Today marks the beginning of NaNoWriMo and many of us writers participate each year! It’s always so exciting–joining an international group of people with one goal to complete a certain large word count in a month!
Now, I didn’t think I’d talk that much about this year’s book because I’m writing it purely for me and the characters are so special I almost don’t want to talk about them. However, after thinking about it and seeing the awesome link up to blog meme Beautiful Books, I decided to get over myself and talk a little bit about this year’s project. (Thank you to the creators of the blog event Beautiful Books for coming up with these questions!)
1. What came first: characters or plot idea? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
Okay, to answer the easy question first: I’m a complete hardcore pantser. I ruin my drive and my stories when I attempt to plot them out beyond a simple framework. As to which came first: in a sense, the plot came first. I decided I wanted to write a zombie survival story this year. However, the characters are ones I created/have written with from back when I was twelve. I wrote five books with these characters by the time I was sixteen and I haven’t really done anything with them since. So I thought, okay, zombie story with my old characters! Why not?
2. Do you have a title and/or a “back-cover-blurb”?
Yes, the title is “Alive”–it’s a play on how a lot of zombie titles have the term “Dead” in them. I went for the opposite, haha. I’ve revised the “blurb” since my last post, too. It’s down below under the sum up.
3. What word count are you aiming for when your novel is finished?
50,000. This is a silly practice book that I won’t mind if I don’t actually finish. As long as I can get to the end of say I completed this year’s NaNo, I’ll be happy. :P
4. Sum up your novel in 3 sentences.
Here’s the revised blurb: “Finding themselves trapped in a zombie infested part of Florida, members of an old detective club re-band together to escape and survive as they journey out of the danger zone, unsuspecting that an old enemy is on the their trail for vengeance.” That was one long sentence. My story is simple–it picks up after several years from my last book, it’s almost like an alternate universe tale with zombies.
5. Sum up your characters in one word each.
This is actually quite easy. I’ve worked with these characters for so long, I know them very intimately in many ways. Baxter: leader. Zak: stronghold. Jenny: protective. Duke: passionate. Anthony: muscle. Rip: smarts. Norton: confident. Kyle: revenge.
6. Which character are you most excited to write? Tell us about them!
I’m actually very excited to write more about Baxter, the old gang leader. He’s been a special favorite of mine since forever. He’s very smart but has become pessimistic about life in general, which is reverse character development from the last book I wrote. Even though he’s become bitter, his friends still find him a strong leader and steady in a new uncertain environment. Baxter became hard to write when I first changed him, but I think with of my new experience in human emotion, and psychology in general, I can now handle the character. :P
7. What about your villain? Who is he, what is his goal?
Kyle is probably one of the most one-dimensional villains I’ve ever created–however, I can excuse myself as when I made him, I barely knew how to write consistent protagonists, much less well-developed bad guys. Kyle’s revenge motive is very simple and I don’t feel like I need to flesh him out any more than he already is. So we’ll just glide over this question, ok? :P
8. What is your protagonist’s goal? And what stands in the way?
It’s very simple–survive. Don’t get bit. Don’t get infected. Don’t die. What stands in their way? Again, it’s very simple–zombies. When done right, zombies are fantastic fantasy creatures and I can’t wait to write them into a story!
9. What inciting incident begins your protagonist’s journey?
Right now, the opening consists of a few members of the old gang returning from a camping trip in the nearby mountain and find their small town full of the dead. They stumble upon more of their friends and decide get out of the town before they even discover they’ve been left behind in a war zone of sorts. All this triggers old problems that were never resolved that the group must work out if they want to trust each other to survive.
10. Where is your novel set?
In a fictional small town in Florida somewhere on the peninsula. The most I know is that they’re against the ocean and they will have to travel north to get to a safe zone…
11. What are three big scenes in your novel that change the game completely?
Honestly I haven’t thought that far ahead. It’s a straight forward zombie survival/drama story–it almost writes itself!
12. What is the most dynamic relationship your character has? Who else do they come in contact with or become close to during the story?
Well, the friends have grown apart the last few years, so coming back together to work as a team really makes them face their old problems and learn how to set differences aside to help each other survive. Probably one of the most dynamic relationship that I’ll address is between Baxter and Kyle, whose story of anger and revenge has been left hanging for over four years. It’s going to be cliché as heck but a lot of fun for me to write. Hopefully this story will help me put these characters to rest, give them solid endings, and allow myself to move on from my old childish stories (even if those stories mean a lot to me.)
13. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
If I’m going with Baxter being the main protagonist, maybe I will give him a path to peace in some way. Or maybe I will kill him off and emotionally scar myself. I’m still deciding…
14. Do you have an ending in mind, or do you plan to see what happens?
I have no idea how the book will end or if I will even reach an ending by 50,000 (I can be long-winded)–I want both a happy “they survived!” ending and a “they’re torn to bits emotionally and physically and they all DIE BECAUSE IT’S A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE STORY” type ending. I don’t know–how do you think I should end it?!
15. What are your hopes and dreams for your book? What impressions are you hoping this novel will leave on your readers and yourself? (This is your mission statement, one you can look back on when the road gets tough.)
DEAR LORD I HOPE NO ONE READS THIS BOOK NOBODY WILL TAKE ME SERIOUSLY AS A WRITER EVER AGAIN. But seriously, I hope I have some plain, decent fun and get some resolution with these characters that I’ve left dangling for so long in an old Microsoft word document deep within my laptop folders. This year’s NaNo is going to be more of a personal journey, but that’s a good thing!
(What are your plans for November? Do they include NaNoWriMo? If so, what are you writing about?! We should be buddies on NaNo if we aren’t already!)