Christine Smith is hosting a link-up each month for the next three months (October through December) that’s mainly created for NaNoWriMo authors to share about their NaNoWriMo novels before, during, and after the writing process. (Though you can enjoy the link-up even if you’re not participating in NaNoWriMo!) This month’s link-up is all about introducing your project, so without further ado… an intro to Calligraphy Guild! :)
1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?
I know there were two big sparks that came together to create this story, but now I can only remember one. That’s going to bother me. But the part I do remember is that one night I had a dream about a magical, edible ink that would allow you to rewrite time if you drank it but would make you crazy irritable as a side-effect. The idea got adapted into a magical ink that allows you to rewrite time but that is used like a normal ink rather than ingested.
2. Share a blurb!
Dragon ink allows writers to set history in stone–or to change it. Only the most skilled and trustworthy are allowed into the ranks of the calligraphers, and no one is ever to change the past or the future. But when the Hairen calligraphy guild is set upon by ancient dragons demanding a time-changer be destroyed, Duyên Lai is left to wonder which of her guildmates has broken their oath and altered time.
3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
Ooooooooh. I like this question. Calligraphy Guild mainly takes place in the small Virilen village of Hairen (though they leave partway through… but the exact circumstances of that are a secret), and I adore this little village. Close-knit communities are some of my favorite to read and write, where everyone knows and supports one another, so I love that aspect of the village. And since it’s such a small village, it’s not terribly difficult to develop how things work and who knows who and how and let that color the setting and the story, which is super fun. And the weather is great. Weather is something I don’t play with enough in my stories, but Virilia is in a tropical climate and Hairen is right next to a rainforest, so I’m playing up the temperature and weather more and I’m really excited to explore that as I write.
I could ramble on about the setting forever, so I’ll stop now before I just write a whole post about it. XD (Although if you’d like a post of just me fangirling about my world, I would be happy to provide one. XD)
4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).
There are five of them… You’ve been warned…
Duyên Lai is the “official” main character and first POV character. She’s fairly new to the guild, since she’s only recently come of age, but she’s known everyone in it for ages so she’s super comfortable with everyone. While Duyên is pretty quiet and prefers to let others do the decision-making, she’s always ready to help the others around the guild and when things get tense she does her best to bring everyone back together.
Sairsha Kincaid is the character that the plot revolves around (though I won’t say how because… spoilers). We don’t see a lot from her POV because she has a more flowery voice that doesn’t suit the story as well, but she’s a significant part of the calligraphy guild. If you’re having a bad day, Sairsha will be the one to come ask if you need anything and offer to listen if that’s what you need. She’s super compassionate and sweet, and she adds more beauty and happiness to the guild through her art.
Zen Manh is the guildmaster, and he’s like everyone’s protective, encouraging big brother (or more like a dad, in the case of Ryuu and Duyên). He’s fiercely dedicated to his guild and those in his charge, and he does everything he can to keep the other guild members happy, motivated, and taken care of. When it’s learned that someone has betrayed the guild, he is NOT happy and goes into full protective mode. While he’s very deep and passionate about what he does, he’s also fun-loving and usually able to cheer up anyone having a down day.
Ryuu Tăng is just a little older than Duyên, and he’s the jokester of the group. He’s a little immature and struggles to show that he takes things seriously, but his heart is in the right place and he really does care about the people around him, so he’s often frustrated that people don’t see that. He’s always able to make his guildmates laugh.
Tora Lôi is fairly young, but she’s been part of the guild for nine years and she’s deeply ingrained in the working of things. Though she’s very independent, she’s also a firm believer in the need for community and does everything she can to encourage and spur on her guildmates. She’s the type to tell you you can’t do something to get you to do it (likely because that’s what motivates her to do something ;) ).
There are three other members of the calligraphy guild, but since there are so many, total, I’m only counting the characters that get POV moments at some point in the book. (Am I going overboard with the POVs? Time will tell.)
5. Who (or what) is the antagonist?
Well since the antagonist is a secret, I’ll go with the antagonistic situation, which is the distrust sown among the guild members when they find out someone has rewritten time. The guild members try to work through it, but it really strains things and it’s sad.
6. What excites you most about this novel?
…All of it? Not so much the plotting, because that’s something I always struggle with, but I love the premise and the characters and the character relationships and the atmosphere and the village dynamics and the music and the fact that it centers around writers and… I just really love this book, in case you couldn’t tell. XD
7. Is this going to be a series? Standalone? Something else?
The current plan is for it to be a standalone, but I love this setting and these characters so much that I’ll probably end up writing spin-off stories in the future, lol. (I’m already writing bunches of bonus scenes for writing class assignments, and they’re so. fun.) And since it’s in the same world as Kersir, it’s technically tied in with those, even if they’re not sequential like most series.
8. Are you plotting? Pantsing? Plantsing?
Plotting. Which kind of stinks, because I hate plotting, but I know that without it I’ll just end up with a jumbled mess, so plotting it is. XD I’ve currently finished outlining six chapters out of a (currently) predicted fifteen, so I’m getting there, but I really need to buckle down in these last two weeks and get my outline finished.
9. Name a few things that makes this story unique.
Well… there’s an ink that rewrites time and the balance of the universe is (partially) enforced by dragons, which I think is pretty cool and unique. That’s the main thing. Most of the rest of it I’ve seen in some form in other stories, this is just a new combination of things that have already been done.
10. Share a fun “extra” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!)
Pinterest boards! :D I have one for Calligraphy Guild and one for Virilia, and I’m really happy with both of them. (I was going to embed them, but I’m having technical difficulties so I’ll have to just link to them instead. :P)
What are you most excited for in your current project? I’d love to hear about it down in the comments!