I’m about to tell you about the book that almost never was. Every year I write a book for National Novel Writing Month in November. This last year, however, I was stumped. I had just written Reclaim Your Creative Soul, and that book took a lot of energy out of me. I figured I would just skip it this year. But at the eleventh hour before the eleventh month, an idea came to me—why not just have fun with it this year? I know, a novel idea for a novel.
And so, I did. Having always been a fan of Peter Pan and Neverland, I began exploring the idea of writing about a character that only got a bit role in the original story: Tiger Lily. I began to develop who she was, where she came from, the values of her people, and her likes and dislikes. Just like Peter Pan is a coming of age story, Tiger Lily’s story was much the same. She became a princess held captive by rules she didn’t appreciate, and with hopes and desires that didn’t fit the mold of her people.
Throw in some pirates, a few Never beasts, the Lost Boys, and Peter Pan, and I suddenly had a story.
To up the ante, I not only wrote the story, I LIVE wrote it. Many of you followed along as I posted each chapter to Wattpad, allowing you to see the inside process of what it’s like for a novel to be written beginning to ending. While it was just a rough draft, I was pleased with how things worked out as I wrote. Many of you expressed interest as well, anxiously waiting for me to post the next chapter.
The story was never supposed to be published. It was just something to amuse myself and a few fans, and nothing more. However, the more I wrote, the more I realized that the story was taking on a life of its own. It was more than just an amusing tale, it was a story that needed to be told.
For the next few days, I am keeping the Kindle version of this book at 99 cents so that there are no barriers for you to buy this book. This is my gift to you for sticking alongside me, cheering me on, and anticipating this very moment. Please don’t delay in buying this book now, as the price goes back up after the weekend.
Furthermore, I have a few contests on my Facebook page if you’d like a chance to win the print version of this book. Just look up #LTWgiveaways and you’ll find a bunch of contests that are going until Sunday.
Thank you for all your support, and happy reading!
If you’re a Kindle reader, Loving the Wind is now available for pre-orders! Even better, it’s temporarily discounted to 99 cents! Read the untold story of Tiger Lily and how she met Peter Pan in this fun prequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter & Wendy.
Crissi’s latest book, “Loving the Wind” is a fun new dimension to the Peter Pan stories we know and love. She captured the voices of the characters so well, I felt like I was a pixie on the wall watching the whole time. It takes us to Neverland through the eyes of Tiger Lily, a young native girl who is mentioned in the original stories, but not much is known about her. Tiger Lily’s story as told by Crissi is deep and rich. We get to experience her adventures from just before she meets Peter in the belly of a pirate ship to the end of the book (but not the story, hopefully!!) as a wise young woman in her tribe. She takes us with her as she learns what it is to love her people as a leader. Tiger Lily is the girl I want to be when I grow up. Brave in spite of her fear, bold in standing up for those who had no voice, humble in her accomplishments, and open to the lessons in hardships she experienced. She’s wise and graceful in the end, when she’s finally accepted the path that is before her, unexpected as it is.
So, the question is, should you read this book? If you appreciate a new angle on the characters we’ve met before, absolutely. This is a fun, easy to read story. It flows along nicely- not too fast or slow. Plenty of action, some really great lessons, and friendly enough for families. This is a coming-of-age storybook I’ll encourage my own daughter to read when she’s old enough to appreciate it. Thank you Crissi for the amazing gift of this story!
P.S. Would you like a chance to win a print copy of this book for free? Follow me on Facebook and take part in my 6 Days of Giveaways.
On Nov. 1, I embarked on a new NaNoWriMo journey with Princess Tiger Lily of the Miakoda tribe, Captain Hook, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys and all the pixies of Neverland. I began with a story I knew I could have fun with, and I wasn’t even worried about whether it would be published or not. In fact, I thought it would be a miracle if I even finished the month with 50,000 words, as November was a really busy month for me outside of writing. Not only did I make my goal, but I came up with a story I am more than proud of – one that still lives on inside of me, even after I finished writing the whole thing weeks ago.
One of the things that made this book so much fun was my choice to share the story as I wrote it. I decided to post each chapter on Wattpad so that anyone who was curious about my writing process or interested in the story could read as I wrote. This choice proved to be difficult at times, and I admit I almost threw in the towel on sharing it in several instances when writing felt difficult. But in the end, I’m glad I kept up with it.
Today, I posted Chapter 20, the final chapter to this Peter Pan and Tiger Lily fan fiction. With Chapter 20, I included the prelim version of the cover I plan to use with this book. It’s the same cover you see above. This cover isn’t finalized, however, and I welcome all feedback (good or bad!) before I set this in stone.
If you’ve been waiting for every chapter to be posted on Wattpad before reading, now is your chance to read along. You can do this by clicking here.
So, what’s next? Well, I still need to go through this story and clean it up before sending it off to the editor. But before I do that, I have a different book I’m wrapping up and will be publishing in early 2016. The working title is Reclaiming Your Creative Soul: The secrets to ordering your full-time life to make room for your craft. I’ve had so many people ask me about how I make time for writing when I have a full-time job, volunteer, and raise a family, that I decided to write a book on how I’ve organized my life in such a way that I can devote so much time to writing and still manage everything else. In the book, I offer tips on finances and budgeting, meal preparation, home organization, quiet time and more -including tips on making creativity easier to come by. This book is a love letter to anyone who has ever wanted to accomplish big things, but isn’t sure how to make room for those things in an already busy life.
At that, I want to thank each and every one of you for your support over the years. Thank you for sticking by me, and for reading my books. There’s so much more to come in 2016, and I’m so excited that you get to share it with me!
P.S. Come Here, Cupcake is now available in the Amazon Prime Lending Library! If you have Amazon Prime, you can borrow this book and read it for free (The Road to Hope is also available in the Lending Library).
My favorite part of being an author is when I am actually creating the story, immersed in a whole different world than the one I am living in. As I’m writing, my characters are all around me. The scene takes over the room. Their emotions become my emotions, and their drama becomes my drama.
When I’m not writing, I am thinking about my characters and their stories. They become like real people to me, almost like they are friends. I can be at my day job, going out for the evening, making dinner, or walking the dog, and the story I’m writing is right there with me. If you’re around me during the days I am writing a novel, just know that I am more than likely thinking about the novel. That’s just the nature of the beast.
Thing is, while I’m writing the novel, this is when I am the most amped up about the story. It’s when those little moments of magic happen, when certain situations present themselves, or surprises pop up that I wasn’t even expecting. Problem is, I have no one to share these moments with. And sometimes, I miss that. I’ll be writing along, and all of a sudden, a moment arises that just falls onto the page, and I want to turn to everyone around me and say, “Did you see what just happened???”
But I can’t, because the rough draft of a story is a very private moment between a novel and its author. So I just keep writing, anxious for the day when I can finally reveal the finished story to the public.
Not this time, however. Live posting my NaNoWriMo novel has been both freaky and exciting. I am revealing all of my grammatical errors, story holes, bad ideas, and moments of poor writing. But I am also revealing the magic of the story as it unfolds, offering it up chapter by chapter, and sharing the excitement of the story as it is written.
As of right now, I have finished writing the setup chapters of the story, and I’m heading into the midsection, when so many different things can happen. While the story is mapped out in its entirety, I’m still coming across plenty of unplanned moments that could potentially steer the story in a new direction, or shape the path that it’s already on. This is when the story writing process is at its most precarious. In past years, I’ve been known to write these midsection chapters only to toss them for different versions. By live posting, I am revealing chapters that may or may not make the final cut.
This is totally what it feels like to walk around in my underwear.
Nevertheless, it’s been incredibly motivating to share the story with readers as I write. Each time I share a new chapter, I receive texts from family and messages from fans to hurry up with the next chapter. It’s almost like I’m writing my first book all over again. This experience has made novel writing brand new, and I can’t wait to add to the story each day!
I’ve created a page for this story here on my blog, which I will update regularly as I add chapters. You can access that at crissilangwell.com/tigerlily.
I have finished the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my NaNoWriMo novel, and they are now live at Wattpad! For those of you who love Peter Pan fan fiction and would like to follow along, go to http://w.tt/1KVHVXD.
Click on Table of Contents, and start with the Prologue. When you’re done, continue reading Chapter 1.
Day 1 down, 29 more to go. This morning I woke up at 4:30 a.m., thanks to daylight savings. Honestly, I was counting on that early wake up time to get in some serious writing before heading off to church. So imagine my disappointment when my husband wakes up two hours later and I had a whopping 600 words written.
Ugh. Is this how NaNoWriMo is going to be all month?
Thankfully, the slogging only lasted for those mere two hours. Once I got through the dreaded opening paragraphs, the story took off. My daily word count today is 4,018, and I am really loving where this story is going.
And that’s a good thing, because I have some news for you. I will be sharing this story LIVE, posting the story chapter by chapter as soon as I finish each one. Chapter 1 should be finished by tomorrow, and I will be sharing it on Wattpad. If you want to be updated every time I add to the story, you have the option of subscribing to this story on Wattpad.
*Note: If you tried to access this earlier, the link has been updated.
Of course, an easier way to keep up to date with this story is to subscribe to my newsletter. I plan on updating people on my list every time I add to this story. It’s a good idea to join my mailing list, anyway, as it’s how you can be kept in the know about new releases, exciting news, and whenever I have a cool promo or giveaway to share.
In other news, the competition for NaNoWriMo is fierce in my house. My husband just started his own book today for NaNoWriMo, and is totally beating my personal word count by at least 800 words. He’s about to see the ugly side of his wife as I show him just how competitive I really can be.
And yes, it totally is a race to the finish. But a fun one. 🙂
Earlier this week, I had the extreme honor of chatting with a 4th grade class in Virginia (via Google Hangout from California) to discuss NaNoWriMo, and how they could write a novel in 30 days. The class will be trying their hand at this challenge, with an appropriate word goal for 9-year-olds, and had so many great questions about the experience, and about my own creative process.
One boy asked me, “Do you ever doubt yourself?”
“All the time,” I told him honestly.
And it’s more than the truth. At the time that we talked (it was Tuesday), I had 5 days left to figure out what I was going to be writing for NaNoWriMo, and nothing was coming to me. Usually by this time, I have my whole entire novel mapped out, and have been carrying on personal conversations with my characters. This year, my original plan was to write the sequel to Come Here, Cupcake. But last week, I chose to save that novel for a time when I can be more diligent and give it the detailed attention it deserves. I decided to, instead, write a novel that was more fun and carefree, not even worrying about whether I would publish it or not.
Problem was, nothing was coming to me.
So when that student asked me if I ever doubted myself, I couldn’t have been more honest by saying yes. I was currently doubting myself. I was starting to think I would never come up with a novel idea, and that I would enter NaNoWriMo on Nov. 1 already a loser.
And then, later that day, my novel idea barreled at me, tackled me, and wrapped itself around me so tight, I could barely breathe from excitement.
In her Ted talk, Elizabeth Gilbert relayed a conversation she had held with the late American poet, Ruth Stone. Ruth described how there were times when she’d be working the fields (ironically, in Virginia, where the students I talked to live!), and she would feel and hear a poem coming at her from over the landscape. She would actually feel the earth shake, and she knew she needed to get to a pen and a piece of paper as fast as she could before the poem thundered through her. She would, in her words, “run like hell” toward the house, the poem at her heels as she ran. Often, she’d make it, and was able to collect the words as they moved through her and write them on the page. But other times, the poem would barrel through her before she got to the paper, and then would continue over the landscape, looking for another poet. And sometimes, she would almost miss it, and feel it go through her just before she got to the paper, and at the very last second, she’d grab the pencil with one hand and the end of the poem with the other. She would then pull the poem back through her, transcribing as she did, so that the poem would be written from ending to beginning, completely backwards on the paper.
When I first heard this Ted talk, I thought it was utterly amazing. I also thought how poetic it sounded, but not very realistic. I mean, really? A poem chased you?
But on Tuesday, it happened. My next novel chased me as I drove into work that day. I felt it thunder down the hillside, and the air around me shake. And I was suddenly consumed with it, with no paper or pencil around to write it down. Ideas kept pouring through me, and I begged them to stay with me until I could get to my desk and write them all down. I tried to memorize each thought and idea, trying to retain everything. And while a few fragments dissipated on the walk from my car to the office, the majority of them stayed so that I could capture each lingering thought and place it on paper.
Since Tuesday, the ideas keep coming, thundering over the hillside and barreling through me. And I keep doing my part and writing them down. My notes are a mess of ideas. My soul is consumed with this new story. And last night, I finished mapping out the entire book.
I am now ready for Nov. 1.
Because we’re all friends, I’ll reveal what I’m writing here. I’ve decided to write fan fiction by retelling part of the story of Peter Pan from the eyes of Tiger Lily. Like all great literature, this has been done by a couple other authors. But I’m not worried about that. Like I said, this novel is for fun, and may never be published. Or maybe it will. For now, that’s not a decision I care about. I’m only concerned with enjoying the next 30 days as I fine tune my writing muscle with a piece of writing I couldn’t be more excited about writing.
To prepare, I’m re-reading Peter and Wendy, which has been a completely enjoyable experience. Man, I love this story! Of course, the parts about the Indians show a different sign of the times, so a few details will be changed (like the way they speak, and the name of their tribe).
During the next month, I will try to blog about my writing process as much as I can. I will be spending a lot of time writing my novel, you know. I’m also considering sharing the novel publicly as I write. The jury is still out on that one, however, as rough drafts are often terrible things. But wouldn’t it be fun to see the process of a novel as it’s being written?
Are you doing NaNo? Share what you’re writing in the comments!