Guys, I really shouldn’t participate in NaNoWriMo this year.
If you don’t know what that is, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, where you commit to write a 50,000 word novel within the span of 30 days. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo twice before and it’s actually where my current work-in-progress actually started.
I’m tackling a different sub-genre for this year’s NaNoWriMo: contemporary. The initial genre is YA, of course, because it’s my favorite and just about everything I read.
I was highly influenced by my own life to start writing a contemporary fiction book. If you know, I don’t read many contemporary books though I’ve fallen in love with a few (such as When We Collided and Exit, Pursued by a Bear) I won’t go too far into details beyond that but I can share with you the (temporary) synopsis for next month’s project, titled Of Hope and Stars:
When Grace’s parents announce their divorce, Grace reluctantly follows her Korean mother to big city Texas, not too far from K-Town where her mother finds community with too many “aunts” for Grace to keep track of.
She is even more reluctant to start a new school and meet new people. She finds solace in painting, music, and books, skipping out on the Korean classes her mother enrolled her in at a local Korean church. While Grace is slow to find friends, she meets a bold, outspoken girl and quietly admires a cute boy from afar.
She also clashes with her mother in a culture war–America’s carefree attitude vs. Korea’s strict traditions. Why can’t Grace become a doctor or a lawyer? When will Grace find a boyfriend? Not just any boyfriend–he better be Korean and on his way to become a doctor or lawyer, too.
But Grace doesn’t know how to deal the shock of her parent’s divorce. Was it something she did? Something she could have prevented? How can two people who’ve been together for her entire life suddenly decide they don’t love each other any longer? And why are her best friends no longer speaking to her?
Eventually, she walks down a dark path toward her own self-destruction until one close call brings her back to reality and the desperate need to make peace with herself, find forgiveness in others, and embrace herself for who she is.
So yes, it’s inspired from my own life by my Korean culture which is something I struggled with growing up as a child and something I didn’t fully embrace until I was well into my 20s. I’m hoping to include a lot of my own experiences in the book especially what I felt during my teenage years.
Another topic I hope to breach is mental illness among the Asian-American community. I don’t know much about it so I’m definitely doing research for the project and asking my one family member who actually has a master’s degree in psychology (hello, older brother!) for some articles about it. I hope to do justice to this stigma!
But hopefully, we’ll also see:
FOOD! OMG, Koreans eat such amazing food. But maybe I’m biased?
Traditional Korean dress known as hanbok (한복) are bright and colorful dresses worn to weddings and even formal family gatherings. Husband and I both own one (with shoes!) which we wore for our engagement photos back in 2012. Truthfully, they’re hot and the fabric isn’t very breathable but you know… for tradition’s sake. 😛
All to this to say that I’ll be taking a hiatus for the month of November to fully dedicate time to my next writing project. I’ll schedule reviews and things like that but I may not do Top Ten Tuesday or Waiting on Wednesday blog posts.
If you want to be a writing buddy, you can find me on NaNoWriMo with the username letitflyaway.