The Book Behind The Blog

good morning, cyberspace!

Okay, friends, I have a solid question: how on earth are we already in the final stretch of August? I feel like August started just yesterday, and then suddenly I blink and… POOF. We’re already so close to September? Somehow I feel like this shouldn’t be so. (someone grab the TVA because I sense a break in the sacred timeline over here…)

Ahem. Anyway. As promised, I still have so much that I want to talk about during my Blogiversary month, and I figured that with just one more Tuesday left in August, now was as good a time as any to get those posts drafted up and sent out into the blogosphere.

Today’s post, in particular, is one that is very near and dear my heart, because it deals with the book which essentially started this very blog that you’re reading right now. The funny thing, though, is that on this very date five years ago, I didn’t even know this book existed.

Read More »

You Might Be Reading A Kenzie Keene Book If….

good morning, cyberspace!

A long, long time ago, I saw something floating around the blogosphere in which bloggers were spilling all their dirty secrets and revealing common themes found within their manuscripts. I wish with all my heart that I could find those original posts again, but for the life of me I’m unable to track any of them down. (although I DO believe that Christine Smith did one of them?? I just??? cannot seem to find it????? *much confusion*) I think it was started as an original blog concept and then turned into a sort-of-tag, but to be perfectly frank with you all, I honestly have no clue what the origins of said posts were. I just know that it looked like fun, and when I had the idea for this post a few weeks ago, I realized that I’d seen it somewhere before. That, unfortunately, was as far as my brain would take me, for I’ve since been unable to find someone to credit the idea with.

But I digress. If you remember seeing these posts–or even have links to said posts–please feel free to shoot them at me so I can properly credit whoever came up with this concept! For the time being, however, I guess we’re moving on. XD

Ahem.

I’ve been in the writing industry for *quickly counts on fingertips* 10 years now. Ish. My first novel was completed at the tender age of 12, and many, many scribblings had been scribbled and typed before that. During all this time, it would make sense that I’d start to notice patterns within my manuscripts–certain little similarities which make me pause and think, “huh… sure seems like I’ve seen that before…” before prattling on aimlessly as I always do. And I would absolutely be lying if I said I haven’t–on more than one occasion–realized I’d used a particular plot thread or theme or character archetype in a previous book before inserting it yet again into my newest WIP.

I can’t help it, folks. There are just certain things that make my heart squish with all the writerly feels, and I’ll be darned if I don’t continuously find ways to incorporate them into my stories.

So today, I figured I’d make a list of just a few of these common threads in order to bring you all an inexhaustive list of what it takes to write a Kenzie Keene Original!

Because who doesn’t want to emulate my writing style? That’s what I’d like to know.

No Idea Idk GIF by SomeGoodNews

UPDATE!: As I’d hoped, some of my lovely friends found where this thing originated! Supposedly it started as a twitter tag (which???? HOW DID I MISS THE TWITTER TAG. That sounds so fun??), #HowYouKnowIWroteIt, and was eventually brought over to the blogs!! Thank you SO much to Jenelle and Christine for finding this, and you can read both of THEIR blog posts of a similar nature by clicking on their names!!! (you guys are the best and I love you so dearly)

>>> <<<

YOU MIGHT BE READING A KENZIE KEENE BOOK IF…

  • there’s death and/or mutilation within the first 3 chapters

Or, in the case of everlost, within the first chapter. Because clearly this sets a tone that readers will find comforting and acceptable and will 100% not scare them off at all.

Mr Bean Thumbs Up GIF
  • one of the main characters is a young child (typically a girl) with a penchant for murder destruction

Adaline, Annalora, Shelby…

From my three main novels come three young girls who will 10/10 destroy an entire city block in order to protect those they love. Or, in Annalora’s case (The Girl and The Goblin King, for those wondering where this particular child hails from) an entire universe.

Aha… This story is a fun one to write, guys.

  • the main character–or one of–is male. and also severely snarky and/or clueless

I have so many of these, guys. XD In fact, I don’t think it would be a Kenzie book at this point if it didn’t include an entirely clueless, snarky, and potentially unreliable male narrator. Probably the most well-known of these is Thao from everlost, but I also have Ed and Fitz (Project Sunset), Todd (The Girl and The Goblin King), Peter (everlost again), and Finnigan (N/A).

  • there are multiple points-of-view

Sometimes–very infrequently, but sometimes–people ask me how I write such large books. “Why are your novels hundreds of thousands of words long, Kenzie?” they ask, their eyes round and innocent and completely oblivious to the true horror of watching your manuscript grow to the size of a small rhinoceros. And every time I sort of flail awkwardly, not truly knowing how to answer. But I think I’ve finally hit on the reason for it all, and that, my friends, is the above bullet point.

I have too many POV’s per book. everlost, which is 150k+ words, had four unique POV’s, and within each one I tried to create a personal character arc and storyline. It was a beautiful chaotic mess, and I have since come to the conclusion that in future stories–to rid myself of horrifying word counts–to cut points-of-view down to two at the most. Maybe three if I’m feeling particularly auspicious.

Project Sunset had two POV’s, and the first draft of that novel came out at around 120k–still large, but far more acceptable. The Girl and The Goblin King has exactly one, and I’m shooting for a goal of 90,000 words.

Actually, speaking of large word counts…

  • it has 150k+ words

*points dejectedly towards above checkpoint*

  • there’s light romance (read: none)

I’m not huge on writing romance (which is strange, coming from a hopeless romantic, but I digress). I understand that this is something that makes the publishing industry–and even the movie industry–go round and round and round, but to be honest, I find it far more fun to write other things. Things like goblins and fairies and death shadowy creatures with big teeth. I prefer to focus on the adventure aspect of story, and if I have any romance whatsoever, it typically comes in the form of–

  • a random Scottish man is pining after a prim Englishwoman

Most people are probably like ????? right about now. After all, this seems like a very specific thing to write into one’s stories. But after two stories organically producing characters built upon this precise metric, I feel like it’s a little too coincidental not to note it down.

And also can someone please help me figure out where all the Scotts are coming from, because they’re getting a wee bit out of hand and I’m frightened.

  • the mentor dies

I’m sure this is less a “Kenzie thing”, and more a “fantasy genre” thing, but I still feel it’s worth noting. Mentors die. No one likes it. No one looks forward to it (unless it’s a really idiotic mentor, which … that’s a whole thing in and of itself). But it happens and it’s there and it’s a wonderful motivator for the final act of a story. And so, to become the cliche I’ve always been destined to become, I tend to milk this particular trope for all it’s worth.

You just can’t dodge the facts, friends.

  • found family/fierce friendships

I’m a sucker for a good found family, okay? There’s just something so wholesome and pure about a group of complete strangers coming together and saving the world and–GASP–learning to love each other like the weird little family that they are.

everlost, Project Sunset, and The Girl and The Goblin King all use this particular thread (albeit differently) and I’m not sorry about it in the SLIGHTEST. It’s one of my favorites, and it will continue to be one of my favorites until the day that I stop obsessing over Jim Moriarty.

(i.e. this will never happen #yeet)

  • bromance

Yeah…. Unashamedly, I tend to write some stellar bromances into my novels. Peter and Thao, Ed and Fitz, Sam and Eugene… Fierce bro friendships make me uncannily happy, guys. I cannot explain it. XD

  • fairytale elements & retellings

I feel like I’ve said it before, and I will continue to say it until the day I die: I adore fairytales and fairytale retellings. I simply cannot get enough of them! And, more specifically, I love writing fairytales and fairytale retellings.

I’ve often said that The Girl and The Goblin King is a fairytale of my own making, and *cough cough* I may or may not have written a secret fairytale retelling in the past. Fairytales are something I’m just so passionate about: the magic, the whimsy, the forests filled with secrets and twinkly twilight atmosphere. Whimsical stories will always have my heart, and I’d be extremely disappointed in myself if someday I discovered that I didn’t love them as deeply as I do now.

  • villains you love to hate
Proud Starz GIF by Outlander

This one’s a wee bit newer. (for anyone who’s read everlost, you will probably know I struggled a wee bit with the antagonist) But within my more recent manuscripts, I feel as though I’ve locked in on my own particular brand of villain.

I’m especially excited for the villain of The Girl and The Goblin King. I technically haven’t even written him yet, but–with any luck–that will soon change. And I am SO. EXCITED. to finally get to meet this guy! He’s so creepy and weird and charming and 10/10 will murder your uncle for a piece of chocolate cake.

  • themes of brokenness, forgiveness, and redemption

And last but not least, we have reached our final point for what it takes to write a Kenzie book!

I think, more often than not, writers often infuse their stories with the themes they’ve experienced personally. As for me, I’ve had many instances in which I’ve dealt with the three themes above, and I think it shows in the stories I create. I love writing about how broken things can still shine–how their brokenness can actually make them shine brighter. I love themes of forgiveness, of finding yourself after you thought you were broken beyond repair and would never return to the you that you were Before. I love redemption arcs.

I love stories which show the cracks of human nature and the all-encompassing forgiveness of God.

And I think, in the end, that’s why I write these books. Because I’ve experienced the failure, the collapse, the darkness which grows in your heart when you feel the furthest from grace that you’ve ever felt. And I’ve felt the release, the understanding that there is Hope in a world which is nothing but darkness and shadow. I’ve been broken and forgiven. I’ve fallen and have been helped up. And it’s a beautiful wonderful magical thing–something I want to share with everyone who reads my words.

And while I understand that you can’t write the same theme into every story, I also know that there’s hardly a day that goes by in which God doesn’t show me His grace through even the smallest of things. And if He can continue to find new ways to show me His love, why can’t I do the same in my novels?

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talk to me, peasants!

Let’s talk common themes! What sorts of things do you find reoccurring within your stories? Are you a writer who tends to write the same–or similar–themes into your novels, or do you prefer a fresh start with each and every WIP? Are you a fan of Found Family? Bromance? CHARMING VILLAINS??? As always, let’s talk about ALL OF THE THINGS! down in the comments below! And until next time…

*flings cookies in the air and disappears*

featured photo by Fang-Wei Lin on Unsplash

THE WRITER’S OTP CHALLENGE!: in which I squeal like an insane grandma about my precious children

GOOD MORNING, CYBERSPACE!

If you couldn’t tell by now, I’m a sucker for writing challenges and tags. There’s just something simple and easy about answering questions, and when you’re in a tight pinch for a blog post, they are quite literally a heaven-sent.

So when I saw a writerly challenge over on Faith’s blog (which you should totally check out if you haven’t already!!!!) I just knew I had to participate.

Now, I THINK this was supposed to be done in the month of February (it was created by the fairy godmothers of Fairy Tale Central as a February Instagram challenge, and was later posted to the blogosphere for us peeps who aren’t as acclimated with Insta), but I digress. It is March, and we are doing it anyway. #tinyrebellions

Also! You might have noticed that this is a writer’s OTP challenge. This means I’m going to be talking about the romantic ships locked within my own story pages. This, as you can probably tell, is going to be exceedingly awkward for me.

Please ignore everything I am about to say, because–as I have mentioned multiple times on this blog and literally everywhere else–I DON’T WRITE ROMANCE.

Let’s continue onwards, shall we?Read More »

WIP IT! Chapter Zero: The Beginning of An End

good morning, cyberspace!

This post was supposed to come out on Saturday. Today is not Saturday.

PRETEND IT’S SATURDAY, PEASANTS.

Ahem. As I mentioned briefly in my last post, I have some VERY exciting news to share with you all today!!! And while I’m sure most of you already have an inkling as to what this news is, I’m just going to pretend like you have absolutely no clue. Because that is clearly more fun.Read More »

Goodbye, August! Goodbye, Friends! (feat. the blogiversary Q&A, where i am going, and a few random tidbits of excitment)

Photo Credit: Jess Watters

I should really have credited the photo takers before now?? I’M SO SORRY YOU CREATIVE PEOPLE.

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

good morning, cyberspace!

Guys. FriendsI think there are some things we need to talk about.

Say, for instance, this blog. And also how terrible I’ve been at running it lately.

dog smile GIF

I know, I know, you’ve probably seen this coming for a while now. What with my posts becoming fewer and farther between, and the content being somewhat. . .undesirable, I think it’s safe to assume that we all knew this had to happen eventually.

We all knew it had to come to an end.

So after much debate — and after countless tears, I can assure you — I have been forced to make one of the hardest decisions of my life.Read More »

Happy Blogiversary, Cyberspace!!!!

 

good morning, cyberspace!

And welcome back to one of the most glorious days in all existence!

MY BLOGIVERSARY!!!!!!

happy jonah hill GIF

ASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKLASDFGHJKL!!! I can’t even believe it! Today marks the TWO YEAR ANNIVERSARY!!! for this wee little blog. . .! TWO. YEARS. I just. . .it doesn’t feel real, my friends. Two years ago, I created a blog. Me. The girl who finishes absolutely nothing has kept a blog somewhat running for two entire years.

chris pratt wow GIF by sahlooter

. . .

. . .it’s a miracle. . .Read More »

Let’s Talk About Life, Yeah?

good morning, Cyberspace,

and welcome back to yet another episode of Kenzie Waits Until Monday To Write Her Weekly Blog Post! WOOT WOOT!

You’d think that after nearly two years of blogging I’d figure out that there are actually seven days of a typical week, and therefore I could potentially utilize some of those days for blogging. But no. Nope, I prefer waiting until the very last minute, because apparently I’m still holding out hope that Armageddon is nigh and the world will spontaneously implode before Tuesday morning.

So here I am again, trying to figure out what to write for tomorrow’s post, and all I can think about is the fact that I should really be working on my novel. Because I love my novel. And I want to be a full-time novelist, not a full-time blogger, (although admittedly that would be kinda fun? if only I didn’t have a thousand and one story ideas bubbling in my brain…) which means that, in order to achieve that ultimate goal, I actually need to work on my novel.

*brain implodes*

I know, right? WHO WOULDA THUNK.

But alas, it is true. And so in order to chunk out some time for me to spend in the world of everlost today (yesterday? I’m writing this on Monday, so….?), I’m going to be doing a simple post this week. A happy little post. A post about life.

Or rather, a post about MY life. Because my life is totally cool and hip and not at all boring.

#lies

So even though I loathe writing update posts (pretty sure we’ve been over this about ten times already…) there are some Things that have happened/will happen that I kind of want to talk to you guys about. So.

Here we go again.Read More »

everlost.

good morning, cyberspace

and yadda yadda yadda —

I FINISHED EVERLOST.

As of 3:11 pm on April 9th, everlost’s second draft is complete.

BOOM.

*vultures exploding*

*pitchforks dancing*

*babies screaming*

*one kenzie dying*

I know. I know. This is shocking. You’re shocked. That vulture is shocked. I am currently in a state of severe shock that is prohibiting wordly things from coming out of my mouth holes and fingers.

BASICALLY WE’RE ALL OF THE SHOCKED, YES?

I don’t even know where to begin explaining this. My brain feels like a fried maggot meatloaf. I am a burning marshmallow. The world is my oyster.

words no longer exist for me.Read More »

March Hare Madness! – Week Two: Hatchdays and Time Change and Writing, OH MY!

good afternoon, cyberspace!

And welcome to Week Two of March Hare Madness! As it happens, I completely forgot to write this blog post over the course of the weekend/Monday like I normally do, and am now sitting at the computer, trying to hash this out on Tuesday morning/afternoon.

Right before this smudge is supposed to be uploaded. So. Be prepared for mass amounts of typos and awful sentence structures, peasants.

But anyway, enough dilly-dallying. We’ve got a lot of ground to cover in regards to all of the wonders that have happened this past week, so let’s dive straight into the smudge, okay? Okay.Read More »

March-Hare Madness! – Week One: The Humble Beginnings (feat. the cast of everlost)

good afternoon, cyberspace!

And welcome to Week One of the glory that is March Hare Madness!!! I am honestly SO excited to share this whole experience with all of you (and have even recruited some of you to join me??? whaaaaaaat…?) and cannot wait to begin.

So let’s jump right into all of the action, shall we?Read More »