Monday, October 30, 2017

Beautiful Books - The Nether Isle {NaNoWriMo 2017}

Today is the day you have ALL been waiting for. And by that I mean…probably none of you have been waiting for. But, like, let’s all just pretend? Yes? YES.

So what even is today about???



FINALLY. Here two days before NaNo. Took me long enough. Sheesh. (But can we also pretend NaNo is not the day after tomorrow for the sake of my sanity? K. Thaaanks!)

This NaNo is going to be wildly different from all the past 7 NaNos I’ve participated in. As I’m sure you alllll know by now since I constantly babble about it (seriously, I think I sound like a broken record sometimes), for all my 7 NaNos I was writing a 7 book fantasy series, one book for each NaNo. Which means, for me, “NaNoWriMo” has always just been synonymous for “continue my Colors of a Dragon Scale” series. NaNo was just the time for me to immerse in that world. I can’t even think about NaNo without thinking of my CoaDS series.

But, last NaNo, after years and years of working on it, I wrote the finale for CoaDS. Which meant…no more CoaDS for NaNo. And that feeling is WEIRD. You do get accustomed to something after doing it for 7 years straight.

It’s really, really strange for me to not be plotting the next CoaDS book this month. To not be working on it at all. But you know what? I’M ALSO REALLY EXCITED. I’m going to miss disappearing in the CoaDS world every November like I have for the past 7 years, but at the same time…I’m kind of really ready for something new. It thrills me to think I can now write absolutely whatever I want for NaNo. I adored writing CoaDS and making it my NaNo journey. But those books are written, and now it’s time to tackle something new and fresh. AND I AM PUMPED. SO VERY PUMPED. (Though I’ll still probably totally be feeling nostalgic over CoaDS for the duration of November. I love new experiences, but I’m also a sentimental person. YOU JUST CAN’T PLEASE ME SHEESH.)

The one lovely thing about writing a series for each NaNo is I never had to worry about what I was going to write each year. I had that figured out for 7 years straight. At first I was thrilled at the prospect of getting something new to write this year. On the other hand….WHAT WAS I GOING TO WRIIIITE???????

After much hemming and hawing and sleepless nights and a list or two, I finally settled on something. AND I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS STORY, GUYS. SO SO SO SO SO SOOOOO EXCITED!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s completely different from anything I’ve ever written and yet has so many elements that are familiar to me and I love. AND I CANNOT WAIT TO WRITE IIIITTTT!!!!!!

Oh wait. You want me to stop rambling and ACTUALLY TELL YOU WHAT IT IS??? Fiiiiine.

Lucky for us, our dear Sky and Cait have brought back Beautiful Books, a linkup much like Beautiful People, but instead we get to talk about our novels! And you absolutely do not have to be doing NaNoWriMo to join in!


Visit Sky @ Further Up and Further In or Cait @ Paperfury to join the linkup!




Mock cover I made just for fun. Image not mine.


1.) What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

That’s a complicated questions because it just kind of…evolved over the past few months. Near the beginning-ish of this year, I was thinking about NaNo (yeah, that early on, I may be a bit NaNo obsessed…). It hit me that, hey, I’ll be writing a new book for NaNo this year and I HAD NO CLUE WHAT IT’D BE. As we discussed, this hasn’t happened in 7 years.

One thought I had was to take every type of story element I love and throw it all into one novel. Because WHY NOT? After that idea, I kept a list on my phone of any cool story elements that popped in my head. And I continued to add to it ever since. (I still add to it now and again.)

Somewhere amidst this I was thinking how I’d like to write a story that completely takes place in some sort of mysterious, creepy forest where all sorts of strange things happen. I don’t know, guys, I just really love creepy forests. That thought kept staying with me and I couldn’t seem to shake it.

Then, one day a few months ago…

I got this random idea of a camera that took pictures of the past. As in, you take a picture, and the picture that comes out is of some past scene, not the present. I FELL IN LOVE WITH THIS IDEA. I knew I had to write a story involving this.

The creepy forest idea was still at the forefront of my mind, so I decided why not combine that with the magic past camera idea? I was still thinking about adding all the story elements I love into one thing, although once this story idea started taking shape, that plan fizzled out a bit. Though it still has plenty of things I love in it. But it was the magic camera idea that really pulled things together.

Though, strangely, I didn’t have any semblance of a plot and no characters. Usually I get character ideas first or right with plot ideas. But this idea was so vague. For months all I had was the thought of some mysterious forest area and a magic camera… But I really wanted to write it anyway! Who needs a plot and characters, right? Right??? Eheheheheh…

Then, one morning at the end of July, everything clicked. It was like the flood gates burst open. All the ideas came in at ONCE. Plot, characters, setting, EVERYTHING. Within the span of about 30 minutes, I knew who my characters were and what my story was about. AND I WAS SO EXCITED. To the point that I was doing a jig I was so thrilled over this story. #truestory I had work that day, but thankfully it was quiet so I spent the work day on my phone making a list of alllll my ideas.

After that, the ideas kept coming and coming and I knew I had to write this for NaNo. It’s one of those things that will make me burst if I don’t write it!

And good gracious, that was a ridiculously long story and WAY more information than you all needed. MOVING ON!


2.) Describe what your novel is about!

Well, well! I just happen to have a (pretty rough) blurb handy.

The Nether Isle—a mystery, a danger. And a prison.

Seventeen-year-old Karis Levine had only ever heard stories of the infamous island where the most savage of criminals are taken. Never in her life did she suspect she'd be flying on a prisoner airship, doomed to live the rest of her days on the island herself. What few days she has left. For the Nether Isle is not a kind one.

The moment Karis is dropped from her cage into the Isle's clutches, she is swept up in all its oddities—from doorways that transport a person to different sections of the island, to ruins of a formerly thriving town, to items imbued with magic, to a redheaded phantom girl. Then there is Jonah, a young man who doesn't appear savage at all. With his help, she might just be able to stay alive.

But why does the Isle exist at all? And who once lived in such a place?

With the aid of a magic camera that produces pictures from the past, Karis and Jonah work together to discover the riddles of the Isle's forgotten days. But the closer they get to answers, the more Karis begins to question everything—including Jonah.

Because on The Nether Isle, nothing is safe.

As you can see, my “creepy forest idea” turned into a whole creepy, overgrown island. AND I LOVE IT.

This story will be a young adult steampunk-fantasy. The world, technology, infrastructure, and clothing are very heavy on the steampunk side. Though standard steampunk usually is based off the Victorian age, I feel like my world is closer to the 1920s? Technologically speaking at least. But, really, the majority of the story takes place on this mysterious island where the “fantasy” aspect takes over. Lots of magic, lots of weird stuff happening. Buildings that move. Doors that change colors. Possibly a super scary beast running around. The island may or may not be alive. JUST FUN AND CREEPY FANTASY THINGS. It also has a bit of a mystery vibe, too. But, come on? Having a camera that reveals things in the past is the perfect setup for my characters to be sleuths and discover the the Isle’s mysteries. And it’s both really creepy but also with fun, hilarious stuff too. Because why have one genre when you can have ALL OF THEM???

So I guess I did end up mixing a bunch of story elements I love. I love steampunk. I love fantasy (duh). Mysteries are great. Creepy stuff is awesome. I love funny stories. It also have a convoluted plot because I’m incapable of keeping things simple buuuuut, in truth, the more complex plots get, the more I love them. (It just hurts my brain when I’m the one writing them…) I AM ALL THE EXCITED.


3.) What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

I love this question!

Creeping mist. Whispers in the night. Gnarled, swaying trees. Crumbling buildings. Dark shadows. Twisting vines. Crunching leaves. Morning sunlight filtering through the hazy woods. Creaking cages. Karis’ mirthful laughter. Jonah’s soft smile. Water ripples. Cracked stone steps. Overgrown gardens. Cogs and screws and old tools scattered around dusty rooms. Rainy days in an ancient library. The whir of airships. Phantoms, lost things, found things, doom and hope and family and sacrifice and friendship.

Okay, I need to stop. But if you want a more visual peek at the story I have a PINTEREST BOARD. And I’m quite in love with it. ^_^


4.) Introduce us to each of your characters!


There’s essentially only two main characters and two side characters. And one or more of those is a villain but I’m not telling you whoooo. *cackles* This is, to date, my smallest cast I’ve ever done. And…it’s kinda great! I mentioned in a post recently that I purposely chose a small cast because my last two NaNos involved like 20 main characters. O_O Sometimes I can’t even remember my own name. Why did I think I could keep up with all of those people??? Needless to say, I was ready for something manageable. It’s kind of a relief to have such a small cast! And I only have one POV even though it’s in third-person. Which is strange for me. I pretty much always have multiple POVs. But, again, I was trying to make this book more manageable than my last two NaNos. XD

But GUYS. I’m kind of head-over-heels for these babies!

Karis is the POV character and my adorbz baby girl. She’s bouncy and energetic and smiles a ridiculous amount and laughs at just about everything. She struggles to stay still and focus—her mind a constant buzz of wandering thoughts and ideas. She hates when she’s forced to follow rules and practicality, much more thriving on spontaneity. But her heart is a big one. She deeply desires to help anyone in need. Even if her methods are sometimes a little…unorthodox. Overall, Karis is a kindhearted, creative, free spirited soul that just wants to bring goodness (and perhaps a little fun) to the world. She’s a mix of the fun-loving and whimsically chaotic personalities I talked about in this post. AND I CANNOT WAIT TO SPEND THE NEXT MONTH IN HER HEAD. I adore the fun, energetic characters!


My other precious baby child. Jonah is quiet, calm, and caring. Putting others’ needs before his own is just second nature. Though at first he can be very shy and reserved, once he’s comfortable with a person his chatty and enthusiastic side comes out. He has a passionate personality, and oozes warmth and comfort. He’s a sensitive type, to others and his own emotions, as his emotions run deep, especially due to him holding them in most of the time. His tendency to be awkward causes him a lot of embarrassment. He’s also a planner, and gets frustrated when things don’t work the same way twice. He’s obviously a bit taken aback by Karis’ nonsensical methods of handling things. But with her creativity and his logic they end up work so well together. THE BABIES. <3 Jonah is absolutely a precious cinnamon roll.

Of course. They each have their secrets... *CACKLES*

My other two characters are Elisabet (“Bet” for short) and Darya. Buuut you’re not supposed to know anything about them, so. *zips lips*


5.) How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

It tends to be different with each book. But for NaNo I always write a ridiculously detailed chapter-by-chapter outline so I know where I’m going and can focus on the words instead of getting stuck with the plot. For me, personally, it just works better that way when I’m having to write a whole story in only 30 days. If I’m pantsing, I like to have more time.

But ANYWAYS, as usual, I completely outlined this story. I started out making character sheets for each of my characters and really digging deep into their personalities, down to their Myers-Briggs types and love languages because I’m obsessive like that. Once I got them and their backgrounds all figured out, I then spent about two weeks feverishly working on my outline. Annnnd it ended up being 16k words. Just the outline. O_O Like I said…I like to make them detailed. I don’t even know, guys…

I also definitely like to assure I have ample supplies of caffeine and am not caught up on other life things before I basically ignore life for a full month. Very important. *nods*

OH. And this year I’m using Scrivener for the first time AND I AM SO EXCITED. It is the perfect writing program for a list-obsessed, OCD writer like me. I have everything organized on it, with sections for my character sheets, an outline (all sectioned off into chapters), my actual draft, ideas, reminders, everything I need all right there! I am soooo pumped to be using it this NaNo for the first time! :D


A screenshot of The Nether Isle’s file on Scrivener.


6.) What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

BASICALLY EVERYTHING. I’m thrilled to be writing something new and different. Between editing Burning Thorns and writing a CoaDS book for each NaNo, it feels like it’s been a while since I’ve just written something utterly new. I cannot waaaaait to tell Karis’s and Jonah’s story because I adore them. And then just the plot itself is wild and crazy and kinda dark and creepy but also with some really fun and (hopefully) unique things as well. Plus feels. Lots of feels. Because feelsy stories and making my readers and myself scream and cry is my fave. (#ActuallyEvil) I think it’s gonna be a wild, amazing ride all the way through. I’m grinning just thinking about writing it!


7.) List 3 things about your novel’s setting.


  • A huge part of the story is these ruins of a weird city. There are buildings built on cliffs and upper levels with bridges running from one place to the next and river on the bottom. The buildings are cracking and a little overgrown by vines and things, but still mostly functioning. Annnd sometimes there’s weird stuff happening in the city ruins, such as the pathways moving like conveyer belts and all sorts of odd and magical items inside the buildings. The style of the city was heavily inspired by this picture…


  • There are “Doorways” which look like square archways placed around the Isle that will randomly deposit you on another place on the Isle.


  • Karis is from the High City of a continent called Ilderwind. The High City is the thriving capital of Ilderwind with a jumble of buildings, stoned streets, a big City Hall. Just a booming steampunk-style town. We get the occasional glimpse of it throughout the story.


8.) What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Karis and Jonah’s first goal is to not die on this crazy Isle that seems bent on killing them. Because, ya know, not dying is cool. Karis later is determined to discover (due to some spoilery circumstances) why the Isle exists at all and who once lived there. But her digging up its secrets leads to…lots of other things which I cannot tell you.

Who or what stands in their way?


9.) How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

*points to above gif*

Come now. I’m not giving everything away.


10.) What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

Even though I have a 16k outline, theme is something that always happens more prominently while writing. I never really choose a theme. It just…happens. I do know there’s a lot about sacrifice. (Because that theme pretty much always crops up in my novels. It’s just so important to me.) Despite appearances, there’s not all that much in the way of romance. *GASP* In a YA novel? I KNOW. CRAZINESS! Instead, there is a lot of focus on family because I feel like there is not nearly enough of that in the YA genre. But, come on, people! Family is amazing! Family, sacrifice, and standing up for what is right no matter how hard it may be would be the core themes I think. …For now. Who knows what it’ll all be once it’s written!

When my readers close this book I want them to feel like they were taken on an amazing, wild ride. I want them to have laughed and cried and maybe howled a time or two, but, by the end of it all, feel like it was worth it.

. . .

And there we have it! You probably now know waaaaay more about The Nether Isle than you ever wanted to. If it wasn’t obvious, I’m REALLY REALLY REALLY EXCITED TO WRITE THIS. Annnnd I’ll continue to be talking all about it throughout NaNo. #SORRYNOTSORRY

The day after tomorrow, guys! O_____O The next time you hear from me, we’ll be nearly a week into NaNo. And, for any of my newer readers, I’m going to apologize now. The posts I produce during NaNo tend to be my wildest, most incoherent, lack-of-sleep-caffeine-induced posts ever. So…yeah. It’s gonna be fun! *runs away cackling madly*


TELL ME YOUR THOUGHTS, O’ READERS. What do you think of my NaNo novel? Are you in shock NaNo is the day after tomorrow????? (notpanicking notpanicking notpanicking) And for those of you not doing NaNo, would you consider setting up a donation for some of your sanity to the rest of us? Because we’re gonna need it! HAPPY NOVEMBER, EVERYONE! *throws glitter and confetti and fall leaves*


  1. Steampunk-fantasy? Family oriented story? A MAGIC CAMERA THAT TAKES PICTURES FROM THE PAST???


    I'm afraid I'm not doing NaNo this year...simply because I have no sanity left. Stupid life curveball of an emotional roller coaster finished that. I haven't even written anything since beginning of October on SOI...*tear*


    1. *BEAMS* It makes me happy you like my idea! :D

      Awwww! That's so sad! D: Ugh, it's so hard when life throws those curveballs. But I totally understand. My last two years were a wild dose of insanity and my writing suffered for it. I guess sometimes life just does that. :( I'm proud of you for choosing to be kind to yourself instead of pushing yourself to do NaNo. I so, SO hope things get better for you! *HUGS*

  2. *SCREAMS AND HOWLS AND CRIES* THIS SOUNDS SO SO SO SO SOOOOOO AMAZING!!!!! I literally SQUEALED a little - not even joking. O.O

    Yours may be the NaNo novel I'm most excited to hear more about!!! I just... I don't... I need... djfigbjbdngjchdg



      I CAN'T.

      Thank you so very muuuuch! I'll try my best to keep you guys up to date on it during NaNo! ^_^

      And thank you again! I think November is gonna be epic, too! And lucky you, getting to watch all the fun without the stress of actually DOING it. ;D

  3. *screams* CHRISTINE THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING! The title is so eerie and mysterious and it totally fits with what you've described!

    I love the camera idea and 1920s-ish steampunk and creepy forests and phantoms... Your characters are so intriguing! And they have awesome names.

    I'm trying out Scrivener this year too! (And should probably transfer my handwritten notes into the files at some point before November 1. *nervously avoids looking at calendar*)

    Oooh, the ruins sound quite spooky and I kind of want to visit them...

    It's so much fun discovering the theme as a book takes shape! Family and sacrifice are such great themes and you can do so many things with them! They add great layers in a story.

    *joins you in the glitter and leaves and panicking*

    1. MEEP. THANK YOU, JAMESON!!! And that makes me happy you like the title, because I have been questioning it from the beginning. I was using that as a "fill in" title until I came up with something better but the story just kind of...became the title. So at this point it'll prooobably stay.

      AWK. Thank yooouuu! Your comment is just making me grin from ear to ear!

      OH OH. You're doing Scrivener, too? SO FUN! I absolutely love it. It's SUCH a fantastic program to keep things organized.

      I have this weird obsession with ruins. I probably put way too many ruins in my books but...they're so fun! Honestly, the majority of this book will take place in the city ruins. I couldn't help myself. XD

      It is! I love it when a theme crops up that I wasn't even planning. Writing is a magical thing! And thank you! I haven't written about themes of family in my novels NEARLY enough, so I'm excited about adding it in this one. ^_^

      *ALL the glitter and leaves and panicking* XD

  4. This sounds amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I can not wait for your next post!!!!!!!!!!!! Give me all the details!!!!!!!!!!

    I really hope you will be sharing snippets, because it would be cruel to tell us about it, but not give us snippets. :P

    1. *flails like an excited octopus* THANK YOU, HANNAH!!! I'm glad you guys actually WANT me to babble about my NaNo, because I just can't help but do it. Hehehe.

      And YES. Snippets will be coming! (Unless the writing just becomes glaringly bad. But...I'll probably still torture you guys with a few snippets of my horrifying first draft writing anyway. *cackles*) And thank you for your interest in my story! You're making me even MORE excited to write it than I already was! :D

  5. "I got this random idea of a camera that took pictures of the past. As in, you take a picture, and the picture that comes out is of some past scene, not the present."

    Genius! Absolutely brilliant. Just golden. Capital idea.

    (I'm actually getting this Iaminaweofyourimaginationrightnow feeling.)

    Oh, I have always wanted to do NaNo, but I am just far too busy this year. Perhaps next year. Anyway, your story sounds a-MAZE-ing, and I hope we'll be able to read snippets on here throughout the coming month.


    1. Aaaaahhhhh!!!! THANK YOU! I have NO clue where the thought even came from. It just popped in my head one day out of the blue. Our brains are crazy things sometimes. XD

      That'd be awesome if you did NaNo one year! But I absolutely understand being too busy. It can be quite the commitment. But hopefully one day you can join us! ^_^

      That's so sweet you're interested in snippets! I shall do my best to provide (as horrible as they'll probably be, eheh). Thank you so much! <3

  6. Hooray for your new project! And hang in there--you can do it!!

    Hey, that's a creative way to use NaNo! But yeah, after 7 years, switching projects would cause some serious withdrawals... (Also, good for you for finishing a 7-book series!)

    Haha, I'm exactly the same combination of new things/nostalgia. It's like "New toys!...but I love my old toys too..."

    Oooh, nice cover art! (Cover art mock-ups are fun, not the least because they trick you into thinking your story is closer to being finished/published than it actually is. :-) )


    Wow, story concept planned after 30 minutes...SHARE YOUR SECRETS WITH ME PLEASE!! :-)

    Okay, that is an awesome blurb. Really, I'm intrigued. It sounds like a thriller/mystery story, with a lot of fantasy as well. Not sure what genre you'd call that...

    Oh, steampunk fantasy. That makes sense. It still sounds like it has mystery/thriller elements. Also, 20s steampunk sounds like a cool twist!

    YES DO ALL THE GENRES!! I actually dislike the standard of squishing your story into one genre...I mean, it makes sense from a marketing perspective (the industry is a business as well as an art), but it is sometimes limiting. I kinda wish we could go back to the days of Dickens when you wrote what you wanted as a serial, none of this "one single genre" nonsense. #rantover

    I CAN'T KEEP MY PLOTS SIMPLE EITHER and it's so frustrated, but also satisfying when it all comes together!

    I love that aesthetic. I want to read this book. *scrambles to check out Pinterest board*

    Karis sounds fun! But also realistic and layered...she's not just a "bouncing off the walls extrovert" or only a "dreamy, hippie free spirit." I like those layers! (And writers need to be nicer to extroverts...I'm an introvert myself, but extroverts are cool people! And they ARE capable of intelligent thought.)

    I love the characters who are quiet--until they're comfortable around you! There's something so special about them--maybe it's a feeling of trust when they're ready to open up? I also like that Jonah is emotional, but methodical/logical. That's a good combination.

    Honestly, my favorite aspect of your setting is those doorway portals. :-)

    Have I mentioned I really want to read this story?

    LITTLE TO NO ROMANCE SOUNDS LIKE A GOOD KIND OF CRAZY!! Seriously, though, maybe more YA books should teach teens how to navigate life first, and then find romance. When it happens backwards, things sometimes get sticky.

    I'm actually still deciding whether or not to do NaNo...I kinda want to (and I discovered a way to do it even with my pen-and-paper writing format)...but I struggle with health problems and don't want to put additional pressure on myself, y'know? Also, I think my book will be longer than 50K words (toldja I couldn't write a simple story!) Any advice?

    Hmm, donations of sanity...would that best be served in the form of coffee/chocolate, or inspiring blog posts? :-)

    I enjoyed reading about this wonderful new story, and I hope your writing goes well!

    1. (Apparently my reply is too long so I'm having to split this up. XD)

      Thank you! I'm excited! ^_^

      It was a pretty cool experience using NaNo to write a whole series, but I'm definitely thrilled to have the option of doing new things now!

      You described it perfectly! Can we just mix our old toys with our new toys and have the best of both worlds? XD

      Awww, thanks! I essentially got a picture and slapped some words on it. I usually like to spend more time on my mock covers (because I'm weird like that) but this year wasn't allowing it... But I'm glad you like it! And YES. Something about making mock covers is so inspiring. Like you said, it's a good way to trick ourselves into imagining the book actually being published! Lol.

      MEEP. THANK YOU!!! And I know, right??? I want a camera that can show me the past events of anywhere I choose! That would be amazing!

      LOLZY. I don't think I've EVER had a story idea come to me so quickly! But it was really just the overall plot and characters. I still had to spend two weeks of pretty grueling work figuring out what HAPPENS in the story. Knowing the core plot is much different than knowing the story's events. XD

      Oh, thank you! I'm actually not very happy with my blurb, I just haven't had time to fix it up. But that makes me fell better that you liked it!'re right. It IS a bit of a thriller, too. Welp, I guess we can add that to the list of genres this is now. We've got steampunk, fantasy, mystery, a touch of thriller, and, really, a smiiiidgen of horror (but not much because I really don't like horror, but I DO like books to be a bit creepy, so mine usually have a sliiight dark tone to them). Like, what even is this book? XD

      YESSSS TO YOUR RANT ABOUT GENRES! That's why I decided to kind of smush all the genres in this story, because I do not like this system of having to have ONE genre in a book. It stifles the creativity that books are supposed to give us! I SO AGREE. *high fives*

      You too? My plots get sooo convoluted and it gives me a headache but, by the end, I'm quite happy about it. Such is the way of writing... XD

      Thank you! Making aesthetics for your book is the most fun thing. Honestly, the "feel" of this book came to me before the plot even did!

    2. Awwww! It makes me so very happy you think Karis sounds fun! And even MORE happy that she doesn't sound like a mere "dreamy, hippie free spirit". Because noooo, definitely not what I was going for. She's fun-loving, but she's got depth, too. And oh my goodness, YES to the extrovert thing. See, I AM an extrovert. (I KNOW. An extroverted writer??? UNHEARD OF.) And I kind of get tired of people seeing extroverts as these air-headed, constantly hyper people who don't have deep thoughts... One time someone (unknowing I was an extroverted writer) told me he didn't think extroverts could write fantasy because fantasy requires so much depth and thought. And I just laughed and laughed since I've been writing fantasy since I was 10 years old. XD And I spend a LOT of time thinking verrrry deeply about everything under the sun. Just because I like spending time with people does not mean I don't have a brain! But look at me, going off on a rant. Eheh. SOWWY. I was just really happy when you said that about extroverts! ^_^

      Oh me too, me too! I just like people like that in general, fictional or not. They're so precious! And I think you nailed it, it probably is that feeling of trust. And it's so special when they trust you enough TO open up to you. So sweet! ^_^ And thank you! I'm really looking forward to writing Jonah.

      They're kinda my favorite toooo! I'm worried I'm going to overuse them in the story but but but they're gonna be funnnn!

      AWK. YOU! <333 Your enthusiasm is making my day!

      THANK YOU!!! I thought so! "Seriously, though, maybe more YA books should teach teens how to navigate life first, and then find romance. When it happens backwards, things sometimes get sticky." <----THISSSSSSS. I just want to shout this to the world! Your said it PERFECTLY. Falling in love at a ridiculously young age and then learning the ways of the world AFTER is just asking for a boatload of complications. How about we save the world FIRST, and then fall in love, hmmmm? XD

      Oh, girl, my heart goes out to you! I have health problems, too, and it can be a lot of pressures on our bodies to keep up with. I'd LOVE for you to join us, but I also absolutely understand if you can't. Essentially, you only really need to write 2k words a day. So it doesn't have to be TOO overwhelming if you don't want it to be. And it is NOT required for your book to be 50k. I've NEVER written a book as short as 50k words in my life. XD My books always end up around the 100k range. O_O Yeah. The goal is to write 50k, but you don't have to write the WHOLE book, just that 50k. Or you can just go over the 50k wordcount. That's usually my goal, to just finish my book as quickly as I can, no matter how long it is. (Sometimes I'm still writing it through December because they do end up being so long...) But ANYWAYS. As long as you write 50k words, you're golden, whether your book is done or not! But, really, it's just for fun and to get yourself in a habit of writing. Even if you can't make the 50k that's OKAY. The point is to write and have fun! So it's totally up to you. But, again, if you think it's too much, that's perfectly okay! I 100% understand that. Health problems are no joke. :(

      LOLZY! I think coffee, food, and inspiring blog posts sound perfect. ;D

      Thank you so very muuuuch!!! Your comment has been the highlight of my day! <3

    3. Haha, no problem about the rant!--I completely agree! It must be frustrating to be stereotyped as a party animal with no capacity for REAL DEEP thought. (Because if it's not existential or conceptual, it's not deep, right? Haha.) And I really do wish writers would be nicer to extroverts! One of my favorite kind of characters to write is "outgoing bookish"--where the character is definitely an extrovert and likes to talk, socialize, etc, but also loves to read and learn and think. It's a combination I don't see very often.

      Actually, introverts can be portrayed incorrectly as well, though I see this online as stereotypes more than in fiction...we're not always the "lost in thought, poetic soul, can't-be-bothered-with-the-unwashed-masses-and-their-chatter". :-)

      And that's before you throw ambiverts into the mix...

      Oh, YA...what could go better with mood swings and raging new hormones than telling teens they need to find the love of their lives NOW? *rolls eyes* But hey, if you save the world first, you'll probably find navigating romance is a little easier by comparison!

      Thank you for your advice! And I think I'm going at least start NaNo and write 2K a day, but if that gets to be too much, I'll alter the daily goals to something more manageable! And haha, my stories are always so long, it takes ridiculously long to write I'm hoping NaNo will help jump-start the process!

      And yay, I'm so glad my comment was a highlight!! :-)

    4. YES YES YES! To eeeeverything you said about extroverts and introverts! The problem is people think there's only ONE kind of extrovert (the air-headed party animals) and ONE kind of introvert (the "lost in thought, poetic soul, can't-be-bothered-with-the-unwashed-masses-and-their-chatter" just like you said!). But um, NO. "Extrovert" simply means we get recharged by people. And "introvert" means recharging time is time alone. That's IT. Just because someone is introverted doesn't mean they're shy and quiet. Where extroverts are not all loud and crazy. We're just people who get recharged differently. I'm actually a very quiet person and sometimes think TOO deeply about things, but I love people and crowds and get so filled up when I'm with friends, so I identify as an extrovert. But I'm also pretty quiet and bookish. I know some introverts who can talk your ear off. It just...bothers me about these misconceptions. And then yes, throw in ambiverts in the mix and you've got a real mess! XD

      But wow, there I go ranting again. I just think it's wonderful you see this too and like to break the stereotypes in your books. That's a lovely thing! ^_^

      YA books are my favorite, but they're also my least favorite because they can be so ridiculous and misguiding. I just don't even know what to do with them. XD

      You're so welcome! And YAY!!! How exciting! I do hope it goes well for you. But definitely be kind to yourself. *nods*
      NaNo is the bessst for getting those long books done. That's what got me addicted to it, because it actually pushes me to finish my monstrous books in a small amount of time. It's great! XD

      Happy NaNo'ing! <333

    5. Thanks! The least I can do is try! And I'm already off to a pretty good start. :-)

      Okay, random question: I was thinking about your book's aesthetic today, and wanted to draw some of the settings. Do you mind if I do that? I'll be happy to send you pictures of the finished products, if you'd like!

    6. That's wonderful! :D

      OH MY GOODNESS. I WOULD BE THRILLED. I'm honored you were inspired by my aesthetic to draw something. YES. THAT WOULD BE AWESOME!!!

    7. AWESOME THANK YOU SO MUCH!! I've already doodled some concept sketches, and I LOVE depicting your story's aesthetic!! *gets absorbed in drawing*


  7. Spontaneous girl, mysterious planner of a guy, and a creepy foresty setting? I recognize this! You must like that kind of pairing. (And so do I, because it offers a lot of opportunities for comic relief and juxtaposing seriousness and humour.)

    No NaNo for me, because of school --- I think I'm the only writer I know who isn't doing it? Someday I will do it again. But even so I'm a bit shocked that it starts on Wednesday already. Oi, the year's almost over.

    Also, only 4 characters? More like five, I'm guessing, the way you described the city.

    1. You know what! When I was typing this out I was thinking, "Wait a minute, this almost sounds like Burning Thorns!" XDDD But I think it only sounds like BT on paper. The actual stories are wildly different, and the characters are too. (Jonah and the Dragon especially are completely different people. Jonah is nicer. XD) And, really, the creepy forest turned more into an island with ruins and things than like the Forest you'd find in BT. (But yeah, I do love me my creepy forests. XD) But also yes, I am very fond of the quiet, shy/hyper, outgoing pairing. It's too much fun! It makes me happy you like that kind too. ^_^

      Awww! SAD! D: Boo on school! Okay...not really. School is important. But I do wish you could join us. I'm proud of you for setting priorities though and actually valuing your sanity unlike the rest of us. XD But yes, HOW IS NOVEMBER THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW? This year, my word. o.o

      Yep, just 4 main characters! There will be a smattering of other characters via flashbacks and the end. But, essentially, there are only four that the story fully focuses on. *nods*

  8. Your story sounds very intriguing. It's awesome seeing that you were able to create a 7 book series. It kinda inspires others to want to write faster.

    Hope you have a good NaNoWriMo!

    Also, I came because of your post on Savannah's blog.

    1. Thank you! ^_^
      Awwww! It was a pretty crazy venture, but I'm glad I did it. I discovered NaNo is a great way to push through and get those long series done. But I am pretty happy to be finished. XD

      Thank you so much! I think it's gonna be a fun one!

      How fun! :D I'm honored you stopped by!

  9. CHRISTINE FAUNA GENIUS MAGIC SMITH. THIS SOUNDS AHDJSLWBSJSKSKAJ INCREDIBLE. Like--wow. A magical camera that takes pictures of the PAST? YOU ARE LIKE THE EINSTEIN OF GENIUS WRITERS. The Nether Isle? The very name gets me excited!!! And steampunk and airships and prisoners and ruined cities and secrets and teleportation arches....!

    I CANNOT EXPRESS MY EXCITEMENT. I pounced on this post earlier today--I've been thinking about it all weekend, tbh--and I wanted to comment right away but grrrr, school. XD

    Anyway. You've had the beginnings of this idea for like half a year and kept it quiet! I would be bursting! This is so funnnn and I can totally see why you do a little jig. *I* feel excited enough to do a happy dance. You may apologize for all the Nano madness posts, but I'm looking forward to them SO MUCH. LIKE. WHAT DO I EVEN DO WITH MYSELF. O.O

    I pretty much just want to be an invisible book dragon perched on the back of your chair as you write this. I need it. <3

    1. P.S. Scrivener! I'm quite curious about it, but also am too lazy to investigate it properly or learn how to use it yet. XD This is your first time with it, right? You must tell us what you think after using it all November!


    3. TRACEY PRECIOUS DYCK. The Einstein of genius writers? GIRL. I CAN'T WITH YOU. <333 *flaaaails* Thank yooouuu!!! And so you like the name? I actually was just calling it The Nether Isle as a place holder until I found a better name kind of BECAME that name, so it'll probably stick. Though I wasn't 100% sure about it. I'm glad you like it!

      You've been thinking about this post all weekend? Again I say, I CAN'T WITH YOU! That just made me grin all big and squeak and and and I CAN'T!!!

      It was pretty hard to keep it quiet, but I wanted to get it plotted before I talked TOO much about it. So, ya know, I actually knew what I was talking about. XD BUT YES. I'M SO EXCITED TO SHARE. This novel has me sooo pumped and it just makes my day/week/month/YEAR that you like the idea! MEEP. YOU! <333 And it's a relief to hear you won't mind all the crazy NaNo posts, 'cause they a'comin'! Eheheheh.

      An invisible book dragon? :O Now I want you to write a story about those, because that just sounds adorable!

      SCRIVENERRRRR. I LOVE IT. Now, it DOES take some time to learn. I sort of spent hours going through the tutorial. Heh. I don't think that's necessary, but it's definitely helpful because there's just so much! BUT I found it absolutely worth it. I literally get happy every time I open Scrivener just because it's so niiiiice how it lays everything out. GAH. I LOVE IT. I feel like such a nerd being THIS excited over a mere writing program BUT IT'S THAT GOOD. This will be my first time writing a story in it, yes. Although way back in March is when I first purchased it and learned how to use it. And, during that time, I moved all of Burning Thorns' documents and things over to it. So I've known how to use it since then. But this will be my first novel to actually WRITE in it AND I'M ALL THE EXCITED! :D I may have to do a post or something on it after NaNo. That's a good idea!


    Oh my goodness, I can only IMAGINE how weird it must be to be doing something else after SEVEN years of the same series for NaNo! :O I hadn't really thought about that because I always do totally different things BUT WOW. O_O But exciting too! ^_^ *laughing so hard because you can't be pleased and your posts are always SO HILARIOUS* XD


    That flood-gate “click” moment where everything just came together and you knew all about the characters SOUNDS AWESOME and is the best feeling and is basically what happened with my own Siren and the Skyship NaNo when I had the idea. IT'S THE BEST.

    I LOVE THIS STORY IDEA AND ALKDFLKJD I WANNA READ IT NOWWWW! As you know. *coughcough* (Creepy forests are the best, yes. XD And the camera! *flails*)

    STEAMPUNK FANTASY BUDDIES. *highfive* (Wait, 1920s vibe with steampunk and magic and fantasy? :O HOW COOL IS THAT. LASKJDL.) HAVE ALL THE GENRES, YUSSS.

    I LOVE YOUR AESTHETIC SO MUCH I MAY CRY. *hugs it all forever* I waaaant it, Lauri! I WANT IT. <3

    But good gracious my comment is enormous already... BUT I LOVE THEMMM AND JONAH SOUNDS PRECIOUS. *sobs softly because I don't have an outline yet* *staaaares at your scrivener screenshot for ideas and IT'S FABULOUS AND ORGANIZED AND YAY* AND I LOVE THE DOORWAYS AND ILDERWIND IS AN AMAZING NAME. :O “Because, ya know, not dying is cool”. XD

    BASICALLY NO I DO NOT KNOW MORE THAN I WANTED TO ABOUT THIS THING BECAUSE I WANNA READ IIIIIT! *flailing around* It sounds incredible and I'm so excited you're excited and I hope you have the BESTEST NANO EVER!! ^_^

    I, meanwhile, will be over here panicking and/or trying to plot. Ahem.


    1. Celti basically said everything I forgot to say. XD

    2. Hee. Thanks. XD (It was long enough that I'd hope so. XDDD)


      It's so, so, SO weird not doing a CoaDS book! And I think once NaNo starts it's gonna REALLY hit me how weird. But, as much as I love CoaDS I wassss kinda ready to do something new. Eheh.

      EEP. I'm so happy you like my cover! I didn't really do much to it, but it fits the tone of the story perfectly, so I'm happy with it! ^_^

      IT IS TOTALLY THE BEST FEELING. I don't think I'll ever forget that morning when it happened. I don't know if I've ever had a story click THAT much. Usually the plot comes more slowly. But that one just exploded everywhere. XD And oh my goodness, S&S was the same back when you first got the idea??? We are gonna be such novel twins this year! :D

      *BEAMS* Thank you, Celti! And yeeeah, I can't pass up some good creepy forests. They seem to be my weakness. XD Although this story ended up where it's going to take place more in the creepy ruinous city. But there's a good bit of eerie wooded areas, so it still counts.

      Huzzah for steampunk fantasy buddies! *highfives back*
      Eeeeeee! Thank you! I don't know if it's EXACTLY a 1920s feel. It's just the technology and things are a lot more advanced than the Victorian age, but it's not exactly modern either. I don't even know. It's mostly just made up stuff. XD

      I KIND OF LOVE MY AESTHETICS TOO AND IT MAKES ME HAPPY YOU LIKE THEM. It's weird, the "feel" or overall tone of the story kind of came before I even had a plot. Just that eerie, green, misty sort of feel was always there long before even Karis and Jonah showed up. It's so strange how stories come about!

      But I love your enormous comment!
      Oh my goodness, I was staring at YOUR Scrivener file when you shared a screenshot on YOUR blog, seeing how you organized things and stuff. I love gleaning ideas off of everyone! We writers. XD
      My sister actually came up with the name Ilderwind. I fell in LOVE with it. It sounded so steampunk-y and fun. Sisters are the best for ideas and inspiration!
      Not dying is always cool. ;)


      And I hope plotting is going well and panicking is NOT going well, because I don't want my Celti to panic! IT'S GONNA BE GOOD. WE'RE GONNA SURVIVE THIS!

  11. *squeal* AAAHHHH SO SO EXCITING!!! THIS LOOKS EPIC, CHRISTINE. *flails* You had me right from the mock cover.

    STEAMPUNK FANTASY THOUGH. *screams* EPICNESS. as;dfha;kl it just sounds so amazing. And THAT BLURB-- *faints* It was super amazing, even if it was a little rough. AGAIN - EPICNESS.

    1. *also squeals* JAAAAANE! Your comments always, ALWAYS make me smile! THANK YOU SO MUCH! IT JUST THRILLS ME YOU LIKE MY IDEA. I CAN'T STOP GRINNING.

      And oh goodness. My blurb needs help. XD I just haven't had a chance to fix it up. But AAAAGGGHHHH. GIRL. THANK YOU!!! <333

  12. AHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I NEED TO READ THIS!!!!!!! *faints*


    2. You're very welcome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And thank you! <3 :D XD

  13. Everything about this sounds amazing- the characters, the camera, the island, 1920s steampunk fantasy, the cover, the story's story, and so on and so forth!
    I'm going to need this one on my bookshelf, please.

    1. Excuse me while I go squeal for a million years. Your comment made. my. day. Thank you so much, Blue! It just makes me so ridiculously happy to hear people like my idea!

  14. This sounds so amazing!!! I love the camera idea!

    -Madeline Joy

    1. AWK! That means so much to me that you think so! Thank you!!! <3

  15. THIS SOUNDS SO AWESOME WOW I CAN'T EVEN. THAT'S SO CREATIVE. I like creepy stories. I do! I don't gt enough scares. Once I borrowed this book - a collection of mysteries - and it said "don't read before bedtime -- guaranteed to unnerve". Well what do you think happened? WELL I QUIT THE BOOK IN STORY THREE. Did it make sense? No. Did I feel even mildly engaged? No. I WAS SO BORED. ok sorry rant over. JUST SAYING YOUR STORY SOUNDS AMAZING. All the best!


      I like creepy stories as well! I'm not a horror person, AT ALL. But some good, fun, eerie fantasy--I'm all for that!

      Oh man, really? What a bummer! I think a lot of these "scary stories" go over the top to try to scare, but they forget to make you engaged in the character. What makes us scared in books is when we love the characters and are scared FOR them. It's not so much the eerie atmosphere and villains that scare us, it's what the villains might do to our beloved characters that scare us! I don't know if that was the case with the stories you were reading, but it's just a theory of mine.

      Anyways, I'm so honored you like my story idea! Thank you, Lisa! <3

  16. I have been waiting for this! It's sounds awesome, Christine! I love, love the idea of a creepy island, a camera that takes pictures of the past. Yes please! Also your characters sound like adorable cinnamon buns too pure for the world.
    It will be genius!

    1. *happy squeaks* EEP. Thank you! I am so very excited about it! That makes me happy you like the sound of my characters and everything. Hopefully everything on paper will turn out like it is in my head, but one can never know. XD


  17. This sounds so lovely! I SO enjoyed reading this. <3 That feeling you get when your story finally comes together! It's so exciting, I love that feeling so much.
    Your characters sound awesome. I would love to watch them work together. Jonah sounds a lot like me--almost exactly like me, actually. I know you'll be busy during NaNo but do post snippets if you think you can. This story sounds fun, and I would love to get to taste your writing style!

    1. Awwwww! That makes me so happy! Thank you!
      YESSSS. I love that feeling so very much! It's just a magical moment.

      Oh goodness, THANK YOU! I'm suuuper excited to write them. And wow, Jonah and you have matching personalities??? HOW FUN.
      I am so honored you're interested in snippets. I'll still be posting every Monday (hopefully) and will do my best to squeeze in some snippets and things! You're so sweet! <3

  18. wow Wow and WOW

    The more I kept reading, the more I was like "THIS IS AMAZING I WANNA READ IT!"

    The camera idea first caught my attention, then the island, and the steampunk and AHH this book sounds great!!!

    You're not the only NaNo crazy person - I think about it all the time, and fangirl over it. BRING IT ON!!! (tomorrow...)

    1. *FLAAAAILS* AAAHHHH! YOUR COMMENT. That is the nicest thing! It just THRILLS me to hear people like my crazy idea! Thank you!!!

      You too? That is great! XD I'm so obsessed. I kind of center my life around it even though it's just one month out of the year. But it's such a HUGE and important part of my life. I LOVE IT. YES. Bring it on!!! *raises laptop and charges*


    Everything that I just read... Beautiful!! I could just feel the creativity and excitement oozing out of the words. This book sounds just amazing and original. ( Mary poppins voice) practically perfect in every way :)

    I had chills on question three!!! Creepiness is so comforting some times.

    So to some it all up I think this is going to be a phenomenal book. I will control my self and simply say that the whole camera thing is pure genius... I can't even
    I will anxiously await for peeks into this story :) *twirls around in the glitter and confetti and fall leaves*

    1. OH MY GOODNESS. YOU! <3 I don't think it's creativity as much as me just throwing every idea I have into one and calling it a novel. XD


      Creepiness is comforting. O___O Oh my goodness. YOU PUT IT INTO WORDS. I've never thought of it consciously, but there IS something comforting at those eerie feeling things, like a quiet forest or the wind in the night or a pretty graveyard. YOU'RE SO RIGHT. I HAVE COME TO A NEW REALIZATION. YOU ARE BRILLIANT!

      Thank you again! Your comment is making me so happy! *twirls with you*

  20. LAURI LAURI LAURI o______o If there's ANYBODY who isn't the least intrigued by this story, I'll HUNT THEM DOWN & BEAT THE NONSENSICAL-NESS FROM THEM. This sounds absolutely BEYOND incredibly and magnificently and ALL the -ly's AMAZING!!! I cannot WAIT to learn more! (If you'll ever share anything even CLOSE to a spoiler, that is... *wink wink*) xD

    Your characters sound adorable PRECIOUS. I love the quiet, reserved kind of guys - they always seem to have such an appealing kind of mysterious factor to them, and Jonah is no exception. :] <3 And Karis!!! LOVE the name - so lovely! And the Pinterest board is great! (Such a convenient thing for us writerly folk, eh?)

    Best wishes, m'dear, on this NaNo! Happy NaNo eve!!!


      D'awwww, thank you! I'm excited to write about these babies. And I'm totally with you on the quiet, reserved guys. They're so precious! I love writing that type! <3
      Pinterest is like my favorite place EVER. It's so the best! (If not a time-vacuum--sucking away all my time. XD)

      THANK YOU, SARAH! YOU TOO. We're gonna have too much funnnnn!!!! :D :D :D

  21. AHHHH BEST OF LUCK! I was excited for this before but now all your excitement is making me DOUBLY EXCITED!!

    Okay, that magic camera idea is the bomb. And so is the plot as a whole - I love the mystery element! AND STEAMPUNK, YESS. My current work is also a steampunk one, and I composed it basically by tossing together a bunch of plot ideas + elements + characters I hadn't been able to fit into other stories. Steampunk pirates or glass-eyed elves, anyone?

    I know EXACTLY what you mean when it comes to books just bursting out of you. It's why I'm a pantser a lot more often than a plotter, though that's something I'm trying to change little by little.

    Family is a theme I've begun warming up to in the past year. I'm an only child with a pretty small + distant family, so it's always been hard for me to relate to themes about family. But I've read a bunch of really good sibling relationships recently, so it's become more of an interesting element to me than something I'm inherently suspicious of, for lack of a better word. I can't wait to see what you do with the theme!

    Happy writing! I can't wait to see snippets at the end of the month <3

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality


      Eeeeeee! Thank you, Ellie! I'm super looking forward to writing a steampunk story. I've written one before but that was yeeeears ago. It'll be great to try my hand at it again.
      Oh my goodness, it looks like your WIP came about a lot like mine. Just throw ALL the things in and see what you get! XD But steampunk pirates and glass-eyes elves??? ELLIE. YOUR STORY IDEAS. I LOVE YOUR BRAIN!

      It's such a great feeling! And I do love it when it happens when I pants, but it helps with plotting too. I love it both ways, really! Being a writer is just magical in general. ^_^

      Family is a really enjoyable theme to work with. And siblings relationships are sooooooo fun to write! Some of my favorite character dynamics have been sibling relationships.

      Thank you, Ellie! I hope your NaNo is AMAZING! <333



  23. I JUST REALIZED I FORGOT TO COMMENT ON THIS LIKE WHAT?!!! Christine this sounds epic and amazing and arghhhhh. I just want to read it <3

    Everyone else has already written the monster comments so I won't even try...but good luck, and I hope it's going great. :)

    1. LOL. THAT IS OKAY! Sounds like something I would do. XD But EEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!! Your comment is making me grin so hard! Thanks so much, girl! <333

  24. This story sounds really exciting! I'm glad you're doing something new. It often stretches comfort zones, but produces great results! Best of wishes for your project. ^ ^

    1. Thank you! It has been pretty crazy thus far and...I'm loving every bit of it. XD

      I 100% agree! I like to occasionally dip my toe in something different from my usual genres, and I never once regret it. It definitely stretches us, but in wonderful ways!

      Thanks again! ^_^


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