Hey guys! It’s that time of year again for the Know the Novel Linkup! Christine Smith created this so we can share our WIPs on our blogs during Nanowrimo season. Though I’m not participating Nanowrimo this year since I’m not drafting at the moment, I had so much fun participating in this for the first time last year for Project Gander that I didn’t want to miss out, so I’m doing it again anyway for my pirate fantasy, DOTS! Christine is writing the sequel to an awesome-sounding fantasy she wrote last year, so if you want to read her post on that, you can here!
What first sparked the idea for this novel?
I may have mentioned this in a post before, but I think the very first seed of the idea was for my protagonist. You know at the end of On Stranger Tides when Angelica tries to make jack think she’s pregnant? Well, I thought it would be funny if that was true. What if they had a sassy teenage pirate daughter? XD
Then, years later I was randomly watching Hawaii 5-O (which was completely unrelated to my WIP XD) and two ideas I had for different stories suddenly clicked in my mind and I realized it would work really well if I combined them! And that’s how DOTS was born. 😛 (Btw, DOTS is the acronym for it’s title, which I don’t want to share yet. I got tired of calling it Project Ocean Eyes.)
I finished the first draft in December of 2019, and have slowly been trying to organize my notes and feedback on it so I can write the second draft. Now I’m diving into it more seriously and working on finishing that process up as well as doing more character/worldbuilding research so I can work the plot out and put it into a better outline for draft 2 which I didn’t really have the first time. Hence the draft being a HOT MESS. XD But my goal is to be well organized and have a solid outline by the end of the year so I can start rewriting it in early January. Don’t know how realistic that timeline is, especially now that I’m starting to get distracted by plot bunnies for a different fantasy series set in the same world, but we’ll see how it goes. 😛
Share a blurb (or just an overall summary if you’d prefer)!
Hmm, I do have a summary written up for it now, but it’s kind of spoilery and has elements and new ideas I hadn’t worked out before I wrote the first draft that I still need to figure out how to incorporate, so I won’t share it. Instead, I’ll just give you the basics in a nutshell:
It’s a retelling of the legend of Anastasia Romanov mixed with Pirates of the Caribbean! My main character is the first mate on a pirate ship that rescued her as a child. She doesn’t remember who she is or where she came from, but she’s content to sail freely with the crew and the captain who she calls her brother…until her past catches up with her. There’s treasure hunting, political intrigue, found family, ghosts, water magic, adventure, lots of sass, found family, and themes of identity, purpose, and deals a lot with mental health, mainly anxiety/PTSD.
It’s A LOT to work out, and is pretty overwhelming, especially for being my first fantasy WIP, but I hope once I smooth out the problems from the first draft out in my brain and make a new outline I’ll feel better about it. I’m excited to work on revising and start the second draft because I’ve never made it past the first draft of any of my WIPs before, and I’m itching to see how I can make the story improve. It’ll be a lot of hard work, but hopefully it’ll be worth it. I have a feeling I might be one of those writers that like the editing stage more than the writing, but I won’t know until I try!
Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?
It takes place mostly on a ship…obviously. 😛 There’s other islands that they go to, and a port city on the continent, but I didn’t think through the settings and their purposes very well in the first draft, so that’s something I definitely need to build on. My favorite setting that I wrote into the first draft though is this island where a bunch of people from a bunch of different countries live together in a city they built in the trees, and face painting as an art is a huge part of their culture. There’s a fun scene I really liked that is set there, but I felt like I didn’t give them a good enough reason to actually be there, so it definitely needs to be reworked, but I hope I can keep it in draft 2 cuz I liked writing it a lot!
I think my favorite thing about the settings is the whole islands/ships/ocean aesthetic, and just general fantasy elements/vibes because I’ve never written them before and have really gotten into reading more of it in the last few years. And because it’s an Anastasia retelling, there’s lots of Russian-inspired things too, which is a fun contrast with all the tropical pirate vibes. 😀
Tell us about your protagonist(s).
Since I’ve shared the names of my characters in Project Gander in my last update, I decided it’s time to share them for DOTS too. My main character’s name is…Kordilya! ❤
It’s like Cordelia but with a more Russian-inspired spelling, and the captain of their ship (her “adoptive” brother) calls her Ilya for short. 🙂 Since it’s an Anastasia retelling, she’s obviously really a princess, so Kordilya isn’t her actual name, but I’m not going to share her real name for now. I called her AK before because the A stands for the first initial of her real name, (No, it’s not Anastasia. XD Since this is a fantasy I didn’t want it to actually be Anastasia but it’s similar.) and K stands for Kordilya, so it was the initials of both her names. And it’s the postal code for Alaska so I liked it. 😛
I’ll try to give different details than I already gave in this post, but for the most part the basics are the same: she’s 18, (even if she doesn’t know exactly how old she is, I’m saying she’s actually 18. XD ) she has unearthly blue/green eyes, and she’s the first mate on a pirate ship.
Some new info I hadn’t shared before is she has a few freckles from living in the sun, and various scars from fighting. She’s full of sass, her Meyers-Briggs type is ESFP, her Enneagram types are 4, 7, and 8, (the test I took for her gave me three, so I’m not sure which was the most dominant?) she speaks at least three languages, and she really likes food. 😀
Who (or what) is the antagonist?
Well, I had an admiral of the Russian-inspired country’s navy be the antagonist, in the first draft, but he’s not the “ultimate” bad guy. I haven’t fully figured that out yet, or even what the admiral’s motives are. This story will probably need to be a series, (at least a duology, but maybe a trilogy? I have no idea how far in the writing process I’m even going to end up taking this.) so I’m not sure if the ultimate antagonist is going to show up in draft two or if I should just save them for the sequel like I was planning. I don’t know how it’s all going to work out yet.
What excites you the most about this novel?
Just the overall ocean/sailing/Russian/fantasy aesthetic is so fun, and I love making Pinterest boards and adding movie soundtracks and sea shanties to my playlist. 😀 I can’t wait to get to the other side of working through it’s problems so I can write draft two and make the story cleaner and tighter than it was to begin with, and just be in that world again. 🙂
Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?
As I said before, it’s definitely going to need to be a series. I don’t know the whole story yet, but my ideas for it are too broad to be a standalone. 😛
Are you plotting? pantsing? plansting?
For the first draft I think I was a plantser, but now that I’m going into draft 2 I’m hardcore planning. It DEFINITELY needs it. The first draft was such a hot mess with nobodies’ motives being clear (even to me. I had NO idea what I was doing) and it was so stressful. XD I don’t want that same problem this time around.
Name a few unique elements about this story.
Hmm, I guess the whole pirates mixed with Anastasia/Russia thing is unique? And there’s also magic in it because…ya know, fantasy, but I haven’t fully figured out how that will work yet.
Share some fun “extras” 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!).
I always share a playlist song at the end of every writing-related post, so here’s another one that really reminds me of the overall story. It’s the Rihanna song from Home, but I really like this version and this girl’s voice is so gorgeous!
All credit goes to the authors of the images.
What Do You Think?: