Know the Novel: Writing and Beyond

It’s time for the final part of the Know the Novel link-up that Christine has been graciously hosting over at Musings of an Elf.

This installment of Know the Novel is all about how the writing went and what the plan is for the next stages. In other words, “You just won the heart of the princess… what are you going to do next?!?!?”

Well… keep writing, mostly, because I didn’t exactly FINISH the book during NaNo… but let’s turn to the questions, shall we?

1. Firstly, how did writing this novel go all around?

Pretty good, so far, all things considered. The biggest problem I’ve run into is finishing NaNo and just wanting to take a nice, long, winter’s nap… but I haven’t finished the book, so I need to press on and finish! I did take the first week of December off, so hopefully I can dive back in and keep going. Not at the break-neck pace of NaNo, but hoping to continue a nice, steady jog.

But the story itself is shaping up quite nicely.

2. Did it turn out like you expected or completely different? And how do you feel about the outcome?

Mostly it’s going along as planned. A few things have showed up to surprise me, but I’m getting a little better at plotting and outlining, and that helps. Even if it’s just outlining the next scene and letting the story wind around as it will, I don’t tend to go into my writing time with no idea what’s going to happen next, and that definitely makes things go more smoothly.

I started this story with a fairly clear vision of what needs to happen, which is another thing that helps the writing go more smoothly. It’s taking me a bit longer to get to that outcome, as a lot of other things keep cropping up in the story (like… my characters apparently want to talk and stuff… or spend time giving each other the cold shoulder, depending on their moods) it’s fun, seeing the story come together, but frustrating when I want to be so much closer to the end of the book and suddenly realize I probably have at least another fifty-thousand words left to write.

3. What aspect of the story did you love writing about the most? (Characters, plot, setting, prose, etc.)

I mean… the characters! They are always really fun.

With this book… the thing that’s been the most fun to write so far is dialogue. But that’s my favorite part of just about any story. It’s surprised me a bit how much fun I’ve been having writing Raisa, she’s become a much more main character than I expected her to be when I started this series, but her arc is quite interesting, and I’m enjoying exploring that.

But, in addition to that, this WORLD has just been super fun to explore. I’m having a blast making it very different from that of Tellurae Aquaous, and researching various cultures around our world to give it a more authentic feel. It is starting to get to the point where I’d really like to be able to actually visit this world I’ve created!

4. How about your least favorite part?

My least favorite part is just how long it’s taking me to get to the “exciting” bits. I tend to be very antsy to write all the climaxes, and I just want the story to MOVE FASTER! But things need to happen first, otherwise the climax doesn’t make sense. So… yeah.

5. What do you feel like needs the most work?

All of it.

Well, maybe not all of it. Honestly, I’m not even sure what needs the most work, and I won’t know until the story is finished and I can go back and re-read with my critical editing eye.

I do think that Grayden’s story arc is probably the thing that is going to need the most work across the entire series. Which is distressing, because he’s supposed to be the main character.

6. How do you feel about your characters now that the novel is done? Who’s your favorite? Least favorite? Anyone surprise you? Give us all the details!

I don’t know that I have a least favorite character in this story. I love them all, they are my preciouses.

My favorite characters are the airship pirates. And my villains. And Grayden, Wynn, and Beren… and all the side characters. And my back-story characters. I love all of them. I can’t choose. AAAHHH!

7. What’s your next plan of action with this novel?

Finish it!!

Hopefully by the end of January. I think that’s doable.

8. If you could have your greatest dream realized for this novel, what would it be?

A TV mini-series directed by Joss Whedon, with me having ultimate authority over script, casting, costume, and special effects decisions? hehehe

9. Share a snippet of one of your most favorite scenes!

This is really hard because practically every scene in this book is MAJOR SPOILERS!!!


I think you’ll enjoy this one. And it doesn’t give anything away:

“What’s wrong?” Hubert tilted his head to one side, his small face scrunched into a frown. “Don’t you want to play buildings with me anymore?”

Dalmir tried to smile. “Of course I do, Hubert. I just… later I have to do something I don’t want to do. I would much rather just continue playing with you.”

“Oh.” Hubert’s curiosity was appeased. “We need more rocks!” He bounded up and away to fetch more stones and Dalmir could not repress a grin and a shake of his head.

“Ah, to have the resilience of youth once more.”

The feeling of another presence made him turn. Cathrin stood at the edge of the garden, hands on her hips, a grimace pinching her expression. Dalmir was suddenly aware of the mess he and Hubert had been making.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized, standing and holding his dirty hands up before him. “It never occurred to me that… we…” He glanced about and then back up at the young woman, a sheepish chuckle emanating from his lips. “We have made rather a bit of soup out here, haven’t we? Don’t blame Hubert, building our castle out here in the garden was my idea.”

Cathrin’s mouth twisted to one side and she heaved a deep breath out through her nose. She waved a hand. “It’s not like it matters, I harvested the last of the vegetables weeks ago.” She let out a wry chuckle. “You just took me by surprise, that’s all. Mother wanted me to let you know that it is time to wash up for dinner.”

“Ah. Well, we are almost finished here. There’s just the one wall left, and I think Hubert mentioned wanting to dig a pit over there…”

Hubert came up the path, struggling to drag a large bucket of pebbles with him. His grunts with each pull could be heard across the garden. Dalmir rose and relieved him of the bucket.

“I’ll help with that. I think you gathered enough rocks to build a second castle!”

Hubert trotted along beside Dalmir. “I thought we could build another one. Then they can be neighbors and borrow things from each other! Look at what we’re building, Cassrin! I made that part, and this is the garden, just like yours! And over here we’re going to dig a pit for leythans, so that bad guys will fall into it if they try to sneak up on the walls.”

Dalmir chuckled at the boy’s enthusiasm. He carried the bucket over and set it down, giving Cathrin an apologetic grin. She shook her head and rolled her eyes. However, a moment later, she was crouching over the castle, holding her skirts up out of the mud with one hand, and helping place rocks with the other.

10. Did you glean any new writing and/or life lessons from writing this novel?

The biggest thing this novel has taught me so far is a lesson I’ve taken far too long to learn. I need to hold on to my rough drafts with an open hand. It’s a realization I’ve been coming to for a while now, but writing as fast as I did in the month of November really hammered it home. Much as I wish it were otherwise, I do NOT write clean rough drafts. I wish I did. It would make everything easier. But even if I take years to write the rough draft and spend hours agonizing over perfecting my word choice or character arcs or plots, they still end up needing multiple passes of editing. They still end up getting rearranged. I still need to spend a ton of time reworking, re-wording, and re— um… fixing all the things. So I guess what this novel has taught me is that it’s okay. It’s okay to write a messy rough draft. I can fix it in the edits. And that lesson has freed me to write a lot faster than I have in a very long time.

Onward and upward! 

How about you, dear Reader? Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear about your story, or what you might be learning from your latest writing project (whether you did NaNo or not). Or, if you’re not a writer, have you read anything profound lately?

~ jenelle


Christine Smith

Yay, you did the tag! :D Lovin’ the Aladdin quote. xD I’m so glad writing this went well! But I feel your pain on wanting to just get to the climax already but fearing you have another 50k ahead of you. Story. Of. My. Life. But hey, the longer the book, the more epic and meaningful it’ll be! And this one DEFINITELY sounds epic!!! That’s wonderful you’re enjoying your characters and world so much! I loooved the snippet! The characters sound precious! <3

I LOVE your answer to #8. Hey, you never, ever know! We should all dream as big as we can, because who knows what'll happen. ^_^ And YES to #10. I feel like I'm learning that lesson time and time again. To just let loose on the story because, like you said, it's going to need rewrites no matter how slow and meticulously I write it. So might as well make a mess and just enjoy the process! I loved all of this! Thanks for joining in! I hope writing the rest of this goes wonderfully. Cheering you on all the way!


Heheh, I love Aladdin. I’m glad I’m not the only one who just wants to get to the “good” parts. :)

Aww, yay! I’m glad it sounds epic. Most of the time I fear it’s just a mess. But I’m in the trenches, and it’s hard to see it from a wider angle just at the moment. But I’m glad you liked the snippet!

Hehehe, well, I mean… so long as we’re dreaming!!!

Yes, #10 has been such an important lesson for me this year. It’s a lot more fun to let loose and just write the story as fast and messy as I can, and it’s been very freeing to just allow myself to, knowing that I’m gonna need intense edits/rewrites either way!

Thanks for creating this tag, and thanks for the cheers! I need ‘em!

J. L. Guyer

I was so excited to read your link-up answers because we’ve already sort of met in your facebook group Writing Together. It sounds like you and I have a lot in common. Both of our stories are only about half-way done and I too hope to finish mine by the end of January. Which means (crosses fingers) we can still sprint together! Although, there is that time difference thing that gets in the way. I’m currently on MST. And I have three kids to put to bed too. I’ve noticed you’re usually done writing when I’m just beginning! I love your post by the way! I’m excited to have some more books to explore. Happy Writing!


*waves excitedly!* Hi, Sprinting Buddy!

Ah, those lovely time-zone differences! Yeah, finding time to write lately has not been happening. I think I’m going to have to call December a lost cause. But I will be back to sprinting in January, hopefully! (I’d like to finish this draft before we have to begin the involved process of packing and moving and unpacking… but… we shall see!) Oh! It’s good to know that you’re out there and getting started writing later in the evenings. A lot of times I sign off from the fb group early because I’ve gotten the feeling that everyone else is done – usually I feel like everyone else writes earlier than me (like, during daylight hours… which is harder for me to swing with homeschooling four hobbits and all the other things I need to do during the days, though sometimes I can find time to write in the afternoons)… but I often will keep writing on my own after I sign off, so… now I know! :)


I love hearing from you, dear Reader!