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Know Your Novel, Part 3

Hello! We’re back this weekend with another, the third, and the last installment of the awesome Know the Novel Link-up! (Psst. If you want to read more of these, just go to the Mother Site, Musings of an Elf blog, where all the links are compiled. Through there you can also find previous installments by a number of other authors). I’m glad I decided to participate in this project and share about my novel and the writing thereof. So, with that in mind and without further adieu, let’s dive in!

1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

Slow. Ever see a three-legged tortoise? Yeah. I’ve been at this since last November, buffering every so often like a video with poor internet speed, but in the end it was the tortoise who won the race, not the hare, right?

2.Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

I’m not entirely certain what all I expected this novel to turn out as, but it is a fair cry from the original idea I had, so in that respect it is very different.However, there were certain veins of the story that have held true from nigh the beginning, so in that respect it isn’t completely different. For these things I am pleased. At the stage we’re now in, I can say that I’m fairly pleased with story itself and the presentation of it.

3.What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

Hm. . . I think I have to say setting and prose. I’ve always had a love for describing scenery, and I enjoy trying to set the mood. I once heard a tip of visualizing in your mind the story/scenes/characters as though they were a movie, and then write what you see. I’ve been doing it this way for so long ─ from the very first, actually ─ that I can’t not do it that way. On the other hand, I love prose, and the almost poetic way of using words in narrative. Similes and analogies and the like are fun and powerful tools for conveying one’s meaning in terms simpler to understand. Our world is so full of these pictures that I can hardly help incorporating them into my own.

Oh,and worldbuilding. Once you get started it’s kind of hard to stop. It’s a blast.

4. How about your least favorite part?

Honestly? The theme . . . and pretty much all the other technical aspects of crafting a story. I remember saying once that writing was more fun when I was ignorant of the technicalities. When I wrote The Journey Taken I had very little education on the actual structure and process required. I knew I needed good characters and a plot, but I was largely unaware of the ‘plot skeleton’, and the need fora theme, a ‘moral of the story’. I wrote with abandon before, but now that I’ve read more about how to ‘properly’ write a story I’ve become hyperaware of the components involved, and something that was almost instinctual has become a list of requirements I grow overwhelmed at times to fulfill. The theme and internal problem for my main character was the hardest for me to sort out, a technique I’ve not really (at least intentionally) worked with before.

Rules, people. They’re everywhere; you can’t escape them.

5. What do you feel like needs the most work?

Oh, probably character development ─ at least for my secondaries. I don’t know how well they’ll connect with readers, and I’m concerned no one will see them as people, only as one dimensional NPCs.

6.How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

After a year I feel I should be more attached to them, but I’ve spent six years straight with the cast of TJT and it’s been hard adjusting to a new place and new people. I feel the best about them now more than ever, but that doesn’t mean I could tell you who would brighten at the idea of a peanut butter and cheese sandwich or spurn the opportunity catch a midnight viewing at the movies.

And my favorite? Don’t be silly. All of them have their good days and their bad days. Mallorie and Mattan are pretty fun as a devilish duo, and I liked writing the scenes where Roscha and Shyloh interacted. Jōb was a treat, the way he’s a little off kilter and speaks evasively about almost everything. I can feel for Judah and his frustration with the man. Part of me wishes I could have delved deeper into his backstory, but there was no good place to incorporate it in a natural way ─ which is why we have prequels and sequels and companion novels and all that jazz.

As for a least favorite, that I truly couldn’t say.  I even enjoyed writing the Druhydren because of their mindset and attitude about what they do ─ which, granted, is not a good thing, but their convictions aren’t mine and the lies they’ve been fed aren’t their fault─

I can’t say anyone particularly surprised me, either. No one spat in my face and said I don’t know what I’m talking about or went off on some character development spin I hadn’t planned on, and I don’t know if that makes me a heartless tyrant, that everyone did about exactly what was expected of them, or we all know our roles and that they’re within our characters to respond that way. Sometimes, when I hear about how other writers are heading one way and their characters are going another, I often feel like the former, and my obedient little pawns are doing exactly as I tell them. But then I stop worrying about it and we’re fine again.

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

Sending it to some beta readers. I wanted to test the waters and take the opportunity to gather some third-party opinions and suggestions on edits that could make the story stronger. (Pssst, if you’re interested in beta reading my manuscript, or know of someone who might, here’s the form that has all the information I could think of to help yo out. Thanks!)

8.If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

I think a lot of people would say a movie or TV show adaption, am I wrong? While that would be really amazingly awesome, the thought has also scared me, because so rarely are adaptions any good in regards to staying true to the story and characters. I think for this novel I’d just like to be able to hold a well crafted story with a beautiful binding in my hands. It would be a testament to all the new things I’m trying and the product of the time, effort, blood,sweat, tears, and headaches that went into it. I’m dreaming of an engaging story you can sit and read for hours, a becoming interior design that enhances the experience, and cover art that is more than just a cover, but a piece of art that can be appreciated on its own. 

9. Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!

More, huh? Let’s see here . . .

Onyn rolled his mug between his palms and wiggled his nose, making his peppery mustache dance upon his lip. He then took a deep breath and raised his eyes to gaze across the room and the many eyes all turned toward him. “The old stories of the Phennish people are the bone and marrow of who we are,” he began. His low, graveled voice carried easily to the ears of his listeners. “They are what teach us and our children our history, our faith, and our purpose here in this world. They show us what strength is, what courage means, and what our God can do through the faith of the humblest and lowliest soul. But tonight I want to tell you a newer story, about a man who’s character and deeds were nothing short of the heroes of ancient tales ─ a man who became a legend through one of our nation’s darkest times. This man’s name is Gydean un Silas-Edannah. Many of you know him today as our very own Adon’sar of the Nyan Falcons, Paladin of the Thousand Day War, and one of Phen’s Seven Princes. . ..”

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

Slacking off helps no one get anywhere, and trying to play catch-up at the last minute to compensate bears its own consequences. If you want something done, the only way to get there is to just do it. Procrastinators don’t write books. Deadlines are aptly named ─ by the time you reach the line, you’re basically dead. Don’t stress so much on the technicalities, but enjoy the simple pleasure of telling a story; the rest will usually fall into place. I have one of the best, most fun, most challenging, rewarding, and powerful vocations in the universe.

This journey has been a real ride so far ─ and we’re not near done yet! I’m looking forward to tackling this next step and getting that much closer to bringing this story into your hands!

Published inWriting Stuff


  1. I love your voice! It kept me reading to the end when I kept thinking I need to go work on my story. I just kept telling myself, ” the story will wait. I want to hear this awesome voice all the way to the end.” I totally get the whole following of rules thing, too! My first book I wrote without knowing the rules and while I’m sure it suffered some because of it, I worry more about my current WIP obeying the rules. Is it too forced? And not necessarily the characters. For the most part they follow my rules/plans. I think if/when characters try to do their own thing its more because the plot wants to change and not the characters themselves. I could be wrong about that. Anyway, I really do love your voice and I would so be a beta reader if I didn’t already have so much to read and write!

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