Today, we’re peering into the black folder for Scarlet . . .
WARNING: THE REST OF THIS POST INCLUDES SPOILERS FOR CINDER AND SCARLET.
Inside Scarlet’s Black Folder
Once you get into the second book of a series, you’re faced with a constant balancing act. You have to quickly engage your reader and keep the story moving forward, while also reminding them (in a natural, non-intrusive way) about what happened in the previous book so they’re not confused. Here I made my list of the major points I needed to remind readers about as soon as possible. (Note also the brief summary of the book and my early concept of the book’s major themes. Though these things often change during revisions, I like to have at least a tentative idea of them from the beginning so I can try to keep the “big picture” in mind while I’m outlining and writing.)
This is a map I printed out showing the main agricultural areas in France. This first helped me determine what sorts of crops Scarlet and her grandmother would grow on their farm, and it also gave me some ideas for the path Wolf and Scarlet would take to get to Paris (since I knew I wanted them to end up in a forest).
My black folders are full of research notes. Here are the notes I took while watching the episode of Dirty Jobs in which Mike Rowe has to trudge through a sewer system, so I could apply the most gruesome and realistic details to the scene in which Cinder and Thorne do the same.
An article from Sunset magazine theorizing some accommodations we may have to look forward to in our train travel. Not many of these ideas made it into the book, but it did get me to start thinking beyond my own limited knowledge of train travel.
I mentioned in my post on Cinder’s black folder that I’m always trying different plotting techniques. Here I was trying to build my plot using the “Quest Decided > Action > Quest Thwarted > Reaction > New Quest Decided” method. I *think* I heard about this method from Victoria Schmidt’s writing guide Book in a Month, but I’m not sure. Anyway, it’s a pretty basic way to build your story and figure out the overall progression of your novel.
An article from South Sound magazine talking about local wildlife protection groups. I think this is where I first heard about Wolf Haven in Olympia, WA, which I did eventually visit for my research on wolves and wolf packs. (If you’re ever in western Washington, I highly recommend giving them a visit. It’s so fascinating, and the wolves are gorgeous!)
Three folders down, one to go! One Friday I’ll be giving a sneak (non-spoilery) peek at some of my early inspirations for Winter.
Last month I wrote a blog post for “A Week of Rapunzel” hosted by Bonnie at A Backwards Story. In the post, I revealed for the first time the contents of one of my black folders—the folders where I’ve been collecting bits of ideas, research, and inspiration for the past six years, ever since I started working on a little book about a teenage cyborg.
In that post I discussed some of the things I’d collected for Cress. This week I’m opening up the folders for Cinder, Scarlet, and even Winter for some behind-the-scenes info on where, when, and how The Lunar Chronicles have evolved . . .
WARNING: THE REST OF THIS POST INCLUDES SPOILERS FOR CINDER.
Inside Cinder’s Black Folder
Some magazine pages I pulled of fancy wedding dresses and ball gowns to start visualizing what Pearl and Peony might wear to the annual ball.
This propaganda pamphlet is 100% responsible for the ID chips that my characters use for their payment and identity tracking, and it was a total fluke that I came across it. When I was writing Cinder, I had an hour bus commute to and from work each day. One day as I sat down on the bus, I saw this pamphlet on the seat. I picked it up and started to read all about how the government is going to be embedding chips into our wrists, which will be the sign of Satan’s return or something something… I dunno. Whatever the writer of this pamphlet was trying to achieve, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t the “AHA!” moment that I had when I read it. “ID chips embedded in our wrists—friggin’ brilliant! My futuristic society must have that!” And now they do.
When I was first creating the world of the Lunar Chronicles, it was difficult for me to keep track of all the different terminology I was using (and, in many cases, making up), so I made reference sheets like this one to keep handy. Here, I’ve listed some tech terminology (such as the difference between netscreens and portscreens), plus the honorifics used in the Eastern Commonwealth. Note that on this page there are sixteen honorifics. I’ve since shortened it down to just five that are used in Cinder’s society.
Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress all began life as NaNoWriMo novels. Wanting to document every step of the process, I made sure to keep the postcards that I received that year after making a donation to NaNo’s cause.
When I get stuck, I frequently resort to brainstorming longhand, and sometimes a good old-fashioned spiderweb cluster is still the best method. (Anyone else remember doing those in school?) Originally I’d thought that Cinder was immune to the plague because she was cyborg, but that wasn’t working for the plot, so I started to brainstorm other ideas. This cluster is where I figured out that she’s actually immune because she’s Lunar.
I’m sort of obsessive when it comes to plot structure, and whenever I hear about a new “theory” or “system” for how great stories are structured, I always test it with my books to see if they hold up. Here I applied Cinder’s plot points to the classic “myth structure” (right), plus one other plot system (left)… though I’m not sure where that one is from.
More insider info is coming! Check back on Wednesday for a look into Scarlet‘s black folder…
Are you ready to Join the Resistance and unlock great sweepstakes prizes? Well here’s some added motivation!
I’m giving away TEN LUNAR CHRONICLES GRAB BAGS to ten Lunartics!
Grab Bags might include such goodies as: signed books, bookbags, hairbands, postcards, buttons, temporary tattoos, and more!
There are lots of different ways you can participate and earn points toward winning. PLUS, this giveaway is open internationally!
Ends March 31.
By some technological magic, every like, share, tweet, tumble, and download is currently being monitored and tracked (by satellite-imprisoned hackers, perhaps?) – and every time we reach a benchmark, a new sweepstakes will be unveiled! Prizes include signed books, an Iko USB drive, and even a CRESS-branded MacBook Air!
How can YOU join the resistance? Start by:
And why stop there? Here are some more ideas for the true revolutionaries:
- Encourage your friends to Like the Lunar Chronicles fanpage.
- Share the CRESS book trailer on your blog or Facebook.
- Follow The Lunar Chronicles on Tumblr.
- Leave a review for Cinder, Scarlet, or Cress on Amazon, GoodReads, or BN.com – then tweet your review using the #SaveCRESS hashtag.
- Share your fanart or gifs on Tumblr using #SaveCRESS.
- Read “The Little Android” on WattPad – then Tweet your reaction using #SaveCRESS.
- If you’re a blogger, you can also help by encouraging your followers to Join the Resistance too!
We’ve already unlocked two sweepstakes by achieving over 50,000 interactions! Download the Rampion schematics and enter to win the nail decals here: http://thelunarchronicles.net/
(Sorry, but sweepstakes prizes are open to the US only, although I think anyone can download the schematics…)
How will YOU be joining the Lunar Chronicles resistance? Let us know in the comments!
It’s here, it’s here, it’s here! Cress hits shelves today and I am so excited to share it all with you. FINALLY.
If you pre-ordered your copy: Enjoy!!
If you haven’t ordered it yet, then head out to your local bookstore and pick it up, or check out the purchasing links on the Cress book page. Or go put your name on your library hold list, if you’re one of those patient types.
And don’t forget to check out the book tour schedule and come see me if I’m heading your way!
And last but NOT least, be sure to tune in TONIGHT at 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST for the Livestreamed Launch Party!
Tweet your questions to #SaveCRESS during the event and I might answer them during the event. You could even win a Lunar Chronicles VIP prize!
I hope to see many of you on tour, but no matter where you are, THANK YOU SO MUCH for supporting these books. I really, really hope you will all love CRESS!
Today is the last day of the Cress blog tour today, and there are still lots of giveaway opportunities throughout the tour! If you missed any stops these past two weeks, I now have direct links to them all. Don’t miss any of these behind-the-scenes Lunartic goodies!
Monday, January 20 : That Artsy Reader Girl
In which I explain why I almost named Cress “Arugula” . . .
Tuesday, January 21 : Mermaid Vision Books
In which I share my “Ode to Spaceship Captains.” Yes, I wrote an actual ode.
Wednesday, January 22 : MacTeenBooks
In which I get a little nostalgic over the music that inspired the book . . .
Thursday, January 23 : Refracted Light Reviews
In which Meg Tao, Kai’s fan club president, is devastated.
Friday, January 24 : Love is Not a Triangle
In which I *squee* over some of my favorite Lunar Chronicles fanart . . .
Monday, January 27 : YA Bibliophile
In which I talk about my experience riding a real-live camel for research.
Tuesday, January 28 : The Irish Banana Review
In which I explain how I relate to Cress’s character . . .
Wednesday, January 29 : Forever Young Adult
In which I discuss the challenges of writing a quartet (and the third book in particular).
Thursday, January 30 : Alexa Loves Books
In which I talk about food. A LOT of food . . .
Friday, January 31 : FicFare
In which I discuss 10 things that changed from Cress’s early drafts . . .
Monday, February 3 : Mundie Moms
In which you can take a quiz to find out which Lunar Chronicles heroine you are . . .
And don’t forget!
- We’re having a Twitter Chat tonight at 9:00 EST / 6:00 PST – follow #SaveCRESS! I might even be sharing some never-before-seen teasers for WINTER . . .
- The Launch Party Livestream is tomorrow, Tuesday February 4, at 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST. Watch it at http://thelunarchronicles.com/featured and tweet your questions during the event at #SaveCRESS!
- And if you dress up in red accessories or costume tomorrow, tweet or Instagram your pictures using #SaveCRESS and #DressforCress. I can’t wait to see them!
- Tomorrow~! Tomorrow~! Cress comes out TOMORROW!
There are A LOT of fun things to look forward to next week! CRESS releases, the SCARLET paperback releases, plus #SaveCRESS Twitter Chats and Launch Party Livestreams galore!
If that wasn’t enough, Bonnie at A Backwards Story is hosting her third annual Fairy Tale Feature in celebration of CRESS!
Check out her blog all next week for:
- A guest post from yours truly, in which I share the contents of one of my secretive story folders for the first time EVER.
- A spoiler-free dialogue between my three amazing beta readers on their experience critiquing the book’s early drafts.
- Book Reviews
- Author Visits
- Giveaways, and more!
There can just never be enough fairy tale love.
#WeekofRapunzel / #SaveCRESS
The final (I hope!) CRESS book tour schedule is posted below! If you can’t come to any of the in-person events, I hope you’ll join us for our two virtual ones!
The #SaveCRESS Twitter Chat
Monday, February 03, 9:00 EST / 6:00 PST
As Macmillan lovingly pointed out – once that chat starts there will only be a FEW HOURS LEFT before CRESS is available!
The CRESS Launch Party Livestream
Tuesday, February 04, 10:00 EST / 7:00 PST
Fairy tales, music, costumes, Q&A, and more!
Watch the livestream at http://www.thelunarchronicles.com/featured
Tweet your questions during the livestream using #SaveCRESS and Marissa might answer them on stage. You could even win a Lunar Chronicles VIP prize!
THE CRESS BOOK TOUR – US & Canada
Tuesday, February 04, 7:00 PM
Karen Hille Phillips Center (formerly Eastvold Hall)
Pacific Lutheran University
See all the crazy details here.
Pre-order CRESS and get your event ticket here.
Hood River, OR
Wednesday, February 05, 6:30 PM
Hood River County Library
212 Oak Street
Hood River, OR 97031
San Diego, CA
Thursday, February 06, 7:00 PM
San Diego Central Library
330 Park Blvd
San Diego, CA 92101
Corte Madera, CA
Friday, February 07, 6:30 PM
51 Tamal Vista Blvd
Corte Madera, CA 94925
Saturday, February 08, 3:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
330 East 1300 South
Orem, UT 84058
Sunday, February 09, 4:00 PM
1107 Pearl Street
Boulder, CO 80302
Tuesday, February 11, 6:00 PM
2820 Towne Centre Blvd
Lansing Charter Township, MI 48912
Wednesday, February 12, 7:00 PM
Politics and Prose
5015 Connecticut Avenue Northwest
Washington, DC 20008
New York, NY
Thursday, February 13, 6:00 PM *note the changed start time!*
Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011
Friday, February 14, 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
2325 Stemmons Freeway #401
Lewisville, TX 75067
Saturday, February 15
Montgomery County Book Festival
3200 College Park Drive
Conroe, TX, 77385
1:00 PM: It’s More than Just Robots & Outer Space: Science Fiction Author Panel
3:30 PM: Keynote Speech
Monday, February 17, 7:00 PM
603 North Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78703
Tuesday, February 18, 7:00 PM
Barnes & Noble
481 N. Alafaya Trail
Orlando, FL 32828
Burnaby, BC, Canada
Saturday, February 22, 2:00 PM
Toronto, ON, Canada
Monday, February 24, 2:00 PM
Toronto Public Library
Toronto, ON, Canada
Monday, February 24, 7:00 PM
(Can’t make any of these events! Don’t worry – I have more coming up throughout all of 2014! I’ll post further details in the coming weeks.)