Know the Novel Part 2: Within the WIP

Happy 6th Blog-o-versary to me!!

Good morning! So I know this is too late to officially join the link-up – since I wasn’t blogging during November – but I thought the questions were pretty awesome and I wanted to participate anyway – because I’m such a rebel!

Today I’m answering Christine’s questions for her link-up “Know the Novel” and will be diving into The Prisoner and the Pirate (I like that title more every time I type it, it might stay…)

1. How’s the writing going?

It’s going fairly well. I’ve had a few hiccoughs throughout the past month as the story keeps trying to wander off into the weeds for no apparent reason. But it’s going well. The book itself is now over 70,000 words, and I think I might be about two-thirds of the way through? (That may be wishful thinking, as it FEELS like I’m only about halfway through, but I really don’t want to even acknowledge the possibility that this book might be another 140k monster).

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

Getting to know the characters better, hands down. They are really a fun bunch. Unruly and rather rebellious at times (I TOLD you to sit down and talk to each other! Sit! Stay! Wait… what’s going on? Why aren’t you talking? What? Oh… you’re being chased by the bad guys….well… okay.. that’s a good reason to flee right now, but seriously, y’all need to TALK). Ahem.

Also I’m having fun taking the story to different parts of the continent and exploring the differences between the various cultures in my world so far. That’s been a different aspect of this series from The Minstrel’s Song, so it’s been fun to insert those little nuances here and there.

3. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

Yes, it definitely has. The beginning has changed on me a couple of times, and quite a few things have transpired differently than the way I had them in my outline, but it’s all for the best.

4. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

I LOVE these characters! They are really fun. Not extremely obedient, but that’s characters for ya. My current favorite to write about is Raisa, she’s getting a lot more page-time in this book than in the previous three, so it’s been fun getting to know her better. I always enjoy writing Marik, as well, and Dalmir, as well as Grayden, Wynn, and Beren… I mean, I love all of them…. even my villains. The villains in this series kinda seriously creep me out, but they are fun to write.

5. if you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

I would choose to be Raisa. And if I were, I would probably do things differently, because I’m nowhere near as awesome as she is, so I’d be dead by now. Thankfully, she’s not me!

If I didn’t get to choose, I’d probably end up as Cathrin, who is cool, but doesn’t get to go on the adventures… so the one thing I’d do differently than her is I would sneak on-board Marik’s airship when he leaves and stow away until we were too far along the journey to turn around. Hmmm… maybe she should do that.


It’s not in her personality to do that. But it’s what I would do differently, for sure.

6. Give us the first sentence or paragraph and then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

I’m going with first sentence because there are potential spoilers in the first paragraph that I’d like to keep to myself for now.

Marik sat at the table in the Adelfried’s home, sipping at a glass of water and staring thoughtfully out the window.

Snippet 1:

Raisa glared at the man. “Do you have a plan?”

“Parts of one.”

Irritation flooded through her. “I’ve heard that before. Part of a plan is worse than no plan at all.”

“That’s why I need you.” The Shipwright grinned.

“Oh really? And what makes you think I can help you? You know nothing about me. I could be terrible at planning things.”

Snippet 2:

He did not look up at her approach, but his face wrinkled into a hideous smile.

“Ah, my Raisa. My good Raisa.”

Bile rose in her throat, but she choked it down. She sat down on the other side of the fire. “Master,” she ducked her head.

“Yes, my Raisa. The only one of my children to respect me the way a father should be respected.”

Unbidden, a memory of her own father rose in Raisa’s mind. His face swam in her vision: the sun-darkened skin of his face creased in a smile, the scratchy feel of his rough beard on the top of her head as he held her in his arms, comforting her when she awoke out of a nightmare, the smell of woodsmoke and sawdust that clung to his rough woolen shirt. For a moment she could feel his strong arms wrapped around her, lending her his strength even now, so many years after his death. The insane creature before her was nothing like the man who had cared for her, loved her, and protected her even with his final breaths. She banished the memory with a shake of her head, clamping her teeth down on the angry, stinging retort she wanted to throw in his face.

“The soldiers would not give me water. I cannot fight without water,” she said instead, reciting her part dutifully.

“Ah,” Lorcan frowned. “You must always come to me when you are sad or if someone hurts you. Yes.” He handed her a cup filled with water.

Raisa just managed to keep from snatching at it, but could not prevent her hand from trembling slightly as she raised the cup to her lips. She drank deeply, the cold water soothing her throat and her temper.

His sharp gaze caught hers above the rim of the cup. “Would you like to meet your brother?” 

She lowered the empty cup and frowned. “My brother?”

He grinned at her puzzlement. “It was unkind of me, perhaps, that I kept him from you. But he does not seem to understand as you do, how to treat his father. I wondered if you might speak with him? Explain to him? He is angry and frightened. I wonder…” Lorcan trailed off for a moment. He shook himself. “I believe it is because he did not know I was alive.”

If that’s the case, then he’s probably angry to find out that you are still alive, Raisa thought.

“You will speak with him?”

Raisa shrugged. “If you wish it.”

“My good girl. I do.” Lorcan rose and beckoned, so Raisa followed. He led her across the camp and into the trees in an area she had not yet explored. He wound his way through the trees. As they left sight of the camp, Raisa wondered if this might be her chance to kill the man. 

7. Have you come across any problem areas?

A few. I was struggling with how everything should come together for a while. I have various characters running along their arcs and a lot of potential for the arcs to collide but I wasn’t sure how exactly that was going to happen. Thankfully, I had a lovely “aha!” moment recently after I spent some time in prayer about the story.

Also, I’ve been really struggling with one of my characters’ names. This is actually quite an unusual problem for me, as I am very careful with what I name characters… but this one is on his third name so far… not sure what he’s going to end up being called. And he’s become a far more main character than I intended for him to, so he does, in fact, need a name.

8. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Probably just getting through NaNoWriMo and actually getting fifty-thousand more words written into it in a single month.

9. Be honest, have you killed any characters off yet?

Not in this book… yet…. mwahahahahahahahaha!

10. Take us on a tour of 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 other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media? Tell all!

It’s been a fairly straight-forward process, lately, actually. I spend the afternoons (approximately 2pm – 4pm) writing while my kids are napping/in quiet time (and yes, this is the time when I often get distracted by social media or laundry or a dozen other things vying for my time when I have a few minutes to myself). Sometimes I have water or Dr. Pepper… depending on whether or not I needed caffeine earlier than the afternoon or not… hehe

Then, because my awesome wonderful amazing husband has been working so hard out at the new house to get a tile floor laid and save us many dollars… I’ve also had the evenings pretty much to myself, which is really the only reason I managed to get through NaNo. I put the kids to bed around 7:45pm and then I get another 2-ish hours to write. This has been the time where I’ve been able to be far more focused. And yes, I generally do light a candle, put on a mix of several CDs (for this project it was usually either a combination of Christmas music/Firefly soundtrack/Celtic instrumental or listening to various songs by Lindsey Sterling on Youtube), and make up a quick mug of hot apple cider. Also I led a LOT of word-sprints over on facebook in my “Writing Together” group, which helped keep me focused.

What about you? Are you writing anything these days? (I know many of my readers are also writers, and would love to hear your answers to any of these questions!) Or if you are not a writer, what do you think of what you’ve heard about my new series so far? What are you reading this month? Or just leave a note to say “hi!” I love hearing from you!

~ jenelle



Thanks! Yes, those characters can be quite pesky. I am at my wit’s end with this one and his name-dilemma. Maybe he can just keep going by his title and not have a name…..?

Christine Smith

A wizard is never late! And you’re definitely a wizard. ;D I’m so glad you joined in! I looooooved hearing more about your epic story! The snippets were awesome. And giiiirl. Your villain writing skills are on point. Lorcan made my skin crawl. UGH. That guy seriously needs to get his comeuppance. >.> He definitely sounds like a villain we love to hate! This story just sounds so, so fun!

HUGE congrats again on winning NaNo!!! I’m so happy it all fell into place for you this year!


Hahahahahahah! Well… *doffs pointy hat and leans on staff* thanks :)

Ooooh, I’m so glad Lorcan’s creepiness comes through well. Man, he is far too easy to write. *shudders*

Thanks!! And you, too, for your TRULY AMAZING word count! I know I didn’t comment on your blog in Nov, but I was following your updates in absolute awe!

Madeline J. Rose

Oh my word, that last snippet made my skin crawl…Lorcan sounds like a deliciously chilling villain. :D This was so fun, seeing into your process! And also, happy belated blogiversary! ^_^


:) Yay!

hehehe. Seems like an odd thing to be cheering for, but yeah, as an author, a villain who truly comes across as chilling and creepy is a win! We’re an odd bunch.



I love hearing from you, dear Reader!