Hello again. Ready for another epic-length blog post? See Part 1 here.
To recap: I wrote 18.1k for Camp NaNoWriMo, surpassing my goal of 15k.
My novel is an f/f Snow White/Sleeping Beauty retelling where Snow White (Eira) is a princess of thieves and Sleeping Beauty (Tesana) is an actual princess living a hundred years prior, right before the collapse of her kingdom. I posted an excerpt from one of the protagonists, Eira, and posted through to day 15 of WIPjoy responses, plus a few additions that weren’t initially possible with Twitter’s 140 character limit.
So let’s get cracking, with a reminder of the #WIPjoy prompts.
Day 16: How would you describe your setting?
Because I emoji’d again, I’ll embed the tweet:
Worldbuilding is going to be an important issue in my revisions, but I couldn’t get a great handle on it before I started writing. So that’s a problem for future me.
Day 17: What was the first thing you knew about your story’s world/setting?
The main setting is a port city where most of the citizens live on the wooden boardwalks. And there’s a thriving thieves guild.
Day 18: Story location you’d most like to visit?
I wouldn’t mind visiting the castle belonging to the old kingdom (before the monarchy ends). Everywhere else kinda sucks.
Eira’s home city-state is rife with crime and corruption and the neighbouring empire is a bunch of patriarchal jerks, so I’m cool with just visiting the castle and then legging it back to the real world.
Day 19: Share a line that displays your world.
The boardwalk taverns are my favourite, bursting with life and traders and travellers who never sleep in the same place twice.
That’s Eira’s POV again.
1. The kingdom splits into independent city-states when the monarchy ends.
2. The king (Tesana’s father) was angling to become a client king of the neighbouring empire because the only other option was total annexation.
3. The trading port is ruled by merchant princes who once tried to drive up the price of fish. They live on the coast!
I’ve been listening to a podcast about the history of Rome so that’s influencing me a bit, to be honest, hence the client kingdom thing.
Day 21: Do you have a history for your world?
Most of the history I know is in one of the storylines. Princess Tesana fell into a cursed sleep and the kingdom fractured.
I don’t have a whole lot of history sorted out before Tesana’s time. Another worldbuilding weakness I need to address.
Day 22: If you could bring one element from your story into reality, what would it be?
The ability to talk to animals would be nice. I’ll leave the overall magic system to fiction bc there’s some nasty stuff there.
Day 23: Share a book, blog or piece of advice that has really helped your writing.
http://theticklishpear.tumblr.com/ has some great advice I’m saving up, both their own and curated from other sources.
Because blogs allow more freedom to write more than Twitter does, I’m going to add:
I found this blog post from Holly Evans a while back, which is a handy guide for making a story/series bible in Scrivener to keep all character and worldbuilding details on hand. Since NaNoWriMo routinely offers a winner’s discount for Scrivener, I think I might try it.
Day 24: Are you a plotter, pantser, or hybrid? What do you enjoy most about that style?
I’m a hybrid. Often I need to start writing before I can plan. That lets me learn the world & decide what it needs.
What I didn’t mention in my tweet is that it also affords me some flexibility to change things on the fly if I feel it’s necessary, such as little worldbuilding details or Huntsman’s orientation. He’s officially aroace now.
Day 25: Link day! Tell us about your writings!
I write YA fantasy w queer protagonists. I’m not published, but sometimes post excerpts on my blog.
Such as what I’ll be doing at the end of this post. Since this response is kinda neutered when placed on my blog, I’m gonna link to my other social media platforms to beef it up a little:
Twitter, Tumblr, Goodreads, Bloglovin (their big-ass pop-up that doesn’t go away unless you log in annoys me so I don’t tend to promote my presence there very often, but if you have an account and would rather follow this blog there, go for it)
Day 26: Share a line that makes you smile.
“Could you look any more like a murderer?”
“If your father would let me carry my axe in public, then yes, I could.”
Huntsman revels in terrifying people with nothing but his appearance and I love him for it.
Day 27: Share something encouraging that you believe every author needs to hear.
No one hits their goals 100% of the time. Every time you get a word down, you are creating something you didn’t have before.
Day 28: Share some authors whose books your readers may also like!
And then Julia and Zoraida both showed up in my mentions just to be lovely people *cries*
Day 29: What do you post most, and where?
I got emoji-happy again so:
Day 30: Explain your WIP in 10 words or less!
Two princesses meet in cursed sleep and fall in love.
That was HARD! I feel like I need more like twenty words to accurately get the point across. My own fault for writing a fairytale retelling, I guess.
So that’s all the WIPjoy covered. Now all that remains is to post an excerpt from one of Princess Tesana’s chapters and bid farewell to a productive month. Tesana’s obviously a little bit different from Eira considering she’s far more sheltered. Context: prior to this scene, fairies visited the castle while the royals were holding court and were granted an audience with Tesana’s parents, the king and queen. She wasn’t allowed to sit in on the meeting even though she typically holds court with her parents.
Mother and I spent our evenings painting together. I wasn’t very good, but she was. I suppose I hoped her talent would rub off on me eventually.
“What do fairies look like?” I asked her, painting the outline of a crudely-shaped dog.
“Like humans,” Mother indulged, adding a streak of brown onto her canvas. She had been painting a lifelike image of the woods outside the window for the past week. “They are not all the same. Some are markedly taller than humans while others are much shorter. There seems to be no in-between. All of them are beautiful, but there is something about their faces that betrays them as not human.”
“Where do they come from?”
Mother gestured with her brush towards her painting. “I believe they live somewhere in the woods. Those who find out for certain don’t typically come back.”
“Oh, some of the village witches claim they earned their powers from a decade of servitude to a fairy. They don’t talk much about it, however, so they’re either lying or have agreed to guard their benefactor’s secrets.”
Witches? That was a new one. “What do witches look like?”
“They’re human, darling. They just have magic.”
“Have I ever met a witch?”
“No. Your father distrusts magic in all forms.”
“He has his reasons,” Mother said vaguely, glancing out the window at the real forest she was trying to replicate.
I gave my dog a dot for an eye. “So, why were the fairies here if Father hates them so much?”
“We have an arrangement with them. It’s really not that interesting.”
“If I’m to rule the kingdom one day, I need to learn everything I can, even the boring parts.”
“Then perhaps you should study harder in your language lessons.”
“How am I to focus on them when I’m minutes away from taking court with you and Father?” But that wasn’t the point of any of this. I couldn’t let mother distract me. “The fae are our neighbours. They have magic. I need to understand them and I can’t do that if I’m constantly being dismissed when I ask about them. Why can I not meet them?”
Mother set down her brush. “Because,” she said slowly, “they are dangerous.”
“All the more reason I should understand them.”
Mother seized my shoulder, nails digging in to the point of pain. “I am not putting my only child in the path of the fae again.”
Mother released me, storming to the window where she rested her forehead against the frame. “The answer is no, Tesana. You will not meet the fae. You do not need to know why they met with your father. And you will stop asking these questions.” She took in a long, shaking breath. “Get ready for dinner. You’re covered in paint.”
See ya, April. You were pretty darn swell.