May 27, 2011

Ink Blots and Wordcrafter

Wordcrafter hasn't gotten as much press on here as The Soldier's Cross and The White Sail's Shaking but it is my favorite novel so far. Probably the main reason why I don't mention it a whole lot is that I don't want to yammer on and on, which I could easily do. But I thought that I would fill out this questionnaire and shed a little "inklight," as Jenny says, on my recently-completed novel Wordcrafter. Prepare to drown in ink pools.

1. What’s your word count?
Approximately 152,000.

2. How long until you finish?
No book is quite finished until it’s published, but Wordcrafter is ‘completed’, edited, and all that jazz. It’s now in the querying stage.

3. If you have finished, how long did it take you?
Pssssh... A year? Eight-ish months? I’m bad with keeping track of time, but I think it was about ten months.

4. Do you have an outline?
Not as such. I had a list of chapters, and that was my outline.

5. Do you have a plot?
One would hope so!

6. How many words do you typically write a day?
Nyeh... For Wordcrafter I wrote about a thousand a day, more or less.

7. What was your greatest word count in one day?
I’m not sure, but perhaps 5,000?

8. What was your least impressive word count in one day?
Again, I’m not sure. 103.556?

9. What inspired you to write?
My sister, Jennifer Freitag, inspired me to begin writing. I always wanted to be able to make up my own stories the way she did. As for Wordcrafter, the idea came, oh, several years back—the idea of a story about two friends from different worlds. And then the plot just began to unfold from there.

10. Does your novel/story have a theme song?
The best I can come up with is Heather Dale’s Brother, Stand Beside Me.

11. Assign each of your major characters a theme song.
One step ahead of you! Check out my Characters and Music post.

12. Which character is most like you?
Justin King is actually more like me than I would have expected when I first began.

13. Which character would you most likely be friends with?
Ethan and Justin both.

14. Do you have a Gary-Stu or Mary Sue character?
Not according to the tests.

15. Who is your favourite character in your novel?
Justin and Ethan tie. I love them both, though they are nearly opposites. The story wouldn’t exist without them both.

16. Have your characters ever done something completely unexpected?
Not really, I don’t think. Sometimes I wouldn’t have an idea of where to go next and the story just had to go along by itself, but the characters were all pretty well behaved.

17. Have you based any of your novel directly on personal experiences?
Only Justin’s being an author. I’m afraid I’ve never gone to another world.

18. Do you believe in plot bunnies?
The writer who doesn’t is in a state of denial. That’s all I have to say.

19. Is there magic in your novel/story?

20. Are any holidays celebrated in your novel/story?
Christmas is mentioned, but not really celebrated. Harvest-time is a “holiday” in Tera.

21. Does anyone die?
Well, you know, death happens...

22. How many cups of coffee/tea have you consumed during your writing experience?
Caffeine in large doses does weird things to my heartrate, so although I like the taste of coffee, I rarely drink it. I do drink tea, but not often.

23. What is the latest you have stayed up writing?
I don’t often stay up late writing even during NaNo, and since Wordcrafter was not a NaNo project, I don’t think I ever stayed up past my usual bedtime writing.

24. What is the best line?
“Drop dead.”

Or perhaps, “Hummingbird…silver…”

25. What is the worst line?
Having edited the story, I sincerely hope there’s no “worst” line. I tried to get rid of all those. Let’s see, uh... “Do you like pasta?”

26. Have you dreamed about your novel/story or its characters?
I wish! But no, I’m afraid I haven’t.

27. Does your novel rely heavily on allegory?
No, it does not, but I found after I was already deep into the story that it has some similarities to the biblical account of the friendship of David and Jonathan.

28. Summarize your novel/story in under fifteen words.
Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. (16, but whatever.)

29. Do you love all your characters?
Yes, definitely. They are all very much a part of me.

30. Have you done something sadistic or cruel to your characters specifically to increase your word count?

Methinks this question speaks of NaNo. But no, I’ve never done anything (as far as I can recall) merely to boost my wordcount—during NaNo or at any other time.

31. What was the last thing your main character ate?
Uh, I think the last thing I mentioned was venison. No, it was pigeon.

32. Describe your main character in three words.
Loyal. Steadfast. Wordcrafter.

33. What would your antagonists dress up as for Halloween?
Phew, hard one! I think perhaps Boudicea.

34. Does anyone in your story go to a place of worship?
Not explicitly.

35. How many romantic relationships take place in your novel/story?
Some. Now be content.

36. Are there any explosions in your novel/story?

37. Is there an apocalypse in your novel/story?

38. Does your novel take place in a post-apocalyptic world?

39. Are there zombies, vampires or werewolves in your novel/story?
NO. No, no, no.

40. Are there witches, wizards or mythological creatures/figures in your novel/story?
Do unicorns count?

41. Is anyone reincarnated?

42. Is anyone physically ailed?
I still fail to understand what this “physically ailed” is supposed to mean—I mean, really! Who uses terms like that? If I do understand this very odd question correctly, I think I can say that no character is permanently “physically ailed,” except for a minor player who is blind.

43. Is anyone mentally ill?
Justin does occasionally wonder about Ethan’s sanity.

44. Does anyone have swine flu?
Yep, you have definitely hit upon the underlying theme of my story right here.

45. Who has pets in your novel and what are they?
Justin and Ethan both have horses of unicorn blood.

46. Are there angels, demons, or any religious references/figures in your novel/story?
There is a subtle reference to “the death of a Man on a cross.”

47. How about political figures?
There are kings, a prince, and a lord. Not necessarily all at once. There is also a running joke between Justin and Ethan concerning their last names.

48. Is there incessant drinking?
Yep, the characters are practically fish in that regard. No, no incessant drinking, or drunkenness, or whatever this question means.

49. Are there board games? If so, which ones?


50. Are there any dream sequences?
References to dreams, but no actual dream sequences.

51. Is there humor?
I hope so!

52. Is there tragedy?
To quote something or other: “THEY DIE! There was no other solution!”

53. Does anyone have a temper tantrum?
The closest any character gets to that would be the king’s tirades, and they aren’t really tantrums.

54. How many characters end up single at the end of your novel/story?
I love that. ‘End up single.’ I’m...not really sure how to answer it, though. I suppose you’ll have to see.

55. Is anyone in your novel/story adopted?

56. Does anyone in your novel/story wear glasses?

57. Has your novel/story provided insight about your life?
I think so. I want to think so.

58. Your personality?
Yes, I believe so, especially through Justin’s character. However, it was not intentional.

59. Has your novel/story inspired anyone?
Pff, can’t answer that.

60. How many people have asked to read your novel/story?
Several? Just let me get a publisher on this list.

61. Have you drawn any of your characters?
Alas, I have no drawing skills and I would hate to butcher my beloved characters by subjecting them to such treatment.

62. Has anyone drawn your characters for you?
Yes, I have implored Jenny on hands and knees (essentially) to draw Justin, and she was very nice and did so for me. I’m still working on getting her to do Ethan, though.

63. Does anyone vomit in your novel/story?
Oh, yes, several people! I love getting characters to vomit. Funny, though, I absolutely abhor it myself. I know some people say it makes them feel better, but I would rather keep feeling awful. But anyways, totally beside the point.

64. Does anyone bleed in your novel/story?
Blood is such a pretty, ruby colour, don’t you think?

65. Do any of your characters watch TV?
Nope. Justin couldn’t afford it in Edinburgh, and it’s not quite the thing in Tera.

66. What size shoe does your main character wear?
I haven’t the foggiest idea, I’ve never looked at his shoes.

67. Do any of the characters in your novel/story use a computer?
Justin prefers paper and a pencil.

68. How would you react if your novel/story was erased entirely?
Please. Please don’t even mention it. It’s not funny. (“It’s not a pretty picture... I don’t like doing it!”)

69. Did you cry at killing off any of your characters?
I’ve shed a few tears over this novel, I’ll say that much.

70. Did you cheer when killing off one of your characters?
No, I’m afraid that killing off any character generally makes me pretty depressed.

71. What advice would you give to a fellow writer?
Oh, why bother coming up with my own when Jenny voiced her advice so nicely? “Persevere. Don’t be content with the mediocre and cliché. Read good literature.”

72. Describe your ending in three words.
Sweet. Satisfying. Warm.

73. Are there any love triangles, squares, hexagons, etc.?
I’ve got a great dodecahedron going on. No, I do have a few geometric shapes.

74. On a scale of 1-10 (1 being the least stressful, 10 being the most) how does your stress rank?
Regarding Wordcrafter? Probably a 3 over the publishing stage.

75. Was it worth it?
Absolutely. I love Wordcrafter and all its characters like children; I can’t imagine not having them. Yes, it was completely worth it.


  1. Huzzah! You chose Wordcrafter! (Woman, you must get this book published. I have been dying to read it ever since the very first excerpt ever.)

    "Blood is such a pretty, ruby colour, don't you think?" Neh-heh. You sound worse than me, even. And isn't it strange about characters and vomiting? I'd rather break all my bones than be sick myself (so long as that process itself didn't make me sick) but it's so enjoyable when even my most beloved characters have their hands to their throats.

    We writers are a strange lot.

    And you quoted "They Die!" Evil one. :P

  2. I have never listened to all of the "They die" thing, but I like shrieking that line occasionally.

    Yes, making characters bleed and throw up is very fun. I don't like killing people, though (contrary to what you might think). But I'll make 'em bleed all day long...

    And I am trying to get it published, trust me! I dearly hope it will be accepted one of these days. But you know, you've never kept your promise to get published if I got published.

  3. We are rather, aren't we?

    I'm one of those who would rather just be sick and have done. The gruelling process of feeling ill is just so annoying - getting it all out makes me feel better, if a little shaky.

    Tim's arm was bleeding inexplicably one evening some long time ago, and I simply sat staring at the fine jeweled blob of blood thinking about how nice it looked until Daddy snapped me back to reality and told me to go get something to dab it up with. It's ridiculous, sometimes, being a writer.

    Now, let's see if I can make any sense through the fishbowlness of my head-cold.

    I like "Drop dead," and I'm afraid I like "Do you like pasta?" too. I like your cheekiness in the responses (why can't I be cheeky?) and hopefully one day I will conjure up an image of Ethan so I can draw him. But I will probably have to read Wordcrafter first. He's a hard character to see.

  4. Oh this sounds like exactly the kind of book I'd love! I can't wait to buy a copy as soon as its published!

  5. I might have had an easier time coming up with a "worst" sentence if I had taken this before editing, but at the same time, I don't know that I would want to show off my worst writing.

    I thought you were a lot funnier in your responses than I was in mine, actually. I wasn't feeling very humored when I filled it out yesterday.

  6. Whooops, I knew I should have refreshed the page before commenting! I'm so glad you like the sound of it, Liz - and I hope you'll be able to get a copy soon!

  7. Wordcrafter sounds so intriguing! Thank you for sharing and allowing us to meet your characters. :)

  8. Aw, thanks, Keaghan! Did you see the Dramatis Personae post I did some while back for Wordcrafter? Richard Armitage got featured in it!

  9. Your wit and wording hand me over, writhing and helpless, into gurgles of laughter. Shame, you, shame, for distracting me from my own noveling. You and Jenny are dangerous to my productivity levels.

    Dodecahedron. ^.^

  10. Isn't that a great word? I've always loved it, ever since reading The Phantom Tollbooth. And I do humbly apologize for distracting you - though you really brought it on yourself, you know! I would suggest that you fill out the questionnaire, too, but you might kill me for distracting you still more. Therefore I will merely hint that it would be a Lovely Thing if you did so.

  11. I had replied to your comment yesterday, but cyberspace must have lost it somewhere along the line.

    I went and looked at your character post for Wordcrafter! Now I'm even more interested!

    Richard Armitage has a way of becoming a model for characters, doesn't he? I have to admit, I haven't seen much of his acting besides North & South, but I LOVED him in that. The depth he put into Mr. Thorton was amazing. My favorite movie. :)


  12. I didn't see Armitage in anything until I was about three quarters of the way through Wordcrafter, but when I saw him in North and South he just fit Ethan's persona so well. We actually just watched that movie again last night - terrific story.


meet the authoress
I am a writer of historical fiction and fantasy, scribbling from my home in the United States. More importantly, I am a Christian, which flavors everything I write. My debut novel, "The Soldier's Cross," was published by Ambassador Intl. in 2010.
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published writings

The Soldier's Cross: Set in the early 15th Century, this is the story of an English girl's journey to find her brother's cross pendant, lost at the Battle of Agincourt, and of her search for peace in the chaotic world of the Middle Ages.
finished writings

Tempus Regina:Hurled back in time and caught in the worlds of ages past, a Victorian woman finds herself called out with the title of the time queen. The death of one legend and the birth of another rest on her shoulders - but far weightier than both is her duty to the brother she left alone in her own era. Querying.
currently writing

Wordcrafter: "One man in a thousand, Solomon says / will stick more close than a brother. / And it's worthwhile seeking him half your days / if you find him before the other." Justin King unwittingly plunges into one such friendship the day he lets a stranger come in from the cold. Wordcount: 124,000 words

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