Writing Update – Death to Fantasy Cliches

by | 20 March 2018 | Life, Writing | 24 comments

Yes hello I’m back because it’s high time for another writing update! In my last writing update I told you about how I was going through A Sprig of Green with some edits and revisions. I also told you about how in March I was going to finish off my edits and plan for my April Camp NaNo project.

Long story short, I finished my edits at the end of February so I’ve been writing a brand new first draft this month instead. PRINCE. *throws all the confetti*


I spent half a week (give or take) working on a plot for this project, and after several brainstorming sessions and headdesks I worked it out. In short, it’s a fantasy novel about a snobbish prince, a damsel in distress, dragons, adventure, true love, sheep, and pretty much every cliche I could manage to fit in there. 😛 I’m discovering that it’s one of the most fun things ever to put cliches in a story and have the characters rip on them.

Here’s a semi-official blurb sort of thing.


Prince Kal is sent off a-questing to rescue his damsel in distress, but little does he know that someone else has beat him to her already. Someone with a plan much larger and more devious than riding off into the sunset.

The trap is set, the bait is laid, and a story like never before is about to spring on this land of once upon a time.


All the stats

Originally I planned to write the whole of this novel in March—and normally that’d be fine for me and my insane writing speed—but I’ve been taking it a little slower and not trying to push myself very hard. However, some words have been written and I have been enjoying it so far.


Total Word Count: 11,411

Highest word count in a day: 3,922 (19th)

Chapters: 6 1/2

Planned number of chapters: 42 (ish. It’ll probably end up slightly different though, because I follow my plotting loosely at times 😛 )

Number of cups of chai: 461 (give or take XD)

Recent personal outdoors adventures used for story research: 2

Maps drawn: 1

Collages made: 5

Nights past midnight: 0!! (this is a new record for a first-draft-writing month!)

This was actually my first ever attempt at a slightly 3-D map, so I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. As you can probably guess, it’s a map of Ellsmere, which is the capital of Linnrylon. I’m still tossing up whether I should ‘paint’ it in photoshop or not. (And can we just admire my hand-lettering for a moment? I was quite proud of that. 😛 )


Since I’ve written 11k in the first six chapters, and if there ends up being forty-two chapters with approximately the same amount of words, this might end up at about 80k which is quite a nice length. That said, I might add more chapters in than I have planned and I might combine one or two others so it’s only a rough guess at the moment.


But that’s enough talking for now because you’ve been waiting for something else, I’m sure. As soon as I start sharing about my WIPs I just start throwing out snippets like crazy. Today I only have ONE, but I hope you can enjoy it, nonetheless.

Also, bear in mind that this is a first draft so there’s 10000% going to be mistakes/typos/bad phrasing in this because I’ve barely skimmed over it since writing it the first time.

Please welcome Prince Kalmin Murdoch Cynfael Angwen II, Heir to the Kingdom of Linnrylon as he complains about how much the world hates him.


– – –

I slash the sword again, testing the balance. The dulled edge slices through the air smoothly, but without anything to hit it just doesn’t have the same effect. The tenseness in my jaw aches but I don’t bother try relax.

Rescue the damsel, my foot. Why on earth should I have to do this when there’s a hundred servants at my beck and call who I could order to go fetch her? Or, even better, I could marry a peasant just to rile father.

A sigh huffs out between my teeth and I toss the practice sword viciously at the ground. It thuds, point down, buried into the earth. A startled sound from behind brings me around and my new manservant straightens.

The armour piled in his arms clatters at the movement and one vambrace slides out of his grip and lands on his toe.

I smirk as he winces, then jerk my thumb at the armour. “Well. It won’t do any use in your hands. I’m meant to be wearing that stuff.”

He ducks his head slightly. “Yes, sire,” he mutters, shifting his grip and dumping the armour in a heap.

“Careful—” I snap, shooting him a glare.

He hesitates, but then bows slightly. “Sorry.”

“Sire,” I add with strong emphasis. “Obviously you needed a little more training before becoming my servant.”

He makes a coughing sound and then drags my chain mail surcoat from beneath the pile and holds it up. I duck my head and he practically drops the mail on top of me. The weight evens out as I let the surcoat slip down over my shoulders with a off-side snap at my servant.

I should probably remember his name. It was something ridiculously simple. No fair. Why couldn’t he have my name?

He continues fastening the pieces of my armour as if he has no idea what on earth he’s doing. A farm worker, no doubt. Thinking to find his fortune in the city. I snort aloud and the servant looks up through the strands of dark hair, eyebrows raised.

“I don’t have all year,” I huff as he fiddles with the last vambrace.

His tongue appears between his teeth and he hunches over my forearm for another century. Or half minute. Whatever. Finally, he straightens and I pull away, twisting around and wrenching the sword from the ground. With the weight of the armour and the leather-wrapped hilt biting against my palm, I fall into a fighting stance.

Recap my day so far: my breakfast was cold because my new manservant was late bringing it to me, my servant also knows nothing about armour or proper protocol, my dad is sending me off to find a damsel in distress, and apparently I have to leave today. And to top it off the sun is blinding me.

Explanation: the world hates me.

But that’s okay, the feeling is mutual.

– – –


Kal is good fun to write. He complains about everything and is probably one my of most insufferable characters—but that’s okay. There’s hope for him yet.

Let that collage give you hope for this grouchy, stuck-up character. It’s set at the end of the story, so he’s a lot nicer. 😛 At the beginning of the story, he’d be quite willing to stand by and watch ‘him’ die. In fact, he does.


But that’s a spoiler.


I’ve also got a collage for the manservant, because he’s also a major character.

He’s the lucky boy who gets a flat character arc. 😛 But also the unlucky boy who has to put up with Prince Kal for the longest.

He may or may not go through some tough times during this story. *pats his head sadly*  A moment of silence for my long-dead dream of being a nice author.


What about April Camp NaNo?

You might have found it a little odd that I’m writing a first draft this month, since my original plan was to write my new novels in April, July, and November (for each NaNoWriMo event). Because I finished my edits earlier than planned, I decided to move everything forward a month. I wrote a first draft this month, instead of next month, so next month I plan to edit instead of first draft.

Since it’s taking me longer to get through PRINCE, I’m not expecting to finish by the end of the month. I’ll probably just stop wherever I’m up to and leave it for a while. Maybe I’ll come back to it every now and then through my edits when I’m tired of revising sentences and thinking about what I’m doing. But for the most part, when March ends, I’ll be putting this aside temporarily. I’ll probably finish it before July though, Lord willing. 😉


What does this mean about camp NaNo? Yes, I’m still participating, have no fear. I’m just going to be utilizing one of NaNo’s new changes. I’ve got a goal of pages (the whole of ASoG) which I hope to get through in April.

So, I’ll be back into edits again—but I’m going to be doing it in a new and exciting way. *dramatic music*

(Photography credit to my sister)

I got ASoG printed off in a spiral bound copy from Lulu! *screaming* I’m going to be working through that actual physical book and highlighting and writing notes and fixing all the problems, and I’m really looking forward to it (credit to Katie Grace for inspiring me to try this method). I got it double spaced, so it’s a little longer than it normally would have been, but seeing the original novella and this (full novel length) draft next to each other still makes me flail.

Look how skinny that first draft is. 😯

Anyway, as I said, I’m sooo excited to get into edits again. In fact, when the book arrived in the mail part of me wanted to up and edit immediately, but I forced myself to wait and keep going with the plotting/writing of PRINCE.

But Camp NaNo is ONLY ELEVEN DAYS AWAY NOW. Who’s excited??


What have you been working on this month? Do you like drawing maps? Are you going to be participating in Camp NaNo this April?? Chat with me in the comments!

Jane Maree

Jane Maree

Jane Maree is an Australian writer, adventurer at heart, beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and believer in at least six impossible things before breakfast. Raised on fairy tales, scraped knees, and makeshift swords, she has yet to outgrow any of them. In her day job, Jane teaches music and freelances as an editor, but by night she crafts daring stories of broken heroes overcoming extraordinary odds.


  1. Chelsea R.H.

    CAMP NANO!!! I can’t believe it’s come around so quickly. Cue panicking, because my worldbuilding is only half done and half my character charts are blank pages and I’m not ready for this!!!!
    So, I’m a drama queen occasionally. I am mostly ready for Camp and I’m just doing editing of my own novella until the time comes to begin another first draft.

    I really love the sound of Prince and that snippet is epic 😀

    • Jane Maree

      YESS!! Haha, don’t panic, I’m sure it’ll be great fun! 😛

      Yaay, that’s great that you’re almost ready!

      Thank you so much! ^-^

  2. Sarah

    Good heavens… That’s a lot of chai xD

    Very cool snippet (despite the ‘first-drafty-ness’, none of which I noticed by the way ;D) and very pretty hand lettering also 😀

    • Jane Maree

      So I maaaay have exaggerated slightly. But…y’know. XD

      Awk, thank you. I’m glad you liked it. 🙂

  3. Aposhipolepo

    You are back!! I was starting to thing we would never hear about your writing again!
    I have often heard that having your characters make fun of cliches is fun for writers and it certainly can be hilarious to read.
    Congratulations on you zero after midnight record, though I have a feeling that you will not surpass it any time soon. Also the map looks very bumpy compared to any others of your I have seen. I think we can all let you admire your hand lettering. (and maybe do it ourselves😛)
    ‘The feeling is mutual’ LOL, your MC has quite a interesting outlook.
    I had not realized just how small the ASoG first draft is until now.

    • Jane Maree

      Haha, yes! I wouldn’t stay away for very long. 😛

      It is a ton of fun, and I definitely hope it’s fun to read too? We’ll have to see. 😉

      Thank you, thank you. We’ll have to see how long I can keep that record up for.

      Prince Kal has an interesting outlook on everything pretty much. XD It’s very fun to write.

      Haha, it’s quite thin, honestly. o-o

  4. J.A.Penrose

    EEEEEEP!!!!! *flails* So exciiiiting!!!
    Prince is looking so good and ahhh, Dane! *claps happily* Can’t wait to hear more.
    Can’t wait for Camp. Going to be great to re-write this book. *nodnod*
    Brilliant post as always!

    • Jane Maree

      *flails with you* Yessss.
      Thank you!! I’m so excited that you enjoy hearing about it. 😀
      IT’LL BE GREAT FUN. I already know it. ^-^
      *fistbump* Woot for the editors. 😉

  5. Krystal

    Allll the writings!!! <33
    a map, a snippet, and collages, oh my *flails happily* and oh my word, Kal XD I can't wait to read more about this character. XP
    ASoG is so big and grown up now. *wipes away a tear* 😛

    • Jane Maree

      Yas <3
      Ahhh I'm so glad you enjoyed it. xP Kal is good fun to work with... XD
      I knoww. My small bebe is so big now.

  6. Angela Watts

    I adore ASoG’s cover! 🙂 And gosh, yes, editing via paperback is SO FUN. I couldn’t spiral bound because my past two novels were too big. *headdeask* But with my novella(ish?) story ‘The Thief, The Damsel, And The Dragon’ (BELIEVE ME, THIS WAS NOT INSPIRED BY YOUR PRINCE. It’s actually not what the title makes you think ;D if you’re interested the latest post on my blog talks about it) is small enough to spiral bound.
    Good luck in Camp!! I’ll be editing/revising Seek so… lots of praying. 😛
    God bless!
    -Ang | thepeculiarmessenger.wordpress.com

    • Jane Maree

      Thank youuu. I quite like it too. ^-^ (My sister did the design for me) Haha well that’s a cool problem to have—having it be too big. 😉

      Ooh that sounds really interesting! I’ll definitely stalk that blog post.

      Best of luck to you as well, Ang. <3 I hope you have a heap of fun. 😀

  7. Lisa

    one – I love the look of A Sprig of Green! The gorgeous cover suits it’s gorgeous title exactly!


    three – it’s great that we are in the same cabin *cheers* now I can draw inspiration from your awesomeness XDD

    • Jane Maree

      One – Aww thanks. ^-^ I really like it too.

      Two – argh really??? *flails* That’s so cool. I’m so glad. 😀

      Three – yesss, it’s going to be a heap of fun. 😉

  8. Catherine @ The Rebelling Muse

    Oh my goodness, I love the idea for PRINCE. And Kal does sound like a fun character to play with

    Ahhh, Camp is going to be so much fun!


    • Jane Maree

      Aah thank youu. 😀

      Yes! I’m absolutely looking forward to it!

  9. GJE

    Poor, poor Prince Kal. His life is just SO AWEFUL. lol. It must be so fun writing him!!!!!!

    • Jane Maree

      Hehe yess. Kal’s life is So horrible. *rolls eyes* XD His favourite word is “ugh” I think. XP

      • GJE


        • Jane Maree

          That’s pretty much it. 😛

  10. Jenna

    Yay for WIPs! I always love your collages and snippets! 😀
    I’m writing the first draft of my dystopian book. I’m not doing camp nano in April this year though. might do the July one or November 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      Awh thank you, you’re so encouraging, Jenna. *hugs*
      Ah well, I hope you can do it in July/November because it’s a HEAP of fun. 😀

  11. Hannah Gaudette


    (And I’ll see you at Camp NaNo. I’ll be doing that this April for the first time ever. I succeeded at NaNo in November, so I thought I’d go for another 50k. I might be crazy.) 🙂

    • Jane Maree

      *flail* AHH THANK YOU. ^-^

      Yess! I’m so glad you’re going to be doing it too. 🙂 Have fun with 50k!!! *throws confetti* That’s an awesome goal.

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