This week I'm back with the Shared WIP tag, invented by the amazing Jules , and I'll be sharing about my side characters and setting...

This week I'm back with the Shared WIP tag, invented by the amazing Jules, and I'll be sharing about my side characters and setting from Golden Revenge! (One of which lives to tell bad jokes, hence, the title change.) If you're not sure what the story is about, here's a quick formula for you: 

Refugees + civil war + King Midas retelling + magic + revenge = Golden Revenge.

Now, to the questions!

List your SC’s, state one of their main hobbies, and tell us how they influence your MC in the story.

There are a LOT, so I'll keep it short and sweet here, and focus on the main ones.

Koray: loves to play cards and tell jokes; is a close friend of Taylan's and childhood friend of Mida, and spurs her on her quest. (That's a new change as a heads up to my beta readers, who are probably confused right now.)

Feriha: a physician who Taylan has had a crush on for the last four years. And still not made a move.

Kyrone: heir to the Mohetanian throne and far too obsessed with tax reports; Mida's loyal brother.

Esen: likes to play with her dolls and braid their hair; her sister Sefika works hard to keep her alive.

Doruk: king of Paralin and in love with his greenhouse; husband of Ela and lets her do whatever she likes.

Who is the SC that is the closest to your MC?

Ooh hard one. Taylan is probably closest to Feriha (or he'd like to be anyway) and Mida is closest to Kyrone, as he's one of the few people she'll actually share her problems with.

I can't find photos that look like my characters so here's a photo of herbs Feriha might use
How do your SC’s act around people they don’t know?

I'll focus on Koray and Feriha for these following SC questions, so this post doesn't go on forever! Koray would immediately start telling jokes ("What do you call a man lost in the forest? Stumped!") to try and assess their type of humour, while Feriha would be polite and helpful but likely wouldn't engage in any heart-to-heart conversation.

Case in point for Koray when under threat of death:

“Please don’t kill me, I like living. I really, really like it. I swear. Besides, I’m allergic to death; fatally allergic.”

What conflict do they add to the story (disagreeing with the MC, perhaps)?

This is a hard question to answer without giving away spoilers. Koray has...different alliances that directly conflict each other and spin everything into a mess. Feriha and Taylan disagree on a number of issues. And that's all I can give away now.

Would your MC die for any of them? What about vice versa?

Taylan would die for two SCs I mentioned, and you can probably guess one (the other shall remain a secret), and they would die for him. Who Mida would die for is a secret...

If you were writing books about your SCs, what might the books be like?

Jokes would drench Koray's so much it would turn into a joke guide with some dark moments, and Feriha's book would focus on her fight to rebuild her country and dreams. She'd love to open a hospital some day:

Feriha leaned her head on his shoulder. “Maybe you could help me run my own hospital.”
It took a few seconds for the words to sink in, the closeness of her muddling his thoughts. “Your what?”
“My hospital. Once the war is over, I want to be able to run one; make people healthy and happy, and not drain their entire savings away for it. It will have clean wood walls, and smell of lily blossoms, and I’ll give every sick child a doll or spinning top and…” She continued on, eyes brightening as she explained the plan. A pure plan. One that resulted in blood being cleaned up and wounds patched, unlike his.
Taylan’s plans were all red.

What is your favorite part about the setting?

I really like Peresay! It's partially inspired by Uluru in Australia, which is a giant red rock in the middle of our outback, except in the story a city is built around it. Here's a snippet of one of its streets just for fun:

Here, bricks and mortar lined up into clean, precise rows scrubbed free of moss or refuse. Purple tiles bordered the doors and windows. Peeks between metal gates showcased breezy courtyards and fronds of date trees basking in sunlight. As they strode down the quiet street, the scent of fresh bread danced on the wind, warm and soft.
The bakery preened itself on the right. A quiet bustle of figures dashed in front of sparkling windows, above which an elegant hand had engraved The Golden Crust into stone. Customers in gowns carrying silver woven baskets sampled pastries over laughter, either not knowing, or not caring, about the refugees’ arrival.

What was the hardest part about coming up with the setting?

Nothing I can remember! The different settings fell into place naturally for me.

Is there anything about the setting that produced a major change in your character throughout the story?

I see someone's asking for spoilers...

Did you base your setting off of any place in particular?

As I've mentioned before, I loosely based some of my settings and food off of Bulgaria and Turkey, though with a good dose of my own imagination in there and some nods to Australian land forms. A lot of the architecture and buildings in Kanta and Peresay are reflections of my inspiration.

Check out the other participants' blogs for more fun and story sharing!

Tell me about how your writing's going! Are you surviving NaNo? What was your story setting inspired by? Which of my SCs would you prefer to have tea with?
Have a wonderful day! <3

Today I am SO excited, for two reasons!! The first is that I get to share about my antagonist thanks to Julian's great tag, and the sec...

Today I am SO excited, for two reasons!! The first is that I get to share about my antagonist thanks to Julian's great tag, and the second is that Project Canvas is out! In case you haven't heard of it, it's a collection of dozens of articles from young writers (including myself) across the world sharing their writing tips, inspiration, and writing journeys. It's an amazing read, and it would mean so much to me if you would check it out. <3

Now, onto the questions!

Introduce the main antagonist of your book!

Queen Ela married into the Paralinese royal family after King Doruk was charmed by her strength, powerful magic, and beauty. As the king is obsessed with creating plants and tending to his garden, she takes on the bulk of the governing and commanding the military. At the beginning of the book she is heavily pregnant, and in the throes of planning to slaughter rebel soldiers.

Here are the opening paragraphs in her first chapter:

Ela had never been wild about war.
But as she surveyed the map spread out on the midnight stone table, an odd tingle flushed her cheeks. One hand rubbed her swelling stomach, another traced the dotted lines. Little figurines balanced on the thick paper—her armies, and the rebels’. Paralin’s inked sweeping river, dense forest, and sprawling plains were riddled with slashes. It was if the past royal families had tried to carve out disloyal territories with their daggers.
Ela preferred to do it simpler way; carve out the bodies.

What do you (the writer) have in common with the antagonist? What do you not have in common?

I would like to hope I don't have much in common with her. We both enjoy being around children, which we do have in common, but everything else? I'm not exactly a queen, and I certainly am not a Soulstreamer (a magician who can bring to life their imagination).

Since Ela can alter her appearance and apparent age, she would probably choose to look only a little older than this
What does your antagonist do when he/she is mad? Do they have a soft spot?

On a good day, she might torture a few people or watch whippings. On a bad day, she has been known to ride out to villages and raze them to the ground. Her temper is something to be feared, simply put. As for a soft spot, as I mentioned, she loves kids, and has been trying for a very long time to have her own.

Who is your antagonist’s worst enemy?  What is their greatest fear?

She considers Baris Yilmez, the leader of the rebels, her greatest enemy as he has successfully led the rebels against her for over six years. Him constantly thwarting her efforts to win the civil war frustrates her. 

As for her greatest fear, it would have to be her secret being revealed...

What is your antagonist’s weapon of choice?

Magic. If she has enough energy and a full stomach, she can touch a person and instantly snap their spine.

How would your antagonist surprise your reader?

Well, if I told you now, it wouldn't be a surprise, would it?

What is one thing your villain would never do?

Hurt her child(ren). She dreams of cuddling a baby of her own and later teaching him/her magic and how to kill, and she would never interfere with that dream.

What lie does your antagonist believe about the MC?

Ela doesn't actually meet my MC until far, far into the book. But she believes that he's a "rebel mutt" and doesn't stand a chance against her.

What is your favorite thing about your antagonist?

Though I hate her for a lot of things she's done, I always find her magic and the way she uses it really interesting. Here's another snippet for you:

Then her eyes snapped shut, and Ela’s magic came to life.
Sometimes her imagination was a room of soft, fluffy pillows spilling over a bench overlooking the abyss of her mind. The shades of pillows would change every second; a flashing rainbow. But sometimes, like today, it was different. Her imagination leaked out from a central pinprick of red light. Blood tendrils poured outward like smoke, lighting up Ela’s thoughts, feelings, and cut off memories. The red light glided toward the last, and tapped on the locked door.
The door exploded.

If your antagonist was your MC, what would your book look like?

It would be a very dark story, and it would lose a lot of its complexity, since Ela is in one location for the whole of her POV. I don't think I would want to sink my reader into the darkness of Ela's mind for very long, which is why she only has a number of short scenes.

Check out the other tag participants' blogs!
Ceci @ Ceci Creates
Lisa @ Inkwell
Julia @ Lit Aflame
Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

Are you scared or intrigued about Ela? Are you excited about Project Canvas' release? (I am!!) How is your writing going?
Have a wonderful day! <3

I'm back with some more questions from the wonderful Shared WIP Tag! In case you missed last week's post, I'm joining in with t...

I'm back with some more questions from the wonderful Shared WIP Tag! In case you missed last week's post, I'm joining in with this tag link-up the lovely Julian created, and will be talking about my current WIP, Golden Revenge. To sum the story up really quickly, it's a partial retelling of King Midas, mixed with a civil war, refugees, a lot of magic, and not-so-amazing royalty. 

This week's theme is about the main character (MC), and while I technically have two, I decided to focus on Taylan this week, as his character arc needs to be fleshed out a little. To the questions!

Introduce your MC a little (name, maybe a description or picture, etc,) and tell us something quirky about them.

Taylan is a refugee from Paralin, who lost his mother and sister in an attack on his village. Though he's a skilled swordsman, he really loves art, especially sketching. He sketches his memories of people and places, then keeps them in his room so his mind can never forget what his family and home looked like. Here's a snippet describing them:

Her gaze caught on his sketches.
There were dozens, stacked on top of each other and scattering the slouching wooden shelf. Some in charcoal, some scratched with spare ink or anything he could find. Most of them were snippets of Zarar, from the cluster of village homes, to the sprawling maize fields speckled with goats, to Taylan’s simple two room house. But some were of people or scenes Taylan couldn’t shut out from his mind.
“You draw?”
Taylan nodded.
Her spare hand skimmed a portrait of his sister; Kelebek. It had taken several tries to get her mischievous glint and smirk right. Kelebek had always been older, wilder, more stubborn. It had been her dream to move back to the capital and set up her own bakery there. And, she had promised him, she would hang up all his pictures in her store.
Kelebek’s sketch opened its mouth and screamed, blood pouring out. Run, Tay. Run!
Taylan shuddered, and turned away.

What does your MC value the most?

Peace. He's known enough of war to know that peace is a rare but beautiful thing, and he wants it more than anything.

What is your MC’s wildest dream?  What is their greatest fear?

His greatest fear is failing to achieve his goal, which is to kill the king and queen and Paralin, in the hopes that it will be bring peace. As for his wildest dream, probably being able to make art for a living, and see his paintings and drawings hung up on walls. He doesn't let himself think about it very often though.

He'd be the type to draw kittens if he ever saw any, but don't tell him I told you that
What is your MC’s favorite food?  Can they cook?

The way to his heart is a good pastry, or any good food, really. His cooking skills don't go far beyond the basics of bread and meat, so he often eats out or at someone else's house. Here's another snippet:

Simmering pork, and filo pastry layered with cheese and eggs screamed his name. He breathed in the hearty smell until his chest was bursting, and set Weapons Master’s plate down on a bench.
Taylan ripped off a shred of pork and set it into his mouth.
Pure glory of the Dreamer’s clouds, where Creation Dreamer dreamt up the world, flooded his senses. Spices, and rich, warm flavours drowned his tongue. He almost swallowed the meat whole. Clatters sounded from the side room; Taylan should have be stretching and becoming used to the weight of his armor, but…
His eyes fixed on the filo.
Slowly, he tore off a chunk, and let the memory of cheese become a reality. Taylan grasped his Token and murmured a prayer of eternal thanks. In a matter of seconds, he finished the filo. Fingers wiped the plate clean.

What do you (the writer) have in common with the MC?  What do you not have in common?

In common? Um...we sketching? That is about all I can think of, seriously. That and feelings of being isolated in a new country. Everything else about us is practically different.

What lie does your MC believe about himself/the world?

Taylan believes that revenge is the way to peace, and that he has to be the one to carry out the revenge. 

Who is their best friend and why?

Koray! They met in a tavern and bet who could sing better, and Taylan won by a clear hundred miles. Ever since, Koray's jokes and Taylan's broodiness have kept them close. And often ends up in scenes like this:

“You look like a dumb goat.”
“Thanks.” Taylan tightened the knot of thin rope he’d pinched around his long shirt sleeves, then cracked open the hut’s door.
Koray threw his blanket over his head. “Burning sands! Shut the door. Sunlight should be illegal.”
“Goodbye to you too. Try not to murder anyone’s ears with your singing today, eh?” Taylan slipped outside.
"My songs could make the hardest heart weep," Koray hollered.
"From pain, you mean."

What song best describes them in this book?

Imagine Dragon's "Who We Are" is the song that inspired Taylan's character, actually!

What is their personality type?

*shuffles awkwardly* ...I have no idea. I do know he's an introvert and leaning towards the judgemental and feeling side though.

Why should your readers care about this person?

Taylan's hurting, a lot. And he's trying to deal with his PTSD, hurt and pain through more violence, which is sinking him deeper into his hole. I think that's something a lot of people can relate to; you feel like you're drowning, and whatever you try and do to fix it, just seems to send you deeper and deeper. Is there a happy ending to his story? You'll have to read it to find out. ;)

Check out the other participants' blogs!

Ceci @ Ceci Creates
Lisa @ Inkwell
Julia @ Lit Aflame
Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer

Let's chat! What's your favourite thing about Taylan? Why should readers care about your MC, and what lie does your MC believe? How is NaNo going?
Have a wonderful day! <3

I'm so excited to be joining in with this month-long tag, The Shared WIP Tag! Julian has hosted it a few times now, and I've always ...

I'm so excited to be joining in with this month-long tag, The Shared WIP Tag! Julian has hosted it a few times now, and I've always wanted to join in so, despite not officially doing NaNo this year, I hopped onboard! I can't wait to share with you all about my passion project and WIP for several years, Golden Revenge.

Introduce the story: blurb, maybe a cover or anything else!

Taylan is a refugee out for blood. Between desperate searches for work and empty meals, he dreams of his country's freedom from royals and rebels alike. With his promise of revenge for his slaughtered mother and sister haunting every step, Taylan scrapes up money wherever he can, waiting for the chance to one day glimpse peace. He'll do anything to quell the nightmares plaguing him; even become one.

Mida is a princess cursed with the touch of gold. A near-murderer by age six, she keeps her hands permanently trapped in magical leather. Behind her self-made walls of distance she hides from all but her brothers, to keep the monster she believes she is within. But when the boy she almost killed returns, by his side she begins to seek a cure for her curse; a cure that sends her to the city's magic smothered underbelly.

Yet in a world ravaged by war, every want is chained in iron. And desires come at the price of blood.

Where did you get the idea for your story?  What came to you first: your theme, character, premise, setting, etc?

The story is honestly a product of me combining three separate ideas, because I liked all of them, but didn't have the patience to write each individually. So "Retelling of King Midas" + "Mercenary" + "Civil war" = Golden Revenge!

What have you done to get experience for your story (like watching knitting YouTube videos)?  What did you put into the book because it’s something you know about (like if you’re a martial artist, and put that in)?

Since this is a later draft I haven't done a whole lot of research recently, but last week I did watch a short documentary on traditional Turkish food to get inspiration for my own food cultures! The only personal knowledge I've put into it is emotions and feelings, like how you can feel isolated and vulnerable in another culture.

What made you decide to write this particular book for NaNoWriMo?

I was on an editing roll and didn't want to stop!

Do you research before, after, or during your first draft writing process? Have you done any research for this particular book? How do you usually research?

Most of research consists of studying a particular culture (or several) before taking elements and adjusting them to fit with my story world. For Golden Revenge, I spent a lot of time getting a 'feel' for Turkish and Bulgarian food, and finding the right names for my characters that would reflect those cultures. My research project usually consists of browsing the web, nothing too remarkable.

Do you plot or plan your book in any way before you start writing? What methods do you usually use and what did you do this time?

I usually do a mix of plotting and pantsing. For this draft I had a clear idea of the direction I wanted to take the rewritten POVs, and an ending, but the middle parts I discover along the way. My 'planning' sessions resemble brain dumps, and always have. Organisation and my writing are not friends!

Do you hand write or type your first draft?

Type! I can't write very fast.

Do you have a brainstorming buddy and if you do, who was it this time and how did they help?

My brainstorming buddy was my lovely critique partner Hannah, who always provides the right mix between fangirling and thoughtfulness. <3

How did you come up with your characters’ names?

Research! I look up lists of names from cultures that my worlds are based off of; for example, Taylan, Koray, and Feriha are all of Turkish origin.

Do you know what your story's theme is? If you do, how did you find it, and if you don't, how do you plan to find it?

I have some general ideas of the theme, but since I'm currently reworking my character arcs, they could see some alterations in the future. So far they appear to be that peace is found in life, not death, and that loneliness doesn't heal hurt.

Check out the other partiticpants' blogs!

Tell me about your WIP! What's it about, and how do you conduct research for it? Are you joining NaNo? If so, how are you doing?
Have a wonderful day! <3