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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke

#Fantasy Indies November

Reddish brown leaves from tree branches with a turquoise background.  Fantasy Indies November
Photo by Chad Madden on Unsplash

It's been a while since I've done one of these! This activity was created by @ChesneyInfalt and @LydiaVRussell and is meant to be done daily on Twitter. But as we know, I like to blog, so I'm doing this for the whole month in a single post. Now, I'm not exactly an indie writer (I'm trying to go traditional) but I love doing these to talk about my WIP, The Name and the Key. Enjoy!


1 - Introduce yourself and your WIP

Hello! I'm Kristina and I write Upper YA Fantasy/New Adult books about curses and dark magic, true love, and fairy tales. The Name and the Key is my graduate thesis that I'm rewriting from scratch and it focuses on Lily, a young woman cursed to be haunted by the monstrous spirit of her mother in every reflection, and her friend Andresh, who may hold the key to breaking that curse.

2 - Writers you admire

Margaret Rogerson, Brigid Kemmerer, Holly Black, N.K. Jemisin, Alix E Harrow. There are more but those are the ones that popped in my head first.

3 - Free Friday

I've always interpreted this prompt as writing freely about whatever I want, and I'm going to continue doing that. Anyway...I'm stuck on my manuscript. I was originally hoping to finish it by May 2023, then I changed it to December 2023, but...I keep stopping and starting. I've cut a ton of the original MS and am currently not sure how to build the book back up given I've eliminated so much. I'm at a spot where I don't know what should happen next, and I've sat on that spot for weeks. Writer's block sucks and I feel very discouraged about the book.

4 - Snippet Saturday

Given the proliferation of AI scraping and plagiarism, I'm not going to post any snippets from my works until they are published.

5 - Scents in WIP

There's a nasty death stench that follows Lily around, stuck on her fingers from when she touched her mother's corpse. Then there's the scents Lily makes to hide that foul odor, like lavender vanilla (Andresh's favorite). Then Lily wears another scent to the ball (jasmine) that Andresh really loves and finds kind of sensual!

6 - MC's Happy Memory

Before stumbling upon her mother's body, Lily's happy memory would be the fire dance with Andresh. She also has a good memory where Andresh returned from Sindalia and gave her a ring as a souvenir.

7 - What writing skill do you want to get better at?

I wish, wish, WISH I was a plotter. I just don't know what happens with my writing mostly, and I have tried to sit down and get a plot hammered out, but the majority of the time I can't think of anything. Then when I write, I sort of follow things where they take me, sometimes ignoring the little bit of plot I did create beforehand. It's a very frustrating way to write and I've tried to change but can't seem to.

8 - Share your shelfies

I have several shelves filled with books but also a lot of open space because of the giant book purge I did months ago. The downstairs shelves look great because I have a lot of cool Japanese things displayed there, but I tried to take pictures and they came out dark and grainy. So, I'm only going to share the shelf in my bedroom. The top shelf of books is all writing craft books, the second shelf are a mix of paperback and hardcover keepers, and the bottom shelf are supposed to be all hardcovers (the same size). As you can see there are some books stacked haphazardly on top of the other books--those will eventually make their way to my downstairs shelves. There's room for more hardcovers to be added but I'm going to be very careful about what I put there, making sure all of them are keepers.

9 - Let others ask you anything about your WIP

Feel free to do so in the comments!

10 - Free Friday

One of the biggest challenges with writing The Name and the Key is trickling stuff in there that is meant to show up in book two and three. I know some of what will go into book two, and book three is a total blank. But my goal has always been to make it a trilogy, and I hope I can do so.

11 - Snippet Saturday

No thanks!

12 - What are you proud of?

This year, I'm proud of the revisions I made to Son of the Siren with my agent. He is a very talented editor!

13 - MC's Family

Lily has a father named Kale, a sister named Lainey (Elaine), a grandmother named Violet, and a mother named Estella.

14 - Writing pet peeves

My own pet peeves are my inability to plot in advance or write every day. My pet peeves in general about writing are how many people espouse advice as one-size-fits-all, or "this worked for me so it'll work for you" when that doesn't happen. Everybody is different.

15 - What are your writing strengths?

Characters, names, and description.

16 - How would your MC spend a lazy day?

Having a picnic with Andresh and Lainey in a clearing in the woods Lily likes to call the "Mottledell."

17 - Free Friday

Years ago I commissioned many artists to do their own interpretation of my characters Lily and Andresh. Well...those can't be the default character designs anymore! Lily's can be the same, but Andresh's clothes have had to change...namely his fancy magical coat, It's supposed to protect him but the way the coat was designed originally shows too much of his body and only covers his arms and chest. His new coat design will have side slits in it for the legs but a large amount covering the middle of his body...kind of like Hua Cheng's red coat in Heaven Official's Blessing. I have a blank fashion design notebook that I'll get into for the redesign. I just have to remember to go back into my manuscript and update the changes--the current draft still refers to the old design!

18 - Snippet Saturday

No thanks!

19 - Favorite Fictional Character

I think it's got to be Josephine March from Little Women.

20 - Friendship Flash Fiction

I don't know what this means, so I'm going to pass.

21 - Comfort movies/shows

I think (re)watchability is important when it comes to choosing comfort movies. I could watch Ghost multiple times, as well as historical dramas like Elizabeth. I also have anime that I could rewatch, like SK8 The Infinity or Gurren Lagann.

22 - MC's Love Language

Lily likes kind words and kind deeds. The best thing is when someone says something and follows through on it, or when someone's actions match their words.

23 - What are you/your MC thankful for?

Something in common: my MC Lily and I are both thankful for our families and friends.

24 - Free Friday

One time I tried to cosplay Andresh at a convention. I ordered a blue velvet bathrobe that zipped up in the center, a deep maroon belt that could be tied at the waist, and gold and maroon trimmings. I tried to embroider maroon flowers and gave up, instead drawing lotus flowers on the maroon fabric to glue on the shoulders instead. It looked fairly nice, but then I gained a bunch of weight and couldn't fit into it anymore, so it's never been worn.

25 - Snippet Saturday


26 - Future Dreams

I really want to have my books published, and I would like to have a stable job with benefits that pays me what I'm worth.

27 - Best Writing Advice

Don't change your process if it works for you.

28 - If they could, what would your MC change about their world?

Lily doesn't want to change the world so much, but Andresh definitely does. He's questing to find a way to end death.

29 - Favorite line in WIP

I'm not going to share the line itself, but I will say that I paid money to actor David Matranga to read and record the line for me. (I've always imagined his voice as Andresh's).

30 - Monthly Wrap Up

Well, this was a lot of fun to do. As I type this, I have been stuck on my manuscript for a good long while, but hopefully as the month continues, I'll have worked through it and have gotten some more writing done!

list of 30 activities to do for works in progress with writing. Fantasy Indies November
Image from Twitter


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