Know the Novel Part 1: Introduction // Introducing My NaNo Novel!

Hello, folksies! Merie here, and guess what we’re talking about today?

If you guessed Merie’s NaNoWriMo novel because that’s what this post title says, then yes. You guessed correctly.

The awesome Christine Smith hosts a writers’ linkup for NaNo novelists every year, and this year I’m definitely joining in! So without further ado…

Q#1: What first sparked the idea for this novel?

I will admit, I started out by wondering quietly just how crazy I was.

I have never, ever, EVER attempted– or even thought about– writing a contemporary novel in my whole entire life. Anyone who’s read my blog, or seen my bookshelf, or tries to talk to me about video-games knows 100% that I am a spec-fic girl all the way. With that, mostly fantasy. Sometimes dystopian. Maybe steampunk. But contemporary? Who are we talking about again?

Well, one day while I was… I believe it may have been one of those times when I was just despairing over the state of Andromeda (because that’s usually what I’m doing at my desk). Anyway, I had on a really old– like, 2013 old– CD playing in my bedroom, only this CD was full of Chinese worship songs. I’m not even gonna pretend to understand the entirety of those songs (but they’re about Jesus, and those parts I do understand! πŸ˜€ ), but somehow I got the idea of writing a contemporary novel… set in my normal world.

My normal world, of course, which isn’t normal to most people– but to so many teens and kids like me, it’s all we’ve ever known. And because I like me some good representation, and because I wouldn’t know what to do with a contemporary novel set anywhere else (except maybe Texas? … Texas is awesome people), about any other kind of people.

So, yes. The Art of Skating Fire is going to be about children in ministry. Except even though I’m making this an #ownvoices representation, that’s not actually a huge point in the novel.

Q#2: Share a blurb!

WARNING: It’s very rough.

Gintare Bing doesn’t want to breathe any more of the harsh grey smoke that colors reality. All her prayers– for her brother in the hospital, for her former best friend’s family, for her cousin’s baby– seem to evaporate before ever reaching God, and now she’s lost in a never-ending ocean of trials and uncertainty. Worse, she’s lost and alone.

When her search for fresh air finds her on the old piano in the storage room at church one Sunday, Gintare meets another with a heart as beaten as hers– except Joel’s prayers seem to precede miracles instead of disaster. With her new friend comes a new determination to be free from the crumbling grounds of her past and carry a gentler breeze into the future… and to do that, Gintare will have to face the scorching fire of the present. But no one can emerge from a storm without the God she’s convinced has abandoned her.

Gintare wants freedom… If only she could find a way to have it.

Q#3: Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects of the setting?

Well… it takes place in Beijing, China. I guess I really like it because… I live here?

I also chose to write this story this NaNoWriMo because it’s going to be my last year in Beijing. 😦 We’re moving to Shanghai in the summer. So, I decided to write this novel in Beijing before we left, so I could take a little something else with me when we move. πŸ™‚ Also… well, not many people write about a setting like this.

Q#4: Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Gintare is… well, let’s just say that she’s had a rough time of it. A really rough time. I can’t tell you everything, but yeah. Also, she has a really awesome brother, and I wish Percy was my brother but he isn’t 😭

Gintare is Chinese-Korean, like me, only her family language dynamics follow my friend’s instead of mine. Because unlike my friend or Gintare and Percy, I can’t speak Korean. Heheh. She loves art, violin, and ice skating (her brother is an ice dancer 😁).

Joel is the most adorable awkward little cinnamon roll in the WORLD and he’s such a sweet friend to Gintare. (*raises eyebrows* This is not a romance, by the way.) Plus. He and music. 😍

I probably shouldn’t overwhelm you. So I’ll move on.

Q#5: Who (or what) is your antagonist?

So I’m really used to writing a sentient being for the villain of a story, but, well, The Art of Skating Fire is a contemporary Christian, and you can probably tell that its antagonist is a mixture of all ze bad zings. πŸ˜€ A bite of depression. Anger and distrust. Lack of faith, etc… Also there’s a coma involved. 😁

Q#6: What excites you the most about this novel?

Honestly?

Besides the fact that this is an #ownvoices contemporary or Percy and Joel? Probably the ice.

Ice-skating has been one of my favorite activities since the rink and I first met. Only recently have I actually begun skating again– just for fun, you mind; I’m not any good– but now that I’m writing serious, I see everything through different eyes. xD So I’ve found all the ice sports fascinating– figure-skating, ice-dancing, speed-skating, ice hockey. Then one day I had this brilliant idea to make Gintare’s brother Percy play ice hockey, mostly because I know people who used to play ice hockey. And then I decided ice-dancing was more interesting, and I read Becoming Nikki by Ashley Elliott (read my review of it here), and ice-dancing it was.

Q#7: Is this a standalone? series? something else?

The Art of Skating Fire is going to be a standalone novel. πŸ™‚

Q#8: Are you plotting? pantsing? plantsing?

Plotting for sure! I’m a 100% outliner all the way through. Even though I don’t use traditional synopsis-type outlines. Because those things kill me, okay?

Q#9: Name a few things that make this story unique.

But. I just. DID.

If you want this question answered, folksies, just reread the entire above post. πŸ™‚

Q#10: Share a fun β€œextra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

I’m going to do both a playlist AND an aesthetics collage, because I don’t use Spotify like you people (can you believe they still haven’t made it available in China?? honestly!), and I like making aesthetic collages for my stories.

I know, I know, I’m a genius. πŸ˜› Realize that this is not the full playlist for TAoSF, but these are the songs that I think most strongly emphasize the story’s main themes.

Besides that, a vast majority of hymns would work too, but I thought it’d get kind of tiring for me to list 157 hymns. For you and for me. Plus this doesn’t mean I’m a fan of all these genres in general, though in these songs I can tolerate them. πŸ™‚ (But I love Lindsey Stirling. And Cimorelli. And who doesn’t love FK&C?)


Anyway, that’s my post for this linkup! Thanks so much to Christine, who is a genius in more ways than one, and who created this fabulous linkup. I hope you guys enjoyed this sneak peek into my 2019 NaNo novel. You already know contemporary is NOT my thing, but I wanted to try something different this year πŸ˜€

You can also hope that my next post is Part II of the In the Garden game tag thing. Because if it isn’t, then… what else can it be…? xD Let’s hope I can do it.

Until then,

~ Merie

31 thoughts on “Know the Novel Part 1: Introduction // Introducing My NaNo Novel!

  1. YOU DID THE TAG! AND YOU’RE WRITING A CONTEMPORARY. :O I think that is awesome! I am the saaaame about being a total spec-fic writer. But I have, on occasion, thrown around the insane idea of trying a contemporary. Because why not??? Branching out of our usual genres is a good thing to do! It really stretches our creative muscles. Plus, writing about something familiar can mean a lot. So, basically, I LOVE THIS!!! I think it is precious you want to write about where you live right now, before you go. And YES. You do not see many stories in Beijing. That is gonna be such a great setting!!!

    AND THIS IS ALL SO UNIQUE. The setting, the plot, the ice skating!!! I LOVE IT ALL. This sounds amazing, Merie!

    Also, that blurb was a rough draft??? Because it was GORGEOUS. You have a way with words, girl! And you are BRILLIANT making a aesthetic board of your playlist. :O

    This whole post made me so excited!!! Thank you for doing the tag and sharing about your epic novel! I do hope writing it will go wonderfully!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. …..
    ..
    ..
    ..
    “So, yes. The Art of Skating Fire is going to be about children in ministry. Except even though I’m making this an #ownvoices representation, that’s not actually a huge point in the novel.”

    ICE SKATING?
    OWN VOICES?
    CHINA?
    CONTEMPORARY CHRISTIAN?
    GIVE IT TO ME MERIE THAT SOUNDS AMAZING AND I WANNA READ IT NOW AHHHHHHHHH

    Liked by 1 person

  3. THIS SOUNDS SO COOL. I’m not even sure I’ve ever read a contemporary novel set in China? (Though that could be because I do not, actually, read a lot of contemporary. There is that factor.)
    Just curious (if you have time to explain), what is your outlining process? I’ve never found a process that works for me for some reason.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Yeah, haha, but the thing about contemporaries is that we can set them places that we’re most familiar with!

      I’m not a die-hard outliner– I don’t write long synopsis-type outlines. I like to use bullet-point lists and “forms” that I fill out to complete each element that ties in with the story– i.e. the plot, the character arcs, etc. I also write notes on worldbuilding and stuff like that.

      Maybe you’re not an outliner? You might be a pantser or a plantser?

      Liked by 1 person

  4. MERIE!!!!!! YOU’RE WRITING A CONTEMPORARY THAT’S SO COOL!!!!!!
    And like, wow, a contemp set in China??? That will be so cool!!!! 😍😍😍😍 Also, I love #ownvoices stories!!!! πŸ˜β€οΈπŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘β€οΈ
    Your book sounds SO COOL!!!! I really want to read it. I really enjoy contemporary, so honestly, I can’t wait.
    Like, I really can’t wait.
    ❀️❀️❀️❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This sounds absolutely awesome! I love the OwnVoices contemporary aspect, but I also love the idea of ice skating! Ice skating isn’t really a thing where I live (rural Australia, lol) but I’ve always wanted to learn! Once on holidays when I was five, I got to do it, but I mean actually learn.
    “The Art of Skating Fire” is ridiculously cool title πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! I’m not huge on ice skating, but we like to go to the ice rink at the mall every once in a while.

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I thought it did a good job conveying some of the themes in the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. This sounds super awesome Merie! I think this novel is going to go places and I’m really excited to see its journey.
    No Spotify? X( I think I would die…(actually, I’ve only been using Spotify since February, but it has honestly changed my life)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha thanks!! I’m so happy people are actually interested in this story.

      Nah, I use Xiami, which is the best Chinese music app out there. But that means I can’t link you guys to any of my playlists πŸ˜†

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Merie, this sounds awesome! I love that it’s in China, about a ministry kid, ALL OF IT! Playlist included. πŸ˜‰ Hope you have an epic time writing this story next month.

    (Also, hi, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen you around the blogosphere SOMEWHERE? Your name is super familiar, but I can’t remember where I’ve seen you before!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Haha yes, I decided to write something I’m actually familiar with this year πŸ˜‚ Thanks!

      (I know I’ve seen you around… I think a lot of the bloggers I know know you!)

      Liked by 1 person

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