Friday, 23 November 2012

Blog Hop: The Next Big Thing

Earlier this month I was tagged by Nicole Tan, who is currently writing Trails of Destiny: The Elm Tree. The challenge? Answer ten questions about my current work-in-progress.

On the 21st of November.

Well, I'm only a couple of days late. I'll plead a combination of migraines and NaNoWriMo and go for it anyway.

1. What is the working title of your book?

The Frozen Tear.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

In 2010 by some weird coincidence I found out about NaNoWriMo and decided to participate. I had a story I wanted to write and I had a long-standing dream of publication and a career as an author, so the idea of kicking myself out of the cycle of failure that I called Dark Star was something that held a pretty strong appeal. To do NaNo, though, I needed an idea.

It didn't have to be anything spectacular. By my understanding of the event I was better off with an idea and a set of characters I didn't care about. I sat down and waited until 0:01 on the 1st of October 2010, set my music collection to random and decided that the first song to start playing in October would be the basis of my story.

The song was 'dark frozen world' from the album The Frozen Tears of Angels by Rhapsody of Fire. The title was the first thing to come, since it's basically just the first half of the album title. By the next morning the first character had made her presence known - Serenity Lee, who would become the main character of the story. Everything sort of spiralled outwards from there.

3. What genre does your book fall under?


4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I have no idea. Are there really people who write a book with a bunch of actors in mind for the movie?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

I don't have one.

*looks around, but sees no escape*


A mercenary with a secret that could kill her is dragged into what seems like a pointless quest to save the world.

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

I don't know if it's going to be this book, but I'm aiming to be traditionally published. My dream is to occupy the same shelves as the authors who inspire me and that means following their path.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

30 days. I know I've mentioned 'NaNo' and '30 days' but the next number to come up isn't going to be '50,000 words'. For some reason I can't even remember now, I decided if I was going to write a novel in a month I was going to finish the damn thing and I already had two of my then-favourite stories close to the 50k mark and nowhere near finished. NaNo became a 75k challenge for me and to my very great surprise I actually hit that mark.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Much as I'd like to skip this question and run for it, I'll do my best to answer.

*crickets chirp*

All right, in all seriousness the authors who come to mind are Sara Douglass, Isobelle Carmody, Douglas Adams and maybe a smattering of Helen MacInnes and Alistair McLean. If you're the kind of person who'd be happy having all of those authors on your shelf, digesting me wouldn't push you outside your comfort zone.

I combine science and magic, blurring the line between the two. My characters snipe verbally at each other and I descend into light sarcasm whenever I'm feeling insecure about what I'm writing. My heroes are dragged right through hell and come out the other side with a lot of scars they didn't have before. They save the world because they believe in the world, not because they subscribe to any of the major factions that exist around them. Romance between the male and female leads is as inevitable as the sunrise and has about that much effect on the plot.

In every way I am a product of what I read and I like to think that my books would find a home on a shelf that included my major influences.

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Sadly for this book, it actually started life as a 'throwaway'. It was a plot and characters I'd come up with on the spur of the moment because I wanted to do NaNoWriMo and change the way I looked at writing. It was inspired by my heavy metal playlist and by the stuff that happens in fantasy novels. Characters are sent on a quest to save the world by collecting keys and then stealing a magical object from the heart of a demon's prison. If they fail: apocalypse.

It can't be any surprise that within a few days I hated it. I persisted, though, and Serenity's secret turned out to be the thing that drove the entire story. It was enough to get me through the first draft, but not enough to make me think I wanted to edit or rewrite it. Ever.

I walked away, wrote other things and learnt how to a month of insanity into a year-round habit. Then I found myself on a plateau, at the point where I could write a dodgy first draft whenever I felt like it but had no idea how to take it to the next level. In September of this year I pulled out my entire list of completed-then-abandoned drafts and decided that by the end of 2012 I was going to have a complete second draft of one of them.

I actually don't know how it ended up being The Frozen Tear. It did, though, and right now I have just over 70,000 words of what I really hope is an improved version of the story. Somewhere along the line, The Frozen Tear graduated from 'throwaway rubbish made up for NaNoWriMo' to 'thing I obsess over fixing'. It's going to reach the point of being submission-worthy one day. After that... well, I can dream.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

If I haven't put you off with the wall of lightly sarcastic but ultimately pointless text, I invite you to consider the dodgy sentence I wrote for question 5. To expand on that a little, Serenity is manipulated into joining the quest to find seven keys and steal the Frozen Tear, which is supposed to be the only thing that can stop the coming apocalypse. Anyway, Serenity is the kind of person who sees the obvious problems with the quest, like the fact that the closest thing to a visible bad guy is Marihan, who's more interested in hitting on Serenity than trying to trigger an apocalypse. Everyone around Serenity seems to know more than she does about what's going on and in the end the only way to untangle who's responsible for the events that forced her into the story is to tag along on the quest.

So, I have this weapon to stop an apocalypse that's not going to happen. I have a Fire Demon who isn't the bad guy. I have a main character who isn't the Chosen One and has no idea why she's involved in the story. Then I'll throw in the Gates of Hell and the Oracle's statement that the time has come for the heart to beat once more. Something big is going on, but none of the characters have the slightest idea what it is.

I had you at "Fire Demon who's more interested in hitting on the girl than starting the apocalypse", didn't I?

Final words...

I'm supposed to pass this on to five other people, but here under my rock/in a cave in the Chasm of Despair/deep in the Pit of Suck/wherever I am this week, I've totally failed to find five people I actually know who haven't already been part of the blog hop. Therefore, I'll just invite you to peruse the blogs of the people who were due to participate on the 21st along with me:

Nerine Luna Cyran at her Tumblr Reader, Writer, Nerdfighter
Judith Leger at her Weebly Judith Leger Romance Author
BoBo the Bard at her blog God of Ephemera
Adilah Miswan at her blog Dreamwalker

...and of course send you back to Nicky Tan at her blog A Medical Student and An Author.

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