In preparation for NaNoWriMo 2015 (National Novel Writing Month for those not in the know – but get in the know!), Cait and Sky did a Beautiful Books post centered on introducing our projects for next month! As I seem to do every year, I questioned whether I really wanted to try again this year, but not only am I trying it again, but I’m focusing on a new project rather than trying to simply write whatever captures my attention that day. So, without further delay, meet my obsession for next month!
- How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I actually came up with it this month – I know, I know, so last minute. I was thinking about anxiety and general mental health issues, as I tend to do a lot, and I was once again inspired to write a story about a character with mental health issues. Now, this happens a lot, so it really isn’t that unusual a thing for me to think about, but for some reason this idea just stuck with me. I wanted to write a story that’s quite autobiographical in scope, without being my story completely, and I wanted to explore a lot of issues of friendship, family, and isolation. Basically, I keep throwing all these things that are important to me at this story and saying “yes, you can address this as well!”
2. Why are you excited to write this novel?
For the same reason that I’m so terrified of it – it’s going to be so personal and dig deep into issues that are very important to me, like friendship and family and anxiety and so many personal things why am I doing this? (well, for one thing, I think my writing style will get to be a lot like my thinking process, which is often run-on sentences because there are just so many thoughts going on!)
3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?
A biracial, asexual, senior with anxiety who is trying to figure out how to live and breath after the breakdown of all her toxic former friendships. It’s called Act Like I’m the Best, based on lyrics from Marina & the Diamonds’s awesome “Oh No!”
4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)
Alexa Reynolds-Olivet, the protagonist: WIP (work-in-progress – it’s an acronym, so it works!)
Bailey Reynolds-Olivet, the protagonist’s sister: loyal
Calla Olivet, the protagonist’s cousin: photographer
Jada Reynolds-Olivet: confident
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!
Alexa, because she’s me in many ways – which means she’ll also be terrifying, of course. But I’m also excited for Bailey because she’s going to be this amazing sister who supports Alexa as much as she can, and they’re going to have the most beautiful sisterhood, so I can’t wait to write about them together.
6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?
She just wants to be normal and be in control of her life, but her own anxiety and fear is what’s standing in her way. It’s all internal, although just getting out some toxic, long-term friendships are obstacles as well.
7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)
Probably the state where I live – I haven’t thought about it too much since it’s not a big part of the story, but it definitely needs to be in a small enough place that it’s mostly full of white people, which makes Alexa feel further out of place.
8. What is the most important relationship your character has?
With her sister, for sure. She doesn’t realize it, but Bailey is her best friend, and it’ll be the main “love story” in this book, since Alexa is asexual and much too focused on fixing her life to worry about romance even if she wasn’t.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
She’s getting better; she’s obviously not cured, because anxiety and other mental health issues never really go away, but she’s much more comfortable and ready to face the world. She’s starting to figure out what she wants and trying her best to get it.
10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?
Anxiety, mental health, sisters, toxic friendships, confidence, sexuality, asexuality, etc. Basically, all the things that are important to me. I want to break my readers’ hearts a little before giving them so much hope and, hopefully, inspiration. I want this to be the type of story that changes my life at least a little bit, and hopefully it’ll do that for some other people.
BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.
- Take it one day at a time
- Take advantage of the social aspect, whether it’s getting writing buddies or simply checking out all the many, many other people who are doing NaNoWriMo without actually talking to them
- Remember that you’re doing it because you love writing – not just because you want to win (although it’s certainly nice)
If you want to find me on the NaNoWriMo website, here’s my profile!