Hello there! We’re in the middle of NaNoWriMo now and all of our sanity has flown out the window, never to be seen again.
However, in order to give us a break from slaving over our beloved (or possibly not so beloved) novels, Christine has posted Part 2 of the Know the Novel link up! This was hugely fun to get involved with last month, so of course I’m doing it again! And there’s going to be snippets 😀
How’s the writing going?
Terribly. Okay. Fantastic! I’m slowly dying…
Okay, I feel like the writing is going terribly, but I’m actually doing fairly well. Not great but okay. I’m one of those super fast writers who likes to do 100k during NaNo…but that’s not happening this month. I’m disappointed about that and keep beating myself up over it, but I need to keep telling myself that I’m still doing well. I’m on track at least.
What’s been the most fun aspect of writing this novel so far?
All the research! I’ve done so much research for this novel and I’ve loved every moment of it. The research ranges from Schloss Linderhof (the palace I based the palace in my story on) to typhoid, smallpox, influenza, German mythology, architecture, language…and all those weird things that come up randomly as you write (such as, is a dagger worn with the sword or on the opposite side of the sword? and Are there any advantages to being a left-handed swordsman?).
So yep. Since I love research, this has been so much fun!
Also, I’ve really enjoyed rewriting King Arthur stories into an Australian setting for the myths Yilla tells.
Has your novel surprised you in any way?
Courageous ended up being more sarcastic than I thought he would be capable of.
It also surprised me by throwing a random character (who I love) out of the woodworks. I’m having so much fun with him at the moment.
And another random character! This one is the Grand Duchess Hopeful, Courageous’ sister, and she’s so much fun too!
What do you think of your characters at this point? Who is your favourite to write?
I think my characters are the only redeeming features of this novel so far 😛 I like most of them. High-Praise gets on my nerves a lot, but I’ll like her more as the story progresses and she changes a bit.
My favourite? I don’t know. It’s a solid toss up between Courageous and Yilla. Yilla has some really good sections…but so does Courageous. I especially like it when they interact with each other, because I wasn’t expecting a dynamic friendship between them so early on in the story, but there we go.
If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
I’d probably be Yilla, since she’s the one I’m most like. And I’d have probably made a few different decisions, but they wouldn’t be for the better, so we’ll pretend I wouldn’t 😀
Give us the first sentence or paragraph and then 2 (or 3!) more favourite snippets!
Well, I actually started writing this novel a little before NaNoWriMo, but I’ll give you the first paragraph anyhow 😀
“Your Highness. Wake up, Your Highness!”
(Yes, I need to work on my first paragraph, but that’s what the second draft is for!)
And, after that, he’d been forced home from Eloucera, which he’d come to love. He’d seen his brother, the archduke, die of the pox.
Courageous quickly banished the memories from his mind. He didn’t want to dwell on them if he could help it. Zeal had been a bully, a tormentor. The perfect one. “But he protected me,” Courageous whispered. “He protected me from everything I feared. The crown most of all.”
“I am Yilla Gaegonal,” Yilla replied. “I have been chosen to be tutor to the queen and I would like to know of her.”
Elisabeth’s eyes sparkled. “Her Majesty is said to be an ogre,” she said. “A very pretty ogre, but an ogre nonetheless. Some believe that she is really a bazaloshtsh—”
“What is that?” Yilla asked, her mind tripping over the foreign word.
“Why, the bazaloshtsh cries beneath the windows of those who are going to die. It is a mournful thing to hear the cry of the beautiful bazaloshtsh. Few who hear it live to tell of it though.”
“They say,” Gretl added. “That Her Majesty has come to cry beneath the windows of the palace, to wreak destruction on those in it. The king should never have married a foreigner like that. It was bad news from the very beginning.”
Only scraps of news had ever entered Lichkeit, and even that had been filtered through Yilla’s ears. “Why did His Majesty marry her, if the marriage would be so unpopular?”
Elisabeth scoffed and it was Margarethe who answered. “Why, he didn’t have a choice, of course. His father made him, to end the hundred years war.”
“I have not had an easy life,” Courageous added, as if in embarrassed explanation of some hastily blurted out words. “I am hardly spoilt. And I have not spent my life sleeping on feather beds…w…w-well, I have, technically, but—”
Yilla had stood, abruptly and stiffly. Now she walked over to Courageous and stood facing him. She tilted up her chin and then spoke, her voice cold but no longer passive. “Perhaps that is so, Courageous. But neither do I see you on a battlefield, fighting with your men.” She paused. “Your sister does not worry whether she will see you again. Your father isn’t dying because you are absent. Your mother does not weep tears over you at night when she believes no one is listening.” Yilla stopped again and High-Praise could see Courageous’ jaw tighten. Her own insides had twisted themselves into knots.
“I am willing to believe that your life has been difficult—torturous, maybe. But you are not risking your life every single day for a man who is nothing more than a symbolic figurehead of all the things you hate.”
And with that, Yilla strode from the room.
Have you come across any problem areas?
My pacing is way off kilter. I’m 25k in and literally the only thing I feel has happened is that High-Praise got stabbed with a knife. It’s depressing. I really need to work on pacing issues with this story.
I’m also struggling a bit with the erratic clash of cultures. Guys, its a hard thing to make up three completely different cultures. It is really, really hard. I’m also struggling with keeping a lot of the story away from actual Australian history, because this story is not meant to be a political allegory or anything, which I’m scared people will think it is. Hence the things I’ve changed, such as making the colonisers more Germanic/Prussian than English, having an autocratic monarch in the actual country, and stuff like that. Please don’t read too much actual history into this novel 😀
What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?
That I’ve kept going.
Seriously, I was super excited about this story before I started writing it, unfortunately circumstances have been happening (yes, I’m super vague) and I lost some of my passion, but I still felt like I needed to work on it. So I am. I am going to keep pegging away, as hard as it may be. I’m a stubborn person, and that can be a good thing sometimes.
Be honest, have you killed any characters off yet?
Not yet…but one of them is sick.
Do you catch what I’m throwing?
(Edit. I caved and did not kill that character. I am now completely out of whack because this was not in the outline! However, there is an execution coming up, so don’t worry. I haven’t lost my nerve completely).
Take us on a tour of a what a normal writing day for this particular novel has looked like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!
As I mentioned, circumstances have been happening, which has really just knocked my schedule headlong–i.e. I have no schedule any more. Usually, I write at a desk or at the kitchen table, but I’ve had a nasty flu all NaNo (perfect timing right there *groan*) so I’ve been so tired I haven’t been able to bear sitting at a desk for long (as I write this, I’m sitting at a desk at the library and its soooo tiring). So I’ve been writing on the lounge chair. I’ve been writing in the afternoons and after dinner, when I sit down on the lounge and watch an episode of BBC’s Cadfael while writing.
I definitely have a hankering to turn my novel into a murder mystery now.
And yes, I drink green tea, chamomile tea and hot chocolate. A lot. My music of choice at the moment is The Lord of the Rings soundtracks, Prince Caspian soundtrack, Ludwig² soundtrack (just to get the feel of half-mad kings living in Linderhof Palace) and various other German musicals. Very eclectic, I know.
How’s NaNo or your current WIP going for you guys? What did you think of my snippets? Do you enjoy research? Have you ever had the hankering to switch the genre of your novel without warning?