Battle Song Q&A — An Introduction to My Current Novel

Screenshot 2018-01-22 at 6.35.44 PM.png

Sorry this post has been so late in coming! It’s mostly because I feel like I haven’t really made significant progress on Battle Song. I’m in the middle of scene 10 (out of 64), and I’ve written just over 11,000 words. I love my outline, and I love the story, but I still find it hard to actually sit down and write.

But here I am to talk about my novel! In a nice Q&A format that I made up myself.


So…what’s it about?

Good question. It should be easy to come up with a blurb, with all the planning I’ve done, but I still can’t come up with something I’m satisfied with. I’ll keep trying, but here’s what I have for right now:

Amrya il Osamarii is trapped in tradition. Forced to fight and kill, she longs for something besides the ceaseless battles and bloodshed of the mers. Something more. Something like the humans.

After the pain and conflict become too much, she risks all that she has in order to become human–only, the humans aren’t anything like she dreamed. Forced to fight in a war, she continues to seek for peace.

But how can it be found, when forgiveness is impossible?


Where did you get the idea for Battle Song?

This is actually a long story.

If you’ve been following me for a while, you might have noticed that Battle Song has evolved a lot.

My very first idea was written down at school, I think. I don’t remember where I got it from, but I had the idea that “the little mermaid trades her beauty instead of her voice”. I was tired of love at first sight, and I wanted a story where people fell in love for someone’s personality, not just how they looked.

Then other stuff got added in, such as warrior mermaid clans and fabulous princes. I became especially fascinated with the mentions of religion in the fairy tale, and I decided that religion would be an important part of the story.

(If you haven’t heard, in the original fairy tale, the merfolk don’t have immortal souls, but the humans though. When the little mermaid becomes human, she has to marry the prince, so that their souls can become one and she can live forever.)

Unfortunately, as I continued to develop it more, I found that both of these aspects became less prominent. I still would love to address the religion aspect as it relates to marriage more in Battle Song, but it just doesn’t work. The conflict just doesn’t work.

When I wrote (or, more accurately, started) Battle Song 2.0, I touched on some really great conflict at the beginning. However, I didn’t realize how important that conflict was at first, still thinking that the main issue of the story was marrying the prince, like the original fairy tale.

Then I began the Snowflake Method, and I realized that the real conflict of the story was about war, forgiveness, and hope. So the conflict became much more internalized–and much more complex, which is awesome and what makes it so exciting!


Who are the main characters?

battle song charries3 watermark.png

From left to right, we have Malena, Rhysdan/Rhys, Amrya, and Aeren.

Although I’d say Amrya is the only actual main character, the others do play their roles. (Plus, I drew this before the others became less important, so that’s why they’re all on there.)

Amrya il Osamarii–

In one word, I’d say she’s conflicted. Throughout the entire story, there are so many different things pressuring her. But she’s also determined and loyal, which is why she’s so great.

Prince Aeren li Sannave–

Aeren is just…awesome. Okay, I’ll come up with a better word. He’s tender. But he’s not necessarily weak; he’ll also fight for those he loves.

(And no, the pineapple shall remain mysterious.)

Princess Malena il Althair–

Malena is a princess from the neighboring island of Sannave. She’s perceptive. And she’s surprisingly kind for who she is and how she grew up, which is awesome.

Prince Rhysdan li Sannave–

Yes, Rhys and Aeren are brothers. Rhys is older. Rhys is resolute. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to keep Sannave and his people safe. Even if that means doing something good. Definitely an ends justify the means kind of guy.

There’s also another awesome character, but he doesn’t have a name yet, so I won’t introduce him. (I also don’t know all that much about him, but he is awesome.)


What do you think will be your favorite part to write?

Oooh, I have several. Of course, I can’t tell you about any of them because of spoilers, but…scenes 37-38, 46-47, 54, and 60 will be quite fun. *grins evilly*



What are your thoughts?

What do you think about Battle Song? Do you have any ideas on how the blurb could be improved? What questions would you add to the Q&A? I’ll try to answer them, if they’re not spoilerous. (Just so you know, spoilerous is probably the best writing word ever. It’s just so fun to say! Spoilerous!)

Oh, and do you like fairy tale retellings? If so, which ones are your favorites?

The Snowflake Method (Becoming an Author, Part Two)

screenshot-2017-10-28-at-9-38-19-am.png

After much procrastination, relaxation, stress-ation (aka school) and vacation, I am back! At least for today. No promises for the future, but hopefully I’ll post during NaNoWriMo, which I am…not really but kind of doing? Essentially, I’m not starting a novel during November, but I’m going to be working on planning one.

Which brings me to the subject of today’s post…the Snowflake Method, which I’m using with Battle Song! Are you excited? I am.

(P.S. Want to see my first Becoming an Author post? It was ages ago, but whatever. You can find it here.)


So what’s the Snowflake Method?

The Snowflake Method is a way of planning or organizing a novel, starting from a tiny sliver of your story (a one-sentence summary) to the full complexity of a first draft. Successive steps along the way help you expand it piece by piece until you’ve created an entire novel.

This ten step method was developed by Randy Ingermanson, and you can check out the ten steps here at his website.


Why am I using the Snowflake Method?

The first time I heard of the Snowflake Method was when my dad and I did Camp NaNo together (my first NaNo experience) in April 2013. He used this method to plan out his novel, but I didn’t really know much about it except for the basic idea (from basic to complex).

I used to shun the Snowflake Method without knowing much about it because I’m not a planner. I didn’t want to be a planner. I thought it would limit my creativity, freedom, and enjoyment–and maybe it will, but I’m going to try it out.

But lately I’ve been frustrated with how I can’t seem to finish a novel. I’ll write a few chapters or even 20- or 30,000 words…and then it fizzles away. In the past, even when I have finished, the middle of my novel has sagged. I can write a beginning just fine, but the rest? Not so much.

So, I decided I’d just check the website out. If it helped me, I’d try it out. And when I read through it, I realized that it was exactly what I needed.

I needed something to organize my work, to help me develop a functioning beginning, middle, and end, and to assist me in writing a novel that would affect other people–and that’s what it’s for.

(I didn’t worry about buying the book or the software. Like he says, everyone will do it a little differently, and I don’t think I need those things to make it work for me.)


Is it working?

Yes…as far as I can tell. I’ve only done the first three steps, so who knows? And I’m not sure if I’ll know until I actually write the first draft. Or technically, third draft? Because it will be the third time I’ve started Battle Song. But for right now, it’s helping me.

It’s not that it suddenly made me realize what everything was supposed to be–on the other hand, it revealed the problems with my story–the lack of a specific conflict, especially. When describing your novel in such a short time frame–one sentence–you have to strip it down to its very essence and build up from there.

Here’s that one sentence (or logline) describing Battle Song:

In a reimagining of The Little Mermaid, a warrior mermaid seeks divine forgiveness for her murders while forced to fight in a war.

It took me a while to figure out what the central conflict was and how to make sure it conveyed the interesting parts of the ideas (not just the fighting but also the religion and Amrya’s conflicted nature throughout the book), but now that I took the time to figure it out, I really like the logline and how it will affect my story.

Also, if you’re interested in starting the Snowflake Method or just writing a logline for your book, here’s the two sources I liked the best. (The readability is awful with a black background, but the information was clearly stated and helpful for me.)

Building the Perfect Logline for Your Book, Screenplay, or Other Story

Logline Workshop: Jurassic Park


Your thoughts?

Have you ever used the Snowflake Method? Do you want to? How do you plan (or not) your novels? Do you think that’s the right way for you, or could you improve? Do you have a logline for your current novel? If so, please share it! And what do you think of the logline for Battle Song?

Dragons + Viking Culture + Middle Grade = Camp NaNoWriMo

Screenshot 2017-03-31 at 4.13.14 PM

That’s right, friends, Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner (a.k.a. tomorrow), and today I’ll be sharing my novel idea with y’all!

As you can (hopefully) tell by the title, it’s a middle grade novel with dragons and a Viking-era setting, and what you didn’t know is that it also involves three banished children and a miniature, snarky dragon.

dragon novel blog header.png
I wrote those runes in on this picture; it means “dragon novel” in Nordic runes. The picture is a pretty good representation of a drake as well…


Who are the characters?

MIKAEL

Mikael is the main character. He’s quiet and creative, and he carries around a sketchbook with him. He has a big family and sometimes goes unnoticed, so he wants to become someone great that people will appreciate.

ASTA

Asta is the daughter of wealthy parents, and she’s extremely intelligent. She sees the world in a very direct and clear way, and she uses that to her advantage in order to get whatever she wants.

IZAK

Izak is a bit of an outcast compared to the other two. After his mother died, he and his father have been on their own. Consequently, he’s spent a lot of time out in the wild and knows how to survive.

LOKI

Loki is a drake (miniature dragon) who can talk and uses his clever wit to insult anyone around him. When that doesn’t work, he’ll bite them. He can be very influential and charismatic when he wants to be, but making jabs at other people is much more fun.

(I had a drawing of them, but Izak was drawn wrong, and the clothing was inaccurate for the time periods, so you don’t get to see it… Hopefully I can draw another one soon to show you!)

 



What’s the story about?

Well, here’s my synopsis:

The coming-of-age ceremony requires three children to work together to complete tasks, but even quiet Mikael knows that it’s not all about learning how to work together. Those who win are awarded with respect that no other child would receive–and with the loud, inconsiderate Izak in his group, Mikael is less than happy with their chances.

So when Asta, the third and cleverest member of the group, suggests taking one of the talking drakes with them, Mikael agrees, even though it’s not allowed. Everything falls apart during the competition, and when the drake is found with them, the three of them are banished for a week–the three children and the drake, Loki.

Away from their home for the first time, they find out what lies beyond the cliffs–runes and ruins that lead to secrets that have lain hidden for hundreds of years.

They must work together and develop friendship in order to uncover the deepest secrets and stop the forces that are combining against them.

It’s all very friendship-y and touchy-feely, but hey, it has a good message for middle-graders, right?

I’m very excited to write this! It came about partially because dragons but also because I wanted to write something for my younger brother. It should hopefully be short and sweet and maybe with a hint of plot twist



¡Háblame! (Speak to me!)

What do you think of the novel? What is your project about for Camp NaNo? Are you ready to write like crazy tomorrow? Do you like dragons? (If you say no, something drastic might happen…) What does your candy stash look like?

P.S. Because of this post, I’ve decided to try increasing my blog’s readability. I think my post is definitely more readable than others, but I feel like my voice has faded and this post was not as exciting as it should have been, since I love this project. Feedback? I would love to find a good balance and improve my blog.

P.P.S. If you are wondering where I’ve been, I went on choir tour (much fun!) and then I’ve also been procrastinating/frantically doing homework in the wee hours of the night/stealing the books my mom is reading/occasionally writing, all instead of blogging. Sorry?