Greetings, fellow bookdragons, bibliophiles, logophiles, and writers teetering on the brink of insanity thanks to their characters and plots.
How is it possible October has already arrived? This year has simultaneously flown and dragged. We’ve had a short autumn. Already my area has received a snow storm that, in less than a day’s time, knocked out power for the entire county and some areas in the state north of us. Some areas here were out of power for over seventeen hours.
I love snow, but I don’t like it wreaking havoc and falling when most of the trees are still clothed with leaves. Thus far, we’ve received over a foot of snow in less than twenty-four hours by my estimation. Multiple trees in our yard have lost massive limbs and one of Mom’s beloved aspen saplings has been snapped in half. Lil’ Sis and I spent over an hour brushing snow off the trees, and more is still gracing our fair area of the state. Word to the wise: pull up your hood before you shake snow off the branches above you. I did not remember to do so, and my back is still trying to recover from the amount of snow that slipped beneath my sweatshirt and shirt.
I digress about the weather. On to the real topic of this post: This year I am participating in Christine Smith’s Know the Novel Linkup. What is Know the Novel?
“Know the Novel is a 3-part linkup series for writers, one for each of these last three months of the year. Each part will feature ten questions you can answer on your own blog (or anywhere else on social media, if you’d like!). The questions will be focusing on different parts of your novel and how the writing is going” (Christine Smith).
Usually I am extremely reticent to share much about my WIPS, partially because I never know if they’re going to be accepted, and there’s something deflating about getting people excited only to tell them the story won’t come to be for a long while. However, things have changed for one of my stories, and I will be embarking on the self-publishing trail, Lord willing, next spring. This story will not only be my first self-published work, but also my debut. Thus I’m a bit less hesitant than normal.
Regarding NaNoWriMo, I don’t participate under it’s umbrella, so to write, but I do strive for 50,000 words every November. My fingers are too slow for my mind, so it’s a struggle to get 25,000 in a month, much less double that, but I like the challenge. I’ve garnered success only once out of three or four attempts. I hope this year will be different.
Some answers will be vague, partially because I’m still outlining and partially because I am not comfortable giving away a lot of information.
What first sparked the idea for this novel?
A long time ago (not so long, really, just three or four years) I picked up Tricia Mingerink’s Dagger’s Sleep. It wasn’t the first fairy tale retelling I read, but it was the one that loosened the ideas I didn’t know lurked in the deepest, darkest crevasses in my mind. I went from never thinking about writing a fairy tale retelling to a grand total of six or seven different series, most with four or more books. One series has thirteen titles. No wonder I’m insane.
This retelling is of the Twelve Dancing Princesses and is taken from a series with twenty novellas and plopped in another world filled with mountains, forests, and moors. I planned to put two novellas to a cover, but that’s lunacy at it’s finest for me, so I’m stealing some of the tales and making them a series of their own (plus somehow creating more. I do not know how this happens). This fairy tale isn’t the most lighthearted to begin with, and typical me, I took it and made it darker. My writing tagline is Tales of redemption, faith, and action, and that really comes into play for this tale.
Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!
This is going to be one of those vague answers.
It draws from the Twelve Dancing Princesses, obviously, so there’s going to be dancing, intrigue, schemes, and possibly poison. And a bird named Birdadett the White. Or red, or orange, or whatever color I decide this canary to be.
Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
The tale takes place in the land of Everkeep. Maplegrove Manor is situated on the edge of the Arben Foothills, with the Mist Mountains to the west and the Everkeep Forest to the east. To the far, far north lurk the Ice Mountains, their peaks shrouded in mist and snow.
I think my favorite aspects are the diverse ranges of geography. Plains, moors, mountains, and forests fill this world, and I am eagerly anticipating being able to explore them through my characters and their stories.
Tell us about your protagonist(s).
This is another vague answer. Bren is an introverted soldier and reformed criminal. Mae is a semi-extroverted older sister and lord’s daughter. There is much more to their characters than that, but any more would be giving too much information.
Who (or what) is the antagonist?
Yet another vague answer. There are many antagonists. One is Bren’s past.
What excites you the most about this novel?
The fact that I’m getting to delve into a fairy tale, change it into something realistic yet in the fantasy genre, and tell Bren’s and Mae’s stories.
Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
Series because Madi can’t ever write a standalone. The overarching plot just exploded into something massive and sinister. I have seven retellings thus far for this series, most of them more obscure or lesser-known. At one point I had a list of titles for this series, but the document ate them without warning. So if you hear a scream at any particular time of day, it’s me as I try remembering what they were.
Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?
Plotting. Details save lives and plots.
Name a few unique elements about this story.
It’s a different spin on a relatively well-known fairy tale. It’s nonmagical. It has a title more befitting a suspense novel. The entire series addresses PTSD, which is not often brought up in fairy tales or their retellings. There are also strong pro-life themes woven in.
Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).
First, the themes. As I said above, my writing tagline, and therefore part of my brand, is, Tales of redemption, faith, and action. I want to highlight no matter what is going on, who is in charge, or what’s being forced on us, or how our world and lives are changing, God is always in control. Regarding the redemption element, I love a good redemption story – that’s what half of my stories are. This one’s a bit different though. It tackles a character’s doubts of whether or not they are truly saved (like I said, I took this fairy tale and made it deeper and darker).
Instrumental: Watch the World Burn by Audiomachine
This song captures the mood and feeling perfectly. Rising doom and danger with threads of hope, determination, and sacrifice woven in.
Bren’s Character Songs: Help is on the Way by Unspoken and The Sound by Random Hero
Mae’s Character Song: Easier by Manic Drive
Series Songs: Trust You All the Way by About a Mile, Raise Your Flag by Hidden Citizen, and, because it wouldn’t be a playlist without songs by Ashes Remain and Skillet, Right Here by Ashes Remain and Lions by Skillet.
I’m coming off the end of finishing a rewrite that totaled exactly 106,517 words, so I’m a bit exhausted from those stubborn characters and a stubborner plot, but at the same time, I’m excited to work in this WIP. I’ve already 2,000 words and most of an outline.
What are your writing plans for November? Are you participating in NaNo or are you just aiming for 50,000 words? If you don’t mind telling, what’s your WIP about? Your characters? Your setting(s)? Or are you just teetering on the brink of writer’s insanity like I am?