Are you planning to participate in NaNoWriMo this year? We are! We are also planning a few blog posts leading up to writing in November. If you are participating as well, we would love to hear about it!
Are you prewriting or researching now as prep? How is that going? Do you already have a first draft or are you planning to put a dent in that in November? We really want to know!
Here is how our current projects got their start. Please comment and let us know what you are up to. You can even answer the same questions we answered here and then look for our next post for more questions!
How long have you had this book idea?
Sara – I started thinking about writing a book about five years ago. I dictated ideas into my phone as I went on evening walks in my neighborhood. I still have all of the voice memos, and two of those ideas made it into the book I’m working on now.
Stacy – It’s hard to say for sure. It has been at least several years.
Do you remember how you came up with it?
Sara – I remember thinking, “I wish someone would write a story about…” Then I would play scenes from that story out in my mind. Eventually, I thought, “I should just write this story!” My book is really influenced by three main ideas I’ve had over time:
- I had the idea of a sort of superhero in reverse. What if normal humans, when put in a different setting, were seen as a super power? For instance, you or I would be superheroes, if we were sent to another place where the native humans were weaker, smaller, etc. My character Adan was born of that idea.
- Elisha in the Bible, who did not die but was taken to heaven in a fiery chariot, piqued my curiosity. I wondered, what if he didn’t go to heaven just yet? What if he went somewhere else for a while? What if there was another world out there for him to go to?
- And finally, you know the movie Inside Out? When I saw that movie I was like, “NO WAY! That is always how I’ve visualized the mind and body!” As if there is a control room and little beings are guiding and directing everything. (The movie actually helped me realize, “Oh good, I’m not the only crazy person out there!”) I applied that same idea to a broader spectrum in my book.
In a nutshell, my story began as a mashup of those three ideas.
Stacy – When I have trouble going to sleep, I tell myself stories. Something about activating the creative part in my brain seems to help me relax. I’m not saying my stories put me to sleep! 😉 I find myself revisiting my favorite “mind stories” over and over again, and the manuscript I’m working on now is a story I have told myself over and over again. It has several underlying ideas/themes:
- I have always been fascinated by stories (both real and fictional) about royalty, especially those about rulers who rise to the throne at a young age.
- I began to wonder what a society might do to raise up a ruler different from and better than the norm. I also began to ponder what challenges someone raised in seclusion might face when called upon to rule and what benefits they might be able to offer since they would be extremely curious about society and wouldn’t have become jaded about human nature.
I want to pose questions about whether a country’s identity is determined by a few (ie, a ruler, a ruling party, or a ruling class) and, if so, whether it’s a fair assumption about the population as a whole.
And finally, I want to explore whether it’s destiny or choices that predominantly rule our lives.
Has the idea morphed over time?
Sara – Yes! And honestly, it is not even close to the same story (or three ideas) that I started with. I added another element and one character’s storyline is a retelling. Some parts of my idea are barely noticeable, and some parts have morphed into something similar but different from the original.
Stacy – Absolutely! It has changed so, so much. Several key elements remain, but what I initially imagined was not near enough for a full-length novel (or a possible duology, which is what I now feel like the story needs).
Sara and I went on a road trip to a book conference last spring. We each had a book idea we were excited about and decided to share the ideas with each other on this trip. I was crazy nervous to actually say my idea out loud for the very first time! We typed up a bare bones outlines and nervously read our general storylines to each other as we drove to and from the conference.
It has been so much fun to have someone to brainstorm with and work through plot holes with. I’m not sure I would have the courage or drive to do this if I didn’t have Sara to talk to about it. And that’s one of the reasons we decided to blog about our process…We want to hear from you and help you along on your journey! Are you in the initial phases of writing right now, or have you always wanted to write? It would be so fun and encouraging to read your answers to these same five questions in the comments below!
Has it been easier to come up with plot ideas or character personalities?
Sara – Plot ideas have been easier for me.
Stacy – The plot ideas are what came first for me. But once they were established and I began to write, my characters started speaking to me.
When do you write and what is your time frame for completing your first manuscript?
Sara – Like Stacy, I am super busy with other things so finding time is a constant struggle. I try to carve out an hour of writing every day, Sunday through Thursday. My family knows it as “the writing hour–leave me alone.” Then I try to spend several consecutive hours on Fridays like Stacy does. This system worked really well while I was prewriting, outlining, researching, etc. Now that I’m actually writing the story, the writing hour sometimes seems useless. I’m still figuring it out, but hopefully I can write on Fridays and edit some throughout the week. I’m hoping my family and schedule will support additional time for writing in November for NaNoWriMo. My goal is the have a complete first draft by May.
Stacy – I have a part-time job, plus I write book reviews and recaps for this website. So working on my manuscript is job #3 in addition to my responsibilities at home. It’s a lot to juggle, so I had to really work to carve out writing time. I decided to re-arrange my schedule to allow for three to four hours of writing time each Friday. Now I look so forward to this time each week! I’ve already had to say ‘no’ to some things (and felt bad about it!) to maintain this writing time slot. But I’m going to stick with it as best I can, and I hope to have my first (very rough) draft completed by May.
Again, let us know if you plan on writing in November for NaNoWriMo! And watch for our next post about our brainstorming processes, helpful writing websites, our NaNoWriMo plans/goals, and more! 🙂
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