Blogging, Novel Writing

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Marion Zimmer Bradley
The Mists of Avalon and similar works by the late Marion Zimmer Bradley have inspired my writing since my high school years. | (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I recently downloaded the Google Reader app to my phone and have been catching up on a ton of awesome blogs that I otherwise wouldn’t have the time to even glance at. One of my favorites is by author Charlotte Rains Dixon who shares tons of writing exercises that I can’t wait to try out. Last week, Charlotte answered a few questions about her current book via The Next Best Thing Blog Hop. I wanted to answer the same questions on my blog, so I asked Charlotte how I could get involved, and here I am today!

As part of the Blog Hop, I get to tag 3 – 5 other bloggers who will hopefully play along. (But I’m okay with them if they don’t, as I know how busy they all are.) Even if they don’t answer the questions, please check out their blogs anyway, as they are some of my personal favorites. I have listed their links at the end of this blog post.

1: What is the working title of your book(s)?

I’ve changed my title several times, but at the moment, I’m calling it, “Into the World of Men.” This title came to me as I was writing a bit of dialog in which one of my characters pretty much summed up the point of the entire novel in one sentence. I took this excerpt from the sentence, and, voila! A title. Maybe. Until I change my mind again.


2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Last year, around the end of summer, I was out for a walk one morning when I heard these two old ladies arguing. Luckily the conversation was taking place in my head, so I didn’t feel guilty about listening in. I eavesdropped on them as I finished my walk, then went home and did a freewrite in which I attempted to figure out what was going on with their granddaughter, who was the object of their argument. Next thing I knew, I had a story.


3: What genre does your book come under?

Definitely fantasy, even though I’m struggling with some of the fantasy elements at the moment. Creating a completely new fantasy world is rewarding, but a lot of work!


4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I want an unknown actress to play my protagonist. Preferably a striking redhead who will promise to remain a redhead rather than dying her hair blonde the moment she gets famous (why do famous redheads do this these days?) I want her to be an unknown like Jennifer Lawrence was before The Hunger Games. Now that Lawrence has done so many interviews, the mystery of her is somewhat lost. I want the heroine of my book-cum-movie to maintain that mystery only a new actress can offer.


5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

M. (I’m keeping her name a secret for the moment) is a 17-year-old bookworm whose father and grandmothers have kept her and her sisters hidden away in a barn their entire lives to keep them safe from an outside world that has gone awry. When M. is discovered by the mysterious Lord Drak, she is thrust into the world of men where she will discover the true meaning of the word, “freedom” in a land where women are nothing more than property to be bought and sold by unscrupulous men.

Oh shoot, that’s two sentences, not one. Why can’t I seem to distill my synopsis down to one sentence?


6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

No clue, but I hope to go the traditional route if at all possible.


7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I started in August, and I am now about 2/3 of the way through getting my story line on paper. I’m hoping the first rough (very rough) draft will be completed by the time I graduate in May.


8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss: that’s what I was reading when the story came to me. I think I could also compare it to Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Mists of Avalon series and some of her other, similar novels.


9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My grandmas, for sure… two very strong women whose voices helped build the voices of the two grandmother characters in my story. My characters are not strictly modeled after my grandmothers, as the voices have morphed a lot over the course of writing the stories. But my grandmas have inspired me and my writing in so many ways.


10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

It’s not just for a fantasy audience. Anyway, I hope it’s not. This fall, I took an advanced novel writing course with a diverse group of writers. A couple of my classmates said they were drawn into the book and really wanted to read more, even though they don’t typically read fantasy novels. So I hope my novel will speak to a diverse group of readers rather than being read only by fantasy fans.


And, here are the links to my blogger friends. I hope you will check them all out:

  • Slimegreen by one of my bestest classmates 
  • Clutterheart by another of my bestest classmates 
  • Three Cups by two writers I don’t know and one of my bestest writing teachers (Shana) 

~Mandy Webster


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