Beautiful Books: My NaNoWriMo Novel

Beautiful Books: My NaNoWriMo Novel

I am SO excited about my NaNoWriMo novel this year.

I’ve been absolutely twitterpated with it for months now and it just so happens that as I was about to share it with you, the lovely Cait over at Paperfury posted her Beautiful Books Meme all about NaNoWriMo! And since I’M all about NaNoWriMo and beautiful books, I decided to give it a try. I’ve never done one of her Memes before, so be patient with me while I figure this all out, I’m a delicate bunny and can’t handle harsh words.

If you’re thinking about NaNo or already all prepped and ready to go, I encourage you to check it out! It’s a super fun way to share your project with other bloggers and find more new blogs to check out. Who doesn’t love that??


1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

So my ideas tend to float to me in bits and pieces usually while I’m driving, in the shower, or taking long walks by the beach. Er, park. The characters come first, as I’ll usually have a spark of what I want to do next. So for this story, I thought ‘military’. I’ve only ever written one military story before (also for NaNoWriMo!), and it’s quite different from my usual style. So I played around with it until I had a few soldiers in my mind, and I let them start interacting with each other.

Since I knew I want to stick with my retold fairy tale theme, I started looking up fairy tales with military themes, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier seemed an obvious choice. I let the original tale help to shape my events and scenes and it even sparked new ones too. Overall the entire process took a few months, and I’ve been SOOOO excited to get started. Realistically I know I only started working on this project about six months ago, but it feels like it’s been decades!

2. Describe what your novel is about!

Where do I even begin? Ummm, maybe a list will help.

  • Military boys
  • A war on magic
  • Grappling with self-identity and worth
  • Propaganda
  • Law v. morality
  • Fire
  • Lots and lots of screaming

Got it? Good.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? 

Funny you should ask! It’s not like I’ve been obsessively pinning on Pinterest for the past six months or anything to create the PERFECT aesthetic board. Of course not. That’s silly. DO YOU WANT TO SEE IT???

Click here to see my board. 

I love it! I know it’s not as large as some boards, but finding the right images for this particular novel is really difficult, okay? Still, I like to think I’ve done a pretty good job with what I’ve got.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

YES! My babies! I love them and you should too!  I won’t lie, absolutely adore my characters for this years’ NaNo. They might possibly be some of my favorite characters I’ve ever created, and I’m already thinking of ways to include them in other projects. Me? Obsessed? YES PLEASE.


Tin – aka Augustine Torres, he is the central character of the novel and is called Tin due to his metal leg. He has been a dedicated soldier for most of his young life and his extremely loyal to the crown. Though he may be a bit of a flirt and likes to bend the rules, when push comes to shove he always puts his duty above all else.
Tulio – aka Tulio Montalvo, he is the Prince of Trasal and heir to the throne. Short-tempered and extremely goal-oriented, he’s very private about his life, particularly anything pertaining to his metal arm. He is fiercely protective of his mother and shuts himself off from just about everyone else. The youngest of five older sisters, he tries to pretend their dislike and distrust of him doesn’t affect his future as King.
Fidget – aka Baltasar Delgado, he is a Junior Medic. He likes helping people, but his bedside manner could use some work. His lack of social skills and awkward sense of humor keeps him at bay from most people, but it’s his loyalty and compassion that his friends cherish him for.
Tweak – aka Evangelina Cortes, she is the resident mechanic and always looking to keep herself busy. Surrounded by men, she’s learned to be extra sharp, quick and always ready to laugh. Always professional and a bit straight-laced, she’s not shy about jumping straight into action.

5. How do you prepare to write? 

I need an outline. And then my outline needs an outline. And then I need maps and timelines and a thousand images taped on my wall so I can literally step into my world and act out all the scenes like I’m in my own mini-theater production. But mostly, I just really need an outline.

To be honest, it’s one of my favorite parts of writing. I love seeing the story in my head come together and scenes that were previously floating around suddenly just click. When I’m outlining I can tell if something feels “off” or if the pacing is getting too jumbled or confusing. As I’m a slow writer, I’d rather figure this out in the planning stage than spend two weeks writing it all out only to later realize it’s not working. I unironically adore my outline, and I keep it open on my desktop as I work to guide me.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Prince Tulio’s entire character arc is extremely important to me. He’s homoromantic asexual, and I’ve never written about someone quite like him before. I think his story is something that’s sorely lacking in YA literature and I’m proud that I can be one to help chip away at that problem.

Also the mechanical horses. I’m really excited to write about the mechanical horses.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Only three? Hmph, that’s a bit limiting, don’t you think? Well, let’s keep in the spirit of the challenge, three things it is!

  • The culture, terrain, and people are heavily influenced by Mexico
  • Flash floods are very, very real and very, very deadly
  • Magic and the military clash in the deadliest of ways

Do all of those things count as the setting? I’m not sure. But let’s just go with it, yeah?

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Overall, the goal for all my characters is to simply to stay alive. Broken down, they all have their own motivations, but as Tin is the central lead character let’s focus on him. Interestingly, his goals to start off the novel really are the most simplistic in that he merely wants to serve his country and its rulers as best as he can. He’s learned not to question higher authority and to do as he’s told if it serves a higher purpose. It’s once things get rolling he starts running into conflicting messages about what “serving a higher purpose” really means.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Tin learns that having a duty to his country and doing the right thing doesn’t always necessarily correlate. I never set out to write a “political” book, and to be honest I still don’t really think that’s what this is. But I think the realization of learning to question authority is an important one, and it’s a lesson Tin learns in more ways than one.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Let’s list it out again.

  • The dangers of propaganda
  • Self-acceptance
  • Think for yourself

These themes are a little bit bigger than what I usually go for, as I tend to write more introspective, personal types of ideas. But I think that’s what makes it so exciting for me, to really go for a message that doesn’t just affect my characters on a small scale. It’s bigger than they are, and they have to figure out how they fit in all of it. It’s going to be a challenge, but I think it 100% going to be worth it.

There we have it my bunnies! Everything you ever wanted to know and more about my NaNoWriMo novel, Crucible. I’ve been putting this project on hold JUST so I can work on it for NaNo, so here’s to hoping nothing gets in my way. If it does, it will face the wrath of a thousand angry fuzzbuckets, and no one wants that. No one.

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo novel! Have you participated in the Beautiful Books Meme too? Are you freaking out November is almost here???


  1. Yay, a fellow outliner! I too need a very extensive outline of not just my plot but my characters and my world and EVERYTHING. Or else I just get confused and write myself into a corner and it’s ugly. LOVE the sound of your project, especially your characters! Also, mechanical horses??? That sounds amazing!

    I’m definitely freaking out that November is getting so close! My outlining is coming together but I’m also trying to finish revising another novel before NaNo starts and yeah, definitely freaking out a bit!

    1. Author

      Yes! In the past I’ve foolishly tried to work on novels without outlines and I always wind up a sobbing puddle on the floor. It’s not pretty. I’m happy you like my idea! I’ve basically been obsessed with it for so long I’m practically exploding with excitement!

      And we can freak out together about our upcoming DOOM. I mean November…that’s all it is, right? RIGHT!?

  2. Your story sounds amazing! I really like retellings of more obscure fairy tales as it is, but with an ace MC and all the aesthetics it sounds awesome. Happy NaNo!

    1. Author

      Thank you! As much as I love the more popular fairy tales, it’s so much fun to dive into some of the more forgotten ones and see how much they have to offer 🙂 I can’t wait! Best of luck to you too!!

  3. I’m not a writer myself, though I always wish I was. I do love reading about writing and reading posts such as this one though for some reason. Your story already sounds great! Good luck with NaNoWriMo!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much!! If you ever do start writing, I hope you share it on your blog, I’d love to read more about it 🙂

    1. Author

      Thank you!! Yes, I’m a bit obsessed with fairy tales too 😉

  4. I LOVE that you’re going with a unique retelling! I think if I see another Cinderella or Alice in Wonderland I’ll scream (although I gobble up Alice retellings like chocolates).

    Good luck on your novel! Your excitement really shines through here. 😁

    1. Author

      Haha, YES I am VERY excited ;D

      And I like me a good classic fairy tale (Beauty and the Beast is my forever love), but it’s true, sometimes the forgotten tales out there need some attention too! There are SO many classic stories out there just waiting to be retold and I’m super excited to be digging into them in my own voice 🙂

  5. I love the Tin Soldier! And I like your spin on it too. Good luck with NaNo!!

    1. Author

      Thanks so much! The Tin Soldier is such an underrated tale, I’m happy to be giving it some much-needed attention!

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