1. Introduce yourself!
Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a Christian writer of Young Adult fiction. My stories are about finding hope amidst the darkness.
2. Tell us about your work-in-progress and your August goals!
I am actually working on over half a dozen WIP’s at the moment… ehehe… so, I’ll pick the most recent one. It’s a gender-swapped Cinderella retelling where the princess instigates the ‘prince’ losing his shoe, thus sending her father on a wild goose-chase for her true love so she won’t be forced to pick a suitor. Needless to say, things don’t go as planned ;p
As for August goals, I wanted to get as much rewriting done on my oldest WIP as I can. I know that’s a broad goal, but I’ve been busy as of late so I can’t make any hard-set goals right now.
3. Introduce your characters!
Princess Charmina is the only child of the king. She is loyal, determined, and a bit of a rebel. She detests the stiff, impractical finery she is forced to wear and all the shallow niceties of the upper classes.
Elladar is an orphan living with his abusive step-family. He is patient, kind, and loyal to a fault. He lacks self-confidence and believes his step-family’s lies that he is good for nothing and that because they saved him from having a destitute life on the streets he needs to earn his keep as the sole servant of the household.
I have a few more characters, but I don’t know enough about them yet to introduce them. So I’ll just give the names of two I’m getting to know:
Jovani – A fairy godfather
Giselle – The Royal Goose-girl and the princess’ best friend.
4. What are you currently reading?
Reached by Ally Condie. It’s a little surreal reading it due to what’s going on with Covid. The book is a Dystopian, I think, and book 3 of the trilogy. I’m glad I gave it a chance, though there are some things I don’t agree with/didn’t care for. I’ll probably put up a review at some point.
5. Favorite genre to read or write.
Speculative Fiction. I love fantasy but I am comfortable writing in most any genre as long as it doesn’t conflict with my beliefs.
6. Three fun facts about your work-in-progress.
- There are three Balls instead of one.
- Elladar receives no fairy-based help on getting to the Ball.
- Pumpkin styled carriages were all the rage when Charmina’s father was young.
7. You get to spend the day in your story’s world. What will you do?
Explore and get a better feel for the setting. Also visit Charmina’s secret garden.
8. A favorite kind of character to write.
A mix of spunky and sweet female characters. I have to try really hard not to have the same character in each WIP only with new hair/eye color.
9. What is your writing weakness?
Sticking with a project. I tend to bounce around between a few of them and only get a few chapters into one before I’m off to the next one. I really need to work on buckling down and finish something, even if I’ve hit a difficult spot.
10. What is your writing strength?
Characters. Once I get past my default character they tend to open up and act of their own accord, leaving me flailing trying to keep up and/or wrangle them into a semblance of what I wanted them to do.
11. What are your hobbies outside of writing?
I love to bake. Cookies, cakes, and cupcakes are my favorites. I also do bead-crafts, yarn-weaving, I dabble in drawing, and I play video games (yes, that is a legitimate hobby ;p).
12. Your favorite villain trope.
Misunderstood Antiheroes who honestly just need a hug.
13. A favorite book you’ve read so far in 2020.
Diamond by Kirsten Fichter.
14. Writing playlist.
I listen to either movie soundtracks, instrumental soundtracks, or praise and worship music.
15. Your WIP’s colors/aesthetic.
For my Cinderella retelling, I’m thinking silver, gold, orange, green, and blue, with fancy Balls, muddy shoes, secret gardens, and whispered promises.
16. Share your social media + book links!
I’m not yet published, so no book links. Um, my blog is the only thing right now, and you’re already here, so it would be kinda pointless to share that link. ;p
17. A side character you love in your work-in-progress.
Giselle, the goose-girl, who works at the palace. She seems like she’s going to be quite the character!
18. What is the best part about being a writer?
Wow, this question was harder than I thought! I suppose the best part for me would be creating characters and then going through their story with them, being right there along with them through all their joys, trials, and heartaches… even though I’m the one inflicting it all on them ;p
19. A genre you want to write.
I have a cool Space Opera/Sci-Fi/Fantasy mash up idea that I can’t wait to get to. It has space dragons and space mermaids, along with a lot of other mythological creatures.
20. You’re on a Q&A panel! Which authors are sharing the stage with you?
Oh, wow! So hard to decide! Umm. let’s see… Gail Carson Levine, Ted Dekker, Kirsten Fichter, Jenelle Schmidt, & Christine Smith.
21. One way you’ve grown as a writer + one thing you want to improve on.
One way I’ve grown as a writer is allowing the rough draft to be just that. Rough, unpolished, full of holes and wearing a giant ‘Help Me!’ sign. And that’s okay, no book is written in one draft and published with absolutely zero editing (if that happened to you, wow, please teach me your secrets!). Books require a lot of work, which means allowing them to be messy, missing a few pieces, and wondering what I was thinking when I wrote that particular spot. Because once I’ve gotten past that, I can then sift through the rubble for the gold and precious stones within. Sometimes it will require getting new rubble to go through to fill in a plot-hole and maybe the gold I thought I’d found turns into fool’s gold, but at least I’ve accomplished something instead of doing nothing in the fear that I will fail. No story is a failure as long as you learn something from it, even if all you learn is not to write that kind of plot again.
Now for what I want to improve on. I will borrow some of Christine’s words from her post because they speak so well on what I was thinking:
Just because I have time to be productive doesn’t mean I should.Christine Smith
I don’t usually make time for fun because I feel like if I don’t write as much as I can then I’m not a real writer. I know that is kind of silly, you can write for just a few minutes a day and still be a writer, but head knowledge and heart knowledge are two separate things. I’ve missed quality time with my family because I ‘need’ to be writing, I’ve missed precious moments with my little brother because it’s now my writing time even though I wrote that morning. I am done letting writing steal time from me and my loved ones. I love writing with all my heart, but I need to find balance, I need to create boundaries.
22. Goal check-in + a snippet!
I’ve rewritten up to chapter 6… of 36-ish chapters. My main goal is to get the novel down to 120,000 words, my rough draft was a little over 122,000 so it hopefully won’t be that hard to complete. #famouslastwords
Now for the snippet! Please note it’s still in the rough draft stage.
“You want to what-now?” Giselle shook her head, her golden curls bouncing. “Girl, you’re crazy!”
Charm raised her eyebrows. “That’s never stopped us before.”
“True, true, but you know your father–“
“Are you going to help me or not?” Charm interrupted, “I don’t have much time.”
Huffing and leveling her gaze, Giselle crossed her arms. “Fine. But I’d better not be linked back to helping you and get myself fired for my trouble.”
Charm grinned and linked arms with the other girl. The geese scattered and honked as the girls walked out of the goose-pen. “Relax, he knows better than to fire my friends.”
“You’re right, I won’t be fired, I’ll be executed for treason. I’ve changed my mind.” Giselle slipped from Charm’s grip and turned back.
“Oh, no you don’t.” Charm grabbed her and hauled her back aright. “Father doesn’t execute, you know that.”
“First time for everything, especially when he finds you missing.”
“That’s where Collin, Will, and Jack come in. Trust me, everything will be fine. I’ve got a plan.”
“You know, for some reason I don’t find that very comforting.”
Well! That was a post and a half! I hope you enjoyed learning a bit about me and my writing.
Until next time!