Wednesday, March 20, 2019

The Narnia Writing Tag

I'm kind of laid up today.  I started to suspect I had toenail fungus a few months ago, and when OTC stuff didn't cure it, I decided to go to the podiatrist.  I went yesterday to have it looked at, and he ended up removing my entire toenail.  I'm super sensitive about my toenails as it is, and yeah, um, it's not good.  So I've been lying on the couch all day, so thankful that my kids are old enough to pour cereal and make sandwiches because being on my feet at all makes the toe hurt worse, and being up long enough to make a sandwich is just killer.

So I gave them the day off from school, and we watched Ben-Hur (1959) while I laid on the couch and tried not to groan so loudly you couldn't hear the dialog.  It was their first time watching Ben-Hur and, overall, they really dug it.  Yay!

Anyway, now they're playing outside, and I've finished reading a book AND written a review for it, and now I need something else to do, so I'm snurching this tag from Coffee, Classics, and Craziness AND from I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read).  Because I can.  It appears to have originated here.

I'm answering these about my WIP, a retelling of Snow White with the working title Seven Orphans.

Narnia: Where is your story set?

It's set in a wagon train crossing Missouri and Nebraska in the 1870s.

The Magician’s Nephew: How did you come up with the idea for your story?

Back in 2016, Jamie Lapeyrolerie did a two-part post (part 1, part 2) about the lack of diversity in Christian Fiction and called for Christian authors to address this lack.  That's right about when I was starting to figure out what fairy tales I wanted to retell as part of my Once Upon a Western series.  I already knew that I wanted to portray a more realistically diverse Old West than we see in most Hollywood portrayals and most "classic" western fiction.  The truth is, the Old West was filled with a vibrant mix of ethnicities.  Ex-slaves, Native Americans, Hispanics, immigrants from China and both western and eastern Europe -- it was truly a melting pot.  And while it wasn't always a haven of racial harmony, a lot of the time, people were more concerned about surviving and taming the wilderness than about what a person looked like.  So there were opportunities for people who maybe would have been at odds back in the East to meet and mingle and even make friends.

And then I was reading a history book with one of my kids for school one day, and it talked about the Exoduster migrations, when thousands of former slaves flocked to Kansas and other western states, seeking new homes away from segregation and their former masters.  I knew right then I needed to learn more about this because I'd already been thinking I'd like to set a story in a wagon train, and this sounded like it would provide a great setting for a book.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: How do your characters meet?

The main character is Levi, one of seven white orphans that get taken in by a wagon train of black people.  So he meets my Snow White, Stepmother, and Huntsman characters when the wagon train finds the orphans.

The Horse and His Boy: Are there animals in your story?

Of course!  There are a lot of horses, mules, and oxen.  Also dogs.  Probably going to be chickens and other farm animals along the way too.

Prince Caspian: Which of your characters turned out different than you’d expected?

Well, I'm only 4 chapters in so far, but one of the orphans has turned out to be WAY more antagonistic and truculent and generally unpleasant to be around than I'd expected.  Which adds some nice conflict.

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader: What is one of your character’s personal quests?

Levi's original quest is to reach his uncle in Kansas without being separated from his younger sisters or their cousins.  But that won't be his main quest.

The Silver Chair: Who is the villain?

The Evil Step-mother, of course!  Which is going to be pretty clear right from the beginning.  Her name is Lucretia Mallone, and she is my most-villainous villain yet.

The Last Battle: Does your story end the way you expected it to?

Well, I haven't gotten to the end yet, but I know how I expect it to end, and I can't wait to get there.

The Pevensies – Friend or sibling group?

I have two main sibling groups in this, but Levi also makes friends with Hopeful Mallone, my Snow White character.

Reepicheep – Is there magic in your story? If so what kind?

My books are non-magical.  I had toyed with the idea of Lucretia dabbling in some form of voodoo, but I decided that that was too stereotypical, and also, she's evil enough as it is.  I don't need that to make her look more evil.

I was going to find lots of cute graphics to illustrate this, but I'm not feeling up to it, or like it, or whatever, so instead I'm just going to post this and go back to moaning.  Latest round of ibuprofen can kick in any time now, thanks.


  1. Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry about your toenail. That sounds really unpleasant. Yikes. I'm glad you're able to get some rest in, though!

    Ahhhh, this story will be so fun. It sounds like it'll be one of the most interesting settings for a Western I've ever experienced.

    That's a good point about the voodoo being too stereotypical/unnecessary. Solid choice, I think. *nods*

    1. Um, yeah, it's much more awful than I was expecting. I keep thinking it'll just... start to feel better already. Maybe tomorrow. I'm best when I don't think too much about it.

      I THINK it will be a very awesome book. Definitely deeper then the previous ones. And I'm loving all the activity of the wagon train.

      Thanks! I think so too.

  2. I hope your toe feels better really soon! <3

    I applaud you for going out on a limb to write more diverse stories!! I think this will be AWESOME!!!!


    1. Thanks, Jessica! It's a lot better today. Not great, but not dreadful anymore, either. Weird how one tiny body part can make somebody so miserable.

      Angsty little ball of aggression is definitely what you could call this fella. They do spice things up!

  3. Oh no! That is not fun at all! I hope you feel better soon!!

    I love the story of Snow White so this sounds like such a fabulous take! Also, I love the name Hopeful Mallone.

    1. MC, nope, it's really not.

      Snow White is not a big favorite of mine, but I enjoy tackling fairy tales I don't love sometimes because I get to change the stuff that bugs me about them :-) Glad you like her name!

  4. Sorry about your toe, that's awful.

    Your story sounds so good!

    1. Skye, I'm not gonna lie -- it IS awful. If it improves as much tonight as it did last night, though, I should be able to do things like put on shoes and drive a car again by the weekend, though.

      I've been struggling with finding this story's voice, to be honest, but I think I've got that solved now, so Yay!

  5. Awwwww. :( I really hope you feel better soon.

    (On the plus side, yay that your children liked Ben-Hur!)

    Fun answers. :) Definitely can't wait to read this story.


    You have my deep sympathy. Get well soon.

    Your new story sounds AWESOME.

    1. Charity, it's so weird that one like square inch of my body can cause SO MUCH pain! Yeesh. It's just a toenail, body! Get over it!

      Thanks :-)

  7. Ooh, I may steal this tag because it's super fun and NARNIA! Also, I've been wanting to chat about my WIP(s) on the blog and this gives me a fun way to do it!

    Your story sounds very interesting! Can't wait to read it!

    Hope your toe is better soon!

    Ben Hur is one of my all-time favorite movies!

    1. Jenelle, yes! I thought it was an extra-fun way to do a little conversing about my WIP. Steal away!


      Ben-Hur is one of my all-time faves too <3


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