Oh yes, and I’M JUST LINKING UP WITH LIKE MY FAVORITE BLOGGER OF EVER! ‘Course, a bunch of people are too, but no matter. And you want to hear all about this too, amirite? I must needs revisit it myself since it’s been almost A YEAR since I first plotted it and am starting to forget all the beautiful little pieces I had planned. 😮


The questions/answers about The Tenth Muse, my NaNoNovel. 😉

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

That *is* the question, isn’t it? I’m… sadly unsure. It was kind of a picture popping into my head (of something that doesn’t actually happen in the story, but before)… And then I just knew the main character had to have some connection with music, though I’m not sure where that came from. And it was more an emotion that came with it, getting more complex, multifaceted, and intense as I thought about it and concentrated on it. And then… Well, it just kind of happened inexplicably. *shrugs*

2. Describe what your novel is about!

Olivia (the lead) is a sixteen-year-old adopted freak. She has golden hair (that grows in spurts at an average of, say, six inches a week), that glows when she really gets into her music; she sees creepy dark shapes like shadows that haunt her… And she’s the only one who sees any of it. She’s been able to sing perfectly since she was a baby.

She sees a huge shadowy threat at the end of her bed in the night; her parents see a child afraid of the dark. And for some reason, Olivia has always kept it that way. Ever since she realized she wasn’t normal, that she was a FREAK, she’s hidden it, played it cool, pretended not to see. The only person who knows the truth is her sister, Lindsay. On nights when the darkness scared Olivia, Lindsay would creep into her room, armed with a blanket, flashlights, and her voice, and sit up with her until the darkness had gone and Olivia could sleep. They were, in short, the best of friends. Were. Until Lindsay met Drew, and time for spending with Olivia gradually disappeared, leaving a cavernous gaping distance between them. Now Olivia is alone… And at the worst time possible.

Switch places in the universe. Know those legends about –  Yeah, never mind; legends are so deviated from the truth it’s almost worse starting from them. Anyway, so there is a magical island refuge called Atlantis, out beyond the magical barrier (filament) of time. The Keepers live here (they basically make sure the universe keeps running properly; e.g. Keeper of the sun makes sure it follows the correct patterns and stays at the proper distance from Earth, etc.), but now (for complex backstory reasons) they are trapped there, unable to manage their Keepings or enter Time (get to the physical Earth we know). The Pap, Keeper of evil, is behind it, and in order to stop him,  a Keeper would have to attack him… Something that can only be done from the outside. Meanwhile, all the Keepings are going haywire, and only ONE Keeper is free in the world: the lost daughter of Apollo, Keeper of the sun. That’s Olivia.

So yeah. It’s about her learning who she is, fighting the Pap, #allthefeels adjfski and all that in many departments, with themes about true love, forgiveness, and sacrifice, and ALL THAT GOOD TIME STUFF. I will, of course, keep you updated once I’m actually working on it, probably post snippets, etc. Eek! I’m getting excited all over again for this story!! ⏳

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

  

   

[Thanks to Google for my inspirational images]

These are some of the photos I downloaded to help me get the mood/feel/settings. It’s based in San Francisco, and I’ll be going there in the next week or so, so I’ll be taking more then. Good times!

Physical struggle, emotional journey, spiritual battle. Complex. Feelsy. (Totally an aesthetic word, right?) Letting go. Moving forward. Discovery. Losing to find.

That’s the best I can do, sorry.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

Complete with my weird doodles of my characters! Lucky you!

olivia

Olivia is a slightly sentimental, very reserved socialphobe. Because of her “darkness thing”, she’s terrified of being outside of the house, caught in public, attacked away from refuge. When she does go out, she always carries at least three things: scissors (to cut her hair if it suddenly decides to grow much too long at an inconvenient time), a very powerful flashlight (well-stocked with batteries), and her phone, always complete with a set of headphones. She sings a lot and plays the violin some. Her only real friends (debatably) are Lindsay and CJ. Drew, in her opinion, only half counts – he’s just an add-on to Lindsay.

lindsay

Lindsay is, obviously, Olivia’s sister. They were fellow conspirators and partners in crime. She half raised Olivia, since their parents spent almost all their time running frantically around from one place to another trying to get their small business off the ground. She’s a fashionista on a budget. She also is a very serious Instagrammer. Her favorite pastime is window shopping at the mall. She’s basically Olivia’s hero; her idea of what “normal” means.

drew

Drew is Lindsay’s fiancé. Olivia generally takes no notice of him as much as she can. She resents him for stealing Lindsay from her and starting the downward spiral of doom on their relationship. (Note to readers: this is her opinion at the beginning. He’s really not that bad of a guy.) He’s a Happiness Engineer for WordPress.

 

cj

CJ is Drew’s little brother. When Lindsay and Drew would go out on dates, CJ would stay behind at Olivia’s house with her. Mildly awkward at first, but now they’re used to it. It’s hard to know much about him; he spends almost every waking second on his Nintendo. His favorite game is Revenge of King Minos (made up, as far as I know. But it’s slightly important in the story, which is why I tell thee).

And my cast is so large I’m basically going to stop there. I mean, I could go into Ray, the sunbeam who’s sort of like a ghost (she can communicate with Olivia but had no physical presence in the world). Or Olivia’s parents, adopted or otherwise. Or her nine blood sisters. Or the other hilarious Keepers I have in mind. But that would take way too long. These are the key ones for now.

nine-muses
The Nine Muses… because, yeah. I just doodled them as stick girls because nine different sister doodles just made my eyes glaze. They are kinda cute, though.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

I outline (I think I’ve mentioned my act strategy here – strictly outline Act 1, roughly outline Act 2, vaguely sketch Act 3), and this time even more so than others! I have like a million documents for The Tenth Muse! 😱

Sometimes I collect images that inspire the mood/setting for my story.

Sometimes I just hide in my room and wish the world would swallow me for my ineptitude.

I research as needed.

Mostly, I just plow through it. If I stop to think or look back or slow down for breath, I lose both momentum and nerve. That’s why I love NaNoWriMo (plug for NaNo here!).

Sometimes also, I listen to mood-appropriate music to help me get the right tone for a scene.

Chocolate sounds like a good idea… Excuse me while I go stockpile it for NaNoWriMo…

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

Emotions. I’m really stretching myself on this story. My tendency is to race from one action-packed plot point to the next, forget character arcs or, heaven forbid, emotions. I plan on making a strong subplot/recurring theme/factor out of her emotional life/development, her relationship with Lindsay, etc. I’m slightly panicking right now, but also nervously excited.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

San Francisco. SUN/LIGHT (major plot factor here!). Magical dimensions (Olivia can see things, like the darkness, that regular humans can’t because she’s a Keeper <- that sounds really funny! “Oh yeah, she’s a keeper!”).

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

She wants to find her birth family and be a Keeper. She also wants to save her relationship with Lindsay.

The Pap is in the way. He’s basically ruining the world right under the humans’ noses.

The relationship thing is… complicated. The other events in the story help further it + make it worse. Both. Wait and see. *laughs evilly* 😂

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

She comes out of here shell (more). She figures out what she really wants/loves in life, what she fights for, where she stands. She stops letting herself be a victim and becomes a warrior. She also begins to understand that while the world was not as black-and-white as she once thought, not all things are gray area either. Lots of good time stuff. Oh yes.

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

YOU, MY FRIEND FIEND, HAVE SAVED THE BEST TILL LAST! This is my favorite part!

So. HOW SHALL I DO IT?!?!?!?!

Ahem. Well, I would promise not to actually smash either characters or readers or readers’ feels, buuuuttt… no guarantees, okay?

As I mentioned, there’s themes about true love (think Frozen), forgiveness, and SACRIFICE (which we all know is basically code for CHARACTERS DIE HERE, but whatevs. You can totally trust me). Also, I explore thoughts on finding yourself and making your stand/figuring out what’s important to you – what you’ll live OR DIE for.

I want my victims readers to feel:

EMPOWERED

THOUGHT-PROVOKED

INSPIRED

SWEPT AWAY IN THE STORY

DESTROYED EMOTIONALLY, BASICALLY

Those are my five pillars upon which I shall build my story, the things I want to keep in mind while crafting it. I want to move them. I want to tell the story inside of me in a way that does it justice (I have this weird feeling, like the idea almost doesn’t belong to me, that I’m trying to tell someone else’s story for them, be their voice. It freaks me out thinking how far I might miss, how much I might screw up. But I know this story needs to be told). I want to whirl my readers away on a magical whirlwind of fear and love and loss and victory (scared yet?). I want them to walk away fuller, richer. And incinerating their feels would suit my dark little evil author soul quite nicely, as well. We’ll see.

I’m so pumped, and so scared. I’m also slightly overwhelmed, as I’m behind schedule on my other gazillion writing projects so HEART ATTACK. But whatever. I’ll figure it out.

ANYWAY, Thanks to Cait and Sky for the Beautiful People link-up!!

See you all on the far side of NaNoWriMo (and hopefully in between!)!

~ Kat

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