Friday, 2 March 2018

The WIP Special is Back! || MORE ABOUT THREE SISTERS

JULIAN'S 4-PART SPECIAL IS BACK.

...But this time, with new, bonus content! Now, for the same low price, you can order four, get one free! 

*coughs*

Basically, this time, we've fit five weeks into the month. So it's actually the-

5-part writing special (Part 1: Introducing the WIPs)

(Thanks to Lila for making the awesome graphic! <3)


The March 5-Part Special

Part 1: Introducing the WIPs


–{{Give a 1-3 paragraph blurb of your WIP


[INSERT SUPER-COOL BLURB/HOOK HERE HAHA]

[whoops I meant to take that out ahaha]

Billie's the oldest of three. That makes her the one responsible for Elsie and Josie. She works hard to keep their life together - their new life, their life in a little cottage in the forest, the life they've built for themselves. But Josie is caught poaching: not by kingsmen, which would mean death, but by a legendary Beast of the forest, which... also means death. Billie's the oldest. Billie's the one who keeps her sisters safe. What option does she have? She invokes the old traditions to pay for her sister's debt herself.

The Beast must accept her offer, but he knows the traditions more deeply: whatever is offered in free payment of another's debt cannot be harmed. Billie wakes up a manor deep in the forest; her sisters think she's dead, but although he's not happy about it, the Beast refuses to harm her - even after she has several aggressive outbursts involving his tea and his scones and his ferns. She was willing to die for Josie. But she's not sure if she can handle watching her sisters think she's dead while she lives in unwilling comfort. And then her sisters start making bad choices - and she can't do a thing about it.

Josie's on a mission now; she wants vengeance on the monster that killed her sister, and has teamed up with bandits to get it. Elsie is distraught and leaves the forest, meeting a ghost from the past and unintentionally making the sisters' presence in the forest known. As everyone works at cross-purposes, old and new enemies and acquaintances are gathering in the forest. Eventually, for the three sisters, their hiding will be over.

(I made that up on the spot, if you can't tell...)


[BONUS FEATURE: Draft blurb!]

Everyone is working on an incorrect information and is confused and meets all the people they don't want to. Snark is considered a valid fighting style.

[That works too.]




–{{Describe your WIP in ten short phrases.


sisters  || tea and scones || ghosts from the past || bickering || deep down, they care
protecting family || regret || she doesn't trust anyone but herself || can't hide forever || aching

(This was harder than I expected, but I'd love to polish this up as a kind of inspiration for myself as I write.)

(Also I'm not sure how many of those were actual phrases. Forgive me.)


–{{How did you come up with the idea of your story?


I think the first thing was a strong feeling of protectiveness towards my own family. The idea that Beauty/Belle's father would allow her to go to the Beast - to an unknown future - so the Beast wouldn't kill him? That didn't make sense to me. If someone (let alone a literal talking beast) said they'd kill me unless I brought them [in my case] my sister, I hope I'd be strong enough to tell them exactly what I thought of that plan?!

So I suddenly had a family of three sisters - like in the standard Beauty and the Beast story - but I'd taken out the father figure and put the oldest sister, Billie, in his position of responsibility. Then I had her respond to the situation in a way that made sense to me, relying heavily on the idea of her protecting her sisters no. matter. what.

[To my own two sisters: for the hundredth time, no, they are not "you". Billie is not "me". I have taken elements of emotions and used them to create characters.]


–{{Why did you choose to write this WIP? What gave it priority over all the other plot bunnies?


I have a deep connection to Billie's protectiveness, and I think it might be my emotional attachment to the characters and their situation that makes this story seem so much more complex or deep than previous attempts at WIPs.

And I twisted in a few more fairy tales for sub-plots, which helped me put more depth in. (I have trouble making my stories fleshed-out enough to hold up for a whole draft, okay?)

[also why did I suggest this question. *headdesk*]


–{{How did you go about preparing to write it?


I filled out a few character questionnaires for the three sisters. Not the "hair/eye colour, favourite food/colour/animal" type of questionnaire - although maybe I should have, because I still don't know those things [I don't know my MC's eye colour...]. Instead it was more like a list of questions I'd ask the character, and have them reply in first person as though I was interviewing them. The more they'd ramble, the more pleased I was.

(I'm actually currently doing the Character Development Questions: Hard Mode, which I found on Pinterest.)

I found that, through interviewing just my main characters, I discovered a lot more about the plot, the characters' motivations, even the villains. I discovered what my characters stand for, what they'll talk about, what they won't talk about (which is, obviously, where I will be headed...).

After getting to know my characters, I sat down with a piece of paper and started writing. At the start. It has meant I'm going to have to revise the first 20+ pages to fit with the plot I gradually developed/modified, but at least I was writing. I wouldn't have gotten that plot development or improved my character voice without just writing it.


–{{Did you have to do any research for this story? What was the most interesting/funny story connected with your research?


I always love reading writers' stories about research and the whole "I SWEAR I'M A WRITER. NOT A MURDERER" thing. Buuut I don't really have anything?? My research would probably be for the worldbuilding [my weak point], including ideas for fantasy politics, but I haven't done any yet, unless Pinterest counts don't have any stories to tell about the research process. Sadly.


–{{Was this story easy or hard to write? Why?


Well, I haven't finished it yet, so this answer might change, e.g. as I get to the point where I'm supposed to tie all the loose ends into a neat bow, but I'm finding Three Sisters a fairly enjoyable story to write. Sometimes I have to push past writing description (ugh I'm terrible at that) and action scenes (my writing speed really decreases on those), but I like the emotion I hope I'm getting onto the page, so I'd have to say it's more easy than hard to write. I'm invested.


–{{Where was your favorite place to write this story?


...at my desk in my room.

Can't write anywhere else.


–{{What makes your story unique?


I've combined several fairy tales, twisting their elements together in what I hope are clever new ways, and - more importantly - given the characters better motivations and deeper personalities than regular fairy tales.

Also, SISTER RELATIONSHIPS. 

My setting/atmosphere is also almost more like a 18th-century (?) feel (maybe, but I honestly am terrible with "eras" and finding the name for a certain style) than a "brown"-feeling fantasy, which I hope is refreshing. (The capital is all white marble and pillars and high ceilings, not that the story ever goes there [as far as I know...]; the Beast's house has a greenhouse full of ferns with a high ceiling, and white tablecloths and scones with honey and delicate china teacups.)


–{{What do you love most about your story?


I love the characters and their relationships.

And making things awkward.
.... That's the end of Part 1! ....

But, of course, this is a collaborative blogging event. Here are all the other wonderful young bloggers who are also participating:


Time zones make it a bit tricky, but we should all be posting our answers to these questions sometime today. Go and check out these peoples' blogs! They're sure to have some excellent answers, and I know I'm looking forward to reading more about their WIPs. *shoos you away in their direction*

(no, wait, come back, you need to comment first...)
.....

What's your current WIP and why did you pick that story to work on? Do you interview your characters? (and do you know what colour their eyes are??) Tell me your funny research stories! 

As a side note, something I really only discovered through writing this post is that I'm most definitely a character-centred writer. I start with characters, and it's their struggles that drive the story. What about you? Are you a character-centred writer? Or do you create a plot and then insert the characters? (I have also read there are writers who start with a theme instead of a plot or characters. Any theme-driven writers, please check in and tell us how you do it.)

36 comments:

  1. JEM. I NEED YOUR STORY.

    WHEN YOU NEED READERS YOU LET ME KNOW, K? PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

    The sister themes! The synopsis! The fact that's it's an epicly different B&B retelling!!! I LOVE IT! Can't wait to hear more about it <3

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    1. AWWW. Your comment made me feel all fuzzy, Faith! <3

      (I guess I'd better... try to finish it so in the future you can be a reader... ahaha oops.)

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  2. Every time I read your idea behind this story, I just nod my head in agreement. I mean, what father would allow his daughter to go with this creepy beast in his place? And what sister wouldn't volunteer? It's a really brilliant concept and i"m glad you explored it.

    And yes, snark is definitely a viable fighting form.

    I can't wait to read more!

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    1. I know, right? "Hey, daughter, a creepy beast said I need to send you back to it or it'll kill me. No, no, you couldn't possibly... I can't let you... oh, well, if you insist. See you never."

      (My characters are glad that you agree snark is a viable fighting form. They're going to try it against armed soldiers next. Hope it goes well...)

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  3. ahhhhhhhhh oh my. But this is amazing.This is like my least favorite common fairytale. But you just took it up a notch. This looks beyond interesting! And I so want to read it!

    keturahskorner.blogspot.com

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    1. I'm planning on twisting in a few other fairytales too, Keturah - there are a few elements of Cinderella, Snow White and Robin Hood [not a fairytale, I know xD] too. I'm so pleased to hear that it intrigued you despite being Beauty and the Beast!

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  4. Moi lokot, that draft blurb is THE BEST.

    I think I know /most/ of the eye colors for my characters, even though I don't think it's written down anywhere. lol For some reason, eye color is important to me. And again, I don't write it down, it's just something I 'know' about everyone, and it tells me things about them. For some odd reason.

    And I never really thought about it, but Belle giving herself up to live with the Beast does sound a little....odd....when you put it that way. I mean, it's a heroic move and all, but still....I don't think my Dad would ever let me do that if he was being captured by some beast. He'd be all "Go home and care for the family..." So that only makes me more excited for your book!

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    1. *opens Google Translate*
      Google Translate: we think it's Russian! but we don't know what it says! did you mean moy lokot?
      Me: ...maybe?
      Google Translate, proudly: it means my elbow!
      Me: ...maybe not?

      (Yes, I think I shall keep the draft blurb for everything. And extend it into a plan. No, wait, that already is my plan.)

      ...next thing, you'll be telling me your characters arrive with names already attached, Julian! (really, do they? because that would just be too good xD) I'm really interested in how my characters think and feel... how they look is mostly an annoyance for when I'm in the middle of writing and suddenly need an eye colour. ;P

      Same with my dad! I mean, would a good father even tell his daughter the Beast had suggested it?? because a responsible father would not let his daughter go, and telling her she could (theoretically) have saved his life would just make her forever feel miserable and guilty (especially if the family then struggled to survive without him and she felt like she'd have been a better choice of sacrifice). Why give her that to think about??

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    2. Hahah, yes, that's the correct translation. XD Comes from a series where a character is always using various anatomy in his exclamations; I just gave it a Russian twist.

      Well....they kind of a little bit /do/ come with their names. Conn, Wisdom, Ondore, Duren, Hahn, Tache, Hahn and Maxin all came with names. Jaran and Nahale had each other's names, but I switched them around. Marywyn was Kalmarran until I thought that was too much like the Wingfeather Saga's Kalmar, so I changed it to Marywyn (a name I had laying around).

      Yup. Just be like "Look, I gotta stay with this beast because of reasons. Take care of the family. Help your ma and sisters and make good choices. I love you."
      Wait. I need a Beauty and the Beast retelling where that actually happens. *adds to list of stories to write*

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    3. ...okay, I didn't expect that. xD Cool - it would certainly make his speech distinctive...

      YOUR CHARACTERS COME WITH NAMES AND PHYSICAL DESCRIPTIONS?? teach me your secrets, Julian. (For me, naming is the wORST.) (I find Conn and Maxin particularly interesting names - as is Wisdom. ;)

      Now I really want to read a story where the father goes with the Beast! and he's a good and responsible and gentle father who desperately misses his wife and daughters, and he gradually shows the Beast there's a better way to live, or something. *sneakily shifts it to the top of your list of stories to write*

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    4. Yeah, they kind of a little bit do. :) Mostly because I add characters in one of two ways to my story.

      First: Alright...I need a character...*grabs sheet of pre-written character ideas*...how about this person? Blonde hair, good with a bow, female, very forward and confident, named Ondore. Yup! She'll do! *puts Ondore in book and gives her a place*

      Secondly: *is merrily writing along* Wait...who's this guy? Rinn? And he's a warrior? And he has a horse named Boots? And his hair is the color of honey and he has a nice smile and is very friendly? Cool! I guess he can stay in the book. And look at that, he's the King's Nephew? Alright, I'll allow it. And he's a precious cinnamon roll? Okay, fine by me...

      I also have a list of names that in the event when a character shows up without a name, I can speedily come across a good one to give them.

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    5. And I've never done a fairy tale retelling before...but this might actually be worth the attempt! What do you think?

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    6. And I suddenly got hit with even more inspiration right after that last comment, and now I had this idea of the Beast being this un-loved guy, who has horrible social skills, and the father stays with him and helps him become a decent human being and go out in public and take showers and have dinner with the family and oh dessian now I feel the need to start gathering even more ideas.....SAM WHAT HAVE YOU DONE????

      Oh the other hand...this could be my NaNo novel this year, since I haven't had one planned yet...

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    7. Ooh, yES. YES. Do it, Julian. Dooo ittt.

      (The father teaches him that he has to take showers as part of his social skills... xD LOVE IT. PLEASE WRITE IT.)

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    8. *puts book on the "To Write" list* Never fear, Sam...it shall be done!

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    9. *cheers* Can't wait, Julian!

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  5. I am actually planning my own fairy-tale twist that involves Beauty and the Beast as well! But I like your's better. 😆 I mean, sister relationships? An actual beast? Revenge? GHOSTS?! I WANT TO READ THIS. 😂

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    1. Cool! I'm looking forward to reading your Beauty and the Beast twisted-up retelling, Julia! What's it about?

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  6. Ohhh a sister version of Beauty and the Beast?! Cool!

    I love your ten phrases Jem!

    I need to do character questionnaires too....and interviews. Maybe things will go slightly better...lol.

    Pinterest totally counts! And fantasy politics is a great thing to research!

    I know what you mean....I can't really write anywhere else either.

    Can't wait to see more, Jem!

    Catherine
    catherinesrebellingmuse.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Catherine! I wasn't sure about the ten phrases, but I'm glad you like them. :)

      My characters tend to drive my story, so I find that getting them to talk to me about anything and everything really helps. Maybe it would work well for you too? Would you say you're a character-driven or a plot-driven writer?

      That's right - Pinterest totally counts as research. *coughs* I'm researching...

      Same to you, Catherine! ;)

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  7. The intro of this post is hilarious. XD

    This sounds SO good!!! :D

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    1. (For a minute, I got carried away and thought I was selling a vacuum cleaner?? apparently?)

      Thanks, Gray! :D

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  8. "I love making things awkward" ....well, okay then. XD
    I really do love the sound of this story though, even though I think I've said this before. :P

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    1. Often I'll skip or fast-forward awkward scenes when I'm reading/watching something? But for some reason I just really enjoy putting my Three Sisters cast through awkward situations. Not due to foolish decisions (maybe that's why I can't bear those other scenes?), but more like "oh hey here's some people who thought you were dead, bet you didn't think you'd be meeting them this morning!"

      I don't mind if you say it more than once, Jane... xP

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  9. You know how I feel about fairy tale retellings, and Three Sisters sounds like one I would pick up IN A HEARTBEAT. Seriously, this sounds soooooo good!!! I already really really like Billie and the care she has for her sisters! :D

    Lila @ The Red-Hooded Writer

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    1. Ahhh, thanks, Lila! <3 Fairytale retellings have huge potential as a genre, I think - and I definitely look forward to seeing your own WIP prove that. :D

      Also, thank you for making the graphics! (I'm actually considering keeping that green as a highlight for my blog??)

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  10. Do I know what colours my characters' eyes are? NOPE. (I write it once and then forget all about it...)

    My WIPs at the moment are editing Golden Revenge, as well as first drafting its sequel. *leans forward, whispers* It's called Silver Storm, and follows the children of the POVs in GR, many many years later. xD

    I love Three Sisters so much, and am excited to hear more about it in the coming weeks! :)

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    1. Ugh, I know. (Although you must have been able to keep track of Feriha's eyes?)

      OOH TELL ME MORE. (I'm trying to think of whose children those would be, but I figure that would be spoilers for GR to anyone else reading this...) Silver Storm, though? That sounds epic! I guess Stormdancing has an important role? (Also, do we get more of Mida's brothers, because I liked them.) (Especially now A-*cough* and *cough* look like there's a potential for *cOUGH*. Pleeease. xD)

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  11. This is really cool, what a fabulous book idea!

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  12. YOUR. BOOK. SOUNDS. AWESOME. I love the idea of a beauty and the beast retelling that is ALSO a sister story! I have two sisters and thus sister stories are always good. Have you read the Penderwicks??

    Also I read your last post... and promptly checked out Artemis Fowl from my library... I'm on chapter 6 and it's pretty good! AND EOIN COLFER ACTUALLY WROTE PART OF THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE SEQUELS although I have not read those and am not sure if I take them as canon... YET. xD

    My current WIP is drafting LEGIONish, a humorous superhero/sci-fi story. :) I chose it b/c it makes me laugh...I almost never interview my characters, but I do try to come up with headcanons for them, which basically serves the same purpose. I actually do know their eye colors (it took me a second, but I do!!) except for one character. My research is more like, "okay what are the lyrics to as many songs as possible ASAP so that I can randomly insert the lyrics into conversation".
    also, I loved the formatting of this post for some reason. Super aesthetically pleasing.

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    1. THANKS. <3 I have two sisters too! And I have not read the Penderwicks, although Mary Horton has mentioned them several times, I'm sure, and they sound really good. *scribbles note to self* *and hides it in TBR*

      BWAHAHA YESSS. I got you to read Artemis Fowl. SUCCESS. I haven't read the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy yet... but I do seem to recall hearing that Colfer was writing something like book 7? Of the trilogy. xD

      Another superhero story! *stacks onto future TBR* *because that's what Forward Planning is* I guess headcanons would be a lot like interviews in that you get to know how they'd react in a certain situation, and while it might not be a situation you ever write, it helps you know them more deeply anyway? (And that sounds like good research, Daisy! xD)

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    2. SIMILARITIES IN NUMBER OF SISTERS FOR THE WIN (...oddly specific, daisy...) and YES READ THEM!! They're the most ADORABLE things in the HISTORY of HUMANITY (except for maybe the Ewoks.)

      I FINISHED BOOK ONE TODAY AND GOT BOOK TWO AT THE LIBRARY!! I'M SO EXCITED SQUEEP. FOALY IS HILARIOUS, THOUGH, OKAY? LIKE, THE SASSMASTER. WHERE HAD THIS SERIES BEEN ALL MY LIFE. And yes, I think it's a running joke in the fandom that it's a 'trilogy' even though... there are at least four books that I take ENTIRELY as canon... xD

      *high-fives you for forward planning your TBR*
      My friend Soph had me write a headcanon for two of my characters where they basically dressed up as characters from the Hunger Games and glared at each other... It was bizarrely funny.

      also, I love how you described your WIP as not a "brown" fantasy-- I'd never really thought about it, before, I guess, but a lot of fantasies are very... brown and green?

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    3. Okay, I'll look up the Penderwicks! And The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy... from what I've heard about them, "this trilogy is 11 books" is completely in the spirit of the books??

      FOALY IS AWESOME. AND ARTEMIS/HOLLY BANTER. AND [redacted] SHOULD NOT HAVE DIED. (what book are you up to now, Daisy??) (I'm here if you need to shriek... xP)

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  13. So so so cool! I seriously love the sound of the Beast. <3

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  14. I'm not sure if I mentioned it in this post, but he's like the grumpy great-uncle who just wants to be left in peace with his greenhouse. And instead he has an angry young woman raging around his house. He's one of my favourite characters too, Snapper. xD

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Comment away! I read all comments - no matter how old the post may be! - and I'll try to reply. Just keep your words appropriate so I won't have to delete your comment (I'd hate to have to do that).