Saturday, 3 November 2018

it liiiives!! || part 1: the Shared WIP Tag returns

You know how there's this writing thing on called NaNa or something?

And you know how I've also been (shall we say) sporadic at best at keeping active in the blogosphere? (or in real life – keeping active, ugh – but I digress.)

I've signed up to do something which will help me fail in combine both of those things!

You may have heard of it. I've done it twice before, and there are a lot more bloggers joining in this time. It is...

*overdramatic drumroll*

The Shared WIP Tag!

And! because I have no imagination! and am a NaNo rebel! I am focusing on Three Sisters, aGAIN, because I have not! yet! finished!

–{{1. Introducing: Three Sisters!

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.

[No wait, that's the summary for me. I'm supposed to give you the semi-official summary:]

Billie's the oldest of three, 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 choice does she have? She invokes the old traditions to pay for her sister's debt herself.

Turns out, the traditions have a little-known clause: whatever is offered in free payment of another's debt cannot be harmed. Assumed dead, Billie instead wakes up in a manor deep in the forest; although he's not happy about his unwanted guest, 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 to live, watching their grief while she lives in unwilling comfort?

And then her sisters start making bad choices – and she can't do a thing about it.

Josie wants vengeance on the monster that killed her sister, and teams up with bandits to get it. Elsie is distraught and leaves the forest, meeting a ghost from the past and unintentionally exposing the sisters' presence in the forest. 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.

(If you recognise these, yes, they are the same ones as last time! I modified the longer one a bit, but eh.)

–{{2. Where did you get the idea for your story? What came to you first: your theme, character, premise, setting, etc?

"What kind of a father tells his daughter some Beast will kill him if she doesn't go in his place?? a responsible father would never 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??

So once I'd had that thought, I thought I'd write about someone who insisted on going back to face the Beast themselves. Only I made the character a girl, because I'm a girl so my MCs are too, and then I made her the oldest sister, because that way I could channel all those we might fight but don't you DARE touch my siblings emotions.

So I suppose the premise came first, followed shortly by the character, and the (vague sort of) theme came a little after that.

("Not setting?" you ask. ahaha how long have you been reading my blog, my dear.)

–{{3. What have you done to get experience for your story (like watching knitting YouTube videos)? What did you put into the book because it’s something you know about (like if you’re a martial artist, and put that in)?

I wish I were a martial artist.

To get experience for my story, I ate a lot, and read a lot, and snarked a lot. This helped me get into character and into the aesthetic of the story and totally wasn't something I would have been doing regardless.

I also have two younger sisters of my own, for the sole purpose of getting experience for my story. *waves to them*

–{{4. What made you decide to write this particular book for NaNoWriMo?

I feel this could be the story I finally finish!

Because of that feeling, I've worked on this story for (at least?) two Camp/NaNo events already. Look at me rebelling against the NaNo rules that say "YOU CANNOT HAVE WRITTEN A SINGLE WORD OF THIS STORY BEFORE THE STROKE OF MIDNIGHT ON NOVEMBER FIRST".

Another reason I'm writing Three Sisters this November is that I've shared some bits of it with you guys before, and you said you liked it (you may have just been being polite, but I'm ignoring that possibility), which kind of stops me from guiltily slipping it into the drawer labelled "Never Got Around To Finishing". So. I need to work on it.

–{{5. Do you research before, after, or during your first draft writing process? Have you done any research for this particular book? How do you usually research?

Research? hahaha what now??

The only active research I've done for this novel is finding a floor plan for the Beast's manor, and a map of a village that approximately matches a town in the story, because I absolutely cannot imagine layouts. 

–{{6. Do you plot or plan your book in any way before you start writing? What methods do you usually use and what did you do this time?

(why do all these questions make me feel so personally attacked xD)

Do I plot? Do I plot?

I let things sit in my head until they make sense, and occasionally write down pages starting "This happens, but that needs to happen first, so how can I fit that together. She could go there first, or he could skip visiting there... Also I need this character to have a reason to do X, so how can I manipulate her into doing that."

Honestly, I sort of muddle through the story thinking "ooh, that would be cool!" or "this element of a fairytale would connect nicely with that one!" But I don't actually know.

–{{7. Do you hand write or type your first draft?

I used to hand write (and count... which was fun.....), because I simply couldn't craft a story within Word. No idea why. But then I discovered MyWriteClub. Now I write in MyWriteClub and save in Word, although I still do any story notes / plot ideas / character development on paper.

(I will shout about MyWriteClub forever, just so you know.)

–{{8. Do you have a brainstorming buddy and if you do, who was it this time and how did they help?

I do not have a brainstorm buddy. I'm not sure it's a particularly healthy trait for a writer, but I keep any serious ideas in my head until my mind has subconsciously brainstormed, found the pieces it wants to add, and slotted them roughly together.

A brainstorm buddy would be fun. 

–{{9. How did you come up with your characters’ names?

With a lot of soul-searching and anguish. Also tears and lying prone on my bed for extended periods of time.

Without the right name, I can't write the character at all. It's terrible. In fact, Zephyr used to be Konnor, Tariq, and Merrin (in very early stages). He was completely characterless and I couldn't have cared less about him and Elsie. (Zephyr, on the other hand... I care very much about him.)

I'm pretty sure I picked the sisters' names so they could potentially sound male? (Billie; Josie gets shortened to Josh; Elsie gets shortened to Ells.) The plan was that it would be an added layer in hiding their identity. Like "oh, there's a Josh in the forest, but you're looking for a girl, so-" (That works best when you know the sisters have other names... Isobel, Elsabeth, and Jocelyn.)

I still have unnamed characters. The villain, for example, and the king of the country they're in.

Also, as you might have been able to tell from that last awkward sentence... I have unnamed places. So many. Actually, I've named... one place.

Seriously, if anyone has some brilliant suggestions on how to name things, I am all ears. Except for my fingers, which will be frantically typing.

–{{10. Do you know what your story's theme is? If you do, how did you find it, and if you don't, how do you plan to find it?

Er. Three Sisters' theme is something along the lines of 'the loyalty of family' and 'trust'. Because that's what's going on, and it ties into Billie's character arc (look at me pretending I have seriously planned out all these things).

Also 'snark will not always make the situation better, but it will make you feel better'. (But that's not really a theme, is it? More of a moral-of-the-story.)

So there you have it! Now, for the links to all the other amazing people:

Jules @ Saver of Memories (inventor of this wonderful idea!)
Nicole @ Legend of a Writer
Ceci @ Ceci Creates
Lisa @ Inkwell (the amazing graphics are courtesy of her!)
Gray @ Writing is Life
Julia @ Lit Aflame
Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer
Brooklyne @ Showers of Blessings
Ariel @ Scribes and Archers
Keturah @ Keturah’s Korner
Sarah @ Pen of a Ready Writer

As for my late appearance...
1. I have excuses.
2. I'm sure it's still Friday somewhere.
3. Someone has to be last and I'm generous enough to volunteer. xP

Are you a late kind of person?? Have you heard of the Shared WIP Tag yet? I'm so excited to see all these new names this time around! What's your NaNo project and goal? (mine's 25k, I'm pretty sure... let me just check..... update wHAT no Jem what were you thinking. 15k. xD) Or are you delving deeper into your story without the pressure of NaNo?

Also, I need to know: a) do you struggle to imagine layouts; b) how do you name characters with minimal struggles; c) how do you plot with minimal pain; d) wut are words because hEY NaNo brain-freeze, it hasn't been long enough since we last met. 

And are you tired of hearing about Three Sisters yet and wish I would just hurry up and finish the story already? me too, mate. me too. Yell at me in the comments and I might write faster. or not.


  1. A) UM HECK YES LAYOUTS ARE THE WORST EVER. Like, is it IMPORTANT that we have to know where the bedroom is in the house? ...It is? ....Dang it.

    B) um naming characters is ALSO THE WORST except when they come neatly packaged with the character. That’s amazing.

    And haha, no, we’re not sick of the Three Sisters yet. It’s a really cool story idea! I wish you luck on your 25k goal!

    1. A) LAYOUTS ARE THE WORST. If I don't know, I waffle so terribly (in my attempts to imagine where everything is) and it's inevitably the worst kind of dry 'telling'.

      B) the characters are so RUDE not to introduce themselves when they turn up and demand attention??

      Thanks, Nicole! (although after posting I realised "wHAT did I say my goal was??" and revised it to 15k. Apparently I haven't the slightest idea what I'm doing.) xP

  2. I love the snark! I do hope it's in your writing ;) This story looks fun!

    1. ehehe, I do try to put as much snark in my writing as possible, Keturah! (maybe that's why I like dialogue the best?)

  3. THREE SISTERS!!! I missed hearing about it! And your snark! (And no, I didn't just say I liked it to be polite. I truly do really wanna read this because I really! do! think! it sounds! brilliant! *really wants to meet the bandits* :D)

    1. Aww, thanks, Lila! (The bandits are pleased to hear it.) ;D

  4. Oh Jem, I've missed your blog posts. You always make me smile with your humour and snark, fellow Aussie. xD I'm glad you're going back to this story!!! I loved hearing about it and I really hope you can finish it!

    *whispers* I have a tip for naming places. Pull up Google translate, find a language that could have been used in your story world, and then for the English box type in something like "green forest" "red sand city" "place of death", etc. and it will translate it. Then you can use the word that comes up, or switch around a few letters. xD

    1. I really hope I can finish it too, Melissa... (encouraging words like yours definitely help, so thank you! ;)

      Ooh, that sounds great! I used to name places by jumbling up letters until I though they sounded suitably 'fantasy'. Never developed an ancient language/culture/anything to back these names up, just... jumbles of letters. I have since become interested in how things actually get named (it's surprisingly never by picking seven blind letters out of a Scrabble set and shuffling them?? I am shocked), and want to have meanings behind the names - so this should work well! :D

  5. Best wishes on your goal! You can do it!!! :)

  6. The aesthetics are so beautiful!!!

    1. Thanks Gray! (I pinched them from last WIP Special's aesthetic post... because I haven't made any new ones. ;P)


    Seriously, Jem. You must finish it. Soon. We needs it :)


    1. Soon?? I was just looking back through my document, and I've been working on it for two years and about six NaNo events so far... xD I will try, Catherine! I want to read it too! ;P

  8. I love this book sooooooo much *sobs*

    "Without the right name, I can't write the character at all." TRUTH. The name can make or break a character and it's CRAZY how much a name can make you fall in love with someone.

    (Also, if you ever need to brainstorm, just send me an email!!!)

    1. *sobs with you* *except because I have to write it instead of just being able to read it fully formed and perfect*

      YES and I stress over their names for so long! some stories I've managed to ignore the fact that a character has no name for, oh, [let me see how far along Three Sisters I am...] ...about forty thousand words??

      (I will do that, Julian!!)

  9. Oh. My. Word. I vaguely remember reading some posts about this story last year, but HOLY GUACAMOLE AND CHEDDAR. This sounds SO LOOK good!!! It took me a minute, but I remember you saying something in the past about the Beast being a grumpy old softy who just wants to live in peace with his scones and his books (please correct me if I'm wrong on that) and I just....I LOVE THIS. If you ever need a beta, I would be so greatly honored to be a part of your team for this...


    Eating a lot and reading a lot and snarking a lot is pretty much the three main ingredients to being a writer, tbh...

    UM. AHA. AHAHAHAHAHA. I ABSOLUTELY LOVE THIS STORY AND THAT IS NOT A LIE. And YES. With EV (which is currently on vacation, but lol let's just ignore that fact), I wrote the first 50k of that story in November of 2016, wrote mildly on it for the first few months of 2017, entered it as my project for Camp April and FINISHED the first draft, then started revising it for that years July session of Camp. And THEN I tried editing it in Novmember of that year, as well, but like. Let's just ignore that because it was a total fail. XD But anyway, long story short, I firmly believe in working on past projects for NaNo! ESPECIALLY Camp NaNo, because then you can sort of tailor your goal more towards revision and whatnot.

    LOL. PLOTTING. WHAT EVEN IS THAT. Your outlining method sounds very plantser-ish. As a fellow plantser, I am pleased. XD ALSO IS THAT A GIF OF DOCTOR WHO AMD IS THAT RORY BECAUSE THAT LOOKS LIKE RORY ASDFGHJKL *distant squealing*

    GASP. You use MyWriteClub???? I need to friend you on there!!! (Although I never win at any of my goals, so like....oops.)

    Oh my goodness. The name thing. That is BRILLIANT. Please excuse me whilst I go silently weep because I AM NEVER THAT CLEVER UGH. Also naming things is...Aha. Yeah. I'm writing a pure fantasy this November, which means naming LOOOOTS of lovely things. I've named a few, but mostly I've just been using [name] or [fruit] as placeholders. That's my tip for your ears and your fingers. XD

    This post was absolute perfection, Jem!! And also I've never participated in the shared WIP thingy, but I might have to jump on board next time?? It looks like fun... And ALSOOO...someone who is participating in this has a blog that is the exact same name as my fantasy world. So. That's kind of serendipitous... XD And also I HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO PLOT. I plotted ten chapters for my NaNo project before November, and now I'm running out of plot and I need to try and plot out the rest of the book during NaNo. This is fine. Everything is fine.


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