The lovely Susan at mywithershins posted a fantastic idea for authors: write a love list about your work in progress. (the idea originated from Stephanie Perkins on Natalie Whipple’s blog). The reasoning behind doing this is to keep you, the author, focused on what is important in the story and to keep the creativity alive. There is no one particular thing you need to focus on. Simply write a love list of everything you adore about your W.I.P., from characters, to settings, to the writing and or editing process. I decided to try it because it sounds like the ultimate motivator to keep my muse in gear.
As In the Shadow of the Dragon King is my pride and joy, as well as the two novels in the saga that follow it, I’ve created a love list for the series. I’ve been working on this series now for seven years off and on, for the last 2 years seriously. Over the past year, personal issues have kept my muse and me from progressing forward. Hopefully, this love list will get us both back on track
The Chronicles of fallhollow love list
1) Main character #2 – Eric Hamden – I am in love with this character, more so than the primary main character, David Heiland. He is 18 years old, cocky, strong-willed, sensitive while remaining quite ‘mannish’. He speaks his mind, is respectful when he needs to be, and defiant when called for. He is a squire to the most admired and respected knight in the kingdom of Hirth and is afforded ‘rights’ other squires are not because of that relationship. He comes off as slightly arrogant, but it’s because he gets irritated by people feeling they are entitled to things just because they’re in a position of power or because they have no power at all. He abhors those who take what doesn’t belong to them, and he believes an offensive posture in war trumps a defensive position.
2) Main Character #1 – David Heiland – David is almost 18 , wealthy and lives in an 1860s antebellum mansion in Havendale, Tennessee (that’s near Bristol). His parents are dead. He is an archery champion, valedictorian, and his best friend is Charlotte Stein. David likes to think he’s independent and assertive, but he’s actually very trusting…until he realizes his life has been nothing but a lie. He is impulsive, acts first and questions later. His life is filled with drama. He often feels the need to run away if he feels stuck. At first, he balks at challenges, then comes to realize he can’t live without them. He doesn’t like being told what to do, especially by other guys his age. He’s into classic rock and plays an acoustic guitar. While he doesn’t like war, he believes defense is better than offense.
3) YA/New Adult Fantasy Genre – I adore this genre. I’ve always been drawn to romantic and not so romantic fairy tales of knights, dragons, fair maidens and castles. Anything magical and make believe. When I was growing up, there weren’t a lot of books in this genre, which made me want to write in it. I figured I couldn’t be the only kid in the world who loved reading fantasy tales where the heroes were kids or young adults. Practically every story I wrote involved a dragon or some other mystical creature and kids. I am glad to see the genre evolve over the years and know I have a place my writing can call ‘home’.
3) Setting – When I first started this series, it began with a group of fairies fleeing their homes because of a war. The story has changed some much since then. The series transcends two worlds – Havendale, Tennessee and the fantasy world of Estaria and the realm of Fallhollow. The bulk of In the Shadow of the Dragon King takes place in Fallhollow. The second novel brings the characters into Havendale for the majority of the story, and the third marries the two worlds together.
4) The Soundtrack – When my novel is turned into a movie, I want James Horner to do the soundtrack. I also hear some Aerosmith, Credence Clearwater Revival, Pink Floyd, Bon Jovi, ELO, Jane Taylor, and Rebecca Ferguson. I’d also like Enya to sing the closing song to the 1st movie. I don’t want much, do I. 😉
5) Mythological creatures – I love dragons, faeries, gnomes, centaurs, etc. and have included quite a few in my stories. I’ve even created a few of my own.
6) Two points of view: 3rd person omnipotent – The story is so complex that I couldn’t tell it the way I wanted to in one person’s POV. I chose David’s and Eric’s as they each have their feet in their own worlds. I like the omnipotent POV because there can be slight author intrusion provided it doesn’t distract from the character’s telling of the story.
7) The Twist at the End of novels #2 #3 – I wrote the ending to novel #2 before I wrote one word of Dragon King. It was strong with me when I wrote it and when I go back to read it now, it resonates within me even more than it did then. I know in my heart that this is the way the 2nd novel has to end as much as I hate it. It will also leave the reader thinking “WTF just happened! No! That can’t happen! You can’t leave it there!” The ending to novel #3 brings me to tears every time I read it. It’s like the ending to the Hunger Games series when you want desperately for Katniss to choose to be with *fill in the blank*, but you know she has to choose *fill in the blank* because it’s the only logical decision.
8) The Plot – War has come to Fallhollow, and unless David and Eric can stop it, it will come to Havendale and Earth, too. But how do three mortal teens rein in a dragon, a sorcerer and a council of mages determined to annihilate every non-magical creature across multiple worlds? Enter a knight, two fae and an army of eccentric allies. Together, David finds the courage he didn’t know he had, and uncovers a hidden truth that changes everything.
For you writers out there, what’s on your ‘love list’? Do you think making a ‘love list’ will help you stay focused on your W.I.P.?