So y’all, I totally intended to finish Preptober Prompts, but I just could not get all of the flash fictions done in time. Still, if you participated in Preptober Prompts I’d love to hear what you thought of it! Is it worth bringing back next year?
This month I’ll be participating in Julian Daventry’s Shared WIP Tag, which is all about NaNoWriMo projects. Each Friday I’ll get to answer a bunch of questions about my NaNoWriMo project, and I’ll link to the other participants’ posts at the end. :)
Introduce the story: blurb, maybe a cover, or anything else!
Is magic a blessing or a curse?
Seventeen-year-old Coraline Seralen is in line to become the next King’s Paladin, the guardian of the King of Mandoria blessed with the magic powers of all the paladins and kings before her. At least that’s the idea.
When her mentor dies and leaves her the Legacy, she’s overwhelmed and terrified of her power. But she can’t afford to be terrified with her country thrust into a war. And how will she do her duty as protector of the throne when the king dies and his daughter bans her from the castle?
Maybe if the kingdom can win the war by themselves she won’t have to use her powers ever again…
I don’t have a mock cover for The King’s Paladin, unfortunately, but I do have what I think is a super cool aesthetic for it.
Where did you get the idea for your story? What came to you first: your theme, character, premise, setting, etc?
This story started out with a random poem-ish thing that led to Coraline’s character. (It’s kind of rough.)
I am regal, poised, and elegant, like all the kings that ever were.
I am a criminal, like those unjust kings who ruled for a time.
I am a sojourner, like those kings who strove to find their place.
I am unknown, for those kings unrecognized as such were yet still kings.
I am a vagabond, for those kings usurped and rejected yet still ruled.
I am the preserver of the heritage of Mandoria and all its kings.
I am Coraline Seralen.
I am the Paladin of Kings.
I don’t remember if Mandoria existed before I wrote this thing up or if it came about because of this, too, but the rest of the world (Kaloris, Roenor, and Adrelia) already existed so I just plugged it in there. At some point this story ended up entwined with The Last Assassin and The Shadow Raven, and thus The Dark War Trilogy was born.
What have you done to get experience for your story (like watching knitting YouTube videos)? What did you put into the book because it’s something you know about (like if you’re a martial artist, and put that in)?
I haven’t experienced anything for this story. I don’t often experience things for stories, although there was one time I played out a fight scene with my sister to make sure the move I was envisioning would work, and I’ve smelled my mom’s essential oils to get a scent fresh in my mind for description. But not for this story.
There’s not a whole lot I already knew about for this story firsthand, either, but Coraline struggles with some things that are similar to the struggles of a friend of mine, so I’m very familiar with those things on a secondhand basis.
What made you decide to write this particular book for NaNoWriMo?
I wanted to keep working on The Dark War Trilogy, but I can’t work on The Last Assassin until The Shadow Raven (at least) is caught up, and The Shadow Raven has been giving me issues for months. Plus I wanted to get started on this one anyway, because I felt like it deserved a turn, lol.
I actually considered focusing on Kersir worldbuilding or doing short stories all month instead, because I was having trouble getting excited about The King’s Paladin, but I decided I’d been leading up to it too much to suddenly switch to something else. Writing has actually gone a lot better than I anticipated, and I think I made the right decision. :)
Do you research before, after, or during your first draft writing process? Have you done any research for this particular book? How do you usually research?
Usually during. Since I write fantasy, I do less real-world research and I end up coming across things I need to figure out as I’m writing. (Like what would happen if someone sliced my MC’s knee and how long she’d be disabled, or what poison you can give someone slowly to make it look like an illness.) I haven’t done any research for this book yet, but I need to look up a couple things about lavender (basically: is there a certain reason that one character smells like lavender given their character?). Google is my best friend, as far as how I research.
Do you plot or plan your book in any way before you start writing? What methods do you usually use and what did you do this time?
Hm. This is a tricky question to answer, because my plotting method really depends on the story. There are some stories I just can’t outline because if I do it’ll suck all the life out of the story or I’ll get stuck or something. There are others that I can plot down to the scene and have no problem with. Even within this trilogy the method has differed a lot.
I started out with the main plot points of the series, the things that can’t move and have to happen, and put them on a timeline so I could make sure not to run other events over them. With The Last Assassin, that was all I needed and I could develop the rest as I went. With The Shadow Raven, I’ve had to stop multiple times to reevaluate where I am and where I’m going. With The King’s Paladin, I knew I had to plot ahead because Coraline is a much less active part of the series and I don’t want her to fall flat. I wrote out any scenes/sequences of events I knew I wanted in various places throughout the book, and that’s what I’m working off of. I’m hoping that’s all I need, but I may end up needing to stop and reevaluate later on.
Do you hand write or type your first draft?
Type. I’m way too slow handwriting, but I can write probably 60 wpm if I work at it, and I have a pretty fast typing speed even when I’m not trying, so I can get a LOT more written if I’m typing.
Do you have a brainstorming buddy and if you do, who was it this time and how did they help?
I have a few brainstorming buddies that I go to very periodically. (I’m not the greatest at asking for help. :P) I have my best friend, my little sister, and–if I get really stumped–my dad.
How did you come up with your characters’ names?
They just… came? I actually can’t think of any in this particular novel that gave me trouble. Most of them just popped into my head. (Which doesn’t always happen. You should see the whole notebook page of names I went through before I figured out Catessa’s name…) Except for when random side characters popped up and I sat on Nameberry’s home page watching the names scroll across the top until I came across one I liked.
Do you know what your story’s theme is? If you do, how did you find it, and if you don’t, how do you plan to find it?
Purpose. For Coraline that means overcoming her fear to accept her purpose. It means different things for different characters, but I think that’s the one that will most extend to side characters. Overcoming fear is a big part of things for Coraline, too. I pinpointed the purpose thing after I went hunting for images to use for Orlan’s character aesthetic and realized he has more depth than I gave him credit for and figured out what his struggle was.
So yeah, there’s a little more info on The King’s Paladin! Next week’s questions will be all about the MC.
Be sure to check out the other participants’ posts! (I’ll do my best to update these links as the posts go up.)