How is it October? Wasn’t I just working on a project in July? Do I really have to think about what I’m working on this November? I guess I should! It’s not a problem, I’ve actually been thinking a lot about how I’m going to spend November. I have one project that I need to start with a detailed outline and another that needs a new draft finished. Let’s talk about NaNoWriMo 2017!
You might recall a few months ago I said I was done with NaNoWriMo. The realization that writing to a word count is hurting me as a writer was pretty important. I’m not completely done with the event. I am still helping organize things locally and bringing in new leaders to replace me. It makes sense for me to keep writing the way that has begun to work for me. That is, I start something new in November with a detailed outline and then spend the rest of the time taking other projects to their next phase.
I spent the last few weeks a bit stagnant with writing. Phi Alpha Pi is with beta readers as it reaches it’s final phases. New Devil is ready to be re-read and have problems fixed before going to it’s first readers. Book number four is Missing Auggie, a mystery/romance novel that is one project I am focusing on this November. I need to finish draft 2 and look at the mystery elements better. It is going to have a ton of bonus content as I write out what each suspect is doing while our sleuth, Samantha, is trying to find her missing husband. Book five is the other NaNoWriMo project: Woodhouse Cafe and Yarn. I spent the weekend focusing on the plot and I am ready to share it.
Emily’s family has co-owned Woodhouse Cafe and Yarn for years with their partners the Knightly family. By day, the shop makes money as a cafe where professionals remotely do their jobs fueled by their coffee and food. By night the yarn shop hosts events for local crafters who appreciate the dedicated space and supplies for sale. While they make most of their money in the cafe, a third element of the business is also managed out of the location, the yarn company. The Woodhouse Yarn Company has always supplied high end yarn to local crafters, but in the 40s and 50s it became a major national chain, manufactured in factories. The high end yarns are still created in house and sold exclusively in the yarn shop.
Emily’s parents run the yarn company, constantly traveling around the world to meet with shops, manufactures, and others related to their industry and business. Emily and Adam Knightly are left to run the cafe. Adam is an Army vet who came decided to give up a military career to get an MBA and run the family business. Emily has a bachelors in marketing and took over running the shop as soon as she graduated. She has never working anywhere else, crafting in her local area is all she knows. The pair work well together and have a strong local business. This is why Emily is asked to consult with a craft shop a few towns over. She successfully helps them re-build their floundering business. Her success, which is really little more than luck, makes her think she can consult on the side.
It’s only Adam who realizes she is out of her league. When Emily agrees to consult with a yarn shop in Miami, FL and one in the mid-west, she quickly makes a mess of things. She knows the New England yarn community. All her assistance fails for these companies and Emily has to figure out how to save her reputation and these shops before its too late.
Woodhouse Cafe and Yarn is a modernization of Emma, which you might recall I have been re-reading to prepare for this project. You might notice one key difference with my plot and Emma: I don’t seem to have any romance in my plot. I am struggling with this. Austen’s stories are built around their romance and I enjoy writing romance, but what I want to write has nothing to do with romance. My concern is that the romance will feel forced and only there because I *have* to put it in the story. I have been getting advice from a lot of people about this. Feel free to put your thoughts in the comments.
My concern is not about my ability to not write romance. New Devil has no romance at all. Ok, that’s not true. One of the main characters thinks her boyfriend of 6 years is cheating on her, but really he broke up with her and she’s too oblivious to realize it. There is also a hint at a romance between the retiring devil and the lawyer, but all the romance is a very minor part of the plot. It’s there because people have romantic relationships and they impact their decisions.
The question is: will readers accept an Austen modernization that is about a young woman finding her place in the world and not about her romantic life? My irritation with romance and chick-lit books is that they make the main characters obsessed with marriage, children, and body image (in that it makes them attractive to a potential mate). I don’t want to write those women and Emma, in its original form, makes it easy to get sucked into that. I won’t get into that here because I am saving that rant for the end of the month when we talk more about Emma.
For now, give me some feedback in the comments! What do you think of the plot? Would you miss the romance? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, what are you thinking of writing?