Beautiful Books: Introducing My 2016 #NaNoWriMo Novel

3:16 PM

Last week, I shared two different story ideas I was considering writing for this year's NaNoWriMo. I'm happy to say that I've decided which one I'm going to write this November! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it challenges writers to write 50,000 words of a novel by the end of November. It's a tall order and can be incredibly stressful, but the NaNoWriMo community is wonderfully supportive and makes it fun.

To give you a better idea of the story I'll be writing, I've decided to participate in the Beautiful Books Linkup. It's hosted by Cait at Paper Fury and Sky at Further Up and Further In.

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

About a year ago, I was trying to come up with story ideas by making a list of common elements I enjoyed in books. That list included magical powers, girls with swords, rogues/thieves, death, disguises, retellings, court intrigue, quests, clever banter, and friendship. I decided to focus on magical powers. I wanted to tell a story set in a magic school, but I didn't want it to be like every other book that takes place in a magic school. So, I decided that the main character of this magic school story wouldn't have magical powers. She'd hide the fact that she doesn't have magic in order to attend magic school. As soon as I came up with this idea, I wrote it down, patted myself on the back, and promptly forgot about it for the next year. It wasn't until about a week ago that I stumbled upon the idea again and decided to try fleshing it out for NaNoWriMo.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

Here's a back of the book blurb (though I'm sure a lot will change as I write it):

Rosalind "Ro" Haverlock can't wait to turn sixteen because it means she'll finally receive her magical powers and be able to join her elder siblings at magic school. To Ro's dismay, her sixteenth birthday comes and goes without her magic showing its face. Ro discovers she is disappointingly human and horribly ordinary. Determined to fit in with her family, Ro hides her lack of magical powers in order to attend magic school. Ro soon finds pretending to be able to do magic is not as easy as she imagined with professors, students, and even her siblings suspecting that there's something not quite right about her. If anyone finds out that Ro is an ordinary human without any magical powers whatsoever, she'll be expelled from magic school and shunned by both the magical community and the family she's so desperate to please. To make matters worse, someone or something is targeting the students at magic school and all clues lead back to her. Can Rosalind keep up her magical charade or will it all come crashing down around her?

3. What is your book's aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Here's a link to my Pinterest
As you can see, I don't have a title yet for this project.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

I'm still building a lot of the characters, but here's a look at Ro and her best friend Thea.

Rosalind "Ro" Haverlock

  • resourceful
  • doesn't take no for an answer
  • determined
  • wants to fit in
  • good at cooking
  • carries matches with her wherever she goes

Thea Caines

  • werewolf
  • wants to be a magical veterinarian
  • enjoys helping others
  • is personally offended when people say "I'm not a dog person."
  • can understand what dogs say
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, etc)

I open up spiral notebook and write down anything and everything I already know about the story. Then, I plug what I've written into the Three Act Structure. Inevitably, I'll have holes in the Three Act Structure, so I'll try to think up what happens in those gaps. Filling in the missing pieces of my outline can take anywhere from hours to days. As I fill in the outline gaps, I browse Pinterest for pictures of setting and characters and do general research online for ideas I can add to my plot. Once I have my rough outline (which is most likely going to change a lot as I write), I'm basically ready to go.

6. What are you looking forward to about this novel?

I'm looking forward to all the little twists I can put on magical beings in the contemporary world. For example, I have an idea for a character who is a dragon attending magic school who likes to collect shiny things, would rather curl up in a nest of blankets than go out and party, and accidentally breathes fire when he sneezes.

7. List three things about your story's setting.

  • Most of the story will take place at the magic school.
  • The magic school is set up like a college campus with various academic buildings and residence halls.
  • That's really about all I've figured out so far for setting (as you can see I'm woefully unprepared to begin writing this story in November. Ah well, that's life. I'm still going to jump right in and write on November 1st whether I'm ready or not.)
8. What's your character's goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Rosalind's Goal: Hide the fact she can't do magic in order to attend magic school.

Standing in the Way: All of her classmates, professors, and siblings who will disown her if they discover her secret.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Well, I don't want to spoil anything for you, but Rosalind will need to learn to accept herself for who she is and not who her family wants her to be in order for her to be truly happy.

10. What are your book's themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?


  • The struggle between family expectations and your own abilities
  • The desire to fit in often prevents you from being yourself
  • You don't need magical powers in order to save the day

How I want readers to feel: happy and like they can do anything they set their mind to.

Let's connect!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? What's your story about? Comment below!

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