I know that it’s been a while since NaNoWriMo, but I love talking about writing and I just felt like answering the various questions from Cait and Sky’s latest Beautiful Books post. I focused on many different books for NaNoWriMo, but I’m going to focus on the one that I’m nearly finished with, The Teleporter.
1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?
Maybe 6 or 7? It’s definitely a lot better than earlier versions – there’s a lot more diversity, both racial and sexual, and less romantic angst (that tends to be a common problem of most of my early projects/drafts). The relationships, both romantic and platonic, are more intriguing, and the plot itself is more complex. That being said, it’s still very much a first draft (and I still have a final three or so chapters to go to wrap everything up). I don’t know if I would say it defied expectations, because my expectations are simply to write a first draft that has potential and that I would like to read, and I think it met those expectations.
2. Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)
Oh god, I’m horrible at these – mainly because I don’t think I’ve ever done one before? Maybe? Let’s see…
Skulduggery Pleasant + X-Men
All of the main characters work at a private investigation agency (thus the title name, The Agency), and they all have powers, which ties into both Skulduggery Pleasant and X-Men, I suppose. *shrugs* I don’t think I’m very good at these, sorry.
3. Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?
God no, it’s not the right environment for me at all. Some deadlines and a little internal pressure is okay, but NaNoWriMo can really stress me out, or at least take the fun out of writing. I like to write when I’m feeling inspired or I simply feel like I need to write, which sometimes happens a lot or not at all for a few months or so.
4. How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.
Editing is kind of a new thing for me – I’ve been writing for years, but I’ve only recently begun finishing first drafts. The first time I did, I tried rewriting everything by hand, but that took a bit too long and I got bored, so my new method is to reread the first draft and write notes about each chapter, deciding what’s working, what needs to be changed, and what plot holes exist. We’ll have to see if I keep up with this, though, or if I’ll come up with a new idea. With another one of my first drafts, I’m merely rewriting it on the computer and am going to follow my new notebook method when I’m doing with this second draft.
5. What aspect of your story needs the most work?
The fighting and more intricate parts of the plot are probably the parts that I need to work on the most, but I’m really not sure quite yet.
6. What aspect of your story did you love the most?
The people and their relationships. My protagonist, Lucy, grew up at the Agency as the adopted daughter of the head investigator after her parents went on a suicide mission and never returned. She’s grown up with many of the people, and thus has a great relationship with all of the employees, although in different ways. Her ex is a freelancer who often works with the Agency, and even though they broke up, they obviously still care about each other, and there’s that will-they-won’t-they aspect to their relationship. There’s also a new guy on the scene, and I definitely need to work on incorporating him better (so, I guess that could work for #5) – don’t worry, though, it’s not a love triangle because he’s gay. Of course, one of the reasons Lucy (protagonist) broke up with Grant (the ex) is because Grant didn’t like how close Lucy is to fellow employee Luca, who’s a brother figure that obviously isn’t related to her, which makes their relationship a bit more complex, so I guess there’s a quasi love triangle in the undercurrent of the story.
7. Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?
Lucy (protagonist): She’s 19 (used to be 17, but I didn’t want to deal with figuring out her schooling, so I aged her up a little with this new rough draft) and has wanted to work at the Wittacker Agency as long as she can remember. She has the power of manipulation (she can manipulate objects, like changing an object into something else by touching it), but she’s not very good at it and is always struggling to improve her power. She loves her “family” and will do anything to protect them. I don’t think she really needs too many changes – I’m pretty happy with most of the characters.
Grant (love interest): He’s 19 or 20 and a private investigator freelancer with the power of invisibility. He really does care for Lucy, and he’s great friends with Luca, but he still gets a little jealous of their relationship with each other. I’m really happy with how he turned out – rather than having a lot of boring drama between him and Luca, their relationship has a vibe of “I’m mostly straight, but I think I could see myself with you because you’re awesome,” which is a lot more fun in my mind. I want to develop that further in future drafts.
Luca (best friend): He’s in his mid-20s and has been working at the Agency the longest, since he was an “intern” back in high school. He has super strength, which he has total control over, a fact that quite annoys Lucy. I feel like there’s more substance to his character, but I could still probably develop him further.
Tomas (father figure): Tomas was best friends with Lucy’s parents (he also dated Lucy’s father before her parents married) and took her in, even though he had no experience being a parent. He’s all that Lucy has and Lucy is the only thing representing his old friends. Tomas is a very serious person, but he also loves his “family” of employees and can be quite entertaining when telling old stories. He also has the power of manipulation and does his best to teach Lucy. Like most of the characters, I want to develop him even further.
Heather (friend): She has powers with fire, and it matches her fiery personality. Like Lucy, she’s bi, and even though they’re just really good friends, they can have a flirty relationship (at this point, Lucy has a flirty relationship with most of her friends). Heather definitely needs to be more developed – I feel like I forgot about her in favor of the male characters, which isn’t like me.
Rachel (friend): The final employee at the Agency, Rachel has super intelligence and does much of the stay-behind-at-the-agency work. She doesn’t open up much, but she does care about her fellow employees – she’s simply the type of person who tries to keep her work and personal lives separate. She has a live-in girlfriend or wife (I can’t remember right now which it is), but that’s mostly separate. She definitely needs to be developed further – I often forget about her.
Elliott (new guy): Elliott is the telekinetic who suddenly showed up at the Agency after running away from a bad home life. He’s very big but he’s super shy and intimidated by all the short people, like Lucy, Grant, and Tomas. He was bigger in earlier drafts since there was a love triangle, but now that that’s gone, he’s another character I kind of forgot about. Oops.
Jonah (antagonist): Jonah is the titular teleporter who has a history with Tomas, and he’s come back to settle the score. He wants to hurt Tomas, but he quickly figures out he can do that through the people he loves, like Lucy and Luca. I just want to make sure that he isn’t a stereotypical antagonist with a villain ball.
8. What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?
Definitely more edits. I want to eventually show it to people as beta readers, like my sister, and after I feel sure enough about it (which will take many edits), I’ll try to query it. I do like it, so I don’t think it’ll be stuck in a deep, dark hole.
9. Share a favourite snippet!
I’ll just do something from the first chapter, because I’m lazy.
“He did not throw a car at you – he could barely lift the damn thing off the ground. It only got about five inches off the ground,” Lucy pointed out with a smirk.
“Details, details,” Luca said as he waved off the comment. “And watch your language.”
Lucy rolled her eyes. “We’ll ignore the fact that you taught me all the curse words that I know.”
10. What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?
I want to write more regularly. I have two finished first drafts and one first draft that’s almost done – by the end of 2016, hopefully I’ll have some second drafts I’m almost finished with or even done with, as well as some new finished rough drafts. Who knows, maybe I’ll even get to the point where I can show my work to other people! OK, show my work to my sister – let’s not be too ambitious.