Know the Novel Linkup Part One–featuring murderous royals and muffins

Not to alarm anyone, but…October is almost over. Which means November is almost here. Which means–

*alarms self*

*falls over*

Yeah. It’s almost time for Nanowrimo.

Today I’ll be participating in the Know the Novel linkup created by Christine Smith @ Fairy Dust on My Pen. I will be answering the provided questions in an attempt to acquaint you all with my aspiring novel.

(Bold of me to assume my novel will allow itself to be subjected to such an interrogation.)

Let’s get on with the questions, shall we?

1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?


For several of my books I actually have a story about where the idea first came from–a dream, a song lyric, a conversation, etc. But for this one…

Well, I guess it was a few sentences. I sat down to write a random scene with no intention of it ever coming to anything. I just had a few sentences in my head that I wanted to build off of for a few pages.

Basically, it was just this uncle telling his nephew that he thought of him as his own son, but the nephew wasn’t sure how to take it because the uncle had just had his own three sons executed for treason.

Yeah. Because these are the random situations that pop into my head that I decide to write about just for kicks.

Over the next few months, I kept thinking about the scene and started having other ideas and…well, here we are.

2. Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!

Well, this is the blurb I wrote at the top of my “planning” word document:

Someone tried to poison the king. A few months later, all three princes were dead.

Were the princes to blame? Was the king?


Quality content, right there.

Okay, I’ll try to give you a little more:

After spending his entire life so far living in a remote cottage on the edge of the kingdom, Roland is quite suddenly brought to live at the castle with his uncle and aunt. His parents both died when he was a baby, leaving him the ward of his uncle, the king, but he has been raised by servants and has only met his uncle a handful of times.

Upon arriving at the castle, Roland finds that the three princes, his cousins, are dead, and he is now the next heir to the throne.

No one knows the exact details of the princes’ deaths. Some say they were conspiring against their father. Others say their father murdered them in cold blood. As Roland soon learns, everyone has a different explanation. Everyone has something to hide.

And, if he can’t uncover the truth, Roland’s own life might be at stake.

Wow. That took way longer than I thought it would. Who knew this was so hard??

3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

So…the thing is…

Excuse me for a moment.

*muffled screaming*

Right. So, the setting is a bit…vague at the moment. It’s a fictional kingdom (that I haven’t named yet, what unrealistic expectations you have), and there’s a castle and…

Let’s just say, most of what I write is contemporary. I’ve never written anything with a castle in it before, and I am definitely freaking out and questioning my life choices.

I haven’t even decided on a rough time period. One minute I’m thinking medieval with drafty old castles and broadswords. Then my brain is like, “Ok, but what if they were all running around in frock coats and firing revolvers??”

In an ideal world, I would be able to create some kind of convincing Medieval/Victorian hybrid world, but…yes. It’s going to be a First Draft.

4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Roland is what I’m currently calling my main character. (Placeholder name. Placeholder names ALL THE WAY.) As I mentioned in the “blurb” he is the king’s nephew (son of the king’s younger brother). A few facts:

  • 14 or 15 years old
  • Not at all gung-ho about this whole moving to the castle thing
  • Basically a socially inept homeschooler (I’m allowed to say such things, I was homeschooled.)
  • Probably a Hufflepuff
  • Probably would bake you muffins if you asked
  • Used to doing things by himself
  • What is this. I haven’t given him any friends. Rude.
  • Wants a family, but doesn’t want to be killed by said family (so picky, Roland)

5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?

I can’t actually answer this one. And not because I don’t know! I DO know…Sort of. I’m working on it.

But the fact is, it’s a mystery. A whodunnit, of a sort. So clearly I can’t just come right out and tell you who the villain is.

6. What excites you the most about this novel?

The excitement and the terror are inseparable on this one: It’s a mystery! And I’ve never written a mystery before. So yes, I’m excited. I’m thrilled to be exploring this new territory, but also…

Yes, it’s terrifying.

7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

Standalone. I have friends who plan series and I just stare at them like, how?? I never come up with ideas that span multiple books.

8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?

Plantsing I guess? I’ve always been very much the make-it-up-as-we-go type, but with a mystery…that wouldn’t really work. So I’m trying to plan. Somewhat. A little bit. (Like, at least figure out the ending?? Maybe???)

9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

…I honestly can’t think of anything. I don’t mean to be cynical. I’m sure there will end up being unique things about it, but at this point…

10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

So, I need a working title. And, being the kind of procrastinate-and-stress-over-even-placeholder-names-and-titles person I am, I thought I’d ask for your opinion! Tell me which one you want! Whichever one has the most votes by November 1 (or 2 or 3…or whenever I get to it), I will use on my Nanowrimo profile.

  • Three Princes
  • Three Dead Princes
  • The Fourth Prince
  • Four Princes (Three of Whom are Dead)
  • The Heir
  • A Prince’s Guide to Not Being Murdered
  • A Prince’s Guide to Being Murdered
  • One Big Happy Murderous Royal Family

There you have it. Tell me which one I should use!

Are you doing Nanowrimo? What are you writing? What genre do you usually write in? Have you ever written a mystery? Why are blurbs so hard?? And, most importantly, what working title should I use??? Do tell!

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32 responses to “Know the Novel Linkup Part One–featuring murderous royals and muffins”

  1. Oh, this sounds like such a fun book to write! And the original idea! Amazing! (Why does my brain never give me things like this?).

    Your blurb (the second one, that is) is fantastic–blurbs are hard! I am horrible at them, myself.

    A Medieval/Victorian crossover would be so cool! One of the best fantasy-time-period-crossovers I’ve ever read is The Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner. It’s sort-of middle-age Greece, but also sort of Byzantine-Greece, so they fight with swords, but there’s also pistols and glass and pocket watches. And it’s pulled off beautifully. So I’m sure you can do it, if you decide that’s the way you’re going to go!

    Roland! I love him already. And I love how he’s described. (And *of course* he doesn’t need any friends–what 14 or 15-year-old homeschooler does? Kidding, kidding. Although my inept homeschooler self didn’t have any good friends until she was 16, so…)

    Mysteries! Mysteries are amazing, and really horribly hard to write. I applaud your bravery, and wish you luck.

    I’m definitely partial to A Prince’s Guide to Not Being Murdered, although it may perhaps give away some of the plot…so perhaps A Prince’s Guide to Being Murdered is better. (I also laughed pretty hard at “Four Princes (Three of Whom are Dead)”).

    Have fun with NaNo! Can’t wait to hear more about this!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Ooh, the Queen’s Thief series sounds interesting–what an excellent fantasy-time-period-crossover. Might have to check it out at some point for research purposes…
      I’m glad you like Roland. You’re SO right about him not needing friends, pshaw. (My inept homeschooler self had a built in set of sisters and cousins to be my best friends since birth, but making other friends outside of that took…a while XD)
      Thanks for the title. That one seems popular 🙂


    I am alarmed. very alarmed
    *gulps back a scream of terror*

    AH! Your story sounds quite fascinating. And honestly, I don’t blame Roland…as great as family is, I think I’d opt out of having one if I knew they were murderers. I wish him all the best of luck…er, surviving!

    I’m going to vote for “Four Princes (Three of Whom are Dead)” because it makes me laugh and I like immensely. 😂

    Great story premise and I hope NaNo goes amazing for you!!!

    (and if I may, what’s your NaNo username…I want to stalk your profile.😂)

    Liked by 1 person

  3. THIS IDEA IS BRILLIANT!!!! I LOVE how it came about–the idea of an uncle calling his nephew like a son except he KILLED all his other sons is just…YES! GENIUS. It such an intriguing mystery idea and I love every bit of this!

    I think my favorite title is “A Prince’s Guide to Not Being Murdered”! Such a fun one! OR the alternate “A Prince’s Guide to Being Murdered” if the first one is too spoilery? Although “Four Princes (Three of Whom are Dead)” also made me laugh so, so hard. XD

    This was such a delight reading about this epic novel of yours! Thank you so much for joining the linkup. I hope NaNo goes spectacularly for you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ahhh I love this story! I’m getting Story Peddler/Ascendance trilogy vibes.

    For a title, Four Princes (Three of Whom Are Dead) is really quite intriguing, but I’d only go with that one if you intend to elaborate on who the dead princes were/are. Otherwise it’s interesting but then disappointing when only one of the princes is in the story. (Unless there are ghosts…? But would that mess you whole plot up? XD)

    So I’m going to go with The Prince’s Guide to Being Murdered (or maybe… The Princes’ Guide? Plural? Because, y’know, seems like three of them *are* murdered)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love your story! It sounds so amazing! Ooh, can Roland bake me some muffins? XD He sounds great! Haha, I was homeschooled too, so I understand that socially inept thing. ;D

    A Medieval/Victorian crossover would be SO COOL!

    As for the title, I like either version of A Prince’s Guide! They’re both great!

    I’m doing a genderbent Cinderella retelling (I joined the linkup too, that’s how I found you) and I like to write in a wide variety of genres. ^_^ I actually have a murder mystery series idea forming in my head but right now I don’t have time to work on it. Yeah, why are blurbs so hard? Yours was GREAT though!!! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Roland will certainly bake you some muffins. Thanks for your title input 🙂
      Ooh, I love fairy tale retellings! Yeah, I’m all over the place with writing genres. I write a lot of contemporary, but I also write sci-fi type stuff, and then I have this whole Santa Claus thing… Like I said. All over the place.
      Ack, it’s so hard when you have ideas forming in your head and you’re like “No, I’m busy with THIS one.” *sigh*
      Aw, thank you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Haha! Thanks, Roland! ^_^ You’re welcome, which title won?

    I love retellings too!

    That’s so cool you bounce between genres too! Ooh! I’m intrigued by your Santa Claus one! 🙂

    Ugh, tell me about it… Having a lot of ideas is both a blessing and a curse. 😉

    NaNo has started! I hope your writing is going fabulously!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • The math wasn’t exactly straightforward, but I decided to go with “Four Princes (Three of Whom are Dead)” 🙂
      My Santa Claus one is fabulous, if I do say so myself. I hope I can get it published someday so everyone can read it XD
      Thank you! Writing is going…well, it’s going. That’s the important thing 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Oh! Cool! I almost voted for that one. 🙂

        I hope you can publish your Santa Claus story too!!!

        Yes, that is the important thing! Just keep going!!! We got this!!! *waves pom poms* 😀

        Liked by 1 person

  7. I love your blurb! It made me so intrigued!
    I love your character. He sounds awesome. I really like that he can make muffins, and that he wants a family but worries that he would be murdered by them. XD
    I have never heard of a whodunit in a Medieval/Victorian setting, so that is very fascinating to me.
    It’s funny that you asked that. My genre is fantasy (basically), but I’m writing a dystopian right now (and it won’t be the last XD). It is about a young cyborg male struggling to live after the war.
    And I’ve never tried a mystery but I want to, but so far I never had enough mystery in my ideas to seriously consider writing one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! I don’t think I’ve ever read a whodunit in a Medieval/Victorian setting either, so it’s been…interesting trying to figure out how to write one XD
      Ooh, I love dystopian stories. I mean, not ALL of them, but the good ones. Yours sounds so cool! Young cyborg guy struggling to live after a war?? I’m so intrigued 🙂
      I’ve never really seriously considered writing mystery before either. And suddenly this year I had two different ideas for mysteries and…I guess I’m writing mystery now? My mind is an unpredictable place XD

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, it’s now November and you’re already knee-deep in this thing, but I am commenting anyway because I had to say how much I LOVE the sound of this thing (much too much to call it something so unflattering as “this thing”) and also I hope it’s going well.

    But like. I love the sound of it so much. Four Princes (Three of Whom Are Dead). Murderous uncle (?) who compares you to his latest victims (?). Roland sounds very low-key and cinnamon-roll-y and I am worried for his safety.

    Has it ended up being more medieval or Victorian? The Victorian vibe really appeals to me (maybe because I’m reading a Dickens right now? and remembering why he’s one of my favorite authors? but also…running around with frock coats and revolvers! yes!) but it could also be so cool as medieval, especially because his name is Roland and. You know. I kind of love that the main-character-who’s-the-king’s-nephew is named Roland. It doesn’t have to be a placeholder. It can stay an Easter egg to make Song of Roland fans delirious with “I understood that reference!” joy. (Not that I have any reason to suspect Charlemagne of killing his sons.)

    Anyway, all that to say…I really don’t know why, for sure, but I am so SO interested in this (like more than I am usually interested in things. like I might go buy it if it was finished, I want to read it so much) and I hope it’s going swimmingly! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thank you so much! Seriously, this comment is so sweet (and offering much needed encouragement at this stage of writing XD).
      I was hoping the setting would sort of…materialize. As I started writing. But… *pterodactyl screech* Not so much. It’s still sort of all over the place/no place at all. But his can be fixed later, yes??
      I love Victorian so much because CHARLES DICKENS and FROCK COATS and AHHHHH. I’ve read more Victorian than I have medieval, so I feel like I might be more qualified for that setting? But there’s also some medieval imagery stubbornly holding on in my mind, so who knows what’s going to happen? (Spoiler: not me.)
      I’m not familiar with Song of Roland, but I love that I accidentally created an easter egg XD
      Thanks again so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m so excited. I’ll ask Roland to bake me muffins when he’s not busy avoiding death by broadsword/revolver/revolving sword.
    And you can completely shoot this down (or politely acknowledge and then internally dismiss this), but one placeholder title idea that popped into my head was The Unmurdered Prince.
    Again, I’m so excited :))

    Liked by 1 person

    • Very considerate of you to wait until Roland is not in imminent danger to ask for muffins 🙂 REVOLVING SWORD WHAT. I’m not even sure exactly what this would look like, but I’m sure it would be incredible!
      I love your placeholder title! I’ve already gotten pretty attached to calling it “Four Princes (Three of Whom are Dead)”, but I like your a lot too 🙂
      Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Um of course, I think it would be quite rude otherwise.
        Ahaha, I have no idea either but I would probably find it extremely terrifying.
        I love that title, and I am so excited to hear more about it :))

        Liked by 1 person

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