It’s time for another Know the Novel post — hurray! The third and final in a series of writer linkups from my dear blogging buddy Christine @ Musings of an Elf!
Once again, I’m answering with The Siren and the Skyship (S&S; my YA steampunk-fantasy Little Merman novel) and The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2; wintry contemporary fantasy), since those are what I was writing for NaNo and they’re the only things my brain has been thinking about. (*pretends this is true and casually pushes aside other jealous novels who are looking over my shoulder waiting for their turn*)
Onward to the questions!
1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?
S&S: Considering that I wrote it in about a year, which is fast for me, and that I actually got to the end, SPLENDIDLY. Though, on the other hand, it kept switching directions, which is going to make the rewriting a total headache. But I can’t really complain because each time it changed, it got so much more awesome. Overall, I totally loved writing it! It was fun almost the entire time and I had an absolute BLAST writing this thing!
KW2: I . . . don’t know for sure since I still haven’t finished it. *hangs head in shame* I’ve written nearly a thousand words since NaNo but have just been too busy to write these last couple of chapters and finish! But overall it seems to have gone pretty okay, other than taking years to write and wanting to be written out of order and stuff. XD Still, it’s been fun because I love these characters!
2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?
S&S: I really don’t know because I haven’t had a chance to look at it since finishing. And I know it’s a terrifying mess and needs to be seriously rewritten. XD I think I’m pretty pleased, though. It’s just a rough draft so I’ll know more once I get to the rewriting stage. *hides* I think the main thing I’m surprised about is that I thought it would be basically a standalone, wrapping up most things, with the two sequels just following other characters we’ve met. UM. AHAHA. NO. There’s a whole lot left hanging and the books are so interlocked now and eeeee I’m really excited!
KW2: Again, can’t quite answer this since I haven’t finished. And given that I originally thought it would be a small holiday novella, and it’s currently at 120K+ and not quite finished, I’d say it turned out quite different. XD I do wish the plot would cooperate more and that the villains weren’t hiding all their villainous secrets until the end, though. Ahem.
3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)
S&S: CHARACTERS. I adore them all and they’ve been so much fun to write. Although, actually, the setting takes a close second, because this steampunk fantasy world with rocky pillars and mist and skyships and clockwork dragons and cloud cities IS MY FAVORITE.
KW2: Definitely Tare and the Chess Club. ❤ I love them so much.
4. How about your least favorite part?
S&S: I don’t know if I have a least favorite part of the writing. It was just fun, I tell you!
KW2: I don’t know… All the times I got stuck, I suppose. XD
5. What do you feel like needs the most work?
S&S: ALL OF IT. *collapses* Probably the main plot-lines of Auren and Tasmania, and just fitting everything together properly. The fact that it kept changing hugely as I wrote it, and then I’d keep writing as if I’d fixed it, has made it quite the patchwork story. It’s going to need a ton of work. But I’m excited too, because I love it so much and can’t wait to rewrite it to its full potential!
KW2: The length, the meandering plot, and the villains not being active enough. All due to thinking it was going to be a novella and then it got huge. XD And the fact that I hardcore hoarded plot-reveal-secrets. At the moment I just want to finish and get on to the next adventure, though! I’m writing this one for fun so at the moment I’m learning what I can but not bothering too much about making it The Perfect Novel — yet.
6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!
S&S: I lurve themmm. My favorite would be Rook (haha. Don’t be too surprised, everyone . . . *cough*), BUT I have so many other favorites too! Like Tasmania and Gerias. Xasper, Rook’s little brother, surprised me by being so fun and sneaky. Noya surprised me by being kind of tense and awesome. Tasmania’s twin brothers surprised me by gaining their own personalities and being totally different — like how Durward apparently loves food. XD And Auren and Keller have surprised me by being totally different than I thought they were, which is awkward, given that they’re the main characters of books 1 and 2 and I kind of have to rewrite them now. 😛 As for least-favorite . . . we can give that one to Captain Haversham, Rook’s new boss, who is blackmailing him and is TOTALLY SLIMY. Okay, and the Sorcerer of the Mist, because eek.
KW2: I kind of don’t make any secret of the fact that Tare is my favorite character. 😉 I do have new favorite characters but they’re spoilers. The Chess Club are fun, of course, and I really liked getting to do more with Adrian and Ivy — love them! And how Lavender is kind of almost like a little-sister for Tare and slkdjflkdj she kind of looks after him and it’s the cutest. Least favorite would be Greg — yeesh. I think I was surprised how Harold “Perfect-Teeth” was less straight-up villain than I thought; like, he’s a jerk but he’s kind of mild about it. Or maybe it’s just the comparison with Greg. And both the new characters are surprising me a bit, just because I hadn’t met them before. And I had no idea Robin would be quite so bouncy. XD Also there’s a side character who is like “by the way, there’s something up with me” and I’m like “excuse me, you only just arrived and there’s only like two chapters left so there can’t possibly be anything at all up with you; and anyway you’re not important” and said character is like “fine, I’ll just disappear and be a loose thread, then” and I’m like “??? RUDE?” Writing. I tell ya.
7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?
S&S: Let it sit for awhile while I
cry over what a mess it is let it simmer on the back-burner. After that . . . well . . . maybe I’ll start the major mess that is trying to rewrite it? *sound of characters laughing at me* Or possibly move on to writing the sequel instead. *cough* (What? I need to know what happens later so I can make the series make sense . . .)
KW2: FINISH IT. AAAGH. I’m so close. So. close. After that, I don’t know, but I might lowkey move on to sequels on this one too . . .
8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?
S&S: Have it re-writtten just right, published with a shiny cover, and sitting on shelves — and people enjoying it. 🙂 Having it be super popular wouldn’t go amiss but is not 100% required. XD
KW2: I don’t even know. Probably having it make sense (*editing sobbing*) and maybe published? I don’t know… This series I just started for fun but in the long run I’d like it to be out there someday. 🙂
9. Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!
“Hear that, Durward?” Percival called across Tasmania’s shoulder as their brother walked past them with a crystal glass in one hand and a plate of some kind of pastries in the other.
“Mmm?” Durward said, pausing and turning with eyebrows raised, in mid-chew on something delectable.
Percy repeated the appointment: library, midnight (ish) or as soon as they could get away from the ball, the three of them, talking.
Durward nodded. “Will do. I had my heart set on a night of real sleep, but”—he sighed dramatically—“I can sacrifice it for the good of the country so you can fall asleep at your coronation tomorrow.”
Percy snagged a pastry from Durward’s china plate, saying, “Is that so,” while Tasmania was laughing and trying to say she’d been saying the same thing.
“Now put those down. We need to find you somebody to dance with,” Percival added.
“Not a chance. I’m starving. All that paperwork makes a man hungry.”
“But we have already decided to find you a partner,” Tasmania said.
Durward smiled winningly. “Already have one.”
They paused, blinked, and stared at him in silent questioning.
He gestured with his drink at his plate.
“Food and I. True love. Won’t find me a better.”
“You’ll need to sign on as my cabin boy after this,” Tasmania said mock-seriously.
“And why’s that?” he asked, somehow munching on another pastry while still holding his refreshments in both hands.
“For the exercise, of course. Nothing like climbing rigging to keep a man fit,” Tasmania said innocently.
“You don’t see Percy doing that sort of thing,” Durward remarked placidly.
“You forget that all I’m ever doing is constantly running around after matters of state,” Percy said. “So much exercise. You’d be wise to take Mania up on her offer if you’re set on your true love and all. You’ll get fat sitting behind a desk doing paperwork and doing nothing but eating pastries.”
“Bah,” Durward said cheerfully and ambled off through the crowd.
(The Chess Club and Tare are locked down in a cold, dark, underground room.)
Lavender sighed. “I wish we had our phones.”
“Me too,” Ivy said. “We could call Adrian.”
“We could call Mr. Larch,” Marie said.
“We could call both,” Jake added gloomily.
“You could call neither,” Tare said.
They all looked up at him and there were some noses wrinkled in annoyance.
“We were just getting comfortable with light and wishful thinking—don’t rain on our parade!” Baz complained.
“I’m not raining on anyone’s parade,” Tare said. “Just saying. No good. There’s no signal down here.”
“And you know this exactly how?” came Ivy’s skepticism.
Tare reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a shiny black cellphone, which he waved slightly. “Because I checked.”
They were taken aback. “You have a cellphone?” Marie said, catching onto the unspoken question from the others and voicing it for them.
“No, I have a magical box I keep in my pocket which can surf the Internet. Of course I have a cellphone; what’s wrong with that?”
“Nothing, but . . . you have a cellphone,” Lavender stammered.
Tare sighed, slipping it back in his pocket. “Not this again.”
“No, really,” Baz said. “How did this happen?”
“Someone gave it to me.”
“Now that I find hard to believe,” Ivy said.
The corner of Tare’s mouth twitched. “Long story.”
10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?
S&S: Draft Zero is still magical. Write in quick scenes like it’s a movie — you don’t have to connect everything because that’s boring. Keep going to the end because it won’t look the same when you get there. And once you get to the end, you’ll know how the rest needs to go.
KW2: I probably learn all sorts of life lessons from writing Tare. XD But a writing lesson I learned the hard way is make sure that big-important-things happen early on and keep happening — don’t hoard plot-reveal-secrets (okay, hoard a few for the end; but sprinkle some throughout!). And don’t write long books. *cough* Also, writing out of order is simultaneously the best and worst life choice ever. XD
I hope you guys enjoyed this look at how the writing went! I don’t know when I’ll find time to finish KW2 but here’s hoping it will be sometime in the next month! Let me know what you think in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading!