Wednesday, 4 October 2017

The Four-Part Writing Special // Part One: Story

Julian (over at Saver of Memories) has created a thing. It's been through a bit of discussion and modification, but now it's ready for the first part to step into the blogging world!

It's... a link-up? Tag. But not tag-gy because you don't tag people.

See, there was a REASON I called it a thing.

The 4-Part Writing Special // Part One: Story

Basically, there's a few of us who've joined Julian in answering four sets of ten questions about our current WIP. We've even decided to put up our posts on the same day.

That's organisation and coordination.

Of course, once you factor in time zones, it isn't quite so neat... and the chosen dates don't work for some of the participants... but iT'S STILL IMPRESSIVE. 


These are the participants! You should go check out their blogs and read their 4-Part Special posts too!

And now for the questions, kindly thrashed out by [mainly] Julian, Sarah, Lisa and Ivie. (The images were created by Ivie, too. :)

1. What is the title, genre and current status of your WIP?

Working title: Three Sisters.

Genre: fairytale mix/retelling [shush that's totally a genre]

Current status:
(What I say:) 

(What I mean:)

[Ooh look at me. Mixing Marvel and DC again. *gasps all round*]

2. What do you think makes your story unique?

I think it's unique among Beauty and the Beast retellings, because I've chosen to have the younger sister cause the Beast's anger, and the older, responsible sister pay for that.

I haven't read too many B+B retellings... but as far as I have read, they try to stick to the "father trespasses/etc, Beauty goes to live with the Beast so it won't kill her him". But what kind of father would do that?? Not to get too iffy here, but all he had was the Beast's word that it wasn't going to, I don't know, eat her. As an older sister, I can't fathom how he wouldn't have protected his daughter with his life, if necessary. I'm trying to investigate that sort of angle.

Oh, also, the Beast was never human, does not fall in love with "Beauty", and ends up being a grumpy/legalistic/slightly bewildered great-uncle kind of figure, who just wants his books and his tea and to be left in his garden in peace. So there's that too.

3. Where did the title come from?

I have a habit of titling my WIPs after their MC. Thus, I have Lyndie, Emily James, Huck Morton, etc.

Thusly, Three Sisters.

Because there are three. (Although Billie's my favourite and is therefore the main main character... but Elsie's story is growing on me [it involves a tragic romance backstory]; Josie's story thread still needs a bit of work though. [It's not very exciting or twisty.])

These are just working titles, after all. I have no idea how to title properly. I've never gotten that far.

4. How long have you been working on your WIP?

I started Three Sisters for April's Camp NaNoWriMo, and got 15k. After that, I worked on it during July's Camp and got another 10k (with a rather spectacular finish, if you remember...). And I haven't really considered November yet (because it's wAY TOO EARLY TO WORRY ABOUT THAT, RIGHT??), but currently I'm thinking I'll continue with Three Sisters. Because I haven't worked on it since July.

Anyway. The answer is either 6 months, or two months of actual work.

5. What do you think people will enjoy most about your WIP?

I think they'll enjoy the characters and their interactions. (I certainly do.) Also the nods to various fairy tales.

6. Provide a snippet (long or brief) of a favorite scene.

Josie backed away, leaving Old Bill's side, but she was surrounded. Rowan stepped closer.

"I did apologize before, but I'd like to do so again. This is nothing perso-"

Josie slid a knife out of the sheaths inside her boots and spun Rowan, twisting his arm up and holding the knife to his ribs. "You seem to be a leader. So tell them to let me go. Or I will make this personal."

"Easy, now." His voice became even calmer. "Have you considered that this might be a bad idea? There are a lot of us, and one of you, and we're skilled archers. Except for Kik, but he won't practice, so he can't expect any better."

Kik snorted and let Old Bill away into the trees. The rest of the men remained, a ring around Josie and Rowan and the drama. They didn't, Josie was bothered to see, look at all worried. She pushed Rowan and tried to walk forwards using him as a shield, but he dug his heels in.

"I only have to say the word and they'll shoot," he warned. "You can't do this."

"Shut up!"

"You're forcing us into a corner, you know that? We never meant for anyone else to get involved, but you wouldn't take a hint and leave."

Josie changed her grip on the knife, the handle sweaty. "Nice, now let me go."

Rowan twisted his body away from her, seized her wrist and forced the knife, point-first, away from both of them. "How about we discuss that now you're not holding a knife to me?"

With her free left hand, Josie reached for the knife's twin in her other sheath.

One of the men shouted a warning, and Rowan grabbed her arm before she could get it.

"That isn't very polite. I was talking to you."

"And I was ignoring you." Josie tried to bite his arm.

He pulled out of her reach. "There's no point in all this. Let's talk it out sensibly. We want our presence to remain secret, and we feel you're a threat to that, so we would like to keep you contained here until we have packed up and can move. You are unwilling - understandably - for us to contain you. That about covers things?" He saw she was not going to reply, and continued. "Do we have an alternative to containing you?"

"You could shoot me, I suppose." Immediately after saying it, Josie realised that might not be the most appropriate thing to say, unless she didn't mind being shot. They were, after all, holding bows. "I'm not too keen on that plan either, to be honest."

PLEASE FORGIVE. It's first draft writing from Camp NaNo. By all rights, it should never have seen the light of day.

And because I am apparently crazy like the Beast, here's a snippet with him:

Count Laszlo poked his head gingerly inside the door. "Ah, you're awake? I heard voices... thought I might check on you. Is there any chance I could get my study back soon?"

Billie looked down at the open book, its edges pressing red lines into her skin. "I- no!"

"Do you mean you've gotten attached to my room, in which case I must strongly object, or has something happened which has distressed you?"

She shook the book. "I've only been gone three days! Three days!"

"I'll leave you alone, then." He coughed. "But could you possibly move to your own room?"

Billie flapped a hand at him without looking up, and Count Laszlo sighed - but not loudly enough to draw attention to himself - and withdrew his head, pulling the door gently shut behind him.

Same disclaimer as before - if your eyeballs have received permanent damage, that's not my fault (even though it completely is).

Oh, and the book is like the magic mirror from Snow White?? the Beast helped Billie set it so it was set to watch Billie's cottage [where her sisters are supposed to be].

Actually, I guess it's more like a security camera...

Also please note that the Beast has undergone multiple personality changes through the first draft so far, and will need to be made consistent in editing. Although it kind of makes sense here that he's not-grumpy, because last time Billie came out on top, so he's a little more cautious. (You can read a little of what happened earlier - when he pushed Billie too far by talking insensitively about her sisters - in question 9. He's right to be cautious now.)

7. Describe your WIP in 10 separate short phrases.

Fighting, protective sisters
Remnants of a family banding together
Teacups and glowing orbs
Confusion and misunderstanding all round
Banter and snark
A grumpy Beast who wants to be left alone with his library and scones and cups of tea
A prince who thinks he's seen a ghost
Forest aesthetics
Also garden/library/scones/tea aesthetic
Have you figured out yet that I'm making these up on the spot
I'LL COME UP WITH A BETTER LIST LATER okay? because this would actually be helpful.

...Also, none of these are technically phrases. Never mind. I DO WHAT I WANT. Also it's going on 11pm so I'm not going to sit here arguing the finer points of grammar (I save that for daylight hours).

8. What is the hardest thing to write with this story? What is the easiest?

The easiest thing is the banter and people being snarky at each other. The hardest thing is making sure that the banter and snark has a point and progresses the story.


9. A line where the tension builds.

"We discussed this yesterday. I don't think I have enough furniture to do it every day."


Billie stuffed the last of her bread into her mouth and, maintaining eye contact, swiped everything off the tea-table onto the floor.

The teacups and scones with honey are innocent victims of the 'discussion'. This causes enormous tension. ENORMOUS tension, I tell you.

Do not attack the Beast's teacups.

10. Explain the plot in one line. 

People are confused and make bad decisions and I do too. 

Um, this would require me to... have a plot.

I have some ideas and some things I want to do and just a whole heap of situations to make things awkward for my characters.

I do not know how the story is supposed to end.

And there you have it! Ten tidbits about my WIP, Three Sisters.

Because you all wanted to know more about the ramblings of my brain  amazing thing I am calling a "story" smushed-up fairytales I'm writing as one big happy story!

Now you should definitely go check out the other participants' posts on their WIPs, answering these same questions. Here they are again:

Excellent! Off you go, then - no, WAIT. Comment first. Obviously. (Why are you sneaking away like that?)

Banter and snark - vital or no? Do you know how your story is going to end? Do you think the Beast is justified in his protectiveness of his teacups [and food]? And the most important one: HOW DO I PLOT. (Please and thank you for answering that one.) 


  1. This was great! I loved the snippets. Can't wait to read the next few posts!

  2. So much FUNNNNNN! I love your story k?

  3. I want to read this book so baaaaaaddddddd!!!!! I LOVE tea - can I just have a lovely afternoon with your beast, please?? I am totally protective over mine, so I would say he's totally justified. #myenglishbloodcomingout

    Plotting Steps:
    ~Write down what should happen in the story
    ~Don't do it

    I would ask Sarah that one. She's the best plotter ever.

    Cause I just tend to get hazy ideas (I think everything in my brain is hazy, tbh) and go with it.

    1. The Beast mayyy invite you over for afternoon tea, Julian. Depending on your table manners. The last girl he had tea with... wasn't a good guest.

      THOSE ARE BRILLIANT PLOTTING STEPS I'm totally going with those ones xD

  4. Ooooh, a B&B retelling! I'm sufficiently intrigued XD

    1. If you're intrigued, Lila, then my job here is done! ;P

  5. "Except for Kik, but he won't practice, so he can't expect any better." AAAAHHHHH~ YES THAT WAS ~GLORIOUS~!! Sorry, I cracked up pretty good there.

    I love reading your blog, and I particularly enjoyed this post. I can't wait to read the next three posts. *squeals and jumps up and down in UN-ladylike fashion while clapping hands*

    1. Kik kind of snuck his way into the story, and cemented his position by contributing the the banter. ;P I'm so pleased you liked that bit, Evangeline!!

      Thank you, and thank you! *jumps up and down with you in an awkward semi-dance*

  6. I am impressed by your coordination. XD *claps* Good job.

    Also YOUR BOOK SOUNDS EPIC. *throws confetti* JUST TOO COOL.

    1. *bows*

      *flaps around in confetti* THANK YOU, JANE!

  7. I love those snippets. xD Much amusement!
    Also, I never know the end to my stories until I'm at least half-way into them, and even then it's just a shadow of an idea. Best of luck figuring out yours!

    1. Melissa, I'm so happy to hear that I'm not the only writer who has no idea how the story's going to end! (...misery loves company... xP) (Actually, Gail Carson Levine had no idea how Ella Enchanted was going to end, which is encouraging...) I guess I'll figure it out when I get there!

  8. "we're skilled archers. Except for Kik, but he won't practice, so he can't expect any better."

    This made me laugh so hard my family came running to see if I was ok.

  9. Enjoyed your honest post, Jem. Particularly your cross-out's. A true writer at work. And the premise and a different sort of beast--Cool!

    1. Thanks, Mrs Baldwin, and thank you for visiting! :)

  10. This story sounds really cool! I also loved your post :D And, don't worry, there was no damage done to my eyes, more like to my brain, wanting to read your story!!

    1. I'm sorry to have caused damage to your brain, Ani! xD (but I'm glad you think Three Sisters sounds cool <3)

  11. ALL THE BANTER AND SNARK!! And omg I love sister stories so yours sounds amazing! I also like that you're coming at it from a different angle, that's awesome. I want to do a B&B retelling (omg that sounds like bed and breakfast??? that's a fun twist) where it's swapped around: and all the monsters are outside the castle and the humans are in.đŸ˜‚Still thinking on that though haha. ANYWAY. I love the sound of yours!! GOOD LUCK FOR NANO. (And yep, I know how my NaNo book is going to end! I we must have a middle tho.)

    1. OH WOW Cait now I need a Beauty and the Beast story involving a bed and breakfast xD Also I need your version. Please publish already?!

      And I'm pretty sure middles are optional. Or a conspiracy to frighten off young writers. ...Definitely a conspiracy, now I think about it. Do not be taken in.

  12. OH MY WORD!!!! I think I honestly DIED at 'people are confused and make bad decisions and I do too.' That sentence literally describes my life. XD XD XD

    I absolutely ADORED this post!!! I cannot believe I have not come to your blog until now! I am so extremely lame. Your writing voice is utter perfection, your story sounds and IS (judging by the snippets) AMAZING, and I cannot wait to hear more about it! I am in LOVE with Beauty and The Beast, and your beast literally had me grinning. HE SOUNDS SO PRECIOUS!! I also love how you're defying all laws of B+B retellings by making him an uncle figure??? This is going to be such an amazing story!

    1. That's probably my life motto, now I think about it. Which I wouldn't mind if it didn't also describe my pLOT. (Unwilling pantser...)

      Ooh, that's okay Kenzie - you're here now! And thank you so much for your kind words about Three Sisters. :') <3


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