In which I tell you everything about my book, except…what it’s about

Hello, friends!

Bold of me to assume I would be gone for the month of May and then…come back at the start of June. Ha. The naivete. And I KNEW there were all kinds of things happening in June and July that would have me Very Busy, but…I was overly optimistic?

Let’s just say, I’m here for the moment. Enjoy my brief presence, for I will likely be disappearing again for a good deal of the summer (because…did I mention the Busy? It has come for me?? I can’t escape it??).

ANYWAY. I promised to tell you about my latest book. And not that any of you were going to burn me at the stake if I didn’t keep my promise or anything (…I don’t THINK?), but I really shouldn’t make promises in an Archibald Asparagus voice and then not keep them. Archibald would be so disappointed in me.

(Wow, I have no idea what’s going on. But what else is new, eh?)

Let’s just talk about the book, shall we?

So what exactly is this book? It is:

  • untitled
  • (hahahahaha, how do titles work. Either they fall from the sky or they don’t)
  • Fantasy set in a vaguely Victorian city
  • emphasis on vague
  • research and world-building? pshaw, sounds like second-draft business to me
  • oh, did I mention it’s a first draft
  • it is also full of MY CHILDREN
  • the longest and (probably) most complex thing I’ve ever written
  • (oh, I love it so)

So honestly, I feel like it’s the kind of book that one would ideally pick up at a thrift store or a library booksale as a hardcover with a missing dustjacket so you have no idea what this book is, but eh, I like the title and the first few sentences. Not because it’s a super twisty-turny plot or anything, but I think it’s better if it unfolds.

Suffice it to say, this book contains:

  • SIBLINGS
  • (of course it does. I wrote it)
  • Cousins
  • aaaaangst
  • cinnamon cakes (I still don’t know what they are? Is it just another word for cinnamon rolls? Who can say?)
  • illusionists
  • theatres
  • trains
  • Edmund Sparkler from Little Dorrit (I left a blank for the last name since I haven’t come up with one, but let’s be honest. We all know it’s Edmund Sparkler)
  • lots of descriptions involving feathers
  • way too many social functions and evening parties (Poor Clara, I forced her to socialize)
  • DESPERATION which I recently realized is one of my favorite things to write about. People making bad decisions because WHAT ELSE ARE THEY SUPPOSED TO DO??
  • It’s a jam, let me tell you

Characters

This book has four main characters. FOUR.

A quick introduction to each of them:

Angelo

14 years old // Is kind of a big deal in society // Bad habit of not doing his homework // Sweet sad child // Just wants to go home // Has trauma, but just likes to forget about it for a little while

Clara

18 years old // Goes to lots of parties // Hates parties // Spends 24 hours a day worrying about Angelo // Wants control, but has pretty much none // Occasionally sets things on fire

Henry

16 or 17 years old // A chipper disaster // Obsessed with cinnamon cakes // Just wants to Be Helpful // Makes questionable decisions // My Sponge sister who just finished reading it says Henry is like a happy Noah St. Claire? I approve?

Vinnie

15 years old // Is very talented and knows it // But also needs to be even better // Wants to be the BEST // Freaks people out by staring at them // What are social skills

The Pros and Cons of writing multiple perspectives

Most of the books I’ve written are in first person. I have one in third person that sticks very close to a single main character’s perspective, and one in third person that switches back and forth between two main characters.

But in this book….there are four. FOUR, I say.

That’s a far cry from a single character’s first person perspective. It was…an adjustment.

PROS:

  • I got to write from the perspectives of all my KIDS
  • Sometimes I had writer’s block and didn’t know where to go next with the scene I was writing, so I switched perspectives and it was MAGIC. (Not always, but at least a couple of times)
  • There’s so much opportunity for unreliable narration/withholding information–not that I necessarily took advantage of this as much as I would like to. But when you can choose which character’s perspective to show in any given scene, you can hide what’s going on in another character’s head (and have the character whose perspective it’s from misread the other character’s reactions and all sorts of fun stuff)

CONS:

  • Okay, but HOW are you supposed to track FOUR DIFFERENT CHARACTER ARCS??
  • Me finally getting back to a character after writing about the other three: *squinting* “Wait a moment, who are you exactly? What were your emotions doing again?”
  • *distant screaming*

My Superpowers

I have discovered some very nifty tools for first-draft-ing. I mean…I discovered them a while ago, but I used them to a greater extent than usual in this book.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the (?).

It’s magical.

The parentheses say, “This question mark is not a part of the grammar of this sentence.”

The question mark says, “I know this isn’t the right word/I know nothing about trains/What does this sentence even mean/I might hate this–but I’m WRITING IT ANYWAY. And moving on.”

It says, “Yes, I acknowledge that this dialog sounds dumb or this plot point makes no sense, but it’s the first draft so We’ll Fix it Later.”

It’s…oddly freeing.

Also brackets! Brackets are incredibly useful when you know you need a last name, or a place for this character to be, or a reason for someone not to be home, but you don’t have the brainpower to even think of a placeholder. Don’t let such details slow you down, people.

“He went to [place] to have a word with [person].”

This is how the professionals do it, kids.

Margin notes, etc.

I wrote my last couple books on my laptop, writing a scene by hand every now and then, and that’s how this one started out. But less than half way through I decided I wanted to write by hand. So I did.

AND REDISCOVERED THE JOY OF MARGIN NOTES.

Here’s a random collection of them–with no context, of course.

And Henry NEVER makes mistakes!

Ah, yes. Throw a shawl on him. That’ll stop the hypothermia

Who is in CHARGE of this TRAIN

What even is this train

How am I supposed to remember what everyone does and doesn’t know, geez

…What was that now?

Henry’s big Hermione moment

’cause we’ve all seen animals smile when they’re hunting, amiright?

[] thought it would be fun but–ouch!

mmmh, small town??

Roy Mustang??

Random Stats

Because why not?

Start date: January 12, 2022
End date: May 20, 2022

Wordcount: 73,134

(Fun fact: That’s 6,917 words longer than Four Princes, the previous record-holder. *low-key screaming*)

You know how in a word document you can search to see how many times a word is used? I have way to much fun with it.

Angelo – 1217
Clara – 321
Henry – 685
Vinnie – 330
(?) – 127
(??) – 15
(???) – 4
(????) – 1
cinnamon – 29
feather – 49
blood – 32
bloody – 2
bloodstained – 3
scream/screaming/screamed – 16

(…it’s not angsty or anything, no sir. I mean, there’s more cinnamon than screaming, so we’re all good, right?)

I’m honestly kind of surprised about the name count. How is Henry mentioned more than twice as much as Clara?? Also, I’m used to first person where the main character’s name is used like…less than two hundred times. So when I typed Angelo’s name into the search I was like WHOA, SON.

Typos

The parentheticals are the corresponding margin notes.

Henry said formally (….What)

I meant finally. You know when there’s a long silence and then someone…formally says something? (Also, Henry is so not formal)

“Goodybe for now,” Vinnie said.
“Goodbe for now,” Angelo echoed quietly. (Still not getting enough sleep, are we?)

Twice in a row. Impressive.

“He lelf. left.” (I leave this here as a testament to sleep deprivation)

Also, while reading through it, my Sponge sister kept saying, “Thou shalt capitalize the first letter of Henry’s name.” Because…apparently I kept…not doing that. (I’m sorry, Henry.)

In other news, one of the most sophisticated characters consistently used bad grammar in his introductory scene. And someone had a loose threat on their sleeve.

Snippets

….On second thought, I don’t have the time or brainpower to pick out a bunch of snippets. But here’s one.

***

Well, there it is, folks. It’s a gem.

Funfact: When I finished writing the book, I wrote the last sentence, threw down my pen, and….started crying. Which has never happened before with any other book?

Eh, what can I say? I was sleep-deprived and emotionally invested and it’s the most complicated thing I’ve ever written, but I DID IT.

What have you been writing lately? Do you know who Edmund Sparkler is? Do you use (?)s and/or brackets? What other superpowers help you get through a first draft? Aren’t margin notes a JOY? Have you ever cried over your writing? Do tell!

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18 responses to “In which I tell you everything about my book, except…what it’s about”

  1. Massive congrats on finishing the draft of your story!!!
    WRITING IS HARD but you stuck with it and I applaud you. You really should be proud of yourself! (and honestly, if I ever finish my dumb book, I’ll probably cry too.)

    I had so much fun reading all about your story! It sounds chaotic and crazy, but kinda of amazing. I don’t know what a cinnamon cake is but if it’s like a bite-sized cinnamon cake mixed with cinnamon rolls, which is kind of what I’m imagining, THEN I WANT IT.

    Edmund Sparkler. Oh heavens…but, oh well, there are certainly worse men in Little Dorrit.

    Thanks for sharing about your story! I won’t be mad if you post more snippets sometime!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • *bows* Thank you very much, my friend! (And you can finish your book too! I belieeeeeeeeve in you)
      “Chaotic and crazy” sums it up well (and “kind of amazing” of course πŸ˜‰ )
      Edmund Sparkler is SUCH a gem. There’s a 2008 miniseries of Little Dorrit that my sisters and I have watched several times, and Sparkler is done so well. We always quote him saying, “It’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.” XD
      Thank YOU for reading about it πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  2. You finished the first draft? YAY! Congrats! That is an excellent feeling! (That is, until one starts thinking about how much one has to fix in the next draft, lol.)

    “Either they fall from the sky or they don’t” <<FACTS. Titles should not be as hard as they are. Some friends and I were talking about this recently, and we concluded that it's harder to title stories we care about, because we want the title to EXPRESS THE ESSENCE OF THE STORY, and it's really hard for a title to do that.

    SIBLINGS AND COUSINS AND CINNAMON ROLLS YESSSS I am literally so excited about this.

    I've never tried to write multiple perspectives, because I'm worried that I wouldn't be able to make them distinct enough? But hearing about you doing it makes me want to try it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! *stuffing plot holes and the prospect of editing under a rug because let’s not think about that yet*
      I KNOW. Why are titles so hard? How are you supposed to capture the essence of a story in only a few words??? (Or I suppose you could go full 1700s novel title and make the title a paragraph long XD)
      Honestly, same. Siblings and cousins and cinnamon rolls are my jam. (Which explains why I wrote about them…)
      You should try it! It’s jolly good fun. I mean, it’s often overwhelming and existential crisis inducing–but it’s great fun! πŸ˜‰

      Like

  3. A BIG congratulations on finishing your draft!! And, as someone who has attempted to write from multiple pov, I totally relate & applaud your hard work.

    Your WIP sounds absolutely chaotistastical…can I tell you how much I LOVE margin notes?? And brackets. Brackets are the way to go.

    But again, congrats!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Congrats on finishing the story!! I have been known to use parentheses in the past with things like (insert city name here) or (research how to make a bow and arrows here) πŸ™‚

    I definitely have to use margin notes, they are the best. I like to stop in the middle of a sentence or a thought because it helps me get started back up again, but too often I end up coming back and going, “Oh dear… where WAS I going with that?” so I’ve started leaving myself little mini-outlines for where I plan to go next before I close down for the session. It’s lovely.

    Hmm. Other superpowers… writing sprints. Setting a 5-min timer and then just writing as fast and as furiously as I can, it just sort of gets everything flowing.

    Also, Christmas music. I know, that’s weird. But it helps me smash through writer’s block.

    Anyway, congrats! I have no idea who Edmund Sparkler is, but I’m intrigued and this story sounds so fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks! Oh man. Using parentheses for (research this thing) is….something I do perhaps too often XD
      Mini outlines to remind me where I was going the night before are a must. (Provided I actually knew where I was going in the first place.) One of my favorite notes I left for myself has been “Wakes up to bird of prey being like, ‘what the heck, your feet are bleeding’.”
      Ooh, I’ve never done writing sprints. I should probably try it some time….
      I love that Christmas music is one of your writerly super powers. I mean, hey, whatever smashes the writer’s block XD
      Thanks!

      Like

  5. Congratulations on this great accomplishment!
    With siblings, cousins, trains, and cinnamon cakes, this story piques my interest.

    Heh, titles are so tricky that I used to not even bother. I would ‘name’ my stories with song verses, and once even named something ‘blah ditty blah blah blah’.

    …I don’t remember this Edmund Sparkler. But it’s been almost ten years since I read Little Dorrit.

    A Happy Noah St. Clair? That’s a pretty hard thing to picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! It’s hard to go wrong with siblings, cousins, trains, and cinnamon cakes πŸ™‚
      ‘Blah ditty blah blah blah’ is a fantastic title XD The word document of one of my books is saved as ‘my confused son’.
      I don’t blame you for not remembering Sparkler. He’s not exactly a super important character, but he’s kind of hilarious πŸ™‚
      ISN’T IT?? If someone asked me to picture a happy Noah, I don’t think I would know how to go about it, but somehow Henry kind of is one??

      Like

  6. Congratulations on finishing your story, it sounds amazing!!! Writing from four different perspectives sounds so hard, I’m impressed. And I know I’ve said this before, but I ADORE stories about siblings.

    Titles are rough. I usually just name my stories after the main character and then come up with a real title later. I think I’ve only written maybe one or two stories where I had a title in mind beforehand?

    I really miss writing by hand and sticking margin notes in places! Writing by hand just hurts too much for me to do it nowadays, though. Writing on a computer is definitely easier for me, but there is some stuff I really do miss about writing with a pencil and notebook.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! Sibling stories are THE BEST. The world needs more of them (good news: we’re here to write more)
      I refer to most of my stories by the character’s names. I think I have…two stories that have actual titles?? And they just fell from the sky, so yeah we don’t know where to find more.
      Writing by hand and writing on a computer both have their pros and cons…but margin notes though. What a jam. (Maybe next time I write a book on the computer I’ll just…scrawl notes on sticky notes and stick them to the screen to simulate the effect XD)

      Liked by 1 person

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