Friday, October 5, 2012

TCWT! October Blog Chain, NaNoWriMo Edition

Today, with this post, I kick off the Teens Can Write, Too! October blog chain.   This month's prompt is:

“What are you writing for NaNoWriMo? Briefly explain how this book idea come about. Then write a mock first page for the novel.”

For those of you unaware, NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month.  (Also known as November)

This year for NaNo I'm writing my first fantasy. The working title is Noxumbra Manor.  Here's the blurb I wrote for the NaNo website:

"Gwendolyn Copperstone has been a peasant all her life, but when she inherits the insolvent estate Noxumbra Manor from her uncle, she gets flung into a world of deceit and mystery. Gwen's uncle had secrets, and someone will do anything to make sure Gwen doesn't find out what they were."    

The story of how I came up with this idea kinda.... I dunno, funny?   Once my mom asked me what my pseudonym would be if I were to publish under one.  After some thought, I decided on Gwendolyn Copperstone.
A few weeks later, I found NaNoWriMo, and I signed up using that name.  Over the course of the month, Gwen sort of....evolved.  Kinda.  She wasn't just my NaNo username.  I'd come up with an appearance for her: long, red, wavy hair and green eyes.  Don't ask why, I don't really know myself. 

Sometime after NaNo, I started thinking about Gwen, and who she was. For some reason I decided she should live in Spryll, a fantasy world I'd made up a while ago and hadn't done anything with.

When I started thinking about what I'd do for NaNo this year, I thought about Gwen.  I decided she should be Lord Gwendolyn Copperstone (she inherits a title as well as the manor).  I don't remember why.  Gwen was one of... 3?... characters I was thinking of writing a story for during NaNo.  The problem?  She had no plot.  I knew she inherited a manor that was in horrible shape, and her best friend's name was Sydrian. That was it.

Then I the brilliant idea of someone wanting to scare her out of the manor.  And once I had that, a plot began to form.  I've been thinking and planning and profiling characters and outlining since then, and I'm almost ready for NaNo, and seriously hoping Gwen turns out to be a lot better than Lizzie (the main character in my 2011 NaNo novel).

So, with the backstory finished, here's my first page:

The early spring wind kissed my face with frostbitten lips.  I pulled my cloak closer.  My horse shifted beneath me. 
“Do you hear them, girl?” I asked.  She tossed her main and nibbled at some new greenery poking out of the ground.
Then I heard the sound of hoof beats and ringing of laughter.  
“Ho, Gwendolyn!” A young man’s voice called, “Do you wait for us?” He rounded the corner and came into view, brown hair ruffled by the wind.  A young girl sat on his lap.
I smiled.  “Good morning, Sydrian and Nidia.   You seem to have left the rest of the market train behind.”
“They’re coming,” said Nidia. “Can I ride with you, Gwen?”
“Oi,” said Sydrian, “Why don’t you want to ride with me, your favorite brother?”
“Gwen smells better.”  Nidia wrinkled her nose at Sydrian.
Sydrian and I laughed.  “Yes, you can ride with me, Nidia,” I said.  Sydrian moved his horse next to mine and handed me his sister.  As Nidia settled in front of me, I heard the rumbling sound of wagon wheels.   A wagon piled with goods for the market rounded the corner, followed by a smaller wagon carrying stall pieces and children, and some adults on horseback.
“Good morning, Gwen,” said the man driving the first wagon as he came to a halt.
“Good morning, Arvel,” I said. “Sydrian, seeing as I now carry your load, would you please add my box to the rest on the stock wagon?”
“Of course,” he said.  He hoisted my box into the wagon.  Once it was secure, he jumped back on his horse and struck a dramatic pose. “To Plarn!” he said as though we were headed to battle. Nidia and I laughed.  The wagons lurched forward and headed to the market at Plarn.

Want to be writing buddies?  I'm on both the Young Writers Program and the NaNo main site.

Be sure to check out the rest of the blog chain!!

Want to follow our blog chain? Here are the participating parties, day by day:
October 5th  – Lily’s Notes in the Margins
October 6th – Reality Is Imaginary
October 7th – One Life Story
October 8th – Of a Writerly Sort
October 9th – The Leaning Tower of Plot
October 10th – This Page Intentionally Left Blank
October 11th – What Updates?
October 12th – Miriam Joy Writes
October 13th – Between the Lines
October 14th – Inside the Junk Door
October 15th – Musings From Neville’s Navel
October 16th – Kirsten Writes!
October 17th – A Mirror Made of Words
October 18th – The Teenage Writer
October 19th – Platonic Pencil
October 20th – Mark O’Brien Writes
October 21st – It’s All In My Head
October 22nd – The Incessant Droning of a Bored Writer
October 23rd – Teens Can Write, Too! (We will be announcing the topic for next month’s chain)


  1. Int'resting. Very interesting... but from your synopsis, it sounds like Gwen is just another girl detective sticking her nose into everything, no matter how bad it smells. Not that that kind of character is bad, but it seems... well, I'll reserve judgement. I'm not going to be overly critical on the mock first page, either. Both idea and first page look very good.

    1. I was afraid the synopsis would sound like that. That synopsis totally stinks. I don't want Gwen to be one of those girl detectives. Trixie Belden was like that, and as much as I love those books, she was kind of annoying.

      Go ahead and air your opinions. I'm curious about how you view characters of the Nancy Drew persuasion.

  2. I like the twist of having the girl detective be in another land. Not going to really go into the first page too much, because it is a first rough draft page. And for that, it's really good.

  3. Neat premise for your story - I hadn't even made the detective story connection until I read the comments, I just thought the mystery and adventure sounded good.

    I am a bit confused though about a minor detail: you call Gwen a peasant, but then she seems well off and owns a horse and whatnot. The word 'commoner' seems more appropriate to me. (yes, this was nitpicky. hope you don't mind)

    1. Thanks!

      I don't mind a bit. In fact, I thank you for pointing that out. I hadn't noticed that.

  4. Can a girl be a 'Lord' of a manor, or would they be a 'Lady'? Intriguing to think how society and titles could differ between this world and Spryll, your world :D

    Good luck for NaNo. One pointer, though - SO many fantasy novels have ginger-haired protagonists with green eyes. It seems like if you're brown haired you're likely to be an extra and not get to go on adventures. (I'm guilty of it too. I've had SO many red-headed characters in my books.) So beware of your character resembling those too much....

    1. That's a good point about hair color. *Strokes imaginary beard* Gwen may be in for a makeover. Hmm....

      And I have to say, your sentence "It seems like if you're brown haired you're likely to be an extra and not get to go on adventures." Totally cracked me up. Instead of redshirts, fantasy has brunettes.

  5. That's really interesting backstory. The fact that a simple pen name evolved into a MC says a lot of positive things; I'm betting your characterization is really strong, too. Good luck with this!

    1. Thanks! I hope my characterization is better than last year. Last year's characters were just embarrassing.