For those with writerly ambitions, November is not the month of US Thanksgiving/leaves changing colors/hot tea and chocolate. Instead it is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), also known as that one time where I forgot to sleep because my characters would NOT SHUT UP and NEEDED TO CHANGE THE PLOT NOW AND WHERE’S MY CHOCOLATE?!! (<- how all of the attempted books I write end up happening?). I have YET to win NaNo because after the first 10,000 words, my dragonish brain demands a nap and then twitches with the need to edit the horribleness that it spewed onto the page previously. This becomes a vicious cycle. However, this year, I solemnly swear to DO BETTER. It is okay if my writing is horrible, because that’s how all first drafts are SUPPOSED TO BE. To hold myself to my own goals, I’m joining the Beautiful Books meme created by the Sky and Cait which includes three stages of questions about your WIP (Work-In-Progress) asked throughout October/November. Here is part 1:
1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
Originally, I was planning on writing a historical/fantasy/mystery set in Ancient Egypt with a minor priestess as the protagonist, but then I was reading through the interwebs and Cait (@paperfury) wrote a fabulous blog post about fairy tale retellings AND MY PLANS WERE SHREDDED by a new story that scared the wig off my Pharaoh. So I’ve only been planning for about two weeks. (<- lack of sleep and historical inaccuracy here I come!!)
2. Describe what your novel is about!
I have been planning an epic TRILOGY involving Red Riding Hood, the Little Mermaid, and Hansel and Gretel set in 1592 Japan/Korea during the first Japanese invasion (of the Imjin conflict) and with some gender bending. I shall only be writing the FIRST book during Nano focusing on a dual timeline involving Red Riding Hood and the Little Mermaid with a possible drop in by Hansel or Gretel (still haven’t quite decided…. I’m still researching when things happened and how it influences the characters in my brain >.<). J
3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
Pirates. Korean rebels battling samurai. Snarky commentary (hopefully). Food.
4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
*Names are still being finalized so I’m going to use their fairytale equivalent for the moment.
Red Riding Hood – He popped into my brain first and basically kidnapped the others to play along, because his master plans needed minions. The illegitimate son of an influential Japanese daimyo, he is half Korean and (unknown to his only living parental unit… papa grouchy bear) super loyal to the Korean side of his heritage. Pretending to take his mother’s remaining possessions to his Japanese grandmother (because what else would you do during an invasion?? Don’t answer that ;P), he actually asks one of the few remaining Waegu pirates to sneak him into Korea… specifically to where his Korean grandmother lives and he brings goodies. He also has a bit of a short temper that matches his shorter than normal stature.
Little Mermaid – Bored with living on the super tiny Iki Island and having grown up on her family’s stories of the famous Waegu pirates that used to sail from their harbors, Mermaid decides to visit the local “witch” to ask how she can escape and sail the high seas. Extremely naïve, but also extremely opinionated, a little pain/violence doesn’t phase her for very long. She kind of reminds me of Rapunzel from the Tangled movie in personality tbh.
Hansel and Gretel – As they don’t appear too much in novel 1, I don’t have them as well fleshed out as the other two, but there is a tragic story of one being left behind in Korea and the other being abandoned after the family returned to Japan. They become involved in the invasion while searching for each other. However, they are both women and must develop multiple personas in their quest so they are not caught by either side (who they annoy/sabotage on more than one occasion).
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Laughing hysterically while trying to remember names/dates/locations found in my research?? Aside from in my brain, this post is probably the most outlining I have done to date, BUT I plan to change that shortly with a bullet point outline of epic greatness (hopefully before this post goes live).
6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Learning more about my characters! I may already be slightly in love with my Red Riding Hood? He is all of the fabulousness.
7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
Lots of people who are not very trustworthy, angry oceans, and pretty weaponry.
8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
I kind of mentioned that above? As to people who stand in their way: For Red Riding Hood, there are lots of people that would be spoilers, but in GENERAL it would be the Japanese Samurai. For Mermaid, primarily societal expectations and the fact that all governments basically hate pirates. For Hansel and Gretel, the invasion itself and the sheer distance and lack of communication between where they are.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
I haven’t quite gotten that far yet. >.< Need to plot more of the overall arc to answer that I think?
10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I want readers to be FASCINATED by this time period (which I didn’t know about until I started researching) and eager to do a bit of their own research/search for similar books. My primary goal is to highlight the good and bad of both sides of the conflict wrapped up in the pretty bow of traditional-styled characters and plot.
What do you think? Is this a type of book you’d want to read? How would YOU fit Hansel and Gretel into the story?
Also don’t forget to join the Beautiful Books fun if you plan to write at all in November! (Doesn’t have to be for NaNoWriMo)