Where I got the questions from↗
1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?The Inspiration for this writing project was a bad German animated children's movie called "The Seventh Dwarf" which pretended at lot to subvert clichés of Disney's fairytale retelling while actually dipping headfirst into a lot of clichés and also bad screenwriting (The animation was O.K. because it's a German movie and not a multimillion Disney/Pixar or Dreamworks movie). Anyway, I was intrigued by how the whole story was completely bland. I mean this serious. There was a level of blandness, that modern Disney movies have been overcoming in the past decades and this movie actually kind of reinforced them. There was a heterosexual main couple featuring, both blond called fucking Jack and Rose, whereby Jack is the poor kitchen boy who gets the princess Rose. There were the dwarfs. Everyone of them is voiced by a different German comedian, yet it makes barely a difference, because it's a children's movie and all the characters are is basically there names. Like: happy, cloudy, speedy (who is slow, because haha, irony) and whatever. The didn't have characters, they were one dimensional papercuts with a character design.
And so as it happens, when watching that movie my imagination started deviating strongly from what I was actually watching. Mostly I was watching how the characters where framed and how even without using words characters were framed (animated) in a certain way to convey stuff to the audience about the characters, that wasn't anywhere in the dialogue and that framing was really standard and cliché and reminded me of certain not directly related concepts, and those concepts where the base of my idea for the characters.
2. Describe what your novel is about!There is an orphan girl who find herself in magic school, a princess who is awakened and two boys who beat the shit out of each other. In the end none of the boys gets none of the girls.
3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!Very natural colors for the most part, central european weather (because that's where I live). Early renaissance styles, but they still live in the medieval castles. The technology is also renaissance, with the gun not yet being invented and medieval knight society still kind of existing. I have this, because this way there would be already the first real glass and silver mirrors. Before humans just had different kinds of metal, that was simply polished really hard to become a mirror. And for a fantasy story with dragons I guess I'm overresearching history, but that's fine I guess. I just really wanted to have glass mirrors.
4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
Kara, ProtagonistA girl who grows up as the orphan maid of a bailiff on a farm, becomes a magician, against all the unlikeliness that this is in her world. She can read a bit and shows a bit of magic talent, so when a magician on his travel comes across her, he wants to try the crazy thing of making her his disciple. Even though she is far behind all of the aristocratic magicians, those who have trained magic from a very young age, with determination and hard work Kara works herself into mastering magic. Plus, she awakens a princess.
Arentheor, MentorNot the best wise guy around but a flawed middle-aged man. He takes Kara in after he sees her immense magical potential, but not out of pure benevolence, but because he has his plans for her and her usefulness for his career and status in the senate of Fantasmera. He sees her as a work of poetry, his art and opus that he has to complete and perfect. He's doing Eliza Doolittle thing on her, pretty much.
Finyarek, a blond princeWho is perfect(tm) at everything and unnaturally handsome. However, he's an asshole who sold his soul to being the best knight in the world. He despises her, until he has a reason to find her a good match for himself, tries to court and win her heart, which only works as long as he can lie to her.
Deiran, a knight with dark hair and a scar across his faceWho pretends to a total underdog except he grew up on what is practically a castle and his father is rich as fuck, they're just not as civilized as the people with the older, finer names. Has quite a lose mouth and of course a hot head. Fights everybody and everything for no reason, really rallys for Karas attempt to rise to fame at the academy, except he doesn't really understand where she is coming from. Also tries to win her heart, just is waaay too rude in doing so.
Meralie, the princess and would-be queen of LarediaWho unfortunately fell asleep so she couldn't be the first self-assertive female ruler of the kingdom, leaving this duty to the senate of magicians. Beautiful and narcisstic girl with blue eyes and pale skin who would eat your whole cake if she wasn't asleep.
Other people, such as Enzian, who is a nerd, except in pre-renaissance/early renaissance. Maids and street girls, knights and senator magicians. Aristocratic girls and female warriors as Kara's room mates.
5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)I prepared by outlining, except I mostly outline in my mind, because I go too systematic and unnatural when I do it on paper. I almost know all of my story. In my mind. Just need to freakin' wrrriiiiiitteeee!
6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?Writing the scenes. And then finishing it.
7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.Magical castle school. In a high fantasy setting. Dragons and knights exist.
So it sounds very default, I know. I'm not trying to be fancy with the setting.
8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?Kara wants to learn as much magic as possible and realizes, that it is not the exact expectation placed on her. Instead, she is supposed to be there as a chess figure of powerful men, one of them being her own mentor. Not all magics is supposed to be there for her to learn, not all four directions of the sky are supposed to be open for her, because Arentheor. In the end, she finds her way to learning the magic that she wants to practice.
9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?Stronger, more skilled, more confident but everything is earned pretty hard. Eventually the boys and men do forge her into a little piece of steel.
10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?About social ascent in the most unlikely circumstances. A girl who fights herself a part into society (though she only achieves it for herself, not for all women). About boys who don't understand that the girl has her own plan. And about how people see themselves as underdogs, even when they are clearly privileged aristocrats.
I don't want to reach a specific feeling in my readers. I just want them to think and also having enjoyed the read.
A few other notes about this writing projectI write in German, so if you want to read it, you won't get the chance until I publish and translate it, because it's not my job to translate my own book. Because I would be horrible at doing it for myself.
I'm writing the same NaNo project as last year. Like yup, I did not write this novel for more than one year. And I didn't move on to any other fancy project. I'm still stuck with this.
I can excuse, because I graduated from school this and that kind of completely messed my life and also I am a perfectionist who restarts a novel againg instead of using the already existing first chapter of my novel, that I have already written. But the first chapter of my story is already heavy on lots of plot-relevant things that I have shoveled around in my mind to be different which is why I had to scrap everything I'd written so far, which naturally was very frustrating.
Another point is, that it's the 6th of November and I am only at a word count of 700 because I'm lazy and haven't put a lot of work into my novel yet.