Thursday 23 November 2023

Know The Novel - Within Spooky Wild West

Hello, all. It's been a few weeks and I'm back again, with the second part of the Know the Novel linkup made by Christine Smith. If you haven't read my first post, you can find that here. If you can't be bothered to read that, then all you need to know is that I've been spending this November working on my spooky ghost mystery set in the Wild West. The goal is 50k in November, and 55k on the overall novel, though it might end up shorter. We'll see.

Without further ado, let's get on with it.



How’s the writing going overall? 


I actually think it's been going pretty well! I often struggle with the middle of my novels during these kinds of challenges, but my goal of writing an actually short novel this year means that I actually passed that miserable middle quite quickly, so I didn't get slowed down as much as I usually do.

I've been putting emphasis on writing every day (except Sundays, which I take off from writing, except for writing like one (1) word to keep my streak on the NaNo website haha) instead of having any big 5k days. If I get super into my writing, I cut myself short at about 3k, instead of pushing on, and just carry on with the momentum the next day instead of burning myself out. 

I've just hit 40k for November:

And 45k overall.

So we're definitely in the finishing stretch now. Lots of revelations and action happening in this climax right now.

I'm also having so much fun with these characters, guys. They're so much fun. I love them very much.

What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?


I'm really enjoying my two main characters, like I said, they're a lot of fun to write. I'm also enjoying getting to write a proper mystery, with seeding all the clues and all that. It's very fun. There've also been some very unsettling moments, so that's lovely.


What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?


They're ridiculous and they like to argue with each other, but also kind of get on better generally than I thought they were going to? It's wild.

My favourite? That'd be hard to say. I love both Eugene and Guinevere in very different ways. Eugene has been really fun to explore as a character, since he's my point-of-view character. It's been really interesting discovering more about how he thinks and operates. Guinevere....brings a certain something to every scene she's in. I'm not sure what it is, but it is definitely something.

Has your novel surprised you in any way?


Like I said, my characters have surprised me by getting along better than I thought they would - though they still argue so much, never fear. Other than that, the whole story has filled itself out so much more as I've written it. I had my two main characters beforehand, but none of the others really. I just had vague Roles in mind for the plot like the Sheriff, the Deputy Sheriff, the victims, and so on. As I've written, I've named and developed them and I actually. Kind of accidentally made myself really sad. So that's fun.

Have you come across any problem areas?


I think the plot needs work. It makes a decent amount of sense, I think, but there's definitely holes I've noticed and things I need to think about more carefully. There's also probably bits I need to flesh out a little more. Also! Research. I need to do more research; historical, scientific, just all the research. I did some beforehand, but I need to do so much more when I go back to edit.


What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?


Keeping it to a short length, haha. After Project Wales ballooned to a truly behemothic 144k, I was definitely worried. That's why I put so much work into planning the story ahead of time, so I didn't let it get out of hand. The fact that it's actually looking like it'll finish at around 50k is a big, big victory for me.


If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?


I mean, I think I'd probably actually be just. A random citzen. But, of my actual characters, I think I'd probably be Eugene. He's a fun guy and makes generally somewhat alright choices. Guinevere's too scary to be me. I mean, since I know the whole plot then I would probably solve the mystery quicker, but I have a bit of an unfair advantage haha.


Give us the first sentence or paragraph then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!


Ah yes. Snippets. It's so hard finding snippets that don't give away any spoilers for a mystery. Well, here's the very first sentence I wrote on this project ever, from the prologue:


Eugene had not the faintest idea where it’d all gone so wrong.

This is, generally speaking, a continual Mood for him throughout this entire novel.

Here is the first paragraph I wrote during November:


The first stop Eugene made was to the Agency library, which, among other things, held the Agency’s most up-to-date maps. He slid out the rolled-up New Mexico Territory map and the Colorado map, spreading them both out on the table in the centre so he could check out the route.

And here is Snippet #1: starring Guinevere being herself, and Eugene trying to keep the peace, which is a very normal situation for them to be in. 


‘So where are the bodies?’ Guinevere jumped in once again.

‘The bodies have been buried, of course,’ Sheriff Lovey said.

Buried?’ Guinevere repeated, as though this was the most bizarre concept she’d ever heard of and not a perfectly normal thing to do with dead bodies.

‘Yes?’ Sheriff Lovey said, eyeing her.

‘Honestly,’ Guinevere said. ‘Have you never solved a murder before? I need access to the bodies, so as to ascertain the cause of death.’

‘Miss,’ Sheriff Lovey began.

Agent Arkwright.’

‘Agent Arkwright,’ Sheriff Lovey corrected, clearly fed up with her. ‘The bodies were buried as is respectful to the young people in question. You will simply have to do your job without desecrating the dead.’

Guinevere looked like she wanted to say something more, but Eugene stepped in before she could. ‘Thank you, Sheriff,’ he said. ‘Of course, we understand your decision. We’d appreciate it if you’d share anything you’ve gathered thus far with us.’

Snippet #2: starring 19th century sensibilities vs Guinevere


Once they were done with that, Eugene knocked on Guinevere’s door. She opened it and raised an eyebrow at him.

‘We should probably discuss our plan of action,’ Eugene posited.

Guinevere clicked her tongue irritably and stepped aside to let him in. He immediately stopped, going a little red. ‘I…probably shouldn’t be in your room alone.’

‘Are you serious?’ Guinevere asked him flatly.

‘Well, you are a lady,’ Eugene said.

‘And you’re an idiot,’ said Guinevere. ‘What’s your point?’

‘It’s inappropriate for a man to be alone in a woman’s room with her,’ said Eugene. ‘Your reputation would be….’

Guinevere raised her eyebrow even higher than before, then grabbed his arm and yanked him into the room. ‘There, now you’re in. Alas, my reputation is now tainted forever and we can get on with actually important matters. What did you want to discuss?’

Eugene sighed and gave in, taking a seat on the chaise towards the end of the room, as Guinevere sat on her bed. ‘We need to think about how we’re going to approach this investigation,’ Eugene said.

‘I still can’t believe they buried the bodies,’ said Guinevere grumpily.

‘It’s been five days even since the most recent death,’ Eugene said. ‘Of course they’ve buried them all.’

Guinevere scowled. ‘I need a body to examine.’


And, finally, Snippet #3: starring Guinevere finally getting her hands on a dead body and Eugene being v grossed out. 


She grabbed a dangerously sharp scalpel and began to slowly cut along the lines.

Eugene almost threw up, turning away. ‘Guinevere!’

‘Oh, get a grip, Eugene,’ Guinevere said, as a sickeningly wet sound came from behind him. ‘This is really quite simple. Far easier than doing it on a living person, believe me.’

Eugene couldn’t not look at her at that—trying not to see the blood on her hands. ‘I hate that I can’t tell if you’re joking or not.’

Guinevere merely gave an unknowable smile. ‘Pass me that clank,’ she said, as she began to peel back skin and flesh.

Eager to look at just about anything else, Eugene began hunting for the clank, though he didn’t really know what a clank looked like. He found something that he thought might be a clank, but Guinevere only rolled her eyes when he showed it to her. ‘No, it’s right next to it, idiot.’


Share an interesting tidbit about the writing process so far! (For example: Have you made any hilarious typos? Derailed from your outline? Killed off a character? Changed projects entirely? Anything you want to share!)


I've managed to keep to my outline, mostly, but a lot of the in-between bits I've had to come up with on the fly. I've also had to do so much just little bits of worldbuilding to get this story to make sense as I write - things like how the paranormal stuff actually works and the rules of it. It's been kind of wild.


Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this novel looks like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!


This year, I've found myself writing a lot in the late afternoon to evening, normally starting at about four or later. For some reason, I find it easier to write at those hours. I tend to write in our living room, though I've found myself wandering to other parts of the house to try and get some peace and quiet on a few occasions haha. I've also worked in a couple of coffee shops as well. I have drunk so much tea, just so much. I love my Jam & Toast Yorkshire Tea. It fuels my writing.


I also often have to try and write around this little monster

Who feels the need to take over my lap regardless of it I'm doing something or not.

I always write to my story playlist, which is v large and v spooky.

And that is the end. I'll be back - hopefully - in December with part 3. Please, check out Christine's post, and her blog which is amazing.

Friday 6 October 2023

Know the Novel - Introducing Spooky Wild West

 Hello all.

As is tradition at this point, I have, in fact, disappeared from the internet since last year's Know The Novel, but fear not. I still live. Allegedly. If you're new to this linkup, it's a three-part tag created by Christine Smith for writers to answer questions about their WIPs, specifically aimed at those participating in one of the many writing challenges that love to plague us around autumn.

This year, I'm planning to do 50k on my chosen project in November for NaNoWriMo, but I'm hoping to work on either edits for Project Wales or preparation on this project for the first half of FallFicFrenzy. FallFicFrenzy, for those of you who are new to it, is a writing challenge Christine made that runs from October 15th to November 15th. Please, check it out on her blog if you want to learn more about it.

I was intending to do what I hoped to do last year and do an extra 10k for that initial half of FallFic, but if all goes to plan then the 50k in November should more than complete this project. Or, well, the first book of this project.


Speaking of which! I went back and forth on which project I wanted to work on for this NaNoWriMo. I'm still chugging my way through Project Wales edits in my own time, but I don't normally like to edit during NaNoWriMo because I like Taking My Time, so I've opted for a newer project that has no title. At the moment, we're calling it Spooky Wild West because what else am I going to call this disaster story?

 Now, without further ado, onwards.


What first sparked the idea for this novel?

This particular story came about kind of as a combination of things. I’ve always loved westerns, in all forms of media, and I’ve wanted to write something in that setting for a while. More recently, I started watching The X-Files (very late, I might add), and that combined with a Western tv show I was watching at the time, the Magnificent Seven show from the late 90s, to create this whole thing.

I think it has a lot of influence from The City Between series, and its sequel series A Whisker Behind, by W.R. Gingell too, as well as drawing from general Victorian gothic literature.

Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!  

Look, this story is so hard to write a blurb for. I’ve made an attempt, but I don’t think it’s very good. Still, it gives you an idea, I think.

Introducing to all you lovely people, my weird historical paranormal gothic horror novel…

Seventeen years, four months and two days. That’s how long it’s been since Eugene Fanshawe last heard his true name spoken aloud without danger. Living from one fake name to the next, surviving by trickery and con-artistry, ultimately led him to a prison cell and an offer, to join the mysterious Agency as an investigative agent, giving him a pardon—after four years of obligated work, that is—and the resources to finally solve the mystery that has haunted him for so much of his life.

But, four years on, Eugene has not solved that first case, and he has successfully driven away every agent the Agency attempted to partner with him. He is given one last chance, a partnership with the latest and most notorious agent to join their ranks, Guinevere Arkwright—also known as the Maiden Reaper, a notorious assassin finally arrested and granted a pardon in exchange for her life in service to the Agency. If Eugene can’t make this partnership work, his hopes of solving his oldest mystery will turn to ash, and he will never be free to use his true name again.

Sent to investigate a series of mysterious deaths in Ashfield, a mining town deep in New Mexico Territory, the two must find a way to work together—because Eugene’s hopes aren’t all that’s at stake. Darker things are at work in Ashfield than either of them know and, perhaps, their only hopes for survival and success are each other.


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

This particular story takes place in 1870s New Mexico Territory, except a Spooky version. 

I love the eerie, creepy nature of the world I’ve created for this story. I love the atmosphere of it, and I love getting to play around with folklore and cryptids and paranormal creatures like ghosts, whilst very much putting my own spin on them. It’s a world that has, to an extent, its own internally consistent rules whilst also being kind of beyond my characters’ comprehension. Sort of Lovecraftian in that way. There’s very much a sense that the world is much bigger, much more dangerous and much stranger than my characters will ever be able to fully understand, like all they can do is solve small portions of it.

Tell us about your protagonist(s).

For this project, I have one main protagonist, who's the point-of-view character, and a secondary protagonist, who's his partner. It was a real challenge to find the images for these collages that were also free to use, so...I hope they look good.

Agent Eugene Fanshawe Stokers

ENTP | American | 22 | Hufflepuff | 3w2 | old west gambler | former con artist | immensely charismatic and charming | lover of riddles, puns, and word play | far softer than you'd think | has a big old squishy heart | vehemently pacifistic | spends too much time trying to convince guinevere that murder isn't the solution to minor problems | has a horse named Merlin (see, it's funny because she's a female horse, so a mare, and she's MARE-lin, yes he's a loser) | could talk you into giving him your life-savings but would probably feel bad afterward | his back must be aching from all that singlehanded carrying of this novel's moral compass | guinevere's Morality Pet | social chameleon  | ADHD king

Agent Guinevere Arkwright | The Maiden Reaper

INTJ | British | 22 | Ravenclaw | 5w6 | former assassin, still suggests murder too easily | from an Evil Assassin Family | short, but Menacing | doesn't understand the concept of fun | mad scientist | always tries to carry her entire laboratory with her | extremely morbid | it's impossible to tell when she's joking, she likes it that way | expert coroner | gives wednesday addams vibes | completely inept socially, only kind of cares | it sure is hard to figure out how to be a human being when you've been treated as nothing but a living weapon for your entire life | autistic icon, outside of, y'know, all the murdering


Who (or what) is the antagonist?

Given that this is a mystery, I have absolutely no intention of telling you. I will say, however, that there are multiple antagonists in here.


What excites you the most about this novel?

There's so much about this project that excites me. Like I said above, the setting and time period has always been a favourite of mine, I'm just a sucker for Old West settings. This is also my first attempt at a full-blown horror story. I'd say my project from last year, Wild Swans Retelling, certainly had major horror elements, but this is the first project that I think actively falls into the horror genre. I'm very excited.

I also just love the relationship between my two main characters, and I'm really looking forward to writing it. It's really the lynch-pin of this entire series, which does make me a bit nervous because if it falls flat then the whole series falls flat but it excites me as well. I don't know if I'd call it a romance or a friendship, I think it might be somewhere in between. I really don't know.


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

I actually put a lot of thought into this and ultimately settled on a longer series of shorter novels, with each one coming to about 50k or so. Each will follow a different investigation, with an ongoing mystery in the background that my characters slowly begin to uncover as they go. So the 50k I'm doing in November should, if the story goes as I've intended, actually take me well over the finishing point, especially since I've already written 5k. Obviously, it may grow during my actual drafting process, but hopefully it won't grow too much.

Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

I'm plantsing, I think. I do have the actual reveals planned out, and I've got a decent idea of the overall plot, but I haven't planned a lot of it out in detail. Unusually for me, I probably have the third act planned out the most, but there's still a lot missing that I'll have to figure out when I get there.

Name a few unique elements in this story.

I think that the main relationship is fairly original, I hope anyway haha. I'm honestly not sure. I will say that this story isn't a comedy, per se, but I do think it'll have black comedy elements, which'll be fun. Guinevere tends to bring dark comedy just by being herself.

I also hope that the world'll be original. Like I said, I'm drawing from real folklore and such, but I've put my own spin on them and created creatures that are unique to my story, whilst still having elements of those older stories.


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!).



black corroded eyes | imprisonment | campfire conversations | crying in the dark | buried truths | something's watching you |  paper archives | blistering heat | secret smiles | slowly building trust | hand-holding | no way out | prison bars | wanted posters | corrupt decadence | trust no one | dangerous devotion | maze-like mansions | something's in the water



And here's my full Spotify playlist: 


If you want to see my Pinterest board, that would be here.

I'd say, thematically, this series is fundamentally about redemption, about mercy, about radical forgiveness, about loving the unloveable, about the redemptive power of love and kindness. Themes that are just very close to my heart.   

I'm so excited to get to write more of this story, and I'm eagerly awaiting everyone else's posts! Thank you, Christine, for hosting this amazing tag every year, it's always so much fun.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

Know The Novel: Introducing The Wild Swans Retelling


 Guess who's back, back again. 

And guess what's back, yet again. The Know The Novel linkup that has, for the last few years, been literally the only thing pushing me into actively posting on this stupid blog of mine. It's done it again, lads, I'm back. For like three months. Kind of. 


Just in case you don't know what Know The Novel is, somehow even though I'm pretty sure the only people who are going to be reading this are people coming from the linkup itself, let me quickly explain. Know The Novel is a three-part linkup created by Christine Smith, one for each month of October, November and December, originally intended for NaNoWriMo participants - and other writers working on projects in that time-frame - to talk about their projects. Christine has, however, opted to create her own writing challenge this year, instead of doing NaNo, starting on October 15th, which is why this post is a little earlier this year. Each part consists of ten questions about the novel in question. 


The new challenge is called Fall Fiction Writing Frenzy, or Fall Fic Frenzy for short (my British self is in pain with writing 'fall' for autumn, but it's fine, it's chill, it's okay, we're all good haha). Christine has made this beautiful graphic for it. If you want to know more, just follow the link up above to get to the post which contains the details of both the linkup and the challenge.


I've decided to do NaNo, but I'm also participating in Christine's challenge as well, intending to do the normal 50k in November, and also an additional 10k in October, hopefully writing 35k by the end of Christine's challenge. If I write more than that, great! If I don't, hopefully I'll at least complete the challenge I've set for myself.

Admittedly, it'd be absolutely delightful to finish this novel by the end of November but...I'm not holding my breath for it. She's going to be a monster.


With that explained, which project am I working on this year? 

 Last year and the year before, I worked on Project Wales, but as I said in my post earlier this year, I actually completed the first draft of Project Wales right at the very end of last year, at a whopping 144k. I finished on Christmas Eve, actually. I've started work on the second draft, and considered doing that this year, but in the end, I decided that I'd rather take my time with it. I'm focusing a little bit more on prose and character and I really want to put the work in to make this story as good as it could be, and I think pushing myself to write loads on it at once is definitely not the way to do that. I have also considered writing Book 2 for this, however, I...don't think I'm quite ready for that yet. I would like to at least iron out Book 1 first - I'm someone who's very chronologically minded and thus far my edits are going to require changing a lot of Book 1, such as adding a whole new character to the main squad and making Peri's brother a much bigger part, and I just don't think I'm capable of writing a second book without having Book 1 pretty much through developmental edits. That way I know where I'm starting from. My hope is to get Book 1 through the second draft by February/March next year, and then to maybe do Camp to start off the second book. We'll see if that happens or not haha. Either way, I'll probably be doing it for NaNo next year.

I went back and forth on a few different projects when trying to decide which one to do this year, and ultimately settled on my space opera retelling of the Wild Swans by Hans Christian Anderson. It's a weird freaking novel and, most likely, is going to end up absurdly long just like good old Project Wales. I made the unfortunate decision to keep all twelve of the siblings from the original fairytale, so...yeah. This is going to be rough.

Now, without further ado, let me introduce you to my Wild Swans Retelling - she doesn't have a proper title yet, shush. I'd recommend you go get a cup of your beverage of choice, we're going to be here a while.


What first sparked the idea for this novel?


The first idea for my Wild Swans retelling actually came from a post on Fairy Tale Central, specifically one of their Story Wishlists. I don't actually remember which one it was - I went back to see their Wild Swans post and, strangely enough, it actually wasn't that one. I think it may've been an amalgamation of a few different ideas mentioned in different posts. This is their Wild Swans post.

Either way, I think I properly started work on it in December of last year, although it took me a little while to properly get going on it. I went through a lot of different ideas whilst trying to find the best way to adapt this lovely fairytale. My original idea was much closer to straight-up sci-fi, there wasn't any magic at all, but I ended up taking it much closer to the original fairytale as I developed it until it reached what it currently is. 


BEHOLD, the first ever brainstorming words i wrote for this stupid book.


It took me quite a few months to figure out how I wanted to tell this story. After I decided I wanted to keep all twelve siblings, I knew I had to find a way to balance all of them and give them all characterisation, so I chose to write three of them as POV characters, which will hopefully allow me to give all of the siblings some degree of focus??? We'll see. Which siblings specifically those POV characters were going to be changed a ton, I couldn't decide which brothers to use, but I finally settled a little bit ago. I've actually already written the first 25k words of this novel, so I'm going to be continuing it.


Share a blurb (or just an overall summary)!


Hi, I remain terrible at blurbs. This might actually be the hardest blurb I've ever had to write. I have no idea why this story is so hard to summarise, but it is.


Six months ago, Queen Freya Averlarde of Ciraniya was murdered, in front of four of her children. Ever since, Eden Averlarde has lived in fear. She hides away in her workroom, afraid of the outside world, afraid of the dangers that lurk beyond her rooms. She longs to keep her family safe, but how can she do that when all sense of safety has been stripped away from her. Meanwhile, her brothers all fall apart in their own ways, grief taking its vicious toll on all of them.

All of this is brought to a head when their father announces his re-marriage, to a mysterious woman named Lady Insa. The fall-out from the announcement alone is massive, but when, merely hours after the wedding, Eden and her siblings discover that Lady Insa has an entire file of information on their family, including their mother’s autopsy report, everything only grows worse. Lady Insa stops them before they can warn their father, and reveals terrifying power that nobody could’ve foreseen. She sends Eden’s brothers away and, before doing the same to Eden, tells her that she must find out how to save them before they are gone forever, all without saying a single word.

Eden lands on a new, strange planet, one twisted and torn apart by monsters that were once human. Once she finds her siblings, it’s to find out that Lady Insa has turned them into monsters too – at least, for the daytime and, increasingly, for the night too. She must find a way to save them before they lose their humanity forever, whilst uncovering the secrets of the planet they’ve been trapped on, secrets that Lady Insa herself holds terribly dear.


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


It takes place in two major locations - rather, two major planets. Those two planets are:

  •  Ciraniya - The Averlardes' home planet. A magnificent, technologically-advanced planet covered with greenery and life, filled with elegant structures and beautiful mountains. Due to the then-King's decision to cut Ciraniya off from the Galactic portal network, Ciraniya has had five hundred years of peace, which means that they remain rich and prosperous, even when many neighbouring planets have been ruined. 
  • Palenesia - A mysterious planet destroyed by an apocalypse of humans-turned-monsters, that have massacred their way through the world, leaving behind magnificent empty cities haunted only by them and the corpses of the dead. Small pockets of survivors hide away, planning ways to retake their planet, at whatever cost.

I'm super excited to write in Palenesia. I've already written most of the part of the novel taking place on Ciraniya, but I haven't gotten to write in Palenesia yet. 

I absolutely adore the combination of magic and technology that science fantasy grants you. For this story-world, I got to play with creating cool technology whilst also creating magic systems and combining the two, which is so much fun. I also love that, since it's a completely fictional and also technologically-advanced world, I don't have to worry about the characters sounding too modern. I mean, I can't use obvious slang, but they generally sound pretty modern.

I also love the horror element to Palenesia. It's kind of inspired by the Netflix K-drama Sweet Home*, if any of you have seen that, and I just love the vaguely post-apocalyptic vibes. This book's not going to be quite as dark as that show, but the aesthetic is similiar.


*i would recommend it, it's very good and has some beautiful themes, but it's also...very violent and quite dark. to the point that i had to take frequent breaks. so, be warned. it's not for the faint of heart.


Tell us about your protagonist(s).


The real challenge is figuring out how to explain these characters to you. There's many. There are only three Main characters, as in, point-of-view characters, but I feel like I should probably introduce all twelve of the siblings we go. Wish me luck.



Point-of-View Characters 



INTJ | 14 | Slytherin | 5w6 | original fairytale's Princess Eliza | third-youngest | self-reliant to a fault | asocial | extremely introverted | agoraphobic | loyal and protective | autistic | loves fashion and fashion design | 'you expect me to leave??? my room??? abhorrent idea' | pretends she doesn't have any siblings most of the time | which is impressive because she doesn't have any other friends | extremely perfectionistic | quick-tempered | so freaking sarcastic | just very tired, let her rest | has to have a backup plan for everything, Just In Case | socially awkward | had lessons on etiquette for years but still doesn't have a clue how to talk to people | has an unemotive voice | actually does have a lot of emotions but they're pretty invisible from the outside



ENFJ | 19 | Hufflepuff | 2w1 | fourth-oldest | concerningly over-protective | basically Surface Pressure from Encanto in a person | places all of his self-worth into taking care of his siblings and takes failure badly | kind-hearted | can be manipulative | somehow ends up being the one to take care of everyone else's problems | Hawthorne, just trying to have a fun day: ... | one of his annoying siblings: heyyyyyyy, so you know how i love you, right? | loves cooking | isn't very good at cooking | is, however, good at hot chocolate | schemes too much, they're always absurdly over-complicated



 ISTP | 15 | Slytherin | 8w9 | fourth-youngest | youngest of the Averlarde triplets | the others tease him and call him the baby and boss him around | it drives him up the wall | generally has trouble with the idea that other?? people??? care??? about him???? sounds fake but okay | refuses to acknowledge his own emotions ever at all even once | hot-tempered | extremely hyper-vigilant | sleeps with a weapon under his pillow | big fan of machines, any kind will do | extremely impulsive | thinks he's way cooler than he actually is | control freak | Juniper when his siblings are around: whines and tells his siblings to leave him alone, Juniper when they actually do it: ummm, excuse me??? | has thought through a decision precisely once in his life | 'i think we should go break in there just because that's what my Heart is Telling Me To Do'

Other Siblings



ESTJ | 22 | Hufflepuff | 1w2 | oldest and crown prince | expects perfection from himself and everyone else in all aspects of life | very controlling |’you should all listen to me because I’m Right’ | except none of his siblings listen to him which annoys him | ‘rules are good! rules help CONTROL the fun!’ | prone to hero speeches | *while facing down a monster the size of a skyscraper* ‘guys, this is a minor obstacle that we can totally overcome very easily just so long as we Believe in ourselves’ | naive and idealistic | hero-worships their father and refuses to acknowledge that he could ever be wrong | protective | relieves stress by grumbling | you know how i said Hawthorne was Surface Pressure from Encanto personified? somehow Paris is Surface Pressure and What Else Can I Do? combined


ISFJ | 20 | Ravenclaw | 6w5 | second-oldest | twin of Rowan | grouchy | likes to give off grinch vibes | profoundly done with everyone | intensely introverted | interacts with someone for five minutes and has to take five hours to recover | never leaves the library | has in fact fallen asleep in the library before | The Braincell Holder(TM) | quietly selfless | constantly gives of himself to everyone | absolutely terrible at self-care and generally allowing himself to have feelings | considers himself to be less important than everyone else | excruciatingly self-sacrificing | Rowan picks fights with him on the daily for this | hates physical touch, except for with Rowan and also Sky | generally prefers to not be perceived by other humans, especially ones who aren’t his siblings



ENFP | 20 | Gryffindor | 7w8 | third-oldest | twin of Ilon | doctor-in-training | adores arcade games more than life | may be a medical student but will not let that stop him from consuming too much sugar | rules are for SUCKERS | ‘i may be an idiot, but i’m not stupid’ | constant puns | completely unhinged | talks to himself out loud | goes from being really quiet to being ridiculously loud with seemingly no in between | ‘personally, i don’t agree with concepts, ideas, thoughts, existence’ | always impulsive | EXTREMELY protective over his siblings | hurt one of them and you will die | this goes double for Ilon | who might just be his entire world | probably has the healthiest emotional processing skills of this entire family | dyspraxic king



ESTP | 17 | Gryffindor | 3w4 | fifth-oldest | *vibrates with anxiety* | ‘repeat what I just said? bold of you to presume i ever listen to a single word coming out of my own mouth’ | literally always down to fight | fist-fighting preferably | would (and does) fight himself if no one else is available | his life aspiration is to be the ‘cool older brother’ | he is not | tight hugs are the Best, if you don’t crush his ribs then you don’t really love him | stims aggressively by literally yeeting himself across the room like a cannonball | if he senses anything that feels even remotely like a rejection it will send him into a Spiral | competitive swimmer


INTP | 16 | 5w4 | Ravenclaw | sixth-oldest | star boy | ‘stars. can’t do it. not today.’ | only rarely deigns to acknowledge the real world | horrendous eye sight | despite this, refuses to ever wear his glasses which is a major problem | except for when he’s stargazing, can somehow remember to wear them then | pretends he doesn’t care about his appearance but actually spends hours in the bathroom styling his hair | then claims he just rolled out of bed | constant sarcasm | his first and last goal in life is driving Paris up the wall | has a planetarium and basically lives his entire life in there | every so often one of the others goes up to make sure he's still alive




ESFP | 15 | Gryffindor | 7w6 | sixth-youngest | oldest of the Averlarde triplets | incredibly clumsy | once fell down three flights of stairs in succession | voted mostly likely to accidentally cause the end of the world by tripping over his own feet and hitting the wrong button, but we’re not going to hold that against him | means well, not great at follow-through, but at least the intentions were good | formerly known as the resident ray of sunshine | definitely is not that anymore | hasn't stopped dissociating in six months | constantly sneaks out to get into fights | argues with any and everyone who gives him the opportunity | has more unhealthy coping mechanisms than you could shake a stick at




ENTP | 15 | Ravenclaw | 7w8 | fifth-youngest | middle Averlarde triplet | inventor of a variety of hilariously useless things | such as exhibit 1 - an egg-thrower | ‘you want me to ‘explain my thought process’???? who says i know?’  | nothing but a fool | *making coffee and also Mistakes at 3 am* | actually nocturnal | extremely dry | constant unending sarcasm | kindhearted but you won’t catch him admitting to it | *cares for you but, like, behind your back so he doesn’t have to submit to the mortifying ordeal of being known* | far more impulsive than could ever be healthy | surprisingly gullible | an extreme sport, getting Aspen to focus on one topic of conversation long enough to get him to finish a sentence



ENTJ | 12 | Ravenclaw | 8w9 | second-youngest | loathes being the second-youngest | 'why must i be "nice" and "friendly", is it not enough to be always right and the best person in any given room?’ | brat | ‘i am no longer Baby, i want power’ | simultaneously very clever and also the stupidest person you’ve ever met | the most annoying troublemaker | mostly because he somehow never gets in trouble | there is only one person who has ever been deceived in Cedar & that’s their tutor/pseudo-parent | bullies his siblings but if anyone else even looks at them wrong he’ll lose it | delights in breaking rules right in front of Paris just to drive him mad | obsessed with botany | good luck getting him to leave the gardens


INFP | 11 | Gryffindor | 4w3 | youngest | art baby | everyone's baby | mildly feral | should not be given unfettered access to matches | very soft | book-lover | ‘you better watch out if you mess with me, cause you know what i’ll do??? that’s right, cry’ | has never heard of a lie | makes the bold assumption that absolutely everyone is being completely honest with him all of the time | they are not | very protective of his older siblings for someone who's literally four foot two | you could knock him over by shouting at him yet he's out here sticking up his fists | loves music | loves to sing | tone-deaf

Who (or what) is the antagonist?


 The main antagonist is Lady Insa, or ye old evil step-mother from the fairytale. She's...complicated and there's a lot to her. Most of which is spoilers. She's also a Fashion Icon. Behold! An aesthetic.

There are other villains too, but I can't talk much about them. Partly because I haven't actually developed them yet haha.


What excites you the most about this novel?

Everything! I love absolutely everything about this story. It's so much fun to write, even if there are emotionally harrowing parts.

  • The Setting - I love especially the world of Palenesia. I'm so excited to explore it along with my characters.
  • The Themes - The themes to this story are, currently, really close to my heart. To the point that I might have some trouble writing it. The central theme is really grief, and the different ways of dealing with grief, and about healing from grief. The other theme is one that I also adore, and it's one that good old Tolkien put the best name to - estel, or irrational hope. That kind of hope that says 'There is no logical hope of winning, no logical hope of surviving, but I'm choosing to cling onto hope anyway'. That, I would say, is the other major theme. Irrational hope.
  • The Characters - I love these characters so much. These kids are so much fun to write, even just in the part I've written. I suspect they won't let the story get too dark, since they literally can't stop bickering for the life of them. I love their relationships, they're a delight. As someone who has four siblings, I just love getting to write siblings, in their natural habitat. I am going to put them through it though. These kids are coming into the story with trauma and I'm just over here like 'here, have so much more'.


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

I'm actually not sure. I'm currently thinking a standalone, but it might well end up being too big a story for that. It'll probably depend on how the story goes. The problem is that if I were to add another story, it'd probably be going fully off-book, as in the actual retelling events would be over, so I don't know yet. Depends on if there's more story to tell, I guess.


Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Plantsing. Basically, my whole outline is...the fairytale I'm retelling and some notes on how to retell specific events. And a few notes on different plot points, like the midpoint. I have a decent idea of where I'm going but not a freaking clue how I'm getting there.

Name a few unique elements in this story.

Well, I think the post-apocalyptic space opera take on a fairytale is pretty unique. It's a strange blend of sci-fi, zombie apocalypse and high fantasy - and I think that's pretty cool.  There's also lots of fun technology, such as travelling from planet to planet via a magical portal system and holographic computer scrolls. There's also no romance, which is actually a major divergence from the original fairytale as there actually is a romance between Eliza and the King in that, but seeing as how my version of Eliza is literally only fourteen years old, we're not going in that direction in this story.


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!).


Wild Swans Retelling Aesthetic 


family bickering | tight hugs | shadows moving in the corner of your eye | magnificent yet totally empty ruined cities | hollowed-out mountains | loyalty | protectiveness | sacrificial love | hope in darkness | holding onto your humanity with both hands | choosing to do what is right, not what's easy | kindness | grief | monsters screaming in the dead of night | desperation | fear | faith | remnants of what came before


My main Pinterest board for this story is here. And this is my Spotify playlist. As you can tell, I've spent a lot of time adding songs to it. The 100 songs that the embedded playlist shows isn't actually even half of it, haha. I'm actually pretty happy with it, I went with a lot of orchestral/rock vibes, mixed in with some other songs.

If I had to choose just a few songs that, to me, sum up this novel - I'd probably pick the following: Hey Brother by Avicii, I See Fire by Ed Sheeran, Burn It by Golden Child and Come Back Home by ONEUS.

And with that, I'm done! My apologies for this obnoxiously long post. It's about ninety-nine percent the characters' fault, I'm pretty sure. If you want to participate in Fall Fic Frenzy or in the linkup, then just head over to Christine's blog through the link up above. I hope to see you all in November, when I do the second part.

Tuesday 1 March 2022

The March Muchness Blog Tag - A Wonderland Celebration

Hello all!

Guess who's back. Once again, I keep up my ongoing pattern of yeeting occasional posts into the void and then scooting. This time, however, I have something new and special to show you all. 

Over on Christine Smith's blog and Instagram, she's running March Muchness - a celebration of all things Wonderland set to run for all of March. There are three main components to this; an Instagram challenge that I won't be participating in, a giveaway, and a blog tag that I and eleven other bloggers including Christine have been putting together.

We've compiled twelve Wonderland-inspired questions for you all to take and answer on your own blog. You're welcome to tag whoever to join in, but it isn't required and you certainly don't need to be tagged to join in. It's all about having fun and joining together to celebrate Wonderland. If you don't have a blog, you're welcome to answer these questions on whichever social media outlet you choose or even in the comments below.

 - List six impossible things you’d love to do – wild and crazy answers 100% welcome!

 - What is a topic that grew curiouser and curiouser the more you studied/researched it?

 - If you could invite three fictional characters to a tea party, who would they be?

- Which Wonderland character do you feel you’re the most like?

- If you could drink a magic potion that changed one thing about you, what would it be?

- How IS a raven like a writing desk?

- If you were to make an enemy of Father Time, what time in the day would you choose to repeat?

- If you fell down a rabbit hole, what would the land you pop into look like?

- If you could have the body of one type of creature and the head of another (for example, the Mock Turtle has the body of a turtle and the head of a calf), what would that combination be and why?

- Have you read or written anything stylistically close to Alice in Wonderland? Tell us about it.

- If you could either be as tall as a tree or as small as a mouse for an hour, which would you choose and what would you do?

- If you could give your younger or future self one piece of Very Good Advice, what would it be?

And those are the questions! Just copy-and-paste them into whatever you choose to answer them on and go. We look forward to seeing all of your wonderful answers!

Fellow Hosts

Please head over and check out the other hosts' blogs, they're all great and so creative!

Christine -

Sarah -

Victoria -

Maple Quill -

Kenzie -

Jessica -

Emma -

Merie -

Emily -

Josiah -

Kal -

And that's a wrap! Hopefully I'll be answering these questions myself later in the month, I hope you all have fun. And if you would like to take a look at the Instagram challenge or the giveaway, just check out Christine's blog above, she has all of the details. And while you're there, check out the rest of her blog, she's so much fun.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

Project Wales Update

Sup, I have returned. Like a month and a half late, but shush. Everything's fine. 

Back in my NaNo wrap up, I promised to post an update if I succeeded in finishing Project Wales before the end of 2021 - which I failed at. Not finishing Project Wales, that actually worked out, but posting? I'm bad at keeping promises, my apologies. 

Anyways! Better late than never, lads, she's done! And looking mighty beautiful at that. 

She was supposed to be done at 120k. What is this new devilry??? She's a Giant, I tell you. Alas, my best attempts at curtailing this monster of a book failed and now I have to try and cut 24k words. Probably more, given 120k is a bit too big as well. 

I managed to finish this beaut on Christmas Eve! Which was great, since I could then spend time with my family without the year-end deadline looming over my head. 

Once I finished, I set it aside for six weeks so I could get a bit of distance from it, which ended on the fifth of February. I started the next Monday and have now finished my re-read and notes. The plan is to now make a reverse-outline and try and figure out what scenes are necessary, what scenes can be combined and what scenes can be cut altogether. It's a bit of an undertaking, admittedly, but hopefully I'll be able to delete a decent amount of words.

Thank you, one and all, with that, I'm out.

Know The Novel - Within Spooky Wild West

Hello, all. It's been a few weeks and I'm back again, with the second part of the Know the Novel linkup made by Christine Smith . If...