So I finished Camp NaNoWriMo with a wordcount of 18.1k, which is higher than my set goal of 15k. So I won! Yay!! I wrote five full chapters of my Snow White/Sleeping Beauty retelling and have a better idea of where I’m going with this. I’m hoping to keep writing at least 15k per month until I’ve got the draft finished. I’m guessing it’ll take me roughly six months at that rate, given I’m hoping it won’t be much longer than 90k. But, then again, the first novel I ever drafted came in at 147k so there’s always a possibility I’ll create another monster. I honestly hope not, though. One of those was enough, at least for now.
I’ll share an excerpt at the end, since the next thing I’m talking about will cover the basic information about my WIP again anyway, so we may as well get that out of the way first.
I also participated in the 30-day hashtag game #WIPjoy, hosted by Bethany A. Jennings (@simmeringmind) on Twitter. This went hand-in-hand with Camp NaNoWriMo since it’s all about celebrating what we and other people are writing.
The basic idea of #WIPjoy is that you respond to a daily prompt to talk about your writing. I’ll post the gorgeous graphic Bethany made below and then I’ll start posting my responses, along with links to my original tweets. In some cases, I will go into more detail than Twitter’s 140-character limit would allow at the time.
I’m going to put the rest of this post under a cut since it’s about to get long, folks. Because it’s so long, I’m actually going to split it into two parts. So I’ll do up to day 15 of WIPjoy (inclusive) and post an excerpt. Then I’ll do another post with the second half of WIPjoy and another excerpt.
Anyway, moving on:
Day 1: Introduce your WIP!
My original 140-character response was:
Sleeping Beauty and Snow White meet in magic sleep and fall in love. But true love’s kiss doesn’t work in the dream world
Now I’m going to include my more detailed blurb, still using that placeholder from my earlier post because what is worldbuilding:
Tesana, the last princess of [kingdom], was doomed from birth when the king and queen refused to invite the fairy queen to her Naming Day. A century later, Eira, princess of thieves and product of a fairy deal that gave her life and killed her mother in return, is on the run from her murderous stepmother. When both princesses are cursed to eternal slumber, only true love’s kiss will save them. But when they meet in the dream world and fall in love, they quickly realise that a kiss in the dream world is not the same as a kiss in real life. One must wake up to save the other.
There are more types of love than just romance, but the princesses are doomed to watch helplessly while Eira’s loved ones fail to realise the power to save her rests in their hands.
I need to tweak that, but it’s serviceable enough while I’m still in the drafting stage anyway.
I have 2 MCs so:
MC 1 is Eira, princess of thieves, product of a fairy deal her late mother made. Talks to animals, a sign of that magic.
MC 2 is Princess Tesana, living 100 years before Eira, cursed at her Naming Day to die by the fairy queen.
Day 3: Share a visual that goes with your WIP.
Since making that post, I’ve started a Pinterest board for this WIP here.
Day 4: Share a song that inspires you for this story.
At the time of this question, this was my response, but it’s changed a little bit since:
I haven’t listened to music while writing this project so far. I might dig into the Disney soundtracks eventually.
Since then, I’ve listened to a crapload of Disney and then ended up listening to a Muse mix on YouTube that actually fit my writing mood a bit better. The Disney was great while I was in the mood for it, though.
Day 5: Share a line of description.
I chose a section where Princess Tesana is talking about her resemblance to her mother:
Most of my features came from her—my dark brown curls, warm brown skin, round button nose.
I’m still tossing up a little about Tesana’s appearance. I like her like this, but I’m not 100% sure it’s my lane to be writing a mixed race protagonist.
Day 6: Name something in your WIP for each of the senses: sight, sound, taste, smell, touch.
This one works better if viewed as my original tweet so I’ll insert that here:
Day 7: If your story was represented by one item, what would it be?
This one also works better as the original tweet:
I’m not sold on the magic mirror looking quite like that, but it’s definitely going to be handheld and ornate.
Day 8: If you like _______, you’ll like my book!
I got a bit emoji-happy again, so here’s another embedded tweet:
Day 9: From the MC: most awkward memory?
Eira: I fell into the sea when I was a child because I was too busy watching a bird to see where I was going.
Day 10: From the antagonist: happiest memory?
(Evil) Queen: My happiest memory? When I completed my service to the fairy queen to become a witch.
“Queen” is actually a codename Eira’s stepmother uses within the thieves guild, since Eira’s father the guildmaster uses “King.” There was no way I was gonna fit that intricacy in a tweet!
Day 11: From a side character: what’s the most pain (physical or emotional) you’ve been in?
Queen Lia: The moment the fairy queen cursed my daughter to die because my husband did not invite her to the Naming Day.
Day 12: Share a line from the MC about food.
Fortunately, Eira is obsessed with fresh seafood so she talks about food quite a bit:
Fresh fish cooking over open fires, crackling and spreading their tendrils of mouthwatering scent into clothes and wood.
Day 13: From your antagonist: what’s your deepest regret?
Queen: I shouldn’t have stolen that mirror from the fairy queen. Or married a man whose daughter is resistant to death curses.
Day 14: From a side character: what gives you joy in life?
Huntsman: I enjoy intimidating people without trying. It would be easier if King (of thieves) let me carry my axe in public.
Again, Huntsman is a codename for a member of the thieves guild. He’s King’s BFF, basically, and has known Eira all her life.
Day 15: From the MC: your favourite music?
Both Eira and Princess Tesana: Birdsong.
I’ll do the next fifteen days in my next post because, honestly, I wouldn’t have the attention span to read a post this long anyway so I can’t expect anyone else to do that.
Finally, I’ll post this excerpt and then get outta here. This is from one of Eira’s chapters. Next time I’ll do one from Tesana’s (part 2 is now live).
Travelling through the city at this hour is quicker. The merchants are packing up and most of the everyday people are having dinner at home or inside one of our numerous taverns. Swaying men outside these places like to yell at me as I pass, but a well-placed glare from Huntsman puts them in their place. Even intoxicated people know better than to cross him.
We’re climbing the water-softened wooden stairs up to a higher part of the city when a series of aggravated chirps catches my attention. A little sparrow is perched on a battered mailbox nearby, making us much noise as its little lungs can manage.
“Hey, there,” I say, hurrying up the stairs to get closer to it. “What’s wrong, little one?”
“Oh, here we go,” Huntsman mutters somewhere behind me.
The bird chirps some more and flaps its wings, flying a few paces before hovering in place for a second. Follow me. So I do, Huntsman close on my heels and grumbling the whole while.
It leads us through a few twists and turns until we finally reach a man packing up a stall with a cage full of sparrows. My friend lands on a roof, screeching for help. From me.
The man smiles at me. “Hello, young lady. You’re just in time. I was about to close up.”
“How much for the whole cage?”
“Oh, um.” The man rattles off a number and I rummage through Dad’s coinpurse, just finding enough to cover it all. “You don’t strike me as the witchy sort. Or the pet sort. For a friend?”
“Of a sort,” I reply as the man hands me the cage. “Thanks. Have a nice evening.”
The bird on the roof takes off and I follow it again, arms straining under the weight of the cage. I could just give it to Huntsman to carry, but he’s more likely to get pecked than I am. The birds inside, agitated and squirmy and screechy as they are, at least seem to understand I’m trying to help them.
There’s a little gap between the cliffs that leads to the border woods. The sparrow hovers in place, chirping at its friends in the cage. Here. Release them here. I balance the cage on my knee and get the little door open. The little birds inside stream out like water, all singing at once. I can’t translate directly—no human can do that—but I can get the gist, their mood, the general sentiment. They’re thanking me.
The sparrows form into a cloud and make right for the woods, chirping away. Relieved, I think.
Huntsman takes the empty cage off me. “Sometimes I forget you’re fae-blooded,” he says, “but then you have to do strange things like that.”
“Could you ignore them if they asked you for help?”
“That’s assuming I wouldn’t just think they were yelling at me.”
“Maybe they’re just picking up on general human behaviour towards you.”
“Very funny.” Huntsman grips my arm and leads me back the way we had originally planned to go. “No more detours, bird girl. Your father will have my head if I deliver you too much after dark.”