Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Beautiful Books Linkup--October

Cait at "Paper Fury" is co-hosting a linkup called "Beautiful Books." It's a lot like her "Beautiful People" linkup, except focused more on the actual book than the characters.

Today I'll be talking about my NaNoWriMo book, Ms. Holmes. I'm so excited to write it.

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I don't know exactly how I got the idea for the novel, except that I've had four different things I've been wanting to experiment with in my writing: 1. Retellings 2. Time travel 3. The steampunk genre and 4. Genderbending. So I mixed them all up and here we are.

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

BECAUSE TIME TRAVEL. And also Sherlock Holmes. I've been obsessed with "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock" for a while now, and the idea of a female Sherlock Holmes has always fascinated me. There will also be a one-eyed cat, a gossipy landlord, and tea. Lots and lots of tea.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

The title of the book is Ms. Holmes (which I'm extremely pleased with, since it's one of the few NaNoWriMo titles I had in mind right from the start), and as for what it's about, I'll just post my summary here:

What’s the best way to solve a murder? Stop it from happening in the first place. Astrid Holmes, teenage inventor and consulting detective, has spent years helping Scotland Yard’s best catch criminals and murderers and put them behind bars where they belong. But recently she’s been able to perfect a new invention that could help them even more: a time machine. Astrid and her most trusted companion, Dawn Watson, test their steam-powered machine, disguised as a train, and travel back in time to prevent said murders from ever happening. Little does Astrid know that she has a new and even more threatening enemy.

Faye Moriarty treats time as her plaything. Messing about with both past and future, Faye threatens everything Astrid’s put her life into rebuilding, and it won’t be easy to catch her. She’s slippery as an eel and deadly as the dragon she’s working night and day to build. Can Astrid and Dawn catch Faye before it’s too late? Or will time make monsters of them all?

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

I have a lot of characters in mind right now, but here we go:

Astrid Holmes (consulting detective/inventor) - Brilliant
Dawn Watson (investigative journalist) - Compassionate
Faye Moriarty (inventor) - Megalomaniac

Sahara Moran (sniper/assassin) - Loyal
Natalie Lestrade (Detective Inspector) - Stubborn

Mr. Hudson (landlord/“housekeeper”) - Welcoming

Cecily Forester (Clock-keeper) - Outcast
Emily Forester (Clock-keeper’s daughter) - Shy
Mia Holmes (Astrid’s little sister) - Sweet

Olive Harrington (Timekeeper for train station) - Odd

Kelsey and Lance Stark (Train conductors, husband and wife) - strong and adventurous, respectively
Jeffrey Stark (Son of Kelsey and Lance Stark) - Filterless
Griffon Geller (Serial killer) - Psychotic

Sir Mittens (Dawn’s one-eyed cat) - Cunning
5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Ack, this is so hard to choose! I love each of my characters for different reasons, but side characters tend to be my favorites. So other than Astrid (especially her fighting with Sir Mittens when he gets in the way of her projects), I think my favorites are going to be Cecily (because she's a quirky klutz and just a bouncy, fun character) and Natalie (because she can get easily grumpy and irritable, which is always fun to write). Faye is also a villain I'm really excited to play with since I haven't ever written anyone like her.

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

Astrid wants to solve the various murders and crimes Faye is carrying out with her newly completed time machine, but time is complicated and Faye is just as brilliant as she is. Not only are both past and future being messed with by Faye, but there's a problem in the present. A serial killer by the name of Griffon Geller has recently escaped from prison, and Astrid's made it her personal mission to capture him again.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

Victorian London! Mainly at 221B Baker Street, Big Ben, and the train station.

If you want to see more pictures, click HERE to go to my Pinterest board.

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

Astrid's most important relationship was with her little sister Mia, but her most important current relationship is hands down with Dawn. She's the first person Astrid could even consider calling her friend.

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

Through Dawn's influence, Astrid will grow more and more compassionate, when before she was more closed off and cold.

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

I don't usually go into a book with specific themes in mind. The best themes seem to be the ones that aren't planned, but emerge as you're writing the story. So I have no idea how to answer this question, but I know friendship is always something that's a big deal in my novels, no matter the genre or story.

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

1. Forget perfection. That's what editing is for. If you're one of those writers who can't stand to move on until everything's just how you want it to be, leave yourself a note to go fix it later. But there's no way you'll be able to write as quickly as you want to if you can't move past a plot hole.

2. Don't procrastinate. Hit your daily word goal ASAP before doing anything else, if you can avoid it. I've had years where I had to scramble to write 7,000+ words on the last day because I'd had such bad writer's block throughout the month. It never turns out as well as it would've otherwise.

3. Have fun! Win or "lose," NaNoWriMo is tons of fun. You can meet so many great people and get all of these ideas, so try not to let stressing out about your goal the main point of the event. Participate in Word Wars online, talk to other writers, and type like crazy. You'll love it even more if you do.

Your turn! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Is it your first time or are you a NaNo pro? What's your book about? Leave a comment!


Cait @ Paper Fury said...

AHHHH GENDER BENT SHERLOCK HOLMES *dies of happiness* This is basically the most amazing post to read of ever. And I like the steampunk/time travel flair too!! I've only read one time travel book and it totally spun my brain. haha. But it's always very clever, right?! And I love how your cast is mostly females too, because clearly girl power is the best of best. *nods* (I'm kind of ashamed that my cast is 3 boys to 1 girl but GHHH I'LL DO BETTER NEXT TIME). xDXD
Loved reading this and yay for NaNo!! *stockpiles encouraging chocolate*

Andrea Wiesner said...

*squeals over all the pretty pictures* Oh my goodness, Kate, this sounds fantastic!! I mean, the idea is brilliant and... and... CAN I READ THIS THING?! *wants* You have me speaking unintelligibly, girl!

The Magic Violinist said...

@Cait Ha ha, why thank you! xD I was pretty dang excited when I found a way to fit ALL THE THINGS into one book. Admittedly my time travel could use some work, buuut . . . that's what editing is for, right?

Obviously. *nods with you* AND I BELIEVE IN YOU!

Yay, thanks so much!! *steals a piece of chocolate*

@Andrea Wiesner Eee, thank you!! You can expect lots of snippets in a later blog post once the book is finished. :)

Boquinha said...


OMG, I love your story summary in #3. SO SO GOOD! PLEASE submit this one for publication. PLEASE.

Faye - love it.


Filterless - awesome.

How'd you come up with the side characters? All part of your adventure? How did you decide to give Sherlo-, er, Astrid a little sister?

One-eyed cat!! BWAHAHAHAHAHAAAHA. You're using that. I KNEW that some part of that insane story I told you would show up in one of your novels!

Side character tend to be my favorites, too. So who's your favorite as of now?

I can't believe how much you fleshed out before even starting. Wow!

So, I'm not doing the traditional NaNoWriMo this year, but I am working on some things that have been standing in my way of some writing projects I want to do. And I'm making mad progress, so that's something and I feel good about it. Balance, right?

I have several WIPs. And I'm itching to work on them more.

Boquinha said...

I also love these comments. Your commenters make me smile. :)

Scott McLean said...

i like cat. we had cat name Mittens

The Magic Violinist said...

@Boquinha Ha ha, I'm planning on it! After lots and lots of heavy edits and maybe a few tears during the process . . . This first draft is a wibbly-wobbly mess at the moment. xD

Mr. Hudson may very well be my favorite character so far, now that I'm about halfway through it. He's a ball of sunshine.

I came up with the side characters while planning out the book, because I knew I would need some extra characters who aren't in the original Sherlock Holmes stories in order to move the plot along. I have a list of character elements in a document on my computer, so with the help of Pinterest and that list and a little of my own imagination, they all came to life. :) They might only be in a couple scenes, but it helps to have their backstories written out so they seem believable on the page.

And to give it my own twist, instead of Astrid having a big sister (think Sherlock and Mycroft), I wanted to give her a little sister. She also play a big role in the story, considering she doesn't ever show up except for maybe a couple flashback scenes . . . *zips lips*

I LOVE SIR MITTENS. He is such a grump, and writing Astrid's annoyance with him is so much fun. That part of the insane story was a great bit of inspiration. ;)

Like I said above, I think Mr. Hudson and the cat! Not who I expected, originally, but they're just so fun. I also love the scene I wrote with Olive. She turned out to be a Trelawney type, kind of a space cadet. And Astrid is becoming family the more time I spend with her.

Neither can I! It's turned out to be very useful, even if I throw out half of my original plan once I start.

Exactly! Finishing a project feels awesome, too, whatever it is. :) I'm excited to read more of your writing!

Aren't they the best? I love my commenters.

@Scott McLean Aww, I love the name Mittens, as you can see. ;)