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  • Writer's pictureKristina Elyse Butke


Rainbow colored roses in a bouquet - #Fantasy Indies February
Photo by Denise Chan via Unsplash

Today's post is the monthly #FantasyIndies meme on Twitter. For February, things have more of a romantic twist to them, ooh la la! This meme was created by @ChesneyInfalt and @LydiaVRussell and is meant to be done once a day on Twitter, but as we know, I like to make things into one big blog post. We'll be focusing on my WIP, The Name and the Key.

1. Introduce yourself and your WIP

My name is Kristina Elyse Butke and I am currently rewriting my graduate thesis, The Name and the Key. It's about a girl, Lily, who is haunted by a dark, distorted image of her dead mother in every reflective surface, and her best friend Andresh, whose knowledge of magic might be the only way to end the curse.

2. Free Friday

I've been working on rewriting The Name and the Key for a long time. I was very happy with it when I finished it in 2013, and even tried submitting it to publishers, but I realized I made a pretty grave mistake with the worldbuilding and cultures in the book, so I vowed to rewrite the book completely before allowing publishers to see it again. I've been spending all this time correcting a major issue in the first iteration of the book, and that involved doing things like renaming characters, completely rebuilding a culture, and more. I had to cut a lot. I do feel like the version I'm writing now is better, but I'm also worried that I cut too much from it so far! I'm also stretching it out into a trilogy, too, but if I keep eliminating things, I'm worried that I'm just going to make it harder for myself to flesh out the rest of the book.

3. Snippet Saturday

To protect my work, I'm not sharing snippets until it's published.

4. Love Song Recs

I don't really listen to love songs, but if I had to, I would pick "Longing to Belong" by Eddie Vedder and "Love Songs" by Fleming and John.

5. Current Reads

I'm still reading a ton of BL (Boys' Love) manga. Right now I'm reading Scarlet Beriko's Nagahama To Be, Or Not to Be.

6. Romance in WIP

There's a lot more romance in The Name and the Key. Love (and the expression of it) is very important in this book, and I have two characters who absolutely adore each other, ever since they were children. While I wouldn't call this book a full-on romance, the romance is definitely ever-present in the book.

7. MC Pet Peeves

Lily, my main character, doesn't like it when people stare at the scar on her forehead while talking to her. She also has difficulty with rude people. And she's constantly worried about men around her sister Lainey, who is much younger and more beautiful--Lily gets defensive around men who seem to have ulterior motives when it comes to her sister.

8. Favorite Tropes

I'm a sucker for Only One Bed, I guess. I put it in Son of the Siren and it's in The Name and the Key, too. I also like Friends to Lovers. There's something that's so comfy to me about those types of relationships.

9. Free Friday

I took a really long break from my manuscript...about three months or so. I just couldn't figure out what to do next. I did some journaling to help solve that problem, and after filling it up with about ten pages of writing, I decided to hop back into the manuscript after all that time. I realized why I was stuck: I'm writing a scene that's about things that bore me (trade, shipping, merchandise) but I need to convey those topics to the reader because it motivates the things that happen in the next few scenes. But gosh, does writing stuff like that suck!

10. Snippet Saturday

No thanks!

11. What would you like to see from Fantasy Indies?

To be honest, as long as these types of memes keep coming, I'll be a happy camper. They are fun to do on the blog!

12. Romantic Aesthetics

Fluorescent word art, flowers, hearts, and bed collage
Photos sourced from Unsplash

I made this thinking of specific scenes in the book, how my characters feel about each other, and then some good old-fashioned romantic imagery. Ta-da!

13. WIP Love Interests

Andresh fell for Lily first, and Lily reciprocates his feelings but is a bit more cautious about it. Lily's sister Lainey is also in love with Andresh, but that's mostly because she finds him handsome, and she is inexperienced.

14. Favorite Romantic Quote

“You have bewitched me body and soul. And I love … I love … I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on" -- Mr. Darcy to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.

15. Candlelight dinner or romantic picnic?

For my characters Lily and Andresh, they have a sort of romantic picnic in the book! Me, personally, candlelit dinner. I think candlelight is so pretty.

16. Free Friday

Romance has always been hard for me to write, probably because in real life I've not had good experiences and am kind of skeptical. So I freak myself out writing romance, wondering if it ever comes across as authentic enough, because I feel like an imposter when I write it. However, I've been told Lily and Andresh are a good couple, and in this iteration of the book, I've increased their romance even more, so I hope that I do their love justice as I write it.

17. Snippet Saturday


18. MC's Favorite Dessert

Lily doesn't have a favorite, but Andresh's favorite is vanilla cake with vanilla icing and fresh strawberries on top.

19. Have you put any of yourself into your MC?

I put the contrasting appearances between myself and my sister into the book. She was born blonde and with a nice, warm color to her skin, whereas I have brownish-black hair and like no pigment (I look like a vampire). I also put some of the self-consciousness I have about my appearance into Lily, as I often think I look tired and cold sometimes.

20. Sweet Snippet

No thanks!

21. Is your MC romantic?

Lily has strong feelings for Andresh but she would never call herself a romantic person. Andresh, on the other hand, is romantic.

22. How does your MC handle romantic feelings?

Lily wants to feel things openly and honestly, but she also carries some guilt with her about expressing those feelings and experiencing them. This is partly because of her sister Lainey, but also because she feels that she doesn't deserve happiness after all of the bad things that have happened to both her and Andresh.

23. Free Friday

I'm sad to announce that The Name and the Key will not have clever rhymes or songs in it like Son of the Siren has. It's a totally different beast of a book.

24. Snippet Saturday

Once again, pass!

25. Who is your favorite character from your WIP?

Gotta go with Andresh!

26. Heartbreak in WIP?

Lainey feels it when Andresh shows his feelings for Lily.

27. WIP fun fact

While I technically finished The Name and the Key eleven years ago, because I'm rewriting it, it is definitely my longest WIP...we're looking at a total of thirteen or fourteen years so far.

28. Tragic love or HEA?

Happily ever after all the way...although after a little bit of tragedy.

29. Monthly Wrap-up

Not really sure what to type here because I haven't written my manuscript for the entire month. I literally dove into it yesterday (at the time of posting) for the first time in months. I just hope I've got my mojo back and can keep typing away!

Fantasy Indies February topics list for 29 days
From Twitter


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