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know the novel: part one – introducing the summer at sunset bay

Hello, my friends!

I’ve heard about the linkup hosted by Christine @ Christine Smith Author for the past few years – It’s a three-part event designed to get you (and your readers!) excited about your National Novel Writing Month project (a challenge in which you to try to write 50,000 words in one month – for you non-writers here.) And at long last, I decided to participate since I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year! You can find the first part on Christine’s site here.

Without further ado, let’s dive in!

1. what first sparked the idea for this novel?

I originally got this idea back in January during a writing competition – A friend of mine had posted the prompt this prompt. . .

“All scars have stories. . . even the hidden ones.”

After writing about 4K on it one evening, I put it aside, since I was in the midst of outlining another project. Once that project had been finished, I searched around in my idea banks which were full of random ideas from book covers and collages, to writing prompts and snippets, and came up with the 4K words I’d written and that prompt. The story has changed immensely from the original idea and those 4,000 words back in January, but the general theme is still the same.

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

This summer, Eleanor Miller has a wonderful surprise: A whole month staying with her aunt in her big bed and breakfast, right on the beach in Sunset Bay, along with her older sister, Lily. Soon, they both are discovering the joys of a summer at Sunset Bay, from sailing and swimming in the ocean to walking on the boardwalks and attending day camp, both of the girls are thrilled. But the best discovery of all for Eleanor is meeting Melissa and Gina Douglas, two sisters who quickly become her first best friends.

Gina wants to be brave. More than not being scared to go out into the waves or something small like that but true and real bravery. Melissa needs to learn how to be humble, more than not jumping up and down when you win, or something petty like that, but be honestly humble. Eleanor wants to be different. Not just wearing her hair differently than others, but to be truly extraordinary.

Will the girls be able to find the key to unlock the answers to their problems before the summer is over and Eleanor goes back to her home? One thing’s for sure though: It will be a summer the girls never forget.

— The Summer at Sunset Bay

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

The story takes place in Sunset Bay, South Carolina – I originally began outlining this idea back in June, when I was in a very summery mood, and worked on it throughout the summer. I finished it in early September and then realized that it would be November when I was writing it and those summer and beachy vibes. . . wouldn’t be there. XD But oh well. I love the beachy and dreamy setting I’ve created throughout the outline and the fact that my main characters are staying in a beautiful beach house.

4. tell us about your protagonist(s).

There are actually three since I never can seem to write a story that has only one MC (main character).

Melissa is a crazy girl with a burst of energy and a bit of fire in her soul. She’s a soccer player who doesn’t waste time and isn’t afraid to do what’s right, even if it terrifies her. She’s tied for the firstborn in her family of eight kids.

Gina is a quiet, dreamy, and imaginative 11-year-old girl. Nearly the polar opposite of Melissa, despite them being twins. She adores writing, and never goes anywhere without a notebook and pencil. The only time she abandons her stories is when she’s on the soccer field, playing on the same team as Melissa. Even though she’s quiet and shy, she has a fighting spirit that only comes out when she’s on the field, scoring a million goals for her team.

Eleanor is right in between Gina and Melissa, personality-wise. Height-wise, she’s three inches taller than both of them. Age-wise, she’s exactly with them, 11 years old. She’s nor an introvert or an extrovert, a follower or a leader. She’s always laughing, even about things that scare her. She spends most of her days trying to find ways to spend them and become extraordinary.

5. who (or what) is the antagonist?

Mm. . . each of the girls struggles with something ordinary but difficult. . . for Gina, she struggles with fear, Melissa with pride, and I haven’t totally come up with the name for Eleanor’s struggle yet. I’m sure I will by the time I finish writing this project, but for now, it’s currently named ordinary pain.

6. what excites you the most about this novel?

Ah, there are so many things! I love the characters already, the setting, and the message this story carries. Each of the things that the girls struggle with is something that I’ve struggled with myself, or someone close to me has, and a lot of it is going to be drawing from there. <3

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

I don’t know at this point – I usually can’t decide until I write the first draft, but as I have the story outlined right now. . . it’s going to need a sequel at least. Otherwise, I’m sure my readers (also known as my mom, sister, and best friend) will come after me.

8. are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

I plotted it! It took me about 3 months from June to early September. With the outline, chapter plots, character overviews and development, setting overviews, and other bits of random brainstorming, it all added up to over 30,000 words. o.O And that’s without any drafting. So yes, I definitely plotted it.

9. name a few unique elements in this story.

Ooh. . . I consider this story unique because it pulls from things that real ordinary people struggle with. . . fear, doubt, pride, among other things.

10. share some fun “extras” of the story

So far, I have a cover and a few collages – I’m not huge on making playlists, Pinterest boards, etcetera, because I believe that time can be better spent and those things don’t necessarily help my writing process (but I do get how they can be helpful!) but I usually take time to whip up a cover and collage to get my inspiration going.

I actually have four different covers I’ve made, because of course, I couldn’t decide on just one. So. . . which one is your favorite? Make sure to let me know in the comments!

what do you think?

And there we have it, my friends! That’s my project, The Summer at Sunset Bay in a nutshell. I hoped you enjoyed hearing about it!

Are you doing NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)? Which cover do you like best? Beach or mountains?

Have a lovely day and thank you for reading!


  1. Ah! I love that idea so much! Best of luck with NaNoWriMo – you got this!!

    1. Thanks so much, Victoria! Are you doing NaNo?

  2. Ooh, I love this story idea! The first cover is my favorite!

    1. Aw, thank you! Ooh, yes – I love that one too. . . but I love all of them so I don’t know how much that means, haha.

  3. Susannah says:

    I like the last two best.

    1. Ah yesss, I still can’t decide so thank you for the feedback.

  4. Grace says:

    Hey Pearl! Your novel sounds absolutely lovely! I wish you luck on your writing journey. 😊
    And the third cover is my favorite!

    1. Aw, thank you so much, Grace! =D Ahh, I love that one.:D

  5. Sounds like fun, Pearl! I like the first cover best – the one with the reef 😀

    1. It should be! =D Ooh yes, I like that one too. . . I really can’t decide. XD Thank you!

  6. Mmmmmm…Eleanors pain sort of sounds like growing pains….

    I enjoyed your blurb and can’t wait to read your novel….

    Good luck with ninonaanaabooboo….😂

    1. Mhm, that’s what I was thinking, haha.

      Aw, thank you!

      MOOOOOOOOM. NANOWRIMO. Not whatever you said.🤣

  7. Ooo, this sounds like a fun story, Pearl! Your story collages are so pretty. I love beachy vibes. Best wishes with NaNo this year 🙂

    1. Thanks so much, Lillian! I love that about this story. <3

  8. I’m so glad you joined Know the Novel! This was such fun to read! Loving all these friendship and summer vibes and how each main character has such growth to achieve. It sounds like a beautiful, thoughtful, and just deliciously aesthetically pleasing story all the way around!

    These covers you made are sooo pretty! I think either the first or third one is my favorite. Loving all the white text over the blue. So appealing!

    Thank you for joining the linkup and sharing this goodness! I do hope NaNo goes AMAZINGLY!

    1. Aww, thank you so much for your sweet comment and for hosting this challenge, Christine! <3 I had a lot of fun writing this post and I can't wait for the other parts. 🙂

  9. I think I vote second cover. But they’re all really nice!

    1. Aw, I love that one! Thanks, Alicia! 🙂

  10. […] And that’s it for today’s post! I had so much fun taking these photos for you all and make sure to come back next week to read the second part of Know the Novel! […]

  11. So cool! I’d vote for the first cover. 🙂

    1. Ahh, thank you! 😀

  12. […] it’s right at the moment I’m writing. xD In case you missed it, here’s the first part of this post where you get to know my WIP (work-in-progress), The Summer at Sunset Bay. Today, […]

  13. This WIP looks SO COOL!!!! And a girl who’s in a family of eight?! YAS! I love seeing large family rep in fiction!! XDD All these characters sound delightful and I hope to read it someday! 😉 😀

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