Friday, 1 July 2016

Snazzy Snippets: I HATH RETURNED

BLOOKUNITY I HAVE RETURNED FROM MY HIATUS. With more Mulan + Swan Lake snippets.

(I know I still haven't read all of your snippets last time, but I'll get to them ASAP. My bad, school is killing me.)

Snazzy Snippets is a bimonthly link-up I co-host with Emily @ Loony Literate. For those who weren't around last time:
It’s an opportunity for writers! Every two months, we post a prompt or question for you to share a snippet of fewer than 500 words. It’s designed to let you have fun, analyse your work on a smaller level, or just write something to join in.

If you’re not a writer, or aren’t working on anything, don’t go back up the rabbit hole just yet. Read everyone’s wonderful snippets on the linky!
Still have questions? Snazzy Snippets has its own page on the blog, with FAQs and more. Take a look!

Reminder that this isn't just for novels! The prompts were designed with novels in mind, but most are also applicable to short stories, poetry, anything.

Without further ado, the prompts (themed around the past):

A snippet where characters consider their backstory
or
A snippet featuring a child (i.e. a freebie for you YA and MG writers)
or
A  snippet from something you wrote more than 2 years ago

Remember to include your post URL in the linky! I'll be sure to visit ALL your snazzy snippets.

For those who are new, I'll be sharing snippets from my WIP, a Mulan + Swan Lake retelling. It includes monsters and magic, grave robbers, deaf assassin-witches, witchy rival-lover dynamics, and lots of desserts. I like to imagine it as VICIOUS meets THE NIGHT CIRCUS.

1. A snippet where characters consider their backstory

“Don’t lecture me, huangfu, I might actually remember your wisdom.”

Her father sighed and began brushing the sugar strands on the seat into the palm of his soft hands. “I tried to motivate a little girl who skinned her knee running from a street-performer’s fire-spell. Back then you were afraid of magic. Now I am.”

For half a year, her royal mother spent the two hours before midnight to read Mak the most ancient magical texts, and two hours after to let Mak touch the magic. One morning, instead of her usual nap, Mak snuck out and tried to burn down the vegetable garden. Instead she’d burned out and spent a week in a hospital bed. That was the first and only time her father raised his voice to her royal mother.

Out loud, all Mak said was, “A wonder you had the courage to marry huangmu.”

“Even you fear your royal mother. But you still have the heart to defy her. So why do you hide from Yi?”

Because Yi promised a windstorm in those eyes. Mak could only hold a candle to this sister, and she didn’t know if Yi would snuff it out or set her life ablaze. “My mother and I aren’t competing for the kingdom.”

“Yi doesn’t want to steal your kingdom. She wants to save it.”
This snippet features our second main character, Mak, who is the princess and heir to the empire. However, her position can

When an incredibly talented (and incredibly gorgeous) witch shows up, one can predict the conflict.

More about that in the next snippet. Of more interest here are:
  • Mak's incredibly fabulous parents. Let me tell you, those two have backstory. Not written down, I mean, but I just know.
  • Mak learns magic and instantly decides to burn stuff. A girl after my own heart.
Oh, and since I'm getting back into revising this (aiming for mid-July, once I have all school stuff out of the way), I'm now sharing my writing progress every week to anyone who wants to be email friends!

Read weekly snippets of MULAN + SWAN LAKE

I'll start sending them next week, so grab your takeout and hop on the train!

2. A snippet featuring a child

Mak returned his smile and stretched her legs outside the car. “I’ll look up your almanac and charm a pack of tea leaves.”

“Try not to mix it up with your poisons this time.” Her father frowned again and didn’t even protest when Mak took the box of dragonbeard candy. “And Mak—you’re right to be afraid of her. Take care, my daughter.”

“I think I still have the poison left from last time to deal with enemy sisters.” The cold garage air pricked goosebumps on her bare arms, and Mak hugged the candy box closer to her chest.

“And if she becomes your friend? Witchcraft is a fellowship, and you even call her sister.” Her father pressed the button for the shuttle lift to take them back to the palace. “Coastguard or not, you’re competing with her. When your friendship turns sour, it will ruin you. She will ruin you.”

Mak smiled a careful skull’s grin. If ruination came for her, she’d destroy it first. “Then she’d be making demons. What a traitor to the coastguard.”

“Mak,” her father called after her as she stalked out of the lift. “The Huntress is the kind of woman who is made from the fire. You’re a moth dancing in the flames.”
Since this IS a YA retelling, I could have chosen literally any snippet. But here, I think Mak is behaving like a child who thinks she can take care of herself. So basically every child ever.

I included copious amounts of food in this novel (thanks Cait) but I actually managed to make it a device to show character development (?!?!?). I won't reveal all, but suffice it to say Mak talks less about candy/cake and more about ... you'll see. *winks*

(There's also a high-flying all-rounded A+ girl who loves coffee. Three guesses why.)
Well ... two guesses left.
This snippet, though, shows just how melodramatic and unrealistic Mak can be. As I said: after my own heart.

3. A snippet from something I wrote more than 2 years ago

“They only remember Mulan fought a war. They forget she weaved at her window, that she asked the emperor for a horse to take her back, that when she returned she donned face paint and gowns. They remember Mulan tried to be a man, and forget when she was a woman.” — from planning notes of this WIP
For those of you who are unaware, I love retelling Mulan. This retelling is so very much about femininity. I looked through my musings back from when I translated the original ballad of Mulan and found this gem.

I don't think it needs further comment, really, except that this WIP is all about femininity and China and mis-identity.

Also witches. Don't forget the witches and demons. Sound cool? Join me as I ignore schoolwork and dash through revisions:

Yes, weekly snippets about witches and demons sound FABULOUS

Alternatively, join my takeout army and read the spinoff short story about a deaf assassin-witch conquering cities and critiquing tea!

You may have noticed, by the way, that I no longer use the title Witches Black & Silver to refer to this WIP. That's because I've thought of a new, better name — and it's nearly quoted in one of the snippets. Guessing time, blookunity!

Which is your favourite snippet? What do you think the WIP's new title is? And how is your own writing coming along?


Twitter-sized takeout:

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