NaNoWriMo 2020: The boldest one yet

Hello, babes and bitches!! Sorry, it's been too long since I posted here, I'm losing my ways. But how are you guys? I hope you're good. I'm here today to make an announcement and it's a big one, baby.

First, have you ever heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month is an international challenge that encourages writers to write a 50,000-word book during the month of November. It sounds a lot harder than it actually is, depending on the type of writer you are. And because it is a challenge (not a competition), where winning depends only on your dedication towards the final result, you can eventually discover your own pace and create your own rules. NaNoWriMo also has two extra editions during the year, called Camp NaNoWriMo, in April and July. On those months, you really create your own rules and in July you even get an extra day. This event is responsible for a lot of my writing and what I know about writing. NaNo is where I wrote 4 of the 6 books I've written, including my first book to be published, A Linha de Rumo, written during NaNoWriMo 2015.

After winning the challenge in 2013, skipping 2014 because of college applications, winning 2015, winning 2016, winning 2017 and skipping 2018 because of my bachelor thesis, I came back with all I had in 2019. And then my life got cray cray. In only a few weeks in November, I went from getting the job of my dreams in a city I couldn't afford (New York, which is ironic and you'll know why soon) to settling for a job that was the exact opposite of anything I wanted (and that fired me after one month). I had to quit NaNoWriMo on the last week, way behind on my main goal. Honestly, part of me is a little disappointed that I didn't write and finish the story this year. Flor-de-Maio (the book I was writing on NaNoWriMo last year), has been in my head since 2017 and I had and have a lot to say in it. But it's a roadtrip story. Who has the emotional energy to finish a roadtrip book in 2020? Not me.

So I did want to join NaNoWriMo in 2020, but I didn't want to go back to Flor-de-Maio this year. I also didn't have any new amazing ideas I wanted to develop into new books but I did have a lot of stories I wanted to finish or breathe new life into. I considered the books I have to rewrite for a minute there, but I set that aside. NaNoWriMo is not time to rewrite anything. On the "things I haven't finished writing" zone, we have Flor-de-Maio, ******* and the story I decided to do. ******* is a horror novella that if everything went to plan, I'd publish today as a bilingual edition on Amazon. I decided to postpone it though, as I explained on Instagram, because I wanted to make sure I had the right tools to tell the story. It's a story that depends on worldbuilding a lot so I need to be sure everything is laced correctly, if ya know what I mean. That disqualified it for NaNoWriMo as well, because NaNoWriMo is all about pouring your heart out with no regards for your inner editor. So then, I was left with the only other book I gotta finish: Those Six Months.

First, a little context, on February 18, 2013, my 15th birthday, I wrote and published a short story set on my 23rd birthday. I won't be translating it because it's terrible and I wrote it when I was literally *turning 15* but if you want to try Google-Translating it, here's the link. If you're smarter than that and won't read it, the story is basically me living in New York, with the dream job as a journalist in a popular magazine, living with my then best friend on a two-bedroom apartment and even worse, my celebrity crush then is working with me on a piece and suddenly falls in love with me, asking me out on a date on my 23rd birthday. That story later on became a full on self-insert fanfiction, with the same name (NY Dream) set six months after the original short story, where I was living my dream but still being a little bitch.

I case you haven't done the math, my 23rd birthday is next February. I am definitely not living in New York. Definitely not having my dream job. Definitely not living with my then-best friend. In fact, my best friend at the time stopped being my friend when she said that I deserved the bad things that happened to me two weeks after my mother's death!!! And my celebrity crush at the time stopped being my celebrity crush when the creator of the show he was doing was denounced for harassing dozens of women in his series and in One Tree Hill and he was the only actor who did not comment on it and when questioned, two weeks after said creator was fired, he said didn't know much. Also on the fanfiction I was straight... And that ship sailed years ago.

I took the fanfiction off the internet in 2014 but it was the only one I promised to rewrite and finish one day. And I have been rewriting it for the past six years. I must have about fifteen files rewriting the story in every possible way, until I wrote it so many times, the main character was no longer me and the current characters have nothing to do with the original characters or anyone who actually exists. But the story is still set in New York. Obviously.

"But Giulia, if it's a story you know, with characters you like and with a lot of versions you've written and rewritten a thousand times, why would this be the boldest NaNoWriMo of them all?" Two reasons. The first is just part of the ridiculous aspect of everything about my life: I want to rewrite this story one last time both in Portuguese and in English. Doing so allows me to have more chances to have the story reaching people. The idea for next month is to write the scenes in the language in which they sound best in my head, and on the weekends (or when I get writer's block), I'll organize the two files, translating the scenes to the opposite language.

The second reason is that if I finish writing the story in November, I want to start publishing it on Wattpad on February 18, 2021: my 23rd birthday. When I realized how close the date was, it made me decide once and for all that Those Six Months was the story I would write on NaNoWriMo 2020. I already wanted T6M to be published on Wattpad, but I spent the last few years writing parts of the story only when I felt like it. I didn't have a deadline and I never got close to the end before deciding to go a different way with it. And now there is a deadline of one month for the first draft and another two months for rewriting and editing at least the first few chapters. A relatively short time to write a story in two languages. But I'll be fine, right? RIGHT?

Without further ado, I'll leave you to a quick pitch of the story and an introduction to a few characters. I wanted to introduce you to all of the ones I've already created but I decided a few of them is better to know on paper. I just wanted to give you guys a little extra because I normally release a story playlist with my NaNo annoucements, but this year I couldn't settle on one, so I will probably make a playlist of songs I'll listen to in November and post it after. The introduction is not part of the story either and you'll know everything on it when you're reading T6M next year, so skip it if you're not a person who likes to know much about a book before reading it. 

At 23, Ciera Dawson has everything: The perfect job, the perfect boyfriend, friendships that grow stronger no matter what phase of life they go through. But the arrival of an ex-girlfriend in town makes Ciera question if the foundations of her perfect life were ever strong enough.

Click on the names to see a Pinterest folder with each character's aesthetic

Ciera: Affectionately called Cece, but only by her boyfriend (and me, except when she pisses me off so much I want to find a way to kill her off in her own story), Ciera Dawson (who wasn't named after Cierra Ramirez, but after Siera Maley, duh) is the CEO of commitment issues. She is a brilliant author a LGBTQIA+ medieval fantasy series that she started publishing at the age of 15 and still has new books 8 years later, which pays for her two-bedroom apartment in Manhattan (or at least for part of it). But her main occupation at the moment is maid of honor of her agent and oldest friend. Bisexual (of course), Ciera is in a serious relationship (but not enough to move together) with Kaleb, an off-off Broadway actor.

KalebYou know that one character you love so much but you have to make go through bad shit for plot reasons? That's Kaleb. Currently performing as Prince Eric on The Little Mermaid (yes, the story takes place in 2021 and I plan on completely ignoring the pandemic. Don't like it? Find the vaccine then), Kaleb has a small group of teenage theater fans that sound like a legion when they start complaining on the internet. With a complicated past that makes him the tall, handsome and mysterious guy everyone wants, he is the cutest and squishiest boy in the world when he is alone with Ciera. Ah, he is also bisexual. Because I wrote him!!!!!

Elena: Well, children, that's where the story gets interesting. Elena is a character of mine that arrives at this universe to create chaos. Described with "so beautiful that it hurt... The freckles that splashed her shoulders looked like stars, the green eyes shone, sometimes dark, sometimes too light to be so intense and the hair was the color of the dress: black. The biggest disappointment of the family of redheads [...]", she first appeared in a short story I wrote in 2013, my first story ever with two girls kissing, called Slow Down. She then reappeared in The Fool, another short story that I wrote in 2015, with my first queer sex scene. Both of those stories are the high of gay angst and the last one has an ending that leaves you with a pretty weird taste on your mind. I published these short stories on Wattpad early this year, and I am going to translate both of them (probably as a Christmas gift to you) because they're important to understand Elena. But what you need to know now is that where they left off, Elena was 19 and in a relationship that gave her way less than she deserved but she couldn't let go of because the attraction was too intense [Poison by Kira Kosarin plays softly in the background]. When I first wrote this I was too in the closet to publish it, so I just sent to a few friends, who then made me swear I'd bring Elena back and give her a happy ending. And the time is now.
Now 25, the composer behind several of popular songs, with a doctorate in music (I WILL SPECIFY THE AREA LATER, I AM AWARE DOCTORATE IN MUSIC IS TOO BROAD OF A DEFINITION, LET ME LIVE) and still the same terrible taste on choosing partners, Elena is back to get her happy ending. After everything she went through in New York (which you shall read on the prequel short stories) Elena left and vowed never to return. But it didn't take long for her to discover that complicated relationships that end in an unsatisfying ways are not limited to the five boroughs. When the chance to return to The City for a few months comes, Elena picks it up, telling herself that the city is too big for her to ever come across any of the three women who broke her heart... but if the universe brings her back to the one who still has it, it’s not like she’s going to fight it.

LunaCiera's roommate, Luna arrived in New York a few months earlier to join AA. Luna and Ciera met years ago in Los Angeles and never stopped talking, even as Luna crossed the country jumping from tour to tour along with different musicians. When Luna needed someone to watch her habits, Ciera was the perfect person since her father was not an option. Luna is pansexual, but this is the only label she allows herself to have. Rebellious against everything and everyone, she manages to control herself enough to organize Ciera's messes in the same way that Ciera organizes hers.

And that is it. These are my babies. That constantly drive me mad. T6M is my first New Adult story and controlling adult characters is way more difficult than controlling teenagers. I can't wait to spend the month of November with them and introduce them to you, first in excerpts, during updates I'll post first on Ko-Fi and then here next month, and officially in February 2021. That is, if it all goes to plan. 
Pray for me,

Giulia Santana is a Brazilian author, journalist, fangirl and activist — but not necessarily on that order.

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