Monday, January 24, 2022

The "What's Your WIP" Tag -- Part One

I spotted this at The Caffeinated Fangirl recently and couldn't resist doing it myself.  I'm working away at revisions on my Beauty and the Beast retelling, My Rock and My Refuge, so that's what I'll be answering these questions about.

Since there are eighteen questions in this tag, and answering them all in one post would get reeeeeally long, I'm splitting this into two posts.  I'll share the second half tomorrow!


Here are the tag rules: 
  • Thank the person who tagged you & link to their blog. 
  • Link back to the creator, Katja @ Little Blossoms for Jesus & add the tag graphic. 
  • List the rules. 
  • Answer the questions. Feel free to add snippets! 
  • Tag as many or as few people as you wish & let them know they’re tagged. 
  • Add a clean copy of the questions at the end of your post for the “tagged.” 

Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be? 

It has a real title, not a working title!  Finally and at long last, heh.  This book is called My Rock and My Refuge, which comes from Psalm 62:7b:

the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

I really like that it has alliteration like Beauty and the Beast, and that it works on multiple levels for the story.  


Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about? 

Revisions tend to sharpen the focus of my book, so this is only a working synopsis, but basically, MRAMR is about a hardworking young woman named Marta Beckmann who has recently moved to the United States from Germany with her brother Jakob, both seeking to earn money here to help save their family's bakery back home.  They answer an advertisement for a housemaid and a man of all work, and move to a silver mining community in the Colorado mountains.  Their new employer, Mr. Wendell, is a wealthy recluse with scars on his face and in his heart, and... and... it's Beauty and the Beast, guys.  You know what's going to happen ;-)

Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind? 

Nope, and nope.  Once I finish this rewrite, I'll send this draft to my cover designer.  She'll read it, come up with a few rough ideas, run them past me, and we'll brainstorm a bit before picking one design for her to pursue.  I suspect the final design will involve mountains, given the title and setting.  But she may surprise me!  I've never yet anticipated what she'll come up with.

Note: this is not necessarily the "usual" way for cover art to happen.  My designer is also my sister-in-law AND a dear friend.  Most cover artists want like a 2-page synopsis of your book, and they go from there.  They don't read the whole book.  Most of them don't seek author input along the way, either, but will do final edits as requested.  But some do!  Every cover artist is different ;-)

(Colorado mining country.)

How did you get the idea for this story? 

Um.  Um.  Hmm.  Well, I had the general idea of "beautiful German immigrant" and "scarred, wealthy recluse" several years ago, probably around the time I published Cloaked in 2017.  That was at least five years ago, so I don't remember any direct triggers anymore.  

However, I do know that I planned right from the first to write about a "beauty" character who was not young and naïve and sort of easy to push around, and that I wanted to pair her with a "beast" character who was not crabby and grouchy and mean.  I wanted to just take away the starry eyes and the "fix the unpleasant guy" things that so often get used for retellings of Beauty and the Beast, and focus on the way that kindness and brokenness can get mixed with love to promote healing.


How long do you think it will be? 

Oh, probably around 100K when it's done.  It's about 120K right now, but it needs a bit of tightening.

Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be? 

WAY longer.  WAY, WAY longer.  My previous books in this series have been around 50K.  I had no idea going in that MRAMR would be twice as long.  In fact, it has the longest first draft of anything I have ever written!

Who’s your favorite character so far? 

Marta Beckmann, protagonist and narrator and baker extraordinaire.  I've never written a heroine quite like her before, and I just love her so much.  She's this amazing blend of directness and kindness.  And she is a ball of marvelous energy -- like the Energizer Bunny, but with a German accent!  Her life has not been easy at all, but she has such calm and such grace and such joy within.

(Alicia Vikander looking kind of Marta-esque)

What’s your favorite memory related to this WIP? 

A locally owned coffee shop opened up a mile from my house just about the same time that I started writing the first draft of MRAMR, in October of 2020.  I go there basically every Saturday morning to drink their wonderful coffee and work on this book.  I love that I can get there in just a few minutes -- before, this I was driving fifteen minutes to get to a Starbucks to write every weekend.  Plus, I love that it's not a chain, it's locally owned -- I would much rather have my $5 or so go back into the community directly that way!  Plus, for the first time ever, I am a "regular" at a coffee shop.  The baristas recognize me, the owners recognize me, and that is really special to me.  It's been such a blessing!

Any special person(s) who helped create it? 

My 14-yr-old son has been helping me translate German bread recipes from a 1907 German cookbook, and we have had such a good time working together on this project!  We're both taking German via DuoLingo (and I took it in college for a year), so it's been a very cool way to use our new language skills... and to realize how much we don't know yet.

(Traditional German bakery sign)

Tune back in tomorrow for the rest of my answers!  Here is a clean copy of all eighteen questions, in case you want to copy them and do this tag yourself.  Or in case you're curious about what I'll be answering tomorrow ;-)

  1. Has your WIP a working title? If so, tell us! If not, have you any idea of what it might be? 
  2. Have you a synopsis for your WIP? If so, give it to us! If not, can you give us a blurb on what your WIP is about? 
  3. Have you a working/mock cover for your WIP? If so, show us! If not, have you an idea in mind? 
  4. How did you get the idea for this story? 
  5. How long do you think it will be? 
  6. Is it longer or shorter than you thought it would be? 
  7. Who’s your favorite character so far? 
  8. What’s your favorite memory related to this WIP? 
  9. Any special person(s) who helped create it? 
  10. What’s your favorite scene so far (if you can tell about it without spoilers!)? Can you give us a snippet? 😉 
  11. Is the story still what you thought it would be or has it thrown you a couple curve balls? 
  12. Is there a Bible verse, poem, hymn, picture, or quote that helped shape this story? 
  13. When and where have you done most of the writing so far? 
  14. Where do you get inspiration for this story? 
  15. Are you a plotter or a pantser? 
  16. Do you have a little ritual before you start writing? 
  17. Are you thinking of publishing this story? 
  18. What things have you learned while writing this story?

9 comments:

  1. "I planned right from the first to write about a "beauty" character who was not young and naïve and sort of easy to push around, and that I wanted to pair her with a "beast" character who was not crabby and grouchy and mean. I wanted to just take away the starry eyes and the "fix the unpleasant guy" things that so often get used for retellings of Beauty and the Beast." <<< This is EXTREMELY important to me and makes me very excited for your story. The whole "naive girl fixes mean guy" theme is the biggest reason why I often dislike Beauty & the Beast retellings. But yours doesn't have that!! And I'm excited!!!

    I genuinely can't wait to lose myself in a 100000-word novel, all written by you :D My little sisters are looking forward to it as well!

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    Replies
    1. Katie, yes, I think "sweet and innocent can FIX jaded and mean" is highly unrealistic. Can help? Yes. Can comfort? Yes. Can lead/encourage toward becoming a better person? Yes. But not FIX. And I'm tired of it. So I'm not doing it.

      Thanks for letting me know that not only are you looking forward to it, but your sisters are too! Part of me worries that, because my protag is in her late 20s, younger readers won't connect well with the book. But Jedediah Jones is in his early 20s, and younger readers liked Dancing and Doughnuts just fine, so... I need to quit that.

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    2. Oh, absolutely! My youngest sister in particular tells me very adamantly that "not ALL the characters should be the same age!" She gets bored when authors always make their characters 12, or 18, or whatever the "magic number" seems to be for that particular genre. She wants more variety!

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  2. Ah! How fun to see my tag “in the wild” XD Your WIP sounds delightful! I love Beauty &the Beast retellings, so….

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    Replies
    1. Thanks for creating this, Katja! It was just so fun to fill out :-) Glad you like the sound of MRAMR!

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  3. So fun to read all your answers, even having been along for much of the ride!

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  4. Marta is amazing. <3 And I really like how much longer this one is!

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    Replies
    1. Eva, she continually amazes me, so I'm glad she struck you that way too :-) I like that it's longer, because it has a fuller story... but it is proving to be a big handful for editing. Oof.

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