5-Part WIP Special// Part One: General Questions

AHHHHHHH!!!! It's that time of year again! Jules's WIP Special is now a go and it's all about our NaNo projects! The participants (who you'll see listed at the end) spent the entire month of October brainstorming questions for this round and now we get to answer them over the next five weeks!

~Introduce the story: blurb, maybe a cover or anything else!~

For this one, I'm using my second dystopian novel, which I'm both excited and nervous about. And as you've all been waiting on the edge of your seats for me to announce what it is since I haven't introduced it to y'all yet, I figure now is a good time to give you the title.

Simon Says

And yes, it is based off the game! It's a dystopian based in Michigan, where a dictator named Simon (wow, no kidding, Sarah), believes that anything he says becomes law if he follows the order with the words Simon says.

Here's a cover and blurb!!

It used to be a game for children. Now it’s a nightmare-- two words that bring about chaos and death: Simon Says. 

Dictator Simon Chamenos believes the game was meant for him. Anything he says, if followed by those two words, becomes law. Apparently the world thinks the same thing. Or else, they’ve just turned a blind eye to his tyranny. That is, until the TV screens showed his face and called for the teenage boys. Then the sleeping monster of rebellion raised its ugly head.

With her brother gone and family in ruins, Ive Ryes sees only one option: join the rebellion and kill Simon. If anyone ever could, it would be her. After all, she was his right hand: a choice he wouldn’t live to regret.

~Where did you get the idea for your story?  What came to you first: your theme, character, premise, setting, etc?~

I can't remember where I first came up with the idea. I think it was a Pinterest prompt thingy, but I'm not 100% sure. All I know is it was last year in October because I actually considered putting aside the story I wrote during last NaNo for this one, but decided against it because I hadn't spent enough time thinking about it (besides, I really wanted to write the other story as well). So now I've had a year to muse over it and I think I'm ready now.

But I thought it might be cool to take something cute and fun and take all the fun out of it put a dark twist to it. 

The idea came to me first. The characters trickled in afterwards (naming was a royal pain in the butt). Finally, after months of head bashing, I decided on a location. 

~What have you done to get experience for your story (like watching knitting YouTube videos)?  What did you put into the book because it’s something you know about (like if you’re a martial artist, and put that in)?~

I didn't do a lot to gain experience, really. I did more of this kind of thing for The Herbalist's War.

But, I did add a linguistics nerd into the story because I loved studying Latin in school.

And this is the first time I've written a mentally ill character. I'm really nervous about this because I want to do a good job. Mental illness is something that burdens my heart and I want to represent it with respect and accuracy. But I feel like, if I stay true to my own experiences, I should do all right. So yeah, lots of prayers will be going into this thing.

~What is your story world based off of (made up, or contemporary)?~

It is based in Detroit, MI, and the surrounding area. I'm super pumped about this because my mom is from there and I love visiting Michigan, though I discovered how little I actually know about it while I was planning. A lot of the stuff I found online was targeted towards tourists instead of people living there. I needed to know what it's like living there. So, I sent off an email to my family members still living in MI asking for help. I'm still waiting to hear back from some of them, but what I did receive was invaluable. 

~Do you research before, after, or during your first draft writing process? Have you done any research for this particular book? How do you usually research?~

I do a bit of research beforehand. Just enough to get me started. I work off of instinct during the first draft, then I fact-check it later. 

I did research for Michigan. I needed to know basic details that would be important to someone living there. Didn't get too far.

I also looked up Latin sayings and what degrees Harvard offers for one of my characters. That was something I never thought I would have to do, but it was fun.

As far as how I research, let's just say I will forever be in Google and Pinterest's debt and leave it at that. 

~Do you plot or plan your book in any way before you start writing? What methods do you usually use and what did you do this time?~

I do a simple outline and a conflict chart. Both help me with pacing. I wrote a post about this last year. You can check it out here.

I wrote my outline back in April, during Camp NaNo. That was fun, even though I still didn't have a huge grasp of the story. It did get me pumped up to write it, though. 

~Do you hand write or type your first draft?~

Type. When I first started writing books, I would hand-write all my stories. But once I started on the journey that is NaNoWriMo, that wasn't an option for me anymore. I just couldn't write fast enough. So now I type my stories.

Though, I might have to hand-write something again. Maybe just some stuff that no one will ever read.

~Do you have a brainstorming buddy and if you do, who was it this time and how did they help?~

Like the jerk that I am, I decided to keep this under wraps until now, so I didn't have a brainstorming buddy for the planning portion. But for any issues moving forward, Jules, Evangeline, and my younger brother are always my reliable brainstorming buddies. 

~How did you come up with your characters’ names?~

Well, Simon's was pretty obvious, but I have no idea where I came up with the rest. I just kind of threw some ideas out and snagged ones that fit. Mostly, I just did a bunch of throwing letters and sounds together until something stuck. 

~Do you know what your story's theme is? If you do, how did you find it, and if you don't, how do you plan to find it?~

I think one of the underlying themes is understanding the difference between revenge and justice and knowing where the line is. There's also the theme of family and its different aspects. Love and redemption is also something I try to put in all of my books.

Well, there you have it! I hope you enjoyed getting to know what I'll be working on this November. I'm really excited to get down and dirty with this one. I'll do my best to keep you updated throughout the month!

Be sure to check out the rest of the participants' posts! They have some amazing projects and I just can't wait to read more about them! I'll do my best to update the links as the posts go active.


What do y'all think? Are you excited to hear more? What are you writing this November? I want to hear all the details!!


  1. Great cover! Oh, and I made a conflict chart similar to yours!!! :) Best wishes on this project!

    1. That's awesome! I hope it helps you keep the pacing up!

  2. Oh, my I really loved everthing you shares about the Herbalist's War. But this I see why this tempted you! I love BOTH OF YOUR BOOKS you've shared about ;0


    1. Actually, THW wasn't the story I wrote last year (that one's under wraps), but I do absolutely love THW with all of my heart and I can't wait until it's in readers' hands! But I think this one is super cool as well.

  3. Oh my goodness, your story sounds AMAZING!! The concept is something that is so creepy, it’s good......

    Good luck with writing it during NaNo!

  4. I NEED THIS!! It sounds so amazing and like something I'd love so much!!!

    I can't wait to read more about this! <3

    1. I'm so excited about it! I wasn't sure how it would go, but so far it's going pretty smooth. Of course, I haven't yet gotten into the nitty gritty, but I think I'm going to enjoy this ride.

  5. NAMING CHARACTERs ugh yes. Such a pain. If they could introduce themselves when they walk into our heads, that would be much appreciated.

    And linguistics is cool! I've been watching some YouTubes about accents + language, and quite honestly I'm hooked. I'd love to chat to your linguistics nerd, Sarah. ;)
    - Jem Jones

    1. Usually, naming comes easy to me, but this group is giving me fits. Oh well, at least I've got them somewhat down now.

      Yes, it's so awesome!! And his is ancient languages, so it's kind of interesting.

  6. What an intriguing idea! Best of luck to you, girl!

    Ha! a linguistics nerd! I'd love to meet him/her. xD And that's great you're basing it in your mum's home state---how neat!

    And I'm the complete opposite, I LOOOOVE naming characters. 99.9% of the time, I have the characters named and with backgrounds before I have even a hint of a plot. I'd be happy to share my vast collection of names if you ever need a bit of help. :]

    Great post, girl!

    1. Thanks!!

      I usually do love naming characters, but these were just odd to name.

  7. Oh wow, I never thought that a simple kid's game could have such a darkness attached to it (but it sounds so believable.....). Good luck with it!

    I'm writing more on The White Rose during NaNo :). Only because I really need to finish a WIP and it's the most developed of all of them.

    Catherine <3

    1. IKR!! I'm really excited about it!!

      Awesome! I hope NaNo helps you complete at least one WIP!!!


    I'm the champion of Simon Says, btw. FCC conference.

    But a revenge/justice theme???? (Okay, that made me think of Rauladin and now I'm crying...) But other than that, amazing!!!!

    I can't wait to hear more about this book, because that is such a cool idea and concept and I want to know more!!!!!!


      LOL, I figured you'd be the champion of something like that.

      I'm really excited to see how it turns out. I'll be sure that you're the first one to read it when it's done (probably in May, after Camp). It's looking like it's going to be a beast of a draft.

  9. Naming characters IS a royal pain XD. And WHOA, I would totally read this. It sounds so cool and I am VERY VERY VERY excited to read it haha. Good luck!

    1. Thanks so much!! I can't wait until it's out into the world!!


Post a Comment

Popular Posts