Hullo all and welcome to what will most likely be a sprawling post with plenty of pictures and vague ideas to go around. Prepare yourselves properly.
With a bit more time in my schedule due to the end of Mock Trial season, I have grand plans and grand schemes including a hope to return to writing again. I’ve been listening to a lot of my old cinematic playlists these days and have found myself overcome with nostalgia for my first full-length novel I wrote ages ago when I was thirteen. So I got distracted and went back and read some of that this week and it was great. I’ve definitely gotten over the cringe stage for that one. 😆
Anyways, this post isn’t about an old novel, but a new one! I’ve mentioned recently in passing in a post that I came up with a new idea so this is my introduction to it as I prepare to write 20,000 words in April for Camp NaNoWriMo (which, starting in two days, ends up being an attainable goal of about 667 words a day if I consistently write a little every night or every morning).
I thought about making a goal for the timebus story originally (the project which I was consistently writing on the weekends this semester), but decided to take a break from that thing and try something fresh and different. And whimsical.
(And I also told my friend that I calculated the story would be done in 1,234 days and 72 hours and 38 minutes. Which (at the time) she figured out to be June 22, 2024 at 11:13 a.m. Which she put on her calendar. Which now I have to stick to. Which means I have a deadline to keep.)
What project is this?
(drum roll please, my friends)
The Rain Falls Up Beneath the Bridge
(no i did not draw those houses *sadness* but i want to try. this would be a good moment to mention that all pictures in today’s post here-on-out are from Pinterest)
| the summary |
Effy’s family has lived in Underbridge Villa for centuries, and that’s no exaggeration. Not only that, but to say that her family is no ordinary one would be a major understatement. With uncles, aunts, great aunts, and a second cousin, including a world-traveling mystery novelist, a painter, an aeronaut, a hedge sculptor, and even an ex pirate all living beneath the same roof, life can sometimes be chaotic… and embarrassing. Not to mention the pandemonium of parrots living in the shower! But even out of such a large family, Effy is the only child.
With her ceremonious tenth birthday on the horizon in which she is given her very first umbrella, she is determined to grow up most properly.
Everyone else seems to know their place and part and how it all works together. Can it be so hard?
Things I love about this story:
- rain is a good thing (the entire society adores it. heaven forbid you be found dead without an umbrella)
- the eccentric characters (don’t worry, more on them later)
- the house (it’s Victorian. it’s huge. it’s filled with plants and paintings and old furniture. it has a large garden with high stone walls, fountains, and sculptured hedges. it was also there before the town was, so they ended up building a bridge over it)
- the quirky big family vibes
- the fact everyone gets their first umbrella at their tenth birthday, and it’s picked up especially for them and is considered a momentous ceremony
- it’s almost magical realism?
(and I would say plot too but I don’t really have a formal plot yet shhhh)
| the characters |
First we have Effy, our dear main character and narrator. Her full name is actually Zephyrine Clove. (“west wind” + “i have loved you and you have not known it”). Her father, an aeronaut, gave her first name, and her mother, a botanist, gave her the middle name. They are also very found of Ancient Literature which is also the inspiration behind Zephyrine.
She’s a very curious soul, and takes everything very seriously and always wants to know the truth.
She is schooled at home, primarily by Great Aunt Francis…
Great Aunt Francis is probably the only person in Baccaburry who hates rain. She owns only one umbrella. It is black and she has it reserved for practical reasons only which means if the sun is shining she leaves it at home. Utterly scandalous, but then again Great Aunt Francis only owns practical things. All her clothes are long straight and black and she only owns a small collection of books in her room, which is mostly a set of cookbooks and herb medicine.
Effy is both terrified of and frustrated with this relative because she is convinced that Great Aunt Francis hates her (she must with all the chores she makes Effy do and the way she’s always grunting and frowning at her!).
bUt tHaT cHaNgEs in the book?? Eyy?
Great Aunt Jada is the complete opposite of her sister, Great Aunt Francis, a bit of a wild spirit, and has hundreds of stories to tell about her travels when she was younger. She owns some parrots who live in her shower, named Frederick, Pepper, and Taffy, and she owns a cabinet of strange objects (though she’s given away a lot over the years and never was a hoarder). She has met princesses and danced with princes in her youth, dined at great dinners and attended balls in foreign lands, she’s trekked through jungles and crossed deserts (and everything else strange and wild that you can imagine… I won’t list them all out here). She still possesses a style of elegance and show.
These days even though Jada is happy to settle with family, she gets tired of everyday life and longs for adventures she can no longer take. To keep busy her idle mind she studies and researches strange topics, like poison, frogs, unsolved crimes, or the various effects of eating various mushrooms. Every Monday she goes to the library and checks out a stack of books then goes to the café and reads there, greeting friends, acquaintances, and strangers with the fascinating facts she is at the moment discovering. Everyone knows her around town, and there are rumors she is writing a mystery novel placed in India. Jada wears all black but she has a bright magenta umbrella, or one with some exotic print she bought in some foreign land.
Jada’s husband Herbert Olson is an ex-pirate. Need we say more?*
*It is also rumored that the crew of his ship was battling a sea monster when he met his future wife. Jada was riding the sea monster. The accuracy of this story is not confirmed.
Claudia is a young cousin of Effy’s mother and an artist taking a gap year before going to college. She eats a lot of crepes and left over stir fry, and fuels herself with coffee. She also locks herself up in her room for hours painting and repainting and trying to get things right. Other times she goes on walks, rants late at night at whoever is around. Her walls are covered with random art, and she’s always going through things. She wears a red beret any time she leaves the house. She also knows a lot of random words in seemingly random languages. She’s never travelled very far, and reads a lot of poetry. Her umbrella is red.
Timothy is Claudia’s friend. He wears scarves and is always very well presented. Everything he wears is neutral colored and generally classy. He’s a photographer of birds (cranes are his favorite) and spends a lot of time outside or at the law office where he works as a clerk for an attorney. His umbrella is a warm brown. He’s a bit goofy and sometimes quiet, but gets along well with a lot of people. He takes Claudia to movies or makes her pancakes. And he tries to always listen (which isn’t too hard because he likes Claudia a lot.)
His apartment is across town above a pastry shop and he has a bike, though most of the time he walks. His apartment itself is fairly plain, with a couple random paintings he’s had forever, lamps, and books about birds and law. He likes to tease Effy and greatly respects her parents, the main couple of Underbridge Villa. Timothy is very organized and leads a generally scheduled life.
Annie is the heart of the family, and Effy’s mother. She’s very compassionate and wise, and very much a peacemaker. Because of her, most of the sinks and bathtubs and sills in the house are filled with pots and pots of plants with neat little labels. She writes essays for elite scientific journals and is illustrating a field guide.
I think I already mentioned this but also Effy’s father, Rueben, is an aeronaut who dreams of taking an expedition into the sky in a hot air balloon, and during the book is raising funds and trying to find a sponsor. Effy tries to help him with that.
Among others (though this is subject to change), there’s also Uncle Geoffrey, Uncle Bertie, and Aunt Fiona. For quick random facts: Uncle Geoffrey is a professor who wears a different tie every day, Uncle Bertie likes to pick up random hobbies like the summer he sculptured all the hedges and bushes (they’ve never recovered), and Aunt Fiona likes to bake and is a teacher at a local school.
There’s also the family who move in the house next door at the beginning of the book and have a baby girl and a son about Effy’s age who ends up being a major character.
But I haven’t met that kid yet personally so ahem. I don’t know what he’s like yet, except he likes to wear bright stripy sweaters.
And maybe that’s what Effy notices first?
I also think they team up to try to raise funds for Effy’s father’s expedition.
So there you go. Some of the lovely characters of The Rain Falls Up Beneath the Bridge. And that’s about what I have so far since I don’t have a overarching set-in-stone plot per say yet…
Just vague ideas such as Effy learning it’s okay to be a kid sometimes and overtime learning about her Great Aunt Francis’s past. But beyond that I think a lot of it will be small every day bric-a-brac in the context of forming friendships and relationships (like a Gary Schmidt novel?). For random example – inspired by the noise of people banging on my family’s roof (or lack of it) for a day – the roof leaking. It is an old house after all and when was the last time its roof was replaced?
Which is a kind of story I’ve never tried to write before, so I have no idea what I’m doing. Isn’t this fun?
I hope you’ve enjoyed an exclusive look into my process of story ideas. And how 90% of the brainstorming process before I leap off a cliff into the writing stage is just me coming up with characters and settings I adore. And that’s about it.
Yes, so this will be interesting to say the least. I will be back with battle scars at the end of April and perhaps show up somewhere in between.
Have you written any story in which you had very little idea of the components of the plot? A very character driven story? What are you writing these days?
i have no idea what i’m doing ahaha. anyone else feel like starting nanowrimo is ever a train wreck? *raises hand* this is one train wreck of a both nanowrimo and post lol