Beautiful Books: December Edition


In October and November, Cait from Paper Fury and Sky from Further Up and Further In have been running a blog link-up called Beautiful Books where writers answer questions designed to help them get to know their books better. Today I’m posting my response to the final Beautiful Books link-up. Over the course of these posts, I’ve been writing about my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel, Siren. For those who don’t know, Siren is a rewrite of The Little Mermaid involving teenagers and superheroes. So, on to the questions!

1. On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best) how well do you think this book turned out? I’d love to say it’s a 10, but honestly, this book is a mess. It wasn’t completely outlined, some characters weren’t even named, and it was drafted during NaNoWriMo. The poor dear didn’t have a chance. I’d say it’s a solid 5; a pretty averagely bad first draft, but definitely something that I think I can fix in the future and hopefully turn into something awesome.

2. Have you ever rewritten or edited one of your books before? If so, what do you do to prepare yourself? If not, what’s your plan? I have indeed edited a book before. I’ve done a few rounds of edits on two YA fantasy novels, and a detective novella. To prepare myself for editing, I first completely forget about the book. Then I read it and hopefully don’t cringe too much. After that, it’s off to the old battered notebook for a good long brainstorming session on how to fix this heap of words. And finally, after a few weeks of that, it’s time for the fun (or not) to begin.

3. What’s your final word count? Do you plan to lengthen or trim your book? My final word count for Siren is 74,008 words exactly. I’m not sure whether I’m going to length or trim it yet. I guess I’ll see what needs to be done to it first and then work out which way the word count needs to go.

4. What are you most proud of? Plot, characters, or pacing? Definitely my characters. My plot is full of holes, my pacing is all over the place, but I love my little characters to bits. Some of them went through a lot in this book, so I’m sure they’re really glad to be resting for a while. Characters are always one of the things about writing a book. This is the third book in a series, so I already knew the characters fairly well. For me this was just like getting to hang out with my best friends.

5. What’s your favourite bit of prose or line from this novel? Ooh, I have a couple of quotes that I really like from my book. I can’t decide between them, so you get to see them all.

"Eric tightened his grip on her, stroking her hair as she buried her face in his shoulder, searching for comfort. “It’s ok Nicola.” The words rang hollow. It wasn’t alright. Sara wasn’t here with them. Hector had got away. All they had was a big empty building. Bricks and mortar couldn’t replace their friend. They had failed. It was as simple as that."


"She flipped round and raced down toward the other end of the pool, her long, muscular tail pumping hard against the water. Lap after lap she swam at top speed until her heart was racing and her muscles were aching. But no matter how far or how fast she swam, she couldn’t outswim her bitter feelings. They didn’t trust her. And no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t persuade them otherwise."


"Losing control of his powers frankly scared Eric. Not in the I-might-fail-a-maths-test kind of way. More like the kind of scared when you’re standing in front of an oncoming train and your feet are glued to the ground. The idea of turning his friends into human icy-pops didn’t really appeal to him."

6. What aspect of your book needs the most work? Definitely the plot. The timeline of events doesn’t make sense. There are several large plot holes that I’ve been doing my best to ignore for a while and that are definitely going to need to be filled in. And occasionally I forgot what I was going to put in the book, in the first place. There will be editing. Lots and lots of editing…

7. What aspect of your book is your favourite? My favourite aspect of this book is definitely the relationships between the characters. I have a team of superheroes, and their relationships with each other were so fun to write, especially, as often happened, when they didn’t run smoothly.

8. How are your characters? Well-rounded, or do they still need to be fleshed-out?
I seem to talk about character quite a bit in this post. Mostly they’re pretty well-rounded, thanks to my having written about them before. But there are always more ways that they can be fleshed out, and that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to doing when I start editing.

9. If you had to do it over again, what would you change about the whole process? I would probably have looked at my outline more while I was writing. I say this every time I actually plan a book before writing I, but checking the outline occasionally would definitely make the whole process go a lot smoother. I have a terrible habit of writing an outline and then never looking at it again.

10. Did anything happen in your book that completely surprised you? Have any scenes or characters turned out differently to what you planned? Good or bad? Oh a whole lot of things. Some were pretty good, like how the characters I didn’t plan turned out. Some were pretty bad. I’m pretty used to my books surprising me though. That’s how I know I’m really getting into the book, when things start happening that I never planned.

11. What was the theme and message? Do you think it came across? If not, is there anything you could do to bring it out more? I didn’t actually write the book with any idea of its theme or message to tell the truth. I have an idea that there is probably a theme starting to come out, but I couldn’t tell you what it was for sure. Not until I’ve actually read the book.

12. Do you like writing with a deadline (like NaNoWriMo) or do you prefer to write-as-it-comes?
I LOVE writing with a deadline. In fact, I’ve drafted more books during NaNoWriMo than I have in any of the other months in a year. I love the rush of trying to get the book finished inside a certain amount of time.

13. Comparative title time! What published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men, etc.) This is a tough one. I’d say it’s X-Men meets Hans Anderson with a dash of NCIS on the side.

14. How do you celebrate a finished novel?! Generally much cheering, and a pile of chocolate. Chocolate makes any celebration better.

15. When people are done reading your book, what feeling do you want them to come away with?
That’s easy. I want them coming away wishing they could write something so awesome and where can they buy the next book? Oh yeah, and when is the movie coming out?

I hope you enjoyed hearing a little bit about how my book has turned out. This is the last post on Gossiping with Dragons for this year as my blogging break starts today. Have a happy Christmas and I’ll see you all in the new year.

Are you taking a break over Christmas? What is your favourite part about writing a book? Which books, movies or TV shows is your book like?

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  1. "X-Men meets Hans Anderson with a dash of NCIS" OKAY STAHP EVERYTHING AND LEMME AT THIS BOOK!! x) Hehe. That is amazing, Imogen. I LOVE that comparison and it totally hooks me.
    Ooh, I want people to finish my books and ask for the movie, too. ;-) That would be a wonderful and amazing and phenomonal feeling for sure.

    OH BLOGGING BREAK?! Have a good one! ^_^

    1. I think that having people want to read the other books and see them as movies would be the ultimate feeling of amazing. I think I would know I've succeeded if anyone at all felt like that about my books. One day maybe. We can dream, right?

      Thanks! I'm looking forward to having a little more time to read and comment on other people's blogs in amongst the Christmas business instead of trying to keep up with my blog all the time.

  2. I'm considering taking a break over Christmas, I don't know if I can balance blogging and all the holiday rushing around. Loved the quotes from your book, I would read it! Enjoy your break!

    1. Christmas is such a busy time, it can be hard to find the time to blog as well. I think most bloggers and blog readers understand if people want to take time off from their blogs during Christmas. I know that I would rather be spending time with my family at this time of year than trying to keep up with two or three weekly posts. Anyway, I hope you're having an amazing Christmas.

  3. Siren sounds so amazing, please finished editing so we can read it! Your quotes are amazing and beautiful.
    My favourite part about writing books is the character progression. I love to see how characters grow and take a life of their own (do your character do that?)
    I might take a break over Christmas eve, Christmas day and Boxing day, but nothing too big. Enjoy your break!

    1. I am in awe of how you're able to keep up with your blog over Christmas. I've hardly made it round to visit people's blogs, let alone look at my own! I'm working on getting Siren done at some point. Love the characters so this is definitely a book I want to come back to in the new year maybe. Oh yes, my characters definitely take on a life of their own. Especially in my sci-fis, or mysteries. They're very headstrong there.

  4. "some characters weren’t even named" - LOL!!! That's so funny. I always give sudden/new characters a 'temp name' but I try not to do that anymore because the temp name almost always sticks.

    74 thousand words! And eight more words as well! Great stuff, go you. That's that' a successful Nanowrimo. I think it's okay to ignore plot hole for a while if it helps to get the more important stuff down. It can be tricky to tackle everything at once. It's interesting - I made myself write an outline for my most recent novel (I did a Beautiful Books 3 post for it) and it has actually been helpful to remind me what my original purpose was. I wondered why I never tried doing that for any of my other work!!

    I think this is the first time I've read on a blog that somebody LOVES writing to deadlines. That's pretty cool to WANT to be motivated! (I just want to sleep all the time.But then I guess I'm not well.) I'm not taking a break over Christmas because I don't, strictly speaking, celebrate it. I can't take the stress so I prefer to go into what can only be called hibernation... also, I don't like giving up blogging because it takes my mind off things that make me feel down. So actually my post volume goes UP at Christmas!

    I enjoyed this post, have a good Christmas break. I can't wait for your post in the new year.

    1. I end up with a lot of temporary names, which definitely doesn't always work. I guess that's why Siren ended up having two people called Jason. totally by accident, but by the time I realised I was too far through the book to be bothered to go back and change it this time round. That's what edits are for, right?

      I can be a very lazy writer when I don't have a deadline. I mean, I love writing. I just don't motivate myself very well all the time. So I love having that deadline to push me to do the writing that I know I actually want to do.

      Thanks for your lovely long comment. I was so thrilled to read it.

  5. This sounds like such a cool story, even though it's obviously unedited right now. :) I hope you really hammer out the rough parts because I am incredibly curious to know what all is going on with NCIS mermaids or whatever lovely craziness exists in your head (and now on paper). Good luck, and also, have fun on your Christmas break.

    1. I shall work very hard to get this book into some sort of nice shape. Though to tell the truth, I'm cringing a little at these quotes now I've come back to look at them. They truly do look unedited in spots to me. Guess that'll just have to motivate me to edit Siren up nicely. Thank you! I'm having a great time on break. I hope you're having a great Christmas.


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