This whole month, my heart has been singing, “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” (Thank you, L.M. Montgomery, for that iconic quote!) It’s been a beautiful month in my state, full of weather both warm and crisp, days of both sun and rain. September through December are my absolute favorite months of the year; I’m beyond thrilled to be wearing sweatshirts and jeans again, to be watching oranges and reds slowly paint the leaves. Basically, these are the perfect months for writing.
So, since I’m in the mood for writing this season, what better way to kick off the next month than by participating in a writing linkup?
I haven’t shared much about my writing here, but this month, I am participating in the beautiful Christine Smith’s Know the Novel linkup! (You can read more about it here!) Christine is one of my favorite people on the Internet; she really does scatter sparkling beams of sunshine wherever she goes. She’s such an encouragement and inspiration to me, and I’m blessed to know her. 🙂
Christine has been hosting this linkup for the past three years, and while I’ve absolutely loved reading everyone’s posts, I’ve never been able to participate myself. Until now.
I’m making this a sort of joint “Know the Novel” and “October/November writing goals” post, and I’m using this as the extra motivational push I need to get going on my current WIP. I’m counting on you all to keep me accountable. 😉
Without further ado…
TIME’S TRAVEL’S DONE!
Over the past few months, this little time travel story of mine has been burgeoning into something much bigger than I’d originally planned. (Plot bunnies tend to do that, don’t they?) Now it’s going to be at least a novella. Probably a short novel.
1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
I was browsing Pinterest a few months ago and saw a writing prompt that immediately grabbed my interest. Almost instantly, Tom Kingston leapt into my imagination with a smirk and a dramatic bow, followed closely by Alessandro rolling his eyes at his companion.
It was definitely one of those things that sparked my imagination more than any other writing prompts I’d seen recently, but I didn’t know how far that initial spark would go.
I saved the prompt to my “Writing Prompts” board, fully expecting it to be one of those things that’s an, “Oh, that’s cool! I should save it in case I ever need to visit that enormous black hole of a board for another story idea.” But it didn’t let go of my interest, and I found myself constantly thinking about it, my imagination creating my own spin on the prompt.
The idea has morphed over the months and isn’t that much like the prompt anymore, but it gave me a jumpstart on an idea that I wholeheartedly love!
2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!
Ha. Ha. Ahahaha. It is a truth personally acknowledged that Amelie despises writing blurbs. (I do think blurbing is one of the universally abhorred elements of writing. I have yet to meet a writer friend who enjoys writing synopses for his or her own writing.)
Very, very rough blurb to follow, with the full disclaimer that anything within is subject to change. (I have found these first-person blurbs to be slightly easier for me to write, so that’s what I’m going with for now.)
My name is Tom Kingston, and I’m a time-traveler. An independent operative, if you will. I’m a consultant for the TAUKD, but I mostly work alone. I’ve been alone most of my life. It’s better that way. No one really notices me, except for Maisy, and I don’t draw attention to myself.
Except for the time I ran into a certain reclusive Italian who likes to hang around outside the supermarket. Actually, I ran into him twice that day. And one of those times was over five hundred years ago.
Now I’ve been roped into working with a grumpy immortal bloke, my bookish librarian’s assistant friend, and an oddly terrifying librarian who can wield her tongue, a book, and a cudgel with equal dexterity. Not to mention dodging the black-clad Scottish bloke who’s chasing us around.
Who knew that time monsters and an ancient hourglass could cause this much trouble.-Extremely cringey and rough synopsis-thing for Time’s Travel’s Done
Well. There you go. Very preliminary blurb-summary-thing.
3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
Well, I’ve been an Anglophile for quite a while (it may or may not be partly due to the fact that J.R.R. Tolkien is my favorite author).
As Tom is British, Time’s Travel’s Done is set in present-day London, and I love so much about it. The rain, the history, the red double-deckers, the rushed feel of city life…so many things!
I’m sure I’m not going to write the setting anywhere near perfectly, being a native American, but I’m having fun researching and am going to try my best!
4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).
(Fun fact: the cast of Time’s Travel’s Done consists of five people, which is actually the smallest cast I’ve ever written.)
Tom Kingston – my extroverted, lonely, wisecracking, time-traveler. Struggling to find a balance between staying under the radar and making real friends, Tom is afraid of hurting others with his special abilities. He’s also extremely lonely because, although he’s an extrovert, he can’t spend time with people as much as he wants. Tom thrives on banter, coffee, and time with people he trusts.
(I have not seen anything featuring Julian Morris, but although he’s a bit too old, he’s the closest to my mental picture of Tom. Image source.)
Alessandro Durante – my *slightly* older, introverted, grumpy, Italian immortal. Scarred from his past and lonely because of his unusual qualities, Alessandro has traveled around quite a bit and seen many unusual things due to his long life. He enjoys tea, seeks beauty in life, and has a rather dry sense of humor (which makes writing the interactions between him and Tom very fun). Also, I got very nerdy while naming him. You can figure out why if you look up the meaning of his last name. Image source.
I also have my side characters: my contemplative, book-loving girl Maisy and my fiery, one-armed librarian Hildegarde.
I love them all so much.
5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
One of my favorite villain tropes.
The sassy, fashion-conscious villain.
Black capes, black cloats, black gloves, sleek black boots, etc. (Yes, he does like black, which is perhaps a bit cliché, but he also likes bananas.)
Kylian Hawke – my revenge-driven, hurting, fashionable, Scottish, almost-as-snarky-as-Tom character. (If you’re reading this, Hannah, I promise I didn’t name my villain after you.) It’s always hard to describe villains without giving away spoilers, but suffice it to say that Kylian is essentially a vigilante with a tragic past.Image source.
Also, there are the Ferals, or custodes qui sunt monstra feras (Latin for “guardians who are monsters”) as they are called in books. (Of course, Tom was the one to come up with something catchy and slightly snarky to call them.) The Ferals are the aforementioned “time monsters,” or guardians of the flow of time who happen to be monsters. They’re not villains, but they are antagonists for a good portion of the story. I’d originally called them the custodem feras (which I thought meant “guardian monsters”), but I don’t think that’s the correct Latin translation. If anyone’s a Latin expert, I’d welcome your thoughts!
6. What excites you the most about this novel?
Time travel! London! Sass! Eccentricity! Relationships! I’m basically including many of my absolute FAVORITE tropes, and I am so excited. Just thinking about writing this makes me so excited.
7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
I haven’t gotten brave enough to do a series yet, so this is a standalone. I’m still not exactly sure how long it will be; I don’t think it will be quite novel-length, but I’m not locking myself into any specific word count. My goal is at least 10,000 words…but I think it’ll probably end up being much longer than that. (It was originally going to be a short story or a novelette. Yeah…that didn’t happen. Ask my family: I never end up writing short things.) I’m guessing Time’s Travel’s Done will end up being around 30,000 words or longer, though, so 30k is my goal for November.
8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?
I’m mostly plotting, but I am sort of plantsing, too. I’m not doing rigid outlining, but I do need a concrete plan when writing. There are still a few story elements I’m figuring out, so I think I’m going to end up pantsing those, but I mostly have the general structure of the story down.
I used to pants every story I wrote, but I would burn myself out, write myself into a corner, and just generally never finish my projects. We’ll see if I ever go back to full-on pantsing in the future. For now, I think plantsing may be my preferred method of drafting.
9. Name a few unique elements about this story.
Well, I can name a few things that I think are fairly unique:
- An Italian immortal
- A villain who likes bananas (villains have favorite fruits too, right?)
- An eccentric librarian with blue glasses and an affinity for pulling ancient weapons out of her library desk
- I also hope Tom is fairly unique; I tried to add some paradoxical elements to his character that I haven’t really seen in wisecracking extroverts. I’ve felt like all the main characters in my previous stories were much too formulaic, but Tom is the first one who feels more lively to me.
There are also a few story elements that are new to my writing, if not writing in general: adult male main characters, an extroverted main character, and lots of banter. (I love reading banter, but I haven’t written any thus far.)
10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).
Ah, yes. I can deliver.
I have made one collage thus far:
The Pinterest board is partially embedded here, but you can click on it to see the actual semi-organized version:
I’ve also made a Spotify playlist of instrumental songs that remind me of my story, put me in the mood to write, or are for listening while I’m writing.
I’m experimenting with whether I can write while listening to music or not. I know for sure that I cannot listen to any kind of lyrical music while I’m trying to concentrate, but instrumental music sometimes enhances my concentration. We’ll see! I’d love it if I could write while listening to music! But if not, this playlist will at least get me pumped up for writing sessions and get my creative juices flowing. The playlist contains a lot of Epic Score soundtracks, as well as some Doctor Who, Loki, and other timey-wimey sounding songs.
Before ending this post, I wanted to take a minute to share about the writing camp I’m doing this November!
I participated in the King’s Daughters’ Writing Camp for the first time this July and absolutely loved it. If you’re a Christian girl, you should absolutely look into this 100% free, online camp; it’s such a wonderful, fun, encouraging environment. Since you set your own writing goal for the month, you could do it as a NaNoWriMo alternative, or you could do it in conjunction with NaNo.
For more information, head over to the website! KDWC encouraged me so much in both my faith and my writing, and I’m counting down the days until it starts again. (If you join, make sure to tag me and say hello! I’d love to see you there!)
For the rest of October, I’m planning to whip my outline into shape. I don’t think I’m going to end up with a super detailed outline, because I don’t want to lose my excitement over the story, but I think I’m on the right track. I know basically how I want the story to end, and I know a lot of other things I want to have happen. I may even be able to start writing early (meaning before November starts). Come November, I think I’ll be ready to keep writing. And I can always set aside some time for more character or plot work later if need be. This draft is going to be all over the place, but I can work with that as long as I have words on the page.
As for my November writing goals…
(Smaller) Goal: Write 1k words a day.
(Monthly) Goal: Write 30k words in the 30 days of November.
1k per day. I…can do that. (*sweating*)
This is a lofty goal, my friends. I have never written this many words in one month before, but I’m really excited about this story and feeling almost ready to try. I won’t lie and say I feel totally prepared, because I definitely don’t. But since I embarked on the writing journey over six years ago, I’ve met so many people and made encouraging, enthusiastic writer friends who rally around me and encourage me in both my faith and my writing.
Lord willing, I’ll see you at the end of November with 30k in my Time’s Travel’s Done document.
So tell me, friends, are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If not, what is your current writing project, if you have one? Are you planning to write this November? Have you looked into the King’s Daughter’s Writing Camp? Are you one of those rare people who likes writing blurbs for your own writing? Have you participated in Know the Novel before? Let’s talk in the comments!