Death and Fairies

Death and Fairies

I recently had a Twitter conversation (with somebody who had mistaken my identity, but that is very easy to do on Twitter and I won’t judge them for it) and they asked  me about this ‘Death and Fairies’ thing I keep going on about. What is it? Could I talk about it at the next meeting? After solving the mystery of this second question (they thought I was someone else), I promised to do a blog post on the subject soon. And here it is.

Death and Fairies is the provisional title I gave to a trilogy of books I’ve been working on for quite a long time now (I started book one in January 2010, abandoned it for some months, and then picked it up again). It is, as you may have already guessed, a series of tragedies based on Celtic mythology, or to put that into more everyday vernacular, it’s about fairies and everybody dies. Ehehe.

But what is it actually about and what are my plans for it?

Watching is the first book in the trilogy and one I’ve mentioned several times on this blog. I finished an eighth draft a couple of months ago and just today had feedback from the first of my beta readers on the improved version (which was prompted by feedback from my wonderful critique partner, Cathryn). Oh, and you read that correctly – yes, it’s the eighth draft. I’ve edited it so many times that it’s no longer got the same plot or characters as the first draft. But hey, that one was useless, so it’s probably just as well.

I entered the pitch into the TCWT pitch contest and got nowhere, but that means I have a three-sentence summary of it which will be very handy here.

Alex is one of the lennán sidhe, fated to love those condemned to die, and Jennie was chosen by the Dagda – the king of the fairies – as his next victim. Unlike those Alex failed to save in the past, however, she believes his warnings, and with the help of a terrorist, a thrill-seeker, the Dagda’s daughter and Alex’s former Minder, they prepare to fight against the king. But the Dagda is powerful, and in the end the rebellion will cost them everything.

I’m waiting for feedback from two other beta readers and working on writing queries for a list of agents that I’ve compiled, which I intend to send out before the end of 2012. I’d describe it as YA urban fantasy, and it would probably appeal to anyone who likes Holly Black or Maggie Stiefvater.

Destroying is the second book in the trilogy, and last week I finished the third draft. The second draft was written to accommodate the most recent changes to Watching, but I hadn’t yet had any feedback on the plot, and so the third draft was written after critique from Cathryn, and is hopefully much improved. I’m optimistic that it will need fewer drafts than Watching, as I had more experience writing when I wrote the first draft and it’s probably less structurally flawed, but one never knows. The first draft was read by one person, the second by two. No one has yet read the third, but they will… *grins*

My pitch for this includes spoilers for book one, so I won’t share it now, but the basic premise is that it takes place two and a half years after the events of Watching and shows the long-lasting physical effects of the fairies’ actions, on top of the emotional fallout.

To my amazement, this had what could be described as a happy ending. I myself probably wouldn’t go that far – I mean, all the characters are royally messed up by the end of it – but that definition isn’t entirely inaccurate. That was a surprise.

My plans for Destroying very much depend on how the whole agent/publishing thing goes with Watching.

Returning is the third book in the trilogy, though I’m not 100% sure I like the title. At the moment, it’s a year-old first draft, waiting for me to finalise the changes to books one and two before I consider redrafting. It needs a lot of work, not least because the plot and structure are decidedly shaky. I also need to consider the fact that I’ve got several important characters from earlier books that didn’t exist / were dead at the time when I first drafted this, and so I need to work them into the story.

I’ve got several ideas for how I’m going to rewrite this, though none of them are yet finalised. However, I’m certain of one thing – I’m keeping the ending. There are three scenes in the middle that I’m keeping. And I’m keeping the beginning. All the rest is probably going to be scrapped.

The ending is devastating, I have to admit. I wrote this on a boat in Norfolk and on a plane and in a house in France; my laptop broke during the time I was in France, forcing me to complete the novel by hand in a notebook with only my smaller writing playlists to help me (as the others were on said laptop). When I was called to dinner by the French family I was staying with, I was in tears from writing a particular scene, and had to try and explain, in French, what was going on.

They didn’t understand why mon roman was causing such distress. No one ever does. Nevertheless, I look forward to the hate mail I will likely get from my beta readers when they read it. Currently, I’m the only person who has read it, but hey… should be fun.

The Death and Fairies trilogy is my main focus in terms of publishing, as it’s the only thing I have that’s been edited and read by others, but I also have several other projects that I intend to edit and put on that pile, including The Quiet Ones which I wrote for NaNoWriMo last year, and which I consider to be my most original and probably most marketable novel so far (but that’s not saying much).

So, there you have it: the Death and Fairies trilogy and my plans for them.

PS – I’ve considered changing the trilogy name several times, but nothing else really fits. And it’s a useful way to tell people what it’s about in three words.

19 thoughts on “Death and Fairies

  1. Wow. So, if Destroying doesn’t kill my soul (which I’m sure it will) then Returning certainly will. Ugh.
    You’re worse than Moffat.

    Also, I rather like the “Death and Fairies” trilogy name. Very accurate, very memorable, and truer than a very very true thing.

    1. If Returning doesn’t eat your soul then I haven’t done my job properly, because writing the first draft almost killed me and that was just a pile of crap. So when it improves (as hopefully it will), it should be a bullet of feels. I hope. That’s the intention. Obviously, it depends how attached you are to the characters in question, but to be honest, most of the characters are in question.
      Being worse than Moffat I can deal with. It’s the day you tell me I’m worse than George R R Martin that I realise I’ve gone too far.

          1. Read over our NaNoMail conversation again and you will find it.
            (Flawed heroes. Ehehehe. How about my heroes are so flawed they’re not even heroes any more?)

          2. Some of mine never even bothered trying to be. They just stick their fingers in the air at me and go off and do as they please nowadays. Most of the population of my new NaNovel are testament to that. The only one who IS going to be good is the narrator, and he’s too sheltered and scared of people to be anything else.

  2. Yay! I’m so glad my little mishap resulted in this wonderful post. :D Thanks for writing it!

    I love the sound of this. Definitely a marketable premise, so I’m thrilled to hear you’re pursuing publishing. Keep the Twitterverse updated on your progress!

    As for the series title, if the words “Death” and “Fairies” capture the story well, you might consider using those words but rearranging them. Something like “Fairy Death” or “Death Fairy,” etc. Not saying you need to change the title, but if you’re not sure you like it, that might be an option.

    1. Thanks for prompting me to finally get around to it! Ehehe :-)
      My main issue with the series title is that it seems a little over simplistic, and also might put people off because of the whole “death” thing, when the tragic aspect of the books is usually more complex than just bereavement. Nevertheless, I’ll keep it for now, until I think of a better one!

  3. I have a question for you… What’s your method for redrafting? Do you just look at the first draft as an in-depth outline, or do you just take the characters and basic premise and start from scratch? Or do you just take the premise and start from scratch? Or just the title? I’m curious about redrafting, and if you could help, that’d be great.

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

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