say I’ve played Apples to Apples or other games using my own characters – but now I kind of want to. 😀

        Yay! Now I don’t feel so alone. *hugs* Don’t hesitate to knock if you ever feel the same way about your work.

        Like

  4. Woohoo, good stuff! You are so on the ball, whereas I’m doing NaNo and it’s less than two weeks away and I STILL don’t have much of a plan. Your novella sounds fascinating though, and I’m wishing you the best of luck with it. Like others have said, don’t sweat the small stuff right now, I think once you start and find your stride, solutions to questions like “target audience?” will just flow naturally 🙂 Now I’m going to see if I can answer some of these questions to help me prepare! They’re very helpful!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! 😀 I still have a lot of planning to do myself, though. There’s still a lot to learn about Nomaro’s personality, and also the story itself. I know how it begins and how it ends, and have a general idea of the middle… but nothing else specific. And I’m not a pantser, so I want to have a better idea of what’s going to happen before I sit down and write it.

      Oh good! I hope the questions help you get the ball rolling for NaNo! And good luck with NaNo itself, too. Any idea what kind of story it might be? (I’m assuming it’s some kind of speculative fiction…?)

      Like

  5. I’m also planning to write a novella for one of my WIPs, so yay! And funnily enough, I ALSO have the exact same problem with all the protagonists being not a YA age. (Most of them are adult.) I think that since your novel is YA, and probably the themes and plot are more YA-ish, the characters’ age won’t matter so much? And Nomaro is a FANTASTIC name.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re right, maybe the characters’ ages won’t matter so much. Especially if the novella is set in the same world as TKC and involves some of the same characters. In that case, the novella’s target audience should be Young Adult, but more or less the same people who read or want to read TKC. But for now, I’ll only worry about planning and preparing to write it. 😉

      I like Nomaro’s name, too. 😀 In the language I created for TKC and this novella, Nomaro is a combination of the Fae words for “dark” and “light.” It fits the character perfectly.

      Thank you for stopping by, Alyssa!

      Like

  6. This story sounds really cool! Nomaro’s backstory is intriguing! It’s cool to do novellas for backstory. I’ve thought of doing short stories for some areas of backstory for my books as well as bonus content. And about the question for genre, I suggest you write the book first then decide during edits. Best of luck with it!

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Tori! 😀

      In all honesty, Nomaro is the most “messed up” character I’ve ever thought of. But I absolutely adore him, and I can’t wait to write about him. It’s going to be fun, in a really twisted and challenging way. 🙂

      That’s what I’m going to do regarding the target age: Worry about it later. If I dwell on it too much now, it’s going to make me stall during the drafting process. That’s not acceptable! 😉

      I like your idea for your work, btw. Would this be for Subsapien or Red Hood (or both)?

      Like

      • Haha. The damaged ones are often really fun to write. XD

        Exactly!

        Both probably. I figure it would be an in between thing when I’m getting the books published sort of like OVAs for anime. So readers can have some tastes of the world while I write the next book.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. “Target age”? What is this “target age” of which you speak?

    …seriously, though: I’d say you should just write the novella and worry about the target audience in later drafts. Both characters sound fascinating – though I knew Eva would be already, of course – and it’s not like you can change their ages just for this novella 😛 . Best of luck to you, whatever you decide!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *lol* Target age? I’ve never heard of it before, either. Must be a new thing. 😉

      Thanks for your input. I’m just going to go ahead and write it when the time comes, and not worry about the age-range bit until later. And like you said, it’s going to be hard to change their ages anyways, because of other “pre-determined factors.” 😉

      How are things going with you and your writing?

      Like

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  9. You want to rip our hearts out at the end? You evil writer queen, youuu! XD
    Haha, okay, ahem, now on to your questions: My feeling is that you should keep it YA. 1) Because the series is YA, right? 2) When I hear Adult Fantasy, I think adult content (things not suited for young readers). Maybe that’s not always what Adult fantasy means genre wise, but…a lot of the time it is. Saying it’s YA might be a safer bet, in that sense. Just a few little thoughts of mine to add to the great flow of comments and advice already given here. 🙂 You’ll figure out what to do once it’s written, I think. But I get what you mean about worrying and planning a story ahead of time because I do that all of the time too! You’re not alone, my friend. *hugs*

    Liked by 1 person

    • *cowers in the corner* I know. It’s sort of my way of saying, “Um, yeah, I already know how it’s going to end, and it won’t be pretty.” :S Sowweee…

      Yes, TKC is (I hope) YA fantasy, so the novella should probably be considered YA as well. And since I don’t see much in the way of adult content, YA will probably be the better fit in the end. But like you and the other commenters suggested, it’s best to simply write it and then worry about the rest later.

      And thank you for understanding. 🙂 It’s good to not feel so alone in the areas where you struggle.

      Like

  10. Nice interview. I wich I found it before starting NaNo, so I could partecipate 😉

    But it was good to read your ideas for the novella. I think, when you dedicate so much time to a story and a wolrd, it’s quite natural that you then keep coming back to it.
    But on the other way, it’s also natural that you’ll want to write something new. It’s refrescing.

    Personally, I think the story is good for YA, not only because of the age of one of the MC, but above all for the subject matter. Coming of age stories are always good for YA, in my opinion 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sarah! You could probably still use the questions if you wanted to, if they might help clarify certain aspects of your own story.

      Exactly. I love TKC, but I also miss the novelty of working on something new. All that being said, I still feel like revising TKC is my priority in the story-writing department. Which is good, because it gives me time to figure out what else is going to happen in the novella. *lol* I know how it begins and how it ends, but am still drawing blanks on the middle.

      Thanks for your input regarding the target age, too. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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