Monday, October 31, 2016

Beautiful Books: October 2016

It's taken me a while to figure out what my plan for this year's National Novel Writing Month. As a "pantser" (or if you prefer the term "gardener"), I don't plan a whole lot. I have a bunch of ideas in my head that come together and find a way to make it work together with a plot. Writing a novel for me is a long journey of discovery. Thus Nanowrimo is both good and bad. Good because it's all about writing the sloppy, first draft where I can chase rabbit trails and add new characters halfway through the story. Bad because I never know what's going to happen, which can sometimes lead to a disaster.

I wanted to start a new story this year. I've been thinking about a particular story for a while now, even telling myself all year that I'd shelve it until November. But I don't think I'm going to write it this time. I don't think I'm ready--despite being a pantser. Instead, I'm going to be a "rebel" and use my November to continue editing and rewriting A Girl and Her Dragon. (Boring, right?)

Thus Beautiful Books this month feels... repetitive. I've talked about A Girl and Her Dragon numerous times. At this point, do I really need to explain how I got my idea or what it's aesthetics are? Probably not.

So instead of doing Beautiful Books for A Girl and Her Dragon, I'm going to do it for the story I wish I could write but know I'm not ready to. The novel I'm shelving once more in order to stick to editing and rewriting. It's affectionately dubbed The Superhero Novel. (I know, it's so original and creative.)

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
A few things inspired this novel: my adoration for superheroes (comics and movies and television shows) and the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan. I know what you're thinking: "Jaime, what does Percy Jackson and superheroes have to do with one another?"

Well, you see, the concept of the Percy Jackson books is this: what if demigods--children of the Greek gods--existed in our world today? Thus we get Percy Jackson and the rest of the Camp Half-Blood campers fighting monsters of mythology and completing quests like the ancient legends.

So what if the famous superheroes had children? What would those children do? Would they be heroes or villains? Would they get a choice? How would they feel about their parents being famous and in the public eye? How would they deal with their powers?

I know, you're probably thinking: "Wait! That's been done before. Disney had a film about the children of superheroes that went to a superhero school, Sky High!"

You're right. Disney did do that. But that's not what I'm doing. Disney made up superheroes for that. Will was the son of the Commander and Jetstream, two superheroes that only exist within that film. No, instead, I want to use the superheroes people know and love. I want to know what Bruce Wayne's daughter would be like or how Captain America's son would view the world. I want to use a conglomeration of comic book heroes and villains the world knows and loves.*

(*I realize this sounds a lot like fanfiction. Maybe it is. And maybe it's breaching several copyright laws. I'm a pantser, remember? Things often change while writing and editing.)

2. Describe what your novel is about!
J.J. [last name withheld until files are made public] learns she's the daughter of a famous superhero--superheroes that should only exist in comic books and the movies--after a security breach threatens the lives of several superhero children. She's taken to a secret base where she meets other superhero children and undergoes training for her non-existent powers. Someone, however, is targeting them from within the base--and J.J. doesn't know who to trust. Not even herself.

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

Pretty much.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
All Records compiled by [name withheld]
J.J. [last name withheld]
Age: 17
Powers: N/A
Other traits: quiet, loves to read, has an affinity for remembering historical events

Picture her with shorter hair. 

Kal Kent
Age: 17 by Earth's standards
Powers: flight, enhanced strength, super snark
Other traits: loves the ladies, likes to make jokes at inappropriate times, also likes dogs and pizza

Kal's resting face is a smirk 

Willa Cage
Age: 19
Powers: Unavailable
Other traits: her hair is amazing, she likes to sing

Willa with her half-brother.

Brett Wayne
Age: 17
Powers: None
Other traits: Martial Arts training, observes everything, she always looks angry? No, really, she's glaring at me as I type this up.

Brett likes to frequently change her hair color.

[name withheld]
Age: 23
Powers: None, though I'm a wizard at technology
Other traits: Yeah, right. I'm not telling you.

[picture withheld]

I have several other characters like a kid who thinks he's Loki but isn't (basically, a young, hipster Loki wandering around), the director of the secret group (shhh, secrets), and a league of super villains who are all females (except for their secretary who is a sassy guy named Stanley).

Number Three, Number Four, Number One, Number Two, and Stanley

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
Howl. Stock up on chocolate and then immediately eat all of it. Mope around the house with a sore throat and upset stomach. Write down ideas that come beforehand so I don't lose them. More howling.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Whenever I get around to writing this, I'm looking forward to how all the superhero children interact. They all come from different places with difference parents and different standards. It'll be interesting to see how they work together. I'm also stoked to flesh out the super villains. Because they're awesome, right? And to find out who the mole is. And who J.J. belongs to.

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

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
At the beginning, J.J.'s goal is to just figure out what in the world is happening. Who is she? Who is her parent? Why is she there? But as the story progresses and she starts to learn who she is, her goal is to figure out where she belongs: with the heroes or the villains. She also wants to live up to the standards of being a superhero's child. Most of what stands in her way is herself, but her new teammates and the allure of the villains will create conflict as well.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
I think she becomes more confident in who she is--not necessarily just as the child of a superhero, but as the kind of person she is and wants to aspire to be. Since I haven't written it yet, it's hard to know, but I think she changes for the better.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?
I think there will be a lot of themes of finding identity and this sense of belonging to a family/team throughout the novel. I want my readers to feel the same as they would after watching a Marvel movie--when the heroes have saved the day but also learned something about themselves, the world, or humanity. I want there to be hope and confidence and just an overall sense that the world can truly be a better place. We just have to be willing to save it.

(Wow, that got deep real fast.)

What are your plans for November? Did you participate in Beautiful Books?

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