A surefire sign November has come around: a not so subtle wave of NaNoWriMo spam across the board: NaNoWriMo on social media, NaNoWriMo in videos, and NaNoWriMo right here on the blog.

We'd apologize, except NaNoWriMo has a long-established tradition of eating our souls. Blogging about it, as it turns out, seems to be the only cure.

So this week I'm teaming up with Cait and Sky's Beautiful People Books feature (a week late, and let's just blame that on November, too, while at it) - for the first time ever, mind you - and introducing and discussing my writing project for the month, in all its murderous glory. The story is titled The Ever End, it's Paranormal (in the NA range, but nothing whatsoever to do with the NA genre tropes, let us hope), and it features ice cream and ritualistic sacrifices. (#thatescalatedquickly) So without further ado...

I've been hanging out with this particular novel, on-and-off since August 2014, when I sat down to outline it. It's a strange baby, as all my novel babies are, and stemmed from:
  • a particular Buddhist text I got my hands on for free and read that month
  • a video game sequence I watched my best friend play years prior (Tomb Raider, to whom it may concern)
  • a general notion of "Wouldn't it be swell if there was no good side, or even the right side in a story?"
Because chaos and evilry and mayhem and debauchery and anti-heroes. My comfort zones. (Very Buddhist of me, I know.)

Tentatively, succinctly, illogically, The Ever End centers around alter egos, resurrection, secret societies, giant libraries, a small New England college town, potential ghosts (but no actual ghosts), potential zombies (but no actual zombies), paranormalcy in the service of making a point rather than developing a grandiose magic system, a mildly infuriating protagonist, and ice cream.

I'm so good at summaries, someone should hand me an award and hire me as a literary marketing strategist right away. #naturaltalent

Behold my procrastination-inducing, out-of-control Pinterest board. (Said every amateur/professional writer ever.)

You don't know what you're asking. Let's just say that apart from a penchant for villainy, G.R.R. Martin and I also get along in terms of the cast size. And they all sort of matter in the grand scheme of things. But to pull a few straws out of that hat:
Morgan - lives for dance, creative procrastination excuses, family (members: one) and friends (members: one), pretty boys, and - as of the inciting incident - murder, graveyards, and obscure rituals. Because one obviously goes with the other
Riley - that friend without who Morgan would have been murdered much sooner. Studious, grounded, stable and generally centered, but with academic ambition often disproportionate to what any one living human can accomplish (good thing they're all dying, then)
Dermot - a college librarian who has been 'done' with everything since the nineties, but someone has to make sure they don't all die, and so here we are; super suspicious, super mysterious, super vague, and therefore probably the only half-decent character #logic
Ellis - Morgan's grandmother, local retired surgeon, local witch, local lunatic, and therefore probably 100% right where everyone else is wrong
Sharon - the daughter who is 0% impressed by said omniscience
Vincent - guaranteed 100% loves his dog more than you and would trade you for said dog in a heartbeat
Ian - not nearly as (a) interested, (b) present, (c) ambitious as he seems; kind of just needs a long nap (good thing they're all dying, then)
Lawrence - people actually like him, so the rest of the prickly antisocials could stand to learn a thing or two from him; but try not to pick up the less reputable features of Lawrence's colorful existence while at it #protip

I sacrifice a virgin, obviously. (Given the previous answers, I could just leave it on this note and keep you in suspense. But I've had my morning coffee, so I'm high on caffeine, and so...)
I've talked about being a religious planner every chance I've gotten, but in the spirit of once more, with feeling: I am a religious planner. While character sheets and such are generally pretty useless to me, I do put outlines, story structuring and general forward-thinking to a veeeery annoyingly detailed use. (This probably makes up for a thorough lack of planning and organization in my everyday life. And if that's the running theory... I agree.)
I then hit my friends up to suggest music for my playlist. I like to make my noveling music something I'd never heard before, and therefore come to associate it with writing said story in time. That way, it tends to help motivate and inspire me later on.
Then I fall down a Pinterest rabbit hole and never emerge again.

The Ever End is my codependent baby passion-project. It's that one novel you always seem to go back to. I drafted the first half of it (55k out of something like 120k total words) in NaNoWriMo 2014, then redrafted said half in 2015, and now I'm finally tackling the Uncharted Seas of the latter part of the story - that other elusive 60ish thousand. So as far as the idea at large - I'm looking forward to everything. (And foresee a further few rehauls in my future before I'm satisfied. Such is the nature of passion projects. Perfection or death. Or both, in this case.)

1. It's my favorite thing of ever, and possibly half the reason I'm so fixated on the story as a whole.
2. Moody, foggy, foreboding, probably-out-to-get-you small New England towns with moody, foggy, foreboding, definitely-out-to-get-you big college campuses. (Featuring a guest appearance by Really Large Libraries.)
3. All, of course, entirely made up (because who am I to forego Stephen King's advice?)

I have about 5 Word pages jotted down on the subject of each character's individual goals. There may be Transactional Analysis graphs involved. And it's exactly as boring as it sounds. But to put it shortly:
Morgan wants freedom.
Morgan wants self-reliance.
A wild MURDER appears.
Morgan got no freedom.
Morgan got no self-reliance.
A wild REBELLION appears.
Morgan goes after freedom with a club.
Morgan tackles self-reliance and wrestles it into submission.

Three are in the arena, only one can come out. Who shall it be? Cast your votes now at 1-800-DEATH.

She finds that she isn't as much morally opposed to murder as practically opposed to it. For example, she'd murder half the cast by the end, if only she had the necessary skillset. There may also be actual cognitive and emotional development, but... #muuuuder. (Priorities. I'm a fan.) 

The Ever End started with the themes (the aforementioned Buddhist text is to blame):
1. The Indomitable Gray Area: you're only 50% right and your polar opposite is only 50% wrong. (Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.) Intrinsically, it's tackled in how "without darkness, one would never see the stars" - or, rather, how without flaws, our strengths would never stand out
2. The Lone Wolf vs. The Hive Mind: "you against the world" isn't nearly as romantic and practical as you think (#lookingatyouMorgan), but neither is catering to everyone (#lookingatyouLawrence); exploring coexistence without codependence, and the difference between complementing someone and completing them
3. The big Who-Am-I as it pertains to: (a) who am I if I have been both dead and alive, and (b) who am I if I am both an adult and a child, and (c) how much of who I am in the grand scheme of things is in my own hands.

Basically, the themes boil down to: control, freedom, moral relativism, mortal relativism (#hardyhar), introversion, extroversion, and a fair amount of ice-cream. And the reader is free to feel about it however they choose, though hopefully it encourages them to think more broadly, and hopefully it makes them hungry for both control over their own lives, and for Ben & Jerry's.

Unlike 99% of Sane World and about 100% of my writerly friends - I am a thoroughly private beast. So much so that I've never before shared any part of any writing project with anyone. (To my own detriment, probably, but hey - self-destruction went mainstream, so I'm cool now.) So this is very much a first. Which is my roundabout way of saying - if nothing makes sense and if everything sounds awful - there's concrete reason why. I, however, love the murderous, ritualistic baby passion project, and off to sacrifice innocent bystanders I go!

(In the story. I'm talking about the story. Naturally.)

How about you, pumpkins? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this November, or are you considering future ones? Are you working on some writing (or other artsy) project of your own? Leave us a comment below and let us know, because my art and misery really love company - despite the private thing. I am Elluna @ NaNoWriMo, and I welcome writing buddies one and all!