So guys I think I might actually attempt NaNoWriMo this year…
The following can be totally ignored if you don’t want to read my rambly notes about the story I plan to write.
Story that’s rudely shoving its way into my consciousness and displacing the novel that I SHOULD be working on and thus which I’m going to attempt to NaNo:
Protagonist’s best friend, Author, vanished. Her mother has recently gone ahead and had a service and everything, because closure. She is presumed murdered. After this, Protag’s mom gives protag some of her things, including the hard manuscripts of the novel that Author was working on and protag knew all about/soundingboarded/mused for but didn’t actually help co-write. Protag reads them over and MAGIC SHIT Totally Not Stolen From Inkheart happens, and then Protag has to deal with the fact that Hero of Story is IRL. Hero reveals that Author is in Story and has been since her disappearance.
Hero’s love interest, Princess, is going to end up with Author (Author did write her to be ultimately desirable and to desire a person like Author, after all) and Protag ends up with Hero. Author is better at being Hero than Hero was, as it turns out (come the fuck on she’s effectively psychic about all the details of the rest of the story and the entire universe), and Hero wants to live IRL. Story ends with characters completely able to go from one world to the other at will and implies that they do ever after.
Author needs to not have real reasons to want to come back to the real world, so her life has to be kind of shitty. Also, Author’s disappearance needs to have been pretty much accepted by the folks in her world as shit that happens, Author is probably dead, we need to bring closure and move on, sorry. All signs point to POC woman living in urban shitville. Only people who really gave a fuck when she vanished were her best friend and her mom. Police launched an investigation, but gave up pretty quickly. Everyone else in Author’s life only even remembers her in a foggy fashion, as if she was someone they knew many years ago, and don’t think of her even that far unless Mother or Protag directly mention her – it’s as if the world magically forgot she ever was.
By the end of the story, both Mother and Protag will be invited to come and live in the fantasyland where Author is a magic-wielding queen. Mother will take her up on this.
Author was writing a story about Heroic Dude who was going to rescue Princess Trophywife and Save the World because THAT’S HOW FANTASY, RIGHT? The book within a book is basically ‘Fantasy Author’s First Book, that she’s been lovingly building and writing and rewriting and never finishing since she was about 13’. Since it’s a modern fantasy Princess was as intelligent and driven as she was beautiful and even did some battle things and led armies and was politically involved. Her people love her and want her to be Queen, but she is still totally Princess Trophywife. Author unconsciously wrote Princess as her dream girl Because of Reasons. Luckily Princess was also written as the kind of character who’d be deeply attracted to everything about Author, so everyone wins there.
Hero was only ever ‘in love’ with Princess Trophywife in that ‘I never met her, but she is a princess and I am loyal to the crown’ way. He fully planned to marry her at the end of the story because it would be the correct thing to do to preserve the kingdom. The issue in Fantasyland is Evil Magical Usurper of the Crown. Author was writing a book halfway between Snow White and the Huntsman and Princess Bride, really. It used to be that the King and Queen’s first child (regardless of sex) was married to the Chosen Heir of Temple Mages. Usurper’s first action upon usurping: kill the fuck out of all of those mages. Hero survived because of a Luck Child scenario. Princess survived because Loyal Servants spirited her away from her cradle and brought her to be raised royally in her mother’s kingdom and groomed to eventually return and claim her birthright and set the kingdom to rights and all that jazz.
Temple mages do the whole ‘all children are everyone’s children we don’t acknowledge parentage’ thing, and the way you figure out which one is the heir who will marry the royal heir is DIVINE MAGIC. Since Kingdom is a Fisher Kingdom, the place has largely gone all Mordor and shit in the absence of the True Heir. But everyone knew that the True Queen could never retake the kingdom without The Chosen One, because Prophecy. It was only after The Chosen One (Hero, obviously) was found by Wise Old Mentor that Mentor let everyone in on the ‘So we need these thirteen McGuffins’ plan, and the Princess returned to the land.
After uniting Hero and Princess, the book was to be a fetch quest; to defeat the Evil Usurper they need to gather 13 objects. Luckily, Author knows exactly where and what they are and thus blows right through the mystery and study part of the book where Hero and Princess had to figure that bit out. ‘Discovery of magical powers and learning about one’s True Heritage’ was top of the list for Hero. Who btw doesn’t have magical powers in the real world and is kind of glad of it. Author, stepping into that world, not only got the same powers but -knows how to use them- because she wrote/thought of the whole process. She is more knowledgeable than Dead Mentor, even.
Hero is Whitey McDashing because Author was aware that books with Whitey McDashing protagonists are an easier sell. Princess Trophywife is Ambiguously Brown, being the daughter of Former King’s Young Brother and his wife who was Princess Of Exotic Land To The South Where Brown People In Fantasy Are From. Former King and his Temple Mage wife never had any children (this was due to CURSE) but because it’s a sane kingdom they had a ready plan for succession. Hero is of the ‘Humble Orphaned Farmboy Is Secretly Fancy’ variant because it allows him a reason to NOT want to be King and not think he’d be any good at it (and be correct in this assessment). Hero had dreams of being a knight in service to his queen, and then found out that fighting is actually really fucking awful and now just wants to go back to living quietly and planting plants. He will be more than happy to come live in our world and take an under-the-table job at Protag’s Uncle’s Landscaping Company where they conveniently don’t ask questions about your social security number because of reasons.
Both Author and Protag are Cape Verdean and from Central Falls, RI. (Because motherfucking RI, I said so) They are nerds; have been friend since elementary school, lived in the same neighborhood all their loves, game at the same gamestore, go to the same cons and LARPS, have been going to King Richard’s Faire together since they were kids, went to community college classes together. Both are very slowly working toward degrees in a pay by class fashion – Author in English, Protag in psychology. Author was making decent money on Etsy as a reseller of ‘vintage’ things that she was pulling out of goodwill and Savers. Protag had been working nights at the local gas station but then they went from a 24-hour location to a ‘closes at 11’ location and removed her shift so she’s been living off the saving she was planning on spending on another class while she looks for another job, but the economy’s shit.
Protag’s mom works at a daycare, and her dad’s a handyman. They have three other kids or middle school and high school age. They do alright.
Author’s single mom lives on workman’s comp/disability and foodstamps - she broke her pelvisand badly injured her back in a work-related accident when Protag was little and it never healed right, so now she has limited mobility. She wasn’t able to have more children after the accident, and medical bills fucked over her finances. She also has unaddressed depression, because she can’t afford to see anyone about it.
Author was living with her mom at the time of the disappearance. Protag wanted to not be a burden on her parents and wanted to be Independant and Good Example to her little siblings so she moved out and into her own place nearby as soon as she could, she lives in a cheap-ass apartment with 4+ rotating room mates. Protag frequently visits Author’s Mom, who has been -not ok- since Author’s disappearance.
Narration of the story will be rotating first person between Protag, Author, Hero, and Princess.
By the time we arrive at the narrative, Hero will be at the ‘everything has gone wrong’ stage of the hero’s journey. Because Author knows her Joseph Campbell she learned it in her introduction to creative writing class. Hero’s hometown will already be post-Doomed, his Mentor will already be dead, and he will have just lost a serious battle when the Protag reads him into reality. Author will have shown up in the narrative about six months ago and will have gone through the supreme ordeal with him; she gets to go on the rest of his Journey for him and knows spoilers. Their world will very much be The Dung Ages, and the Left Justified Fantasy Map that Author drew is the best and most accurate map of the world. Cheating through meta!
For purposes of Princess and Author falling in Fantastic Lurve, they will have spent the last six months in some kind of Hidden Rebels Village in the Forest deal. Basically, it was during the Training Montage. Hero was also there at the time and in the novel that would be when he and Princess fell in love, but Author was there and he was happy to take the back seat and just ride out this Chosen One bullshit and hope that he could go back to Pastoral Idyllic Life in Arcadia after the war. Also Princess and Author were clearly in True Love ™ and who wants to fuck with that?
Author: was captured when shit hit fan and that’s why there’s an immediacy to getting back to fantasyland with Hero. Princess will declare ‘I LOVE HER!’ soon after Protag and Hero arrive. Princess, Hero, and Protag must quest to finish collecting the objects and get Author back.
Climax of novel: We have to have a showdown in fantasyland to save Author and also The Kingdom. Princess’s armies and Hero and Protag assemble for the battle… and ultimately Protag shoots Evil Usurper in the face with a gun. Because WHY WOULDN’T YOU? Her daddy made damned sure she knew how to use one - shooting range at least once a month since she was about ten years old, gun knowledge, gun handling, gun safety. She teaches classes on gun awareness and safety to kids at the gun club even.