In Which I Ramble On About My Latest WIP (a.k.a. What I’m Writing for NaNo)

(None of these photos are mine, excepting the wattle picture. That one is, and you can’t steal it, even though it’s amazing).

Yesterday, Celeste did a post introducing her NaNoWriMo project, and since I promised to introduce my own project about two weeks ago, I decided I’d snitch some of her questions and introduce it! I also added a few questions of my own. I also have sore wrists, so this introduction is going to be short.

Without further ado, I present…

Wattle Fire.

Wattle Fire 2
The colours clash a bit in this one, but oh well.

What’s the basic plot?

The basic plot follows three characters: Yilla–a clan girl from the open plains near a mountain ranges, High-Praise–a princess married at a young age to the king of Traumlant, and Courageous–the said king. Basically, it’s about politics, monarchy and Yilla trying to save the world by educating the rather ignorant king and queen on the ways, language and cultures of their people. It’s also involves touring the country, and dragons, and bushrangers and a weird, eclectic blend of historical fashions and periods and inventions. 

Here’s the blurb I wrote…

Yilla was born when the yellow wattles burst into bloom and the blaze of their colour filled the earth.

Now, seventeen wattle fires later her life will be turned upside down.

High-Praise was born at the flowering of the lotus, and married to Prince Courageous fourteen years later. 

And an assassin’s knife is about to turn her life upside down as well. 

Yes, it’s very short. I like short and sweet.

Yilla Collage

Who are the main characters?

Yilla: Yilla is pretty cool in my opinion. She’s from one of the many clans that populate Traumlant. While the clans have a Aboriginal Australian appearance, their culture is mostly made up, drawn from hundreds of little parts from lots of different parts of things. Very descriptive. Yilla’s an ISTJ, blunt, honest, smart, a survivor, a storyteller and all round awesome character.

Then we have High-Praise: The royal court all have these old, weird Puritan names, including High-Praise. High-Praise is from Dhaku, a country which vaguely resembles ancient Persia, and she’s a princess, renowned for her beauty. She’s spoilt, a little self-centred, but kind and compassionate, despite her ignorance. She sends one of her servants to the rural areas in order to bring back someone who’ll teach her about the language and culture of her new people and that’s when Yilla comes into the story…

Finally, our last main character is Courageous: Courageous becomes king very early on in the novel, but he’s not very…well, courageous. For most of his life, Courageous was raised as the second son and was largely ignored, even by his father, who loved him dearly. He has a severe stammer and only came to be heir presumptive on the death of his elder brother, Zeal. He doesn’t make a good king, simply because of his shy, reclusive nature and his inability to make decisions. This ends up badly for everyone involved.

And then there are a few secondary characters:

Verily: The maid assigned to look after Yilla after she first arrives at the royal court. Sweet, wise, quiet and a little shy.

Repent, Duke of Herenberg: The illegitimate brother of King Great-Heart and Courageous’ uncle. Red-headed with a nasty temper, but a genuine love and support for his nephew, despite the amount he mocks him.

Zich: An inventor who is attempting to build a flying machine. And he’s great.

What is the working title?

I’ve gone through a number of working titles, but currently the title is Wattle Fire, since Yilla–the main character–marks time by the wattle blooms. Also, if you’ve never seen a wattle blooming you’re missing out, it’s one of the most beautiful sights of the late winter/early spring landscape.

Marie Antoinette Fantasy Collage

Where did the idea for this novel come from?

I’ve wanted to write an Australian fantasy novel for years now, but while the setting was firmly engrained in my mind, the actual plot has taken years to form. I’m not entirely sure where the original idea of the Australian fantasy came from, but I’ve been aware for a long time that, while there are a lot of Aussie fantasy writers none of them, as far as I know, have set one of their books in a fantastic Australia. And I’m deeply attached to my country, I love it a lot and I want to weave my love for Australia into my love for fantasy.

What genre is your WIP?

Fantasy, as I’ve already mentioned, but with a lot of historical references.

What actors would you cast in the movie version of your book?

Well, here’s my issue. Out of my three main characters, only Courageous is white. The other two, Yilla and High-Praise have Aboriginal and Middle-Eastern appearances and I don’t know any actresses from either of those backgrounds.

However, after some scouring of the internet, I’ve at least cast Courageous and Yilla. Courageous is supposed to be the stereotypical drop-dead handsome fantasy prince so I hereby cast the youngest Ben Barnes available (and I just ask that he add a stammer to his Prince Caspian performance).


The only Aboriginal actress I know who even vaguely resembles Yilla is Jessica Mauboy (though I imagine Yilla being a lot darker than Mauboy), so for the purpose of this post, Jessica Mauboy is playing Yilla.

814534a6d11e940e1555ef89ca4fb2c7Screenshot (58)

And finally I’ve found an actress for High-Praise. I have no idea who she is really, but she’s Indian (I believe) and she’s pretty and is actually one of the models that I used for High-Praise (I didn’t know that till just then though), Deepika Padukone


Write a 1 Sentence Synopsis

A young girl, born as the wattles bloom, is tasked with restoring the failing monarchy, using only her love for story and her love for her country.

What are your publishing plans for this book?

Good question! I would really love for The Stars Fill Infinity to be my debut novel, but agents currently aren’t kind to dystopian novels. I’ve been researching agents all year in the hope of finding some agents who would be interested in representing my novel, but I’ve had no luck.  So part of the reason I’m writing Wattle Fire, rather than another of my many ideas, is because fantasy is still huge and, from my agent research, I have no reason to believe it’s going to go out of fashion any time soon. I’m also planning at looking at secular agents and publishers as well as Christian ones for this novel.

How long did it take you to write the first draft?

Well, I haven’t written it yet, but I’m hoping it will take a month.

What other books would you compare this story to?

My “official” comparison titles are “The Lord of the Rings meets A Game of Thrones meets Marie Antoinette meets the English Civil War meets Crocodile Dundee”. And that’s a mouthful, so let me explain a little.

The Lord of the Rings because it has that epic scope and that (hopefully) brilliant worldbuilding. Also, big wars. A Game of Thrones (without the nasty stuff) because the story is essentially about the politics of a monarchy. Marie Antoinette because Marie Antoinette helped me tie all the plot elements together. The English Civil War because…well, it wouldn’t be a novel by Chelsea R.H. unless it had a revolution in it, would it? And Crocodile Dundee because that’s the most Australian movie I can think of and the setting (the Australian part of the setting, not the American part) is the same…so…plus, crocodiles.

And yes, only two of those were books (one of which I have never read)…but at least you have an idea of what it’s like.

Courageous Collage

Who or what inspired you to write this book?

Um, well, as I said, I’ve had the main inkling for a long time but the whole story was really kicked into gear when I was watching a French Revolution documentary as research for When Infinity is Empty a few months ago. I was particularly interested in the things the documentary told me about Marie Antoinette. I’ve always seen Marie as an obnoxious, ignorant, cruel and rather spineless person, though I’ve also felt sorry for her. But this documentary forced me to think a little more about her, which I thought was good and I decided I wanted to write a novel about her. Then I changed my mind because I thought that might be too fraught with historical inaccuracies (which I hate), so I decided to do a sort of retelling (because they’re my forte) and then somehow it blended in with my fantasy and the rest, as they say, is history.

What else about this book might pique a reader’s interest?

My genius wit, fantastic characters, spellbinding plots and humility? The fact that it’s awesome? I don’t know. If they aren’t hooked already, I don’t know what else to do 😛

What do you think of my new Work in Progress? Are you doing NaNo this year? If you, what’s your project? Do you like making collages?

17 thoughts on “In Which I Ramble On About My Latest WIP (a.k.a. What I’m Writing for NaNo)

  1. Fantasy is one of my favorite genres.

    I still am in the middle of my 2nd draft- it is taking forever just to read the 1st draft to write comments on things that need commenting. After that, will fix up things. Reading out loud has been very helpful. One of my biggest story problems in my first draft is that my main character is struggling with feeling like the main character. Once I finally finish reading this entire first draft out loud- will finally fix things up. It might be a while till I actually have a title.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks and sounds so awesome! I love the idea of a fantasy book that’s got historical reference in it! And, of course, the additional focus on politics sounds really awesome! I love the characters that you’ve got going; they sound like they’re going to be great! Also, your collages are always so cool! Sometimes I try to make them but usually they don’t end up too good! Haha, maybe I’ll try again, though when I have some spare time!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds AMAZING! I’m hooked by the idea of a fantasy story set in Australia! And your plot premise is intriguing and unique! I hope the writing goes well!
    (By the way, I’ve fallen behind reading Comrade, but I’m definitely going to catch up, and hopefully soon! That’s a great story!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Your novel sounds awesome! 😀 I love that you’re so passionate about your country that you want to include so much of it in your stories. 🙂
    I plan on doing NaNo this year too, hopefully. So I’ll be doing a post about my nano novel at some point this month as well. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you! Haha, so many agents are looking for fantasy set in places other than medieval England type places, and I’ve seen a new wave of Asian and African fantasies, but no Australian ones! And I love Australia’s landscapes so much, so I thought, why not?
    Ooh, exciting! I can’t remember if you did it last year? Is this your first time? I look forward to hearing about your story!


  6. I’m glad! I love the idea too and I personally think that it’s really unique. Thanks! Based on my current reading of YA fantasies, I think the plot is pretty unique too.
    (Ah, I hope you enjoy it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Fantasy is an awesome genre!
    I hope you’re reading goes well! And I find reading bits out loud really helps you get the rhythm of the sentence so you can decide whether or not to change it.
    I hope you get a title soon!


  8. I just can’t leave the history out! I love history too much 😀 And it’s played a massive part in both the worldbuilding and the plotting. The politics is going to be interesting, either it will work really well or it won’t work at all (I’m hoping for the first :P)
    Thanks! I love the collages and had a lot of fun making them. I find they’re really good for building up the inspiration when you need it (though they get distracting very easily…) You definitely should try a few!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oooooh… Intriging.
    I don’t know if I’ll do Nano, but I might. If I did I’d probably try to do Starting Fires (the second book in my series).
    Of course I like making collages. They’re fun and pretty. 😸 Also inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow this sounds good! I like the spin it has on royalty finding out about their people, and about growth, there is so much room for the growth of the characters into better people. And I love stories that highlight social justice and better understanding of people, whether they are royalty or not. I love the empathy that can be brough and the appeals! Fantasy Australia is also an awesome setting and I literally don’t think its really been done either, its so cool!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Thanks so much, Sarah! I really love this idea and I’ve been enjoying weaving it together to make a plot. The relationship between the monarchs and the people are really interesting and one of my favourite things about it. I look forward to starting writing it!


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