Beautiful Books: The Siren and the Skyship (NaNo 2017)

It’s almost NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, dontcha know), so that means it’s time foooor…

Beautiful Books!

Yes indeed, Sky and Cait have thoughtfully put together a questionnaire to fill out regarding our NaNo novels! (Or any kind of novel, really.) So check out the linkup and join in if you like, and read on for a look at the novel I’m planning to write this November! 🙂

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’m not sure exactly what sparked the idea… it just sort of happened.

June 26, 2015: I wrote in my then-writer’s-journal (I keep a new one every year) about a steampunk fantasy Little Mermaid story with the roles switched (mer character a guy, prince character a princess/skyship-captain). The title arrived a couple weeks later, and a week or two after that, I met the side character whose subplot tied everything together, along with an explosion of other characters and details, turning into a novel I was dying to write.

It’s expanded somewhat since then, but the main story idea is all from June-July two years ago, and I’ve been excited to write it ever since!

2. Describe what your novel is about!

I don’t mind if I do! It’s a YA Steampunk-Fantasy retelling of The Little Mermaid… ish.

Here, have a burb. *tosses summary at you*

The Siren and the Skyship

by Deborah O’Carroll

(NaNo 2017 Novel)

It’s just another mission on a voyage through the clouds for Her Royal Highness Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Captain of the HRSS Star-Dreamer. Until she is saved from a fall from her skyship by an unseen rescuer, and an odd young man comes into her life with sky-blue eyes and cloud-white hair.

Auren never chose to be a cloud-siren prince; he would rather steer a skyship alongside the young woman he loves—who happens to be a princess and a captain. But to become human he must make a trade. Who needs a voice, anyway?

All Rook wanted was to serve in the skynavy, but everything he holds dear is taken from him. Fighting to forge a new life for himself, he carries the most dangerous secret of all—one the Sorcerer of the Mist will be happy to take off his hands.

When assassins strike close to home and send Princess Tasmania’s world spiraling into disarray, she will need all her friends at her side to face cloud-city ambassadors, spies, more assassins, sky pirates, the Sorcerer of the Mist (who keeps collecting things that don’t belong to him), and oh—maybe a little love.

These cloud voyages may turn out more interesting than the Star-Dreamer’s crew anticipated.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Clouds. Skyships. Steampunk. Tea. Love.

(All images from Pinterest and belong to their respective owners)

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

(All images from Pinterest and belong to their respective owners)

Meet Princess Tasmania, captain of the skyship Star-Dreamer; Auren, the invisible/insubstantial wind-spirit-type Cloud Siren who wants to be human (okay, so he will be very early on…); and Rook, the former skynavyman whose father was a skyship admiral and whose mother was the daughter of a pirate king and an assassin.

Rook keeps threatening to steal the show because he’s awesome, but I keep trying to remind him that this is a LITTLE MERMAID RETELLING and he’s neither main character from that story. (Tasmania and Auren are awesome too, but, well… Rook…)

Anyway, consequently, I don’t know who’s the real MC, so I’m currently calling all three of them Main Characters and letting them fight it out. We’ll see what happens. XD

(All images from Pinterest and belong to their respective owners)

Other characters include: Noya (Tasmania’s best friend/right-hand gal), Xasper (a street-thief-turned-cabin-boy who may or may not be WHOOPS SPOILERS), an assassin lady, a couple of cool pirates (and some scary ones), various quirky/eccentric/epic crew-members on Tasmania’s ship, several villains, and Tasmania’s awesome brothers. The side characters are nearly as vivid in my mind as the main ones and I’M SO EXCITED TO WRITE THEM ALL. ❤

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Getting ready for the hectic adventure that is NaNoWriMo, and prepping to write a book, are two separate (but in this case related) things. NaNo prep I usually do all or most of the stuff in this post: 30 Things To Do For NaNo Prep.

When I plot a novel, I like to have a summary, a rough outline, and a chapter-by-chapter list if possible, as well as names for characters, maybe some inspirational pictures, and just… well… to feel READY.

I also set up a pin board thing each NaNo. This is my current one (subject to change) and includes inspiring quotes by friends, NaNo stuff, inspirational pictures, and links to my Scrivener and folder.

This year I’m currently trying something new, which is having a dedicated journal just for writing down ideas for this story. I haven’t done much with it yet, so I’m not sure how helpful it will be, but so far I’ve jotted down some thoughts I’ve had over the last two weeks, which was handy. I’m hoping, soon, to really buckle down and write out a lot of my brainstorm ideas, and sort through old notes I have, and then see if I can organize (perhaps with Scrivener’s help) something out of the jumble that will hopefully end up resembling a plot outline… Hey, at least I have three weeks in which to do so, right?? *eye twitch*

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

ALL OF IT. Okay, so I’m really excited to do a Little-Mermaid-ish story; I’m suuuper excited about the skyships and this world, and just the FEEL of it; I’m in love with these characters and can’t wait to write their stories. 🙂

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

  • It’s in a fantasy world, which largely consists of floating cities in the clouds (Princess Tasmania is from the palace at the top of one of these), lots of rocky pillars thrusting up into the clouds and mist, farms and forests on the land below, and lots of ravines with cliffs plunging down into the misty unknown (nobody goes down there because it’s Not Safe), with wooden slat bridges and/or rope nets strung across the ravines and between pillars in some places.
  • There is no ocean in this world. (Oh, look. The Little Mermaid without the SEA. XD It’s all in the sky, peoples.)
  • A lot of the story (theoretically) takes place on skyships (a mix between our seagoing ships of the 18th century and STEAMPUNKERY), because skyships are awesome.

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Auren wants to marry Tasmania, and, well, there’s a lot standing in the way of that, which will include the trading-away-his-voice thing. (How can you ask somebody to marry you when you can’t, you know, ask?) So, that is to say, the Sorcerer of the Mist is in his way, and he’ll have to do something about that if he wants his happily ever after…

Princess Tasmania’s ultimate goal is order and keeping those she loves (and her ship) safe. Standing in her way is… pretty much everything in the book. XD Assassins and pirates and plots and all the things. But mostly her goal is getting rid of the threat against her and her family and friends, and definitely standing in her way is the Sorcerer of the Mist…

Rook just wants a normal life in the skynavy, and a family to love wouldn’t be amiss. His family being… pretty much dead… is therefore awkward, and so is himself being presumed dead and therefore kind of out of the navy. Then his major problems are a captain with a vendetta against him, oh, and awkwardly ending up without a memory… Yeah… So — surprise — it’s the Sorcerer of the Mist’s fault again… (This guy’s behind a lot; he’s a very busy fellow. XD)

9 How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Whaaaat? And ruin the surprise?? (*cough* Which is another way of saying: I have no clue as of yet, since I haven’t written it. XD)

10 What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

So I don’t really pre-plan themes? But I think I’d like a strong theme of love and also friendship and loyalty. *shrug* What can I say, it’s a YA romance-y-ish novel, and I want all the characters to learn to be friends too. XD

I’d like the reader to feel like they just read a swashbuckling, EPIC, fun (and hopefully amusing?), possibly feelsy story, one worth spending all that time reading (and all the time I anticipate I’ll spend writing it. XD). I want them to feel like they just read a GOOD book, and to close it with a smile. 🙂 (And possibly hug it, but you know, that might be asking too much. :P)

~ ~ ~

So there you have a look at the novel I’m planning to write for NaNo! I’m also featuring it for #WIPjoy over on Twitter, so if you’re curious for more tidbits, you can peruse those throughout October.

I’m also thinking about posting some NaNo tips here on my blog next week, maybe, so stay tuned for that…

Who else is doing NaNo?? You can find me on the site as Celtic Forest Dweller if you need another writing buddy, and, yes, I do have a Pinterest board for this novel (which is currently messy and in need of organizing, but for what it’s worth, there you are. XD).

Thanks for reading and hope you enjoyed. ^_^

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Beautiful Books: NaNo Update (The Library in the Stars)

NaNo update time!

I’ve been writing The Library in the Stars for NaNoWriMo and I thought  it was about time to do a sort of update on it — so fortunately there’s another edition of Beautiful Books this month (cutting it close on the timing) to help my tired brain out with that. XD

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Beautiful Books is a linkup for writers hosted by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further in. Join in the linkup if you like!

1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going?

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Well, I hit 50,000 words on The Library in the Stars on Sunday night and therefore finished NaNoWriMo a few days early, so… I’d say my mental state and my novel are both doing pretty good. XD I do seem to have a cold (UGH), and I still have at least five (probably very long) chapters left to finish the novel, and the book itself so far is a confusing plot-hole riddled nonsensical mess, but in spite of all of that I’m pretty enormously ecstatic to have completed my 7th NaNo!

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2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

lscoverThe first time the doorbell rang, the sixteen-year-old Coltridge twins simultaneously looked up from where they were sprawled comfortably with their very different books on opposite sides of their shared rooms at the university.

Veronica, surfacing from her Galaxy Timeline History 0000-5300 textbook, dropped her book onto her desk on top of a volume of Science and made for the door, nimbly dodging stacks of her brother’s novels on the floor in her way. “I’ve got it!”

Brendan, from his low over-stuffed couch in the corner, eyed the doorway curiously over the top of the book he was reading as she pulled the door open.

–from The Library in the Stars

3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

Drayke Essengale (space elf) and Damian (shadowy hero) are currently fighting for that position. I love them both a lot. ❤

4. What do you love about your novel so far?

lswinThe characters. The fantasy in space. Getting to write scenes from several different ideas that I’ve had for a long time, all in one story.

All of the things?

(Except the plot holes and monstrous first-draft-ness of it, but shush, we’re not thinking of those things right now.)

5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes?

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winnerProbably.

Mostly missing a word or forgetting where a sentence was going and not really completing it because it got so long…

I also one time wrote Drayke when I meant Damian… Whoops.

#ThePerilsOfCharactersWithTheSameStartingLetters

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

They all have their pros and cons. I honestly don’t know.

7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

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I don’t really have “writing habits”… which is part of my problem. XD

I don’t eat while I write. I write best in the evening when I have no distractions… which sometimes translates to VERY LATE. I wish I was a morning writer but that didn’t really happen this NaNo.

I have been listening to music and it’s been helpful. Mostly a few songs from Skillet’s latest album, “Unleashed” (Feel Invincible, Stars, and I Want To Live), some songs from the Newsboys’ album “Restart” because it’s fast with a good beat (That’s How You Change the World, Restart, Go Glow), and “The Lord of the Dance” soundtrack because it’s epic and perfect. ❤

8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)?

I do pretty much write alone in general, but my family will usually hear about how it’s going (and cheer me on accordingly; they’re amazing) and I’ll have a sibling or two read the chapters as I write them, and I do chat about how it’s going with a couple of online friends throughout the month. Mostly, though, the loner thing.

(Pretty much: I’m Batman. Or Tare. Tare works alone too… *cough* But even Batman needs his Alfred and co., and even Tare needs his Chess Club.)

9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard?

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This NaNo, it’s been my wordcount goals and the helpful Scrivener progress bars each day… so mostly the determination to stay more or less on track and get my words done each day.

I’m verrrry pleased to announce that I actually stayed on track and never fell behind par on my wordcount ONCE this month! This is big news. In 7 years of NaNos, this is my first time to stay on track the entire month. 😀

10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice?

Not sure if they’re my top three, but off the top of my head:

  1. Keep writing: don’t give up.
  2. Wordsprints! (And fast music for them.) I wrote SO much my last NaNo day this year by using the awesome wordsprint feature on the NaNo site. SO MANY WORDS. Never underestimate the power of setting a timer and writing the whole time with fast music.
  3. Don’t be afraid — if you’re afraid of the next scene, just cheat. XD

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There you are. My NaNo update. Now excuse me while I ignore the fact that I still have probably a quarter of The Library in the Stars to write to finish it, and go burrow somewhere comfy and read away my cold to avoid feeling miserable and possibly nap for a week BECAUSE I FINISHED NANO! I’m very happy and looking forward to reading other books now that I don’t have to write my own at the moment. The books are caaaalling me…

The Library in the Stars (NaNo 2016)

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NaNo is only a WEEK away (WHAT EVEN) so today I’m here to finally tell you a bit about what I’m writing this NaNo!

So how fortunate that Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In have a pre-NaNo edition of Beautiful Books: Introduce Your Novel! (Feel free to join in the linkup because it’s a blast.)

Without further ado… here are the questions, and my answers, as I shall now proceed to introduce my NaNo novel for 2016!

*drumroll*

Meet…

libraryinthestars

What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Very complicated question.

It was inspired by a title I came up with in February 2015, The Library in the Stars, and the fact that I had about four different ideas which I’d previously planned to be short stories, and that the “feel” of them seemed to fit together… and which I decided to put together with this title into a space-fantasy adventure.

The idea to put them together was earlier this year, March 2016. So in that sense, I’ve had the idea for only 7 months, but in another sense, much of it comes from ideas I’d had for a long time (ranging from at least the beginning of 2013 to the end of 2015). Further complication: the main part of the plot only started being hinted at in June of this year, when I wrote a snippet from a dare, and the snippet decided to attach itself to the novel as the central plot thread.

So, my answer: I’ve had the idea for 4 months, and I’ve had it for 3 years as well. It’s both old and new. Which fits perfectly with the fact that it has time-travel in it… 😉 And also works well for NaNo, since it feels both like a new and exciting idea, and at the same time an old familiar one that I know better and will therefore be less difficult to write (I hope).

What inspired it were many different seemingly unconnected ideas, but largely a wish to write a time-travel space fantasy adventure in another universe.

Describe what your novel is about!

A space-fantasy adventure in another universe with a dash of time-travel, steampunk, and bookishness.

Le blurb:

lscoverWhen Veronica Coltridge’s twin brother vanishes, she sets out through time and space to find him.

She teams up with a time-wisp agent whose time was stolen, a traveling space-elf, a blue-haired pilot girl on a quest to find the Sentinel of Time, a space-station librarian, and a mysterious young man cursed to live in the shadows and slowly become one himself.

The paths of this motley crew lead them to the mystical Library in the Stars: a library which holds all the books ever written — and has a mind of its own.

But someone is tampering with time, and when split alternate realities begin tearing the fabric of the universe, maybe not even the Library in the Stars can help.

The clock is ticking . . .

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Words: Time. Space. Minds. Shadows. Books. Clocks.

But a picture’s worth a thousand words, and I’ve already shared the cover, so here are a few more:

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dreamedlibrary

timetolkienquotestars

Introduce us to each of your characters!

Veronica Coltridge – Red-haired, sixteen, spunky (I mean, red-haired, hello), and into all the history and space-things and sciencey stuff, she is a Time Wisp and has the ability to travel back in time. Which is a very needful skill if she’s going to rescue her twin brother. Speaking of which…

Brendan Coltridge – Twin brother of Veronica, Brendan is also sixteen (obviously), likewise red-haired, easy-going and friendly, and he loves reading all the novels of ever. Literally. He also conveniently goes missing in chapter 1, kicking off the novel. He can time travel too but his special ability is — shhh spoilers.

Nate Pendleton – Time Wisp the third on this list, Nate is in his thirties, wears a trench coat and hat, and time travels on a mission to find out what’s going on with this time stuff. But really, all you need to know is his name + trench coat + time traveler. Isn’t that cool enough — come on? 😉

Kelly Fonray – Librarian at a space-port, Kelly is in her late twenties, brown haired, and her destiny gets tangled up with Nate’s, for good or ill, when she has to help him with things that are… ahem… less than legal.

Drayken Essengale – Also known as Drayke. He has longish dark green hair and green eyes and looks about late-thirties but in actuality is approximately 736 years old, because, oh yeah, he’s a space-elf. A wanderer at heart, he travels the galaxy in a spacecraft with a mind of its own, trying to escape his sad past, until he meets Veronica and runs quite literally into a shadow problem…

Damian – Eighteen year old Damian (pfft, who needs last names?) is… complicated. He’s been cursed to steal the shadows of everyone around him, with devastating results. Slowly turning into a shadow himself, he’s determined to fight against the people who did this to him… who, incidentally, he used to work for. #awkward

Briley Emberfar – Fifteen years old, she is from a steampunky planet, is the pilot of a space ship, and is questing for the legendary Sentinel of Time — whoever that is, and if they even exist. She also has blue hair. Because obviously.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

A good deal of howling and denial, yes… But I tend to outline. I write a blurb for the novel, get up a mock cover, list my characters and some things about them, and write a rough outline for the novel, usually using a bullet-points list, and sometimes a chapter by chapter outline.

Also, this year for the first time, I’m trying out the Scrivener free trial to help with my outlining. It took awhile for me to figure it out/get used to it, and I’m still doing some of that, but otherwise I… kind of love it so far? Like… LOVE LOVE LOVE. So far. I’ll have to give a more complete report at some time once I figure out if it’s actually helping me or if I’m just in love with its fluid organizational aspects. XD

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a look at my current plotting

Scrivener has a special NaNo 2016 free trial right now, where instead of only working for 30 days, it works from now till December 7th. So if you’ve been thinking of giving it a try to see if you like it, now’s a great time to do so since you get an extra week before and after November. *nods* If you’re interested, you can find the NaNo free trial of Scrivener here.

For NaNo-specifics of how I prepare for NaNo, see this post I did last year: Checklist: 30 Things To Do For NaNo Prep. (Which is unexpectedly getting lots of views? Apparently a lot of people are desperate for tips on NaNo prep. XD)

I also usually put together a handy NaNo bulletin board (a pinboard program which came with my laptop) like this:

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What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

All of it! *flailing around in excitement* Messing around with time travel a little and just having a blast with this cast of fun characters and several different things that sound fun to try to write.

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

In space with fantasy elements (a universe not our own). On different planets including a steampunky one. And in a library. A very big library, with a mind of its own, out in the vastness of space. Also spaceships. (I know, that’s four.)

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

There are many characters. They all have goals (I hope). Some of those goals are different. Veronica wants to find her brother. Nate wants to find out what’s happening with other Time Wisps. Damian wants to not turn into a shadow. The rest have other things they want. They all kind of would prefer if the fabric of space and time doesn’t get shredded because that would be kind of unpleasant. What stands in their way is pretty much… well… the villains. Surprise!

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

I haven’t written it yet, so I don’t know. XD

What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Good vs. evil, love, friendship, the usual. *shrug* And I’d like readers to feel like they read a good tale, fell in love with the characters a bit, and possibly had a bit of that lovely “mind blown” feeling that tends to happen with stories relating to time travel. 😉 (No idea if it will be good enough for the mind blown feeling, but I hope to try all the same!) I want them to close the book and grin and say “That was good.” 🙂

So there you have my NaNo novel, roadlings-mine! What do you think? 🙂 And are you doing NaNo? (If you are, are we buddies on the site? Because we should be! My profile is here. ^_^)

Beautiful Books #2: NaNo 2015

So… I have stuff scheduled for the blog throughout this month, and was going to entirely ignore blogging (after my Ishness post) until December, because NANO! Because I’m so insanely busy and can’t even seem to get around to replying to comments till like a week later (sorry guys…).

…But then I saw that Cait and Sky have a second round of Beautiful Books up, and I fell in love with the questions and just HAD TO DO IT!!! *flails around*

So, for those who care, you’re going to get a peek into how my November writing is going and what’s up with The Silver Forest. 😉

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Join in the linkup if you want! (You don’t have to be doing NaNo to do it.)

1. Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?

My goodness. HOW DO I EVEN ANSWER THIS QUESTION??? *rides on roller-coaster of emotions and gets off, panting*

SilverForestCoverFinalUm. Some of it I like and is turning out wonderfully. Most of the princesses are kind of how I want them, especially Emerald… Fun dialog, gorgeous description of Faerie. I love some of the other characters too. But it also has a lot of poor quality writing, just thrown together. Some of the characters are being stubborn and not turning out how I want them to be (i.e. not cardboard…), not to mention I’m 16,700 words in (which is a third of NaNo’s goal of 50k) and I still haven’t gotten out of what I was originally planning to be chapter two…? Um. Yes.

I basically am going up and down between passionately loving it and loathing it with the loathing of a thousand burning suns.

I was sick of it last night and thinking of just ignoring it forever and going to write something else instead, or, ya know, just ignoring the fact that I need to write at all this month and just read books… when suddenly I read over some of it and fell in love again and a whole bunch of things clicked into place and now I want to go back and rewrite all of it that I have so far BECAUSE I KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT NOW AND IT’S GOING TO BE AMAZING. …But I’m going to make myself press on instead, just knowing that I’m going to know how to fix the beginning after I finish the story.

So right now I adore it and can’t wait to write more (even though I’m behind and am apparently blogging instead…?) but probably by this weekend I’ll be in the depths of despair again, I dunno. *shrugs* Such is NaNo.

2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

As the first chapter was written between the hours of midnight and 2 a.m. after a week of sleep deprivation and absolutely no plotting whatsoever, the first chapter (including its first sentence/paragraph) is not fit for any living being to see and is going to be SCRAPPED. So, instead, you get the opening of Chapter Two:

     Peach skipped along a white-pillared, tapestried corridor and ducked out a side-door into the castle garden in search of more sisters. At fifteen, she was the youngest of the twelve, and that was perfectly fine with her. She was full of life, constantly curious, and tended to move at higher speeds than any of her siblings besides Emerald. So it was not surprising when she came around a magnolia bush in the glory of summer bloom and ran smack-dab into someone else, and they both went down in the grass in a tangle of arms and legs and skirt.
      “Oh, stars! I’m so sorry,” she said, scrambling back to her feet and surveying with curiosity the person she had run into, who was doing likewise. It was a boy, perhaps her own age, whom she had never seen before.

3. Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?

I am a plotter. I need plot, otherwise I flail around and make messes and the story gets monstrously long and sprawled-out. I always try to plot extra for NaNos, but most NaNos I seem to end up pantsing more than ever because I don’t get my plotting finished because I was too busy. THIS IS A PROBLEM BY THE WAY.

So I’m currently using a mixture of both methods because I have a rough outline for the first several scenes, and after that a VERY rough Three-Act-Structure (which I’d never used before) outline of the rest of the story. But the details, I’m pantsing ish, and as soon as I get past the scenes I have in mind, I’m basically doomed, so we’re not going to think about that right now…

4. What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?

I update my wordcount on the NaNo site so that I can see the little graph looking as it should. *nod nod*

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(Yes, yes, I know I’m behind. Hush.)

5. What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?

I don’t usually have themes for my names, but this time I do, so YAY! 😀

The princesses are all named after colors, mostly gems/precious metals. Silver, Ebony, Amethyst, Sapphire, Turquoise, Emerald, Ruby, Auburn, Ivory, Goldie, Rosie, Peach.

For most of the other characters, I’m using Celtic names, mostly Irish ones, or tweaked combinations of words from an Irish dictionary. 😉 Irish names like Finnigan, Brogan, Seamus, Rory, Fergal, Etain, Niav, and Alanna, some of which I pulled from memory; others I looked through some books of Irish fairy tales for inspiration. Niog is a Welsh name, I believe, which I ran into somewhere and just LIKED. Justin and Tristan and Kern just sounded right. Taghdach (moody), Cothrom (fair), Dilis (faithful), Riogal (from rioga/riuil: royal), Prechan (rook), Bronach (sad), and Leithshae and Sisceall, were derived from Irish words or tweaked.

6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

I have no idea. I’ve only written endings a very few times, so I don’t feel I can even answer this question… But probably endings because it gets so exciting and I’m almost done and just yes. I only wish I got to them more often… 😦 HOWEVER I also enjoy beginnings, getting to explore the opening of the story and meet the characters. But middles might be the best too because you’re over the awkward figuring-out stage of the beginning and are just zipping along with the plot. I DON’T KNOW OKAY. Maybe all of them? Or none of them? Or something.

7. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

My half-fae prince Taghdach. ❤ …Also Niog the enigmatic gardener boy. And unexpectedly, Seamus the court jester who appeared fully formed on the page without planning and stole my heart. I imagine the only reason there aren’t several others on here is that we haven’t met them yet in the story…

8. What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)

(See my review on Goodreads.)

I researched the Twelve Dancing Princesses fairy tale, which means that I read a collection called Twelve Dancing Princesses Tales From Around the World edited by Heidi Anne Heiner.

I also “researched” character types that I like, meaning that I went through my list of favorite characters from books I read this year, and previous years, and categorized them in the categories I wanted to use, and then made lists of the characteristics and stuff. (Dark guy; sweet romance hero; young enigmatic lad; awesome fighter; rogue/thief; and Undefined — which is a favorite category of mine, which I cannot describe, and is where Seamus is going.)

And I’m going to eventually have to research magnolia bushes and wharfs and causeways and such things because I threw them in there in the heat of the moment when I was writing, and then realized I don’t know if they were really what I was thinking of. XD

9. Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?

It depends. I think in the long run I write better in a room entirely alone. But sometimes, being at a write-in will make me actually write because everyone else is writing.

And I like to share my work sometimes; it also depends. I usually read each day’s work aloud to my sister to get a feel for it and some immediate feedback/encouragement. Most of the time I like having beta readers as well, but during NaNo it’s far too horrendous for anyone to see, so I like to keep it to myself for the most part during November. 😛

10. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space!

During NaNo, I usually open my bulletin board on my laptop (a feature that came with it) where I keep inspiration, and open my document and plotting file, start some music, and — hopefully — write.

NaNo2015BulletinBoardSilverForest

(Bulletin board for my NaNo this year.)

I don’t eat while I write; I can’t multi-task like that. I listen to a playlist of fast or inspirational music I have on my computer; or, if I’m somewhere with internet, I’ll have Pandora or my youtube playlist. Music is so helpful! I think I write best late at night, which is unfortunate. But I do want to try writing early in the morning to see if that’s better… it just hasn’t happened yet.

nanowritingspace2015

(Le writing space.)

And there you are. My Writing Process. Huzzah for Beautiful Books!

Now it’s back to NaNo for me…

Into the Silver Forest (Beautiful Books)

Well, NaNo’s just around the corner (lessthan3weeksohmygoodness *hyperventilates*), and the Beautiful People hosts, Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In are being considerate enough to hold instead a BEAUTIFUL BOOKS post this month… WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT TIMING. So methinks it’s about time for me to introduce my NaNo novel!

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(Go join the link-up, do!)

1. How did you come up with the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

I’d had an idea for a long time that I wanted to maybe write a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses someday, since it’s my favorite fairy tale and I’m sort of on a quest to read all the retellings of it I can find. But I didn’t get the idea for this particular version of a retelling until February 17, 2014 (yes, it’s less than two years old! *pets baby plot bunny*) and the idea was actually from a DREAM. That’s how it started, anyway. It’s kind of expanded a bunch since then…

2. Why are you excited to write this novel?

I am not excited to write it. Nope. Not at all. You know why? Because I am SUPER excited!!! Because it’s a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses, and in case you haven’t noticed, it being my favorite fairy tale and me loving retellings as I do, and all… I’m kind of SUPER SUPER excited. It’s going to be a challenge, because I DO love it so much, so I want to do it justice but also do my own spin on it; and there’s also the fact that there are twelve princesses who must be differentiated, not to mention about the same number of fellows, a few romances to follow and keep track of, and several different story threads that I hope will weave together enough to make something plot-like. BUT IT’S BASICALLY GOING TO BE AWESOME.

3. What is your novel about, and what is the title?

My novel is a retelling, as I continue to stress, but I will tell you more about it now since you’re so kind as to ask. 😉

Without further ado, meet my 2015 NaNo novel . . .

SilverForestCoverFinal

(Disclaimer: yes, I made this cover; no, I don’t own either of the pictures I used, and found them on Pinterest.com. No copyright infringement is intended and this “cover” is just for fun.)

The Silver Forest

Escaping an unwelcome suitor, Princess Silver and her eleven younger sisters find a way into Faerie, despite the dying curse of a bitter king which casts a shadow between the realms of human and Fae. Then Princess Sapphire finds her heart captivated by a disinherited prince on the run, who was grudgingly saved by a reckless soldier–the same one Princess Emerald finds in a ditch when she’s out riding and brings home.

That’s only the beginning. Kingdoms are falling one by one, bringing an onslaught of royal refugees seeking shelter in the last undefeated castle, and some wish to court the princesses whose home they find themselves in–from the twin kings of the far North to the enigmatic young gardener who most interests the curious youngest princess. To get away from the stifling tension of a castle filled with the looming threat of war, not to mention suiters royal and otherwise, the princesses nightly visit the beautiful realm of Faerie.

Princess Silver is increasingly drawn by the mystery wreathing the brooding Fae Prince who wanders the silver forest on the boarder of Faerie, haunted by a curse slowly tightening its noose around him. If the twelve princesses can’t unravel the interconnected threads surrounding them and find the right answers, the realms of human and Fae alike may face the same horrible fate.

4. Sum up your characters in one word each. (Feel free to add pictures!)

The twelve princesses first. I don’t have “faces” for them, but since each of their names is a different color of gem etc., and they tend to wear the color in their name — helpful for parents and peasants and readers alike to tell princesses apart — I gathered pictures of the sorts of colored dresses they wear. (Not to mention that this was a FABULOUS excuse to scroll around Pinterest for hours looking at gorgeous medieval gowns. ;))

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PRINCESSES:

Silver = leader. Amethyst = gentle. Turquoise = devious. Ebony = reclusive.

Emerald = spirited. Sapphire = anchor.  Ruby & Auburn (the twins) = mischievous.

Ivory = timid. Goldie = bookish. Rosie = funloving. Peach = inquisitive.

FELLAS:

Prince Taghdach (half-fae) = tormented.

Niog (gardener lad) = enigmatic.

Kern (soldier) = reckless.

Prince Finnigan = selfless.

Prince Cothrom = snobbish.

Rory (thief/con) = devious (whoa; he and Turquoise should get together. 😛 ).

5. Which character(s) do you think will be your favourite to write? Tell us about them!

Honestly, I’m excited about ALL of them, including a few I didn’t mention. This is going to be one of the funnest (not to mention largest) casts of characters I’ve ever dealt with! That being said, I’m really looking forward to writing the devious ones. And I think Kern, Niog, and Finn are going to be super awesome to write.

But… yes, Taghdach. My half-fae Prince Tagg. ❤ (I’m sliiightly addicted to T names as you may have noticed. >.>) He’s probably going to be my favorite to write. He’s nephew to the Fae-king, and his own parents are… well… spoilers. 😉 But he lives in the silver forest at the edge of Faerie and he has a haunted past and uncertain future. Plus he’s kind of dying. So yeah. There’s that. 😛 Huzzah for mysterious fairytale curses which make stories so interesting!

6. What is your protagonist’s goal, and what stands in the way?

…Which one? O_O Seriously, I have so many characters who might be considered the “protagonist”. But… okay, we’ll go with Silver for now. Because if it’s mostly about anyone, it’s probably mostly about her and Taghdach.

Silver wants to look after her sisters, which currently includes keeping annoying suitors at bay… which is a little difficult since the suitors are LIVING there. So that’s where the visits to Faerie come in. Her developing goal in the book becomes to try to unravel Taghdach’s problems and how they’re related to an old curse and the kingdoms falling (which would help with getting rid of the suitors…).

What stands in the way includes the fact that curses don’t like to be broken (especially ones made by very angry very evil kings on their deathbed), the fact that Taghdach isn’t one to open up and might not welcome the help of a parcel of princesses, and of course all those suitors, some of whom are up to no good, and the fact that the kingdom may shortly be attacked. Yay.

7. Where is your novel set? (Show us pictures if you have them!)

In a faaaantasy world! (Surprise, surprise.) It’s set mostly in a castle in the human world, and also a lot in the silver forest etc. of the Fae world.

SFcastlesilverforest(pinterest)castleblossoms

8. What is the most important relationship your character has?

The princesses’ relationships with each other. Which are fascinating, by the way. But they’re a fairly close-knit sister package. *nod nod* I’m also throwing in several romances, so those are important relationships. 😉 Also the king and queen, parents of the princesses, are important to them.

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Again, I wail: Which ONE? I don’t know yet. I’m going to write the thing and I just figure that while I’m writing it they’ll all change over the course of the book… and will never be the same again. Mwahaha! Hopefully they’ll all (most?) be better people. *shrug*

10. What themes are in your book? How do you want your readers to feel when the story is over?

Good versus evil. Love (both family and romantic). Heroism. The ability to change for the better and go beyond oneself to do good. …Fairy tale retelling. (That can be a theme! Honest!)

I want people to come away feeling like they read a good story, a good retelling, and fell in love with the characters and entering a new world. Basically I want it to be a good book and for readers to feel the same way. 😉

11. BONUS! Tell us your 3 best pieces of advice for others trying to write a book in a month.

  1. Don’t go in blind. Know what you’re going to write and figure it out. (And if you’re a pantser, not a plotter, at least KNOW that you are.)
  2. Wordwars. I can’t stress these enough. Even if it’s just wordwarring yourself with a timer, they are so helpful for getting words down.
  3. Have fun and don’t give up.

(I’m actually going to do a post later this week that will be a checklist for prepping for NaNo, so stay tuned for that!)

[PINTEREST BOARD for THE SILVER FOREST]

And there you have a look into what I’m going to (hopefully) be spending next month working on!