Beautiful Books Linkup #2: In Which I Talk About My Writing Process for NaNoWriMo!

Posted November 20, 2015 by Alison's Wonderland Recipes in Link Up / 9 Comments

Earlier this week, I published a post introducing the novel I’m writing for National Novel Writing Month. The post was part of the Beautiful Books linkup by Cait from Paper Fury (you should stop by her blog—it’s awesome!). Today I’m posting my second post in the Beautiful Books linkup, in which I talk about my NaNo writing process!




      1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?
        • I’ll admit, I struggled a little bit at first. Everything I wrote was coming out really dry and lifeless. On a hunch, I switched the POV in my novel from third person omniscient to first person limited, and it all came together after that. Huzzah!
      2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?
        • I’m actually kind of struggling with how to start the novel (I have a couple beginnings written). But here’s a paragraph from later on that I really like:
          • Last night, my ravenous eyes had noticed the sign by the front door reading “Free Continental Breakfast,” and this morning it didn’t take me long to find it: where else would you hear the clink of spoons and a crowd of people chattering in a hotel at 8 am? I strode through the door and past the score of small round tables covered in white linen. I zeroed in on the start of the line, grabbed two plates, and started filling them with a vengeance. And there was plenty to keep me busy: golden butter croissants the size of my fist, trays of sizzling sausage links and bacon, fresh currant scones still steaming from the oven, a make-your-own-waffle station with five kinds of syrup, and more kinds of juice than I’d ever laid eyes on at one time.
            I took two of everything and went back to fill a third plate with just bacon, then sat down to feast my eyes on the banquet spread before me. I was just about to dig in when a pinch of intuition told me to look up, and I saw Marco and Ben walk through the door.
            “Good grief,” Ben said as they came to my table. “When the guy at the front desk said you were ‘the girl behind the wall of bacon,’ he wasn’t kidding.”
      3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?
        • I’m definitely a plotter. In fact, I see pretty much every new project as an opportunity to develop a new organizational system. What can I say? Organizing things makes my weird little heart go pitter-pat (for this reason, I’m one of those strange people who likes unpacking in a new home because it means I get to develop new methods of organization). Before November even started, I had index cards with color-coordinated notes paper clipped to scene summaries. I even use updating the word count on my NaNo dashboard as a motivational tool, because I love seeing the columns on the little bar graph go up!
      4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?
        • Apart from updating my word count, I like to reward myself with cookies, Youtube videos, or breaks for blogging. I try not to use them too much, only when I’m really unmotivated and know I won’t finish if I don’t bribe myself.
      5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?
        • For years, I’ve been using for first names and for last names. In fact, I just used them yesterday to name one of my side characters! I like them because their systems is easy to search based on first letter, gender, origin, etc. So no matter where I’m at in the naming process, I can do my searching there. They even have resource pages devoted to name themes.
      6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?
        • With this novel, so far my favorite part has been the middle. I think I like it because it offers the most room for creative flexibility. You can throw in some new minor characters and devote energy to conversations that expand the relationships of the characters, all while focusing on the primary goal of getting to the resolution.
      7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?
        • Ben is still my reigning favorite. I can always count on him to call things as he sees them or have a clever remark at the end of a conversation.
      8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)
        • Oh, Google. How do I love thee? Specifically, Google Maps has been really helpful in telling me how long it will take a character to get from one place to another and what the inside of key buildings look like. However, did you know that there are no current photos of the lobby of the J. Edgar Hoover building on the internet? I do now…and I’m probably on some kind of FBI watch list for it. Lovely.
      9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?
        • I’m kind of an antisocial writer. I do my best writing when no one is around, and I often don’t let people read it until I’ve finished the 2nd or 3rd draft. I’ve made a few exceptions with this novel, though, since I’m trying to finish it in a month. To keep me motivated and hold me accountable, I keep the Mister updated on what I’m doing and let him read a few paragraphs if I had lots of fun writing them.
      10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!
        • Since my desk broke while being transferred to the new house, I have two writing stations: at the kitchen table and on the living room couch. I like the kitchen because I can look out at the backyard and be close to the teakettle, but the couch is nice because it’s comfy. Yeah, I’m pretty much a hobbit.
        • When I’m writing, I’m in a pretty constant state of drinking tea. I go through boxes of the stuff. In fact, if I’m really struggling to sit down and finish a section, I won’t let myself drink any more tea until it’s finished.
        • If I want background music while I write, I usually listen to instrumental music (I can’t have anything with words, otherwise I start writing the lyrics into my sentences accidentally). My current go-to is the Yiruma station on Pandora, but I’ve also been loving this piano arrangement of all the Hayao Miyazaki music scores.


That’s all for today, folks! Hopefully I’ll have another update for you when I’m closer to finishing.
Are you doing NaNo? Let me know how it’s going for you! 🙂


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9 responses to “Beautiful Books Linkup #2: In Which I Talk About My Writing Process for NaNoWriMo!

  1. Cait @ Paper Fury

    AHHHH THIS WAS SO GREAT TO READ!! I’m with you on the middles too, btw. I find they’re when all the fun and awesome action can happen. xD I’m always still finding the right “voice” in the beginning, and then the endings are so intense and emotional. hehe. So middles = love.
    OMGGGG. —> “When the guy at the front desk said you were ‘the girl behind the wall of bacon,’ he wasn’t kidding.” I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THAT. Particularly also your food descriptions. Excuse me, but I would totally eat your book in a heartbeat. :’)
    I want to be a hobbit when I grow up too, tbh.
    Thanks for joining in the linkup!!

    • Yeah, I usually struggle with “voice” at first too. In fact, I think the food scene was the first time I felt like all the characters sounded like themselves. That’s probably why I like it so much. 🙂


  2. You know, I had a similar problem POV-wise with the first draft of my WIP. I started off writing it in third-person limited (it has only one protagonist), but then I switched to first-person because I felt like I was struggling to capture her “voice.” I felt like I was too distant from her. Now I’m so glad I made that change, because the story is better for it.

    “I’m kind of an antisocial writer. I do my best writing when no one is around, and I often don’t let people read it until I’ve finished the 2nd or 3rd draft.”

    That is SO me, too! I do most of my novel-writing at home, when I’m alone. I only write with other people around is when I travel, like I will on Thursday for Thanksgiving (and Saturday, when I go back home). Also, I’ve shared a few snippets of Draft #2 on my blog, but I won’t let anyone read an actual, entire draft until I finish Draft #3.

    OOOOH. I like Hobbits, too. 😀 And anything Middle-Earth or Tolkien, for that matter. I’m also a constant tea drinker and instrumental music-listener when writing. Though I tend to go for film soundtracks like Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2… I guess it’s obvious that I’m working on a fantasy story, huh? *lol*

    Do you think you’ll continue with Beautiful Books / Beautiful People after NaNoWriMo?

    • Sometimes I think that’s why so many YA novels these days are written in first person. It’s just so much easier to connect with the character that way sometimes. 🙂

      I’m not sure if I’ll keep up with BB/BP after November. I’d like to, but I’m also not sure if I’ll start editing my current project right away. I’m planning on spending most of December planning my blog menus for next year, but who knows? Maybe I’ll find time for BB too. 🙂

      • That’s a really good point about YA and 1st person POV. Readers of that genre are especially looking for connection with the protagonist, and 1st person is one of the strongest ways of establishing that connection.

        The meme will most likely revert to Beautiful People until next NaNoWriMo. So, instead of answering questions about the story itself and our writing process, we answer questions about our story’s characters. I’ve actually found Beautiful People really helpful for getting to know my WIP’s cast a lot better, regardless of the fact that I’m working on the second draft. Cait and Sky come up with great questions each month. 🙂

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