Novel Assassinations

Novel Assassinations

I’m still alive. Very, very stressed. I’m in the last two weeks of school before exams properly start but, in blatant disregard for the limitations of ordinary calendars, I had a French speaking exam today which might have gone pretty well and might have gone terribly, so I’m taking half an hour out to blog and try and ignore my migraine. Hooray.

So all the teachers are setting us multiple essays to hand in the following day (okay, that’s just me, because due to hand issues I cannot do the timed essays in class and therefore am expected somehow to complete three essays at home in one evening — WHY), and my brain feels like it’s been put through a blender, and I wake up every morning with my entire body aching and I just don’t want to get up.

But I’m up. And one exam is over. Hooray.

I’m also at a stage of mid-novel blues where I’ve been writing it for quite a while (a month today, I believe) but the end is a long way from being in sight and somehow I’ve gained 15k already and I’ve kind of lost the plot, none of which is helped by the fact that my brain has decided now is a really good time to dredge up a character I created two or three years ago, give her an entire plot and some supporting characters, and dump the whole lot in my brain.

And when I say an entire plot, I mean a conversation took place like this:

Brain: “Hey, Miriam, wouldn’t it be cool if you put Isabel in a kind of alternate world?”
Me: “Yeah, sure. When I get time, maybe I’ll think one up.”
Brain: “Oh, no, I think it should look like this. Look, these two factions are in charge of the city, which is called this… [continued for some time] and there you have it, a world!”
Me: “Great, brain, thanks. Now leave me alone.”
Brain: “Of course, you need to create some stakes. I mean, there’s no reason why Isabel would be an assassin, is there? Here’s the entire arc that leads her to the point of making her first kill.”
Me: “…”
Brain: “But then look what happens next! Another character enters. Game changer.
Me: “Are you going to stop any time soon?”
Brain: “Nope! Because look at this, a way to link that event at the beginning to this character, and therefore cause this amazing plot twist at the end! And here, add these events in somewhere in between, and maybe we could give that character a few individual quirks, and…”
Me: “Brain, this is an entire plot. This is more than I’ve ever known about a book before I start it.”
Brain: “I know, isn’t it great? Here’s the opening scene. And the last scene. And a couple of scenes from the middle too.”

In case you missed it in the midst of my frustration-talk with my own brain, it’s a novel about assassins. Which I kind of tried to write in 2011 except I made the mistake of setting it in our world and also starting it after all the interesting stuff happened to this character. So my brain pointed out the exact way I could give that character a novel that worked. (And then, if I ever wanted a sequel, I already wrote the starting point…)

I have no idea what genre this novel would be. I mean, maybe YA? Because the character is 16 when it starts, but she’s 20 when most of the book takes place. And there’s no sex or anything, but there’s a lot of murder. Given that she kills people for a living. It’s set in a different world / a fictional city, but it’s not fantasy, because that’s the only fantastical element about it.

It’s the kind of novel I’d just have to write and then send to some betas and ask them to tell me what they think because honestly, I have no clue if anyone would even read it. But man do I want to write it.

I can’t, though. I am in a monogamous relationship with the first book of the Death and Fairies series and it won’t end until I finish it — although I occasionally cheat on it with exams. “What do you mean occasionally?” say all my teachers in the distance. “You mean most of the time, right?”

Yeah. Most of the time. Exams and that. Working hard and never procrastinating except sometimes when I procrastinate so hard I publish poetry collections.

So it’s going to be another of my summer projects, joining a swiftly-growing list that currently looks something like this:

  • watch all of Buffy. All of it. Because reasons.
  • learn more Anglo-Saxon.
  • learn / go back to learning Esperanto. This is novel research. That’s … kind of complicated to explain. Don’t worry about it.
  • learn how to code
  • make ridiculously complicated a cappella medley videos for YouTube and fail epically at keeping them a surprise by telling your entire Facebook feed how difficult it is to make a medley when every song from Dr. Horrible is so good
  • watch Elementary
  • query The Quiet Ones
  • get better at the harp
  • reread every book ever
  • write assassin!novel (because it has no title yet)
  • maybe go on holiday a little bit I don’t know

That might be able to keep me busy for a little while, don’t you think?

In the meantime I’ll leave you with the very rough blurb I wrote earlier for the entertainment of my writer buddies, so that you can see what it is I have in mind:

Espera is a city of assassins. You want someone dead, you go to one of two rival groups, known locally as Comma and Hummingbird. Everybody looks the other way because looking too long might lose them their eyes.

16-year-old Isabel grew up training with Comma, but now she wants out. She leaves her parents for a flat the other side of town and tries to keep her nose clean, which works until her parents are held hostage by Hummingbird.

Isabel’s struggling to pay the rent, let alone raise a ransom, and she’s diagnosed with a deteriorating illness that forces her to drop out of school. Comma make her an offer: work for them and they’ll pay the ransom and finance her meds. Refusal was never really an option.

So now she’s back in the world she tried to leave behind, coming to terms with an undeniable truth: Isabel is very, very good at killing people…

(Please note that the names of the societies etc are probably going to change and what you see are placeholders — not least because to dictate a novel with a society called “Comma” would be the most infuriating thing I’ve ever had to do.)

I think it’s safe to say this novel is full of murder. Other than that, I’m not 100% sure. I mean, I have the whole plot, but you know how these things work. Things … happen. Appear. Mess up everything. We’ll see.

What are your summer plans? Does your brain have a habit of giving you entire books to write when you don’t have time to write them?

14 thoughts on “Novel Assassinations

  1. I would totally read that book… ^-^ It sounds so cool. I, sadly, have the opposite problem- my brain never gives me fully developed plots. I usually just get odd screenshots of scenes and it’s up to me to make them into a story. Over the summer I’m going to write a novel which I’ve been brewing for ages. It involves an expensive merchant ship, a run-down bookshop in a hidden sidestreet, and two opposite societies with very different ideals. :)

    1. I never used to get plots. And even now I do not get the plots I want… I get totally unrelated ones that I don’t have time to write! But I’m glad you think it sounds cool. Good luck with yours – sounds intriguing :)

  2. My sympathy/empathy about crunch time. I just basically survived that and now am headed for the home stretch of graduate school, which includes work, but not the drive-your-body-and-mind-and-heart-and-soul-past-their-limits-and-then-some kind of work like I just experienced and which you’re going through.

    My summer “plans”:
    – find a job for next year
    – find an apartment in new city which we will hopeflly be living in
    – plan wedding
    – get married
    – read, read, read
    – spend (some) time with friends
    – write/edit some poetry
    – write something other than poetry (another novel? or rewrite my last one?)
    – get ready for teaching next year (hopefully? because hopefully I’l have a classroom to prepare for?)
    – crochet something
    – dream big, plan small, and accomplish things one day at a time

    I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been so excited for summer in my life. And yeah that partially due to the fact that i’ve never had summer where I’ve been going to get married, but I think it’s also partially because I’ve never worked so hard for so long as I did this past year.

    What about other people? What summer of your life were you most excited for thus far?

  3. I LOVE THE BOOK PREMISE. I swear, that’s how my brain converses with me too. So. dang. frustrating. >_< I always get a brand spanking new idea about 20% into writing a new book. I refuse to chase it though. But gosh is it tempting. x) I have about 6 FULL books floating around my head right now and zero motivation to catch any of them. They sound better in my head then on paper. ;) Ohhh, but that sound like an incredibly busy holiday you have planned. Fun, fun. ;)

    1. I have motivation but not time or freedom, which is tragic… And yes, it’s busy, but it’s the gap between school and uni so I need to distract myself from waiting for exam results, ha ha.

  4. As I have said previously, that premise sounds awesome!

    Oh, but what I wouldn’t give for your hyperactive novel brain. Mine’s been dryer than a dustpan for months, and it upsets me massively, because I have lots more time for potential novelling now and absolutely no inspiration to novel. *sigh*

    Although I did apply for a job instead of revising. That’s productive … right?

    If you want any help with voices for the Dr Horrible medley, I’d be more than happy to join in! Just ahead of time. I love that musical.

  5. Because I don’t have time for a full comment:
    – You could always call it ‘Commo’ or some sort of thing and change it with cntrl-F when you get keyboard control. I LIKE the butterfly/bird thing going on there. Conversely, you could pick a brighter buttefly to go with the shiny of humingbird.
    – Or you could just ignore my babble.
    – My novel is in a different world, and i struggled with genre for a while, too. However, I don’t think I could help you here, since I have time-travel, so the Fantasy DOES apply.
    – I second Charley. I miss hyperactive brain for first drafts.

        1. No way. I named Isabel’s team two or three years ago, when there was only one group and it was set in our world and stuff. That’s crazy. Thanks for alerting me. I might play that up a bit.

          1. You’re welcome ;) Go for it! I love fantasy realms/teams/species that reflect on a part of nature that not all people know (my mother happened to spend years working on a wilderness reserve, so I know a lot more about obscure species of butterflies and newts than I probably should :P).

  6. No sex, lots of murder and an atypical protagonist? Heck, I’d pay to beta that.

    As for the ‘hey write this even though you don’t have time!’, my brain manages to run three separate worlds in my head and one pseudo-world, and never let’s me have the persistence to write so much as a chapter for any of them. Ah, ADHD, how do I love thee.

    I love your blog very much, by the way. It’s always nice to see an email turn up and know it’s going to be entirely wonderful. Especially to know that it is possible to be gay, ace and disabled/atypical and still manage to do just about fine. It gets really worrying sometimes.

    Summer plans… Does sleeping count?

    1. Sleeping is a good plan! And it’s wonderful to hear from irregular commenters – I’m glad you like my blog :)

      Yes, murder > sex any day tbh. ;)

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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