Know the Novel – Part One: Introducing Unwritten

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to Quote, Unquote!

As you probably know, I’m so excited for National Novel Writing Month this year. I learned a lot from last year, and I think I have a much better grasp on what works best for me now.

This year, I’m once again participating in Christine Smith’s NaNo linkup! I had a ton of fun with it last year, and I think this year is going to be even better. Thank you again, Christine, for hosting this!

This year’s novel is called (drumroll please)…Unwritten! The title is still a work-in-progress, but this will do for now.

Without further ado…let’s go!

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Actually, it was a prompt I found on the Young Writer’s Workshop. It went something like this:

Your sister, an avid writer, just died with multiple unfinished projects. While going through documents on her computer, you find a note written by her that begs whoever finds it to finish her stories. Knowing how much those stories meant to her, you decide to try and finish them. You soon find yourself in over your head in random notes about unexpected plot twists, characters that you don’t understand, and a story that you’d never seen before but quickly fall in love with. But before long, you’re at the end of her notes and the story is only halfway finished. What do you do?

So that basically spoils the next question…but here you go anyway.

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!

Waverly is grieving. Her teenage sister, an avid writer, has passed away suddenly, leaving everyone in the Pembrooke family utterly stunned. No one was expecting anything like this.

No one, it seems, except her sister. While Waverly is sorting through Quinn’s documents on her computer, she finds a note addressed to her. It begs her to use the pages of notes left behind to finish the abandoned manuscripts. Though she has never written anything outside of school before, she decides to give it a try, hoping it’ll help her bring her closer to her sister.

Now Waverly is in for the ride of her life through her sister’s stories as she tries to fulfill Quinn’s wishes. But her writing is nowhere near as good as her sister’s, and to her dismay, the notes Quinn left to guide her through the story begin to run out. Now what?

In this heartwarming tale of sisterly love and sudden loss, Liesl Brunner spins the story of a girl struggling to cope.

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

My story takes place in a town called Belden in southeastern Michigan–where I live. I figured I could take some amount of pressure off of myself if I set the story where I wouldn’t have to be googling weather patterns every five seconds. My favourite aspect about the setting is probably Waverly’s best friend’s house, which is one of those old Victorian homes. You know, the ones with the turrets and the big sloping roofs and the beautiful porches? Those. I’ve always wanted to live in one, so I decided to put it in my story.

See, isn’t that gorgeous?

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

My main character is Waverly Jean Pembrooke. In a nutshell, she’s a 16-year-old middle child who has suddenly been thrust into the role of oldest child. She was never really outgoing in the first place, but after Quinn died, she withdrew into her shell even more. She’s an INFJ, loves gardening, and sometimes dips her fries in mayonnaise.

I love Waverly like she’s my own child. She is sort of me, in a way–I gave her a lot of the same traits and personality as myself. I feel like I’m going to learn a lot about myself through her. I’m very excited to see how she unfolds during the month of November.

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Waverly’s struggle is mostly going to be against herself, her own doubts and anxiety. There are probably going to be some external conflicts, too (it’s high school), but most of the story is going to revolve around Waverly’s inner monologue.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

Honestly…the prospect of actually finishing it is pretty exciting. Not gonna lie. This will be my first full-length novel, if I manage to complete it.

But other than that, I’m just super excited to see how the characters grow and unfold. I’m also excited to see how I myself grow through my characters. I think it’s going to be an amazing story, and I’m so glad I get to share it with you guys.

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Probably a standalone, though I am toying with the idea of a companion. It’s too early to tell, though.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Hmm…I’d probably define this as plantsing. I have a rough outline in my notebook with things I want to happen and the order in which I want them to happen, but it is very, very broad and subject to change. I learned last year that not having an outline is the same thing as not having a story, so I’m hoping even a broad outline is going to help a lot more.

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Well, for one, it’s going to be a YA contemporary novel that isn’t totally profane and inappropriate. That in and of itself is pretty unique. But it’s also going to be a story that features a portrayal of depression, anxiety, and grief that’s accurate and relatable and says to the reader, “I understand, and I love you.”

At least I hope it is.

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story.

My friend on YWW made me a beautiful cover!

I’m also working on making a playlist (what a shock, right?). It doesn’t have a lot of songs on it yet, but I’ll probably be adding to it throughout NaNo, as I get to know the story better.

That’s all for now! Thank you again, Christine, for hosting this. And if you are doing NaNo, tell me about it! I love hearing about others’ WIPs.

Thank you so much for reading, and I’ll see you next Wednesday!

Until next time,


17 thoughts on “Know the Novel – Part One: Introducing Unwritten

  1. lean brubacher October 20, 2021 / 7:09 am

    lies im so excited for youuu. i cat wait to read itt

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mary K. Bauerle October 20, 2021 / 9:10 am

    You can do it! Sounds like a great start to your story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Mia Harden October 20, 2021 / 11:22 am

    Oooooooh, this sounds cool! I’m still trying to decide if I want to start a new project for NaNo or work on the one from last year. I have enough prompts LOL

    Liked by 1 person

  4. E. C. Colton October 20, 2021 / 11:28 am

    Okay, so I saw the Victorian house and had to comment. I’ve actually been working on a magical realism set in a Victorian house and did a bunch of research last night. Coincidences. 😉

    But yes, this story sounds so cool, and definitely something I’d read (clean contemporary YA is honestly too hard to find nowadays 😅). So excited for you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Christine October 20, 2021 / 2:25 pm

    Oh my goodness, LIESL. This sounds like suuuch a beautiful story! I adore the concept, and Waverly seems like a wonderful protagonist to follow. ❤ I can tell this story is gonna bring the FEELS. Which…I love! *grins* Everything about this sounds amazing!

    Thank you so much for joining the linkup! I'm so glad you joined again this year! Cheering you on all the way as you write this precious tale. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  6. smylinggirl October 20, 2021 / 4:20 pm

    This story sounds so good! Let me know if you need alpha or beta readers 🙂 I do love a good Victorian house, but why are they always painted such awful colors???? And with setting the story in Michigan, you don’t have to Google the weather patterns every five seconds because that’s how quickly they change, lol 🙂 Gotta roast our weather!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Emily October 21, 2021 / 8:14 pm

    This sounds like something I would like to read!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Chelsea R. H. October 23, 2021 / 5:12 am

    This sounds amazing, Liesl! I love the premise. I’ve experienced close family death and wanting to tell their stories, finish them for them, I guess, has been a big part of the grieving process. Waverly sounds like such an amazing protagonist (with such a cool name, it’s so pretty!) and the anxiety, grief and depression topics are such important topics to cover. I look forward to hearing more about it! Good luck with your writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Daniel L. Amador October 24, 2021 / 1:40 pm

    I love this idea, Liesl! I can’t wait to see how it turns out. I shall be expecting snippets. . . 😎 (Whether those expectations are in vain or not is up to you.)

    Liked by 1 person

  10. culvertj October 24, 2021 / 3:45 pm

    Fantastic topic and I look forward to the complete story. Is this similar to Jodi Picoult’s “My Sisters Keeper”?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Liesl Brunner October 26, 2021 / 11:13 am

      No, it’s not really similar. I guess there are some aspects that are, but it’s not the same sort of premise.


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