“If you can’t find what you need, have a peppermint.”

In which, having a unanimous cry for more about Rose-Tinted Arrows, I graciously yield to the two readers who so importuned me.

The questions which I answer in this post come from something I found floating around on the Internet, called January WIP Joy. I am fully aware that it is October. However, the questions will help give you an idea of the story without making it unnecessary for you to actually read it, if it should ever be in readable form.

1. Describe your story as ____ meets ____. The Princess Bride (movie), Robin Hood, Beauty and the Beast, and something serious and theological, all rolled into one.

2. Why I love my protagonist. The Captain, who is the protagonist though not the point-of-view character, is a lot of fun to be around, and he’s very well-rounded. Sometimes he discusses fine points of theology in great seriousness, and the next moment he’s playing devil’s advocate and arguing in favour of evolution. Or he’s chewing toothpicks and sucking on peppermints before putting on his sword and cloak to go invite rich guests to dinner. He’s never boring, even if he’s often infuriating.

3. Side character I love. It’s a tie, I think, between Worman and Little John. Will the Scarlet would be unhappy if I left him out too. And Polycarp and Owen are fun to have around.

4. Why I love my antagonist. There is no one antagonist. I like the old King, because he’s honest and straightforward and loves his family and is willing to go to great lengths for his principles. Lord Warwick I like because of his character arc. It was the first time I’d written one such, and I’m actually pleased with the way it turned out, if only I could have kept from pounding the moral so hard.

5. I hope someday my book gets a review that says: Despite the wonky plot and sometimes lack of motivation for things, or confusing motivations, they loved the story because they cared enough about the characters to make it worth it.

6. Character I’d be Best Friends With: Rose, probably, if she warmed up to me enough that we got to being friends.

7. First idea/inspiration for this WIP. A monthly writing challenge in my online writing group.

8. Favorite line from WIP about a character: “He certainly was iron sharpening iron, or,” and he looked at the sword that hung at Algernon’s side, “perhaps I should say steel on steel.”

9. Favorite description from WIP. “Rose peered into the chapel before the door was quite shut, feeling like a naughty child looking into the parlor where the grown-ups are after she was sent to bed. What she saw was more like the sight when one lifts the lid of a jewelry box far enough to see in. She put her hand in the crack and caught the door, keeping it from closing all the way, and then, feeling more like the naughty child than ever, opened it far enough to slip in. In the dimness of the week-day, with only one lamp on the communion table to light the room, the pillars and other wood reflected the light redly, lending depth to the shadows the rest of the room held.”

10. Favorite line of dialogue. Must I choose? The dialogue is really the strongest part of the writing, although if you’ve never seen the Princess Bride or Disney’s Robin Hood, you’ll miss a lot of the quotations. But I think my favourite might be one that I overheard in real life:

  “Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum-flavoured –– hello, Rose.” Lest she’d heard his previous remark, he added, “Coffee.

Also: “He who has been forgiven abhors that which had separated him from his God.”

11. Favorite line about emotion.

  “How can the king ignore the commandment not to murder?” Algernon retorted, a flash of anger in his eyes, like distant lightning.

12. A cut scene I still love. I haven’t actually cut anything yet — though I know I will, when I get to actually revising it properly.

13. A piece of feedback that made you smile. Hope is the only one who’s read Rose-Tinted Arrows, I think, and she said the Captain was her favourite character.

14. How do you want your target audience to be affected by your story? I want the story’s serious parts to stick with them, and the bantering parts to be constantly quoted in their house.

15. Animal I love in my book. Candle! He’s a fox kit who comes along in the second book — other than him I don’t really have animals who get personalities in this story — for reasons I can’t say yet, but he adds a touch of mischief to things. More than Algernon does already, that is.

16. Some sights to see in the story. Earth-sided tunnels, candles, trees, swords, roses (great surprise), gold, lots and lots of food.

17. Some sounds to be heard. The twang and zip and thud of archery, lots of men’s voices in hymns, boots on pavement or bare ground, lute music. The exasperated noises will be loudest close to Algernon.

18. Some scents to be smelled. Wood smoke, paper, foresty smells, leaves, occasionally a dog. A faint hint of incense in the chapel.

19. Some tastes. Roast meat, cake and icing, peppermints.

20. Some touches/textures. Wood, steel, dirt, silk, wool, brocade, money, feathers.

21. You’d love your book to me made into a [movie/TV show/radio drama/etc.] because: For no reason at all. Good books make bad movies, and I’d like Rose-Tinted Arrows to be a good book, meaning it would make a bad movie. No thanks.

22. Most epic thing about your WIP. “Epic” has many definitions these days. Is it a long story of heroes and honour? Oh dear, now we have to define hero. It’s long and getting longer, certainly. Or do you mean something sensational? Then I’d have to answer the swords and the quoting.

23. Advice that made your WIP better/ or you ignored. I haven’t had much advice yet, partly because I haven’t tried to revise it. Yet. That may change.

25. Shout-out to people who encouraged you in writing your WIP: My sister has listened to me ramble on and on about it for months without getting bored. She’s also supplied a few of the lines and plot ideas herself, or told me when an idea was likely to work or fail spectacularly.

26. You love your book’s genre because: What in the world is my book’s genre? Fantasy-ish? Well, writing this story lets me play in a world where I can throw anything in, and have characters who live in a sort of Renascence period be quoting the Princess Bride. It’s a place I get to play, rather than being careful to have details correct and timelines straight. Which, perhaps, is why it isn’t very good.

27. Favorite image that fits your story. My sister’s collage is all one image, right?


28. Character relationship you love. Algernon and Rose. They’re about the only couple I’ve written who’s actually a romantic couple — usually I have sibling pairs, or friends, or people who are married but get along about as well as turtles and hares.

29. Why are you passionate about sharing this story? I was in love with it until Hope gently broke the news to me that the plot was a wreck but the characters were fine. Then I lost quite a bit of my motivation and let it sit, almost forgotten, for quite a while. Even now I wince at some parts and skip others, but it’s the characters I love enough to keep writing — now on the second book of what may become a series.

30. Why do the themes in your WIP come from your heart? It’s odd, but I’m not sure yet what R-TA’s theme is. Some stories I know right away when I’ve finished, some, like this one, I don’t know until someone else reads it and tells me.

31. What are some things writing this story has taught you? Not every story has to have a deep and serious message or moral to it. Sometimes it’s all right to stop and play a little while, in a world where chivalry and wit aren’t yet dead.

Have one more snippet, just for fun.

  The scent of clover hung sweet and heavy on the air in the “big clearing”, which was simply that, and which was at the moment full of such members of the Merry Men who were taking a day off of work to rest up from the day before and prepare for the coming days of festivity and exertion. The boys were handing around pieces of cake left over from the extras and failed attempts from the baking of the day before.

  Algernon threw himself down beside John, who had two pieces of cake. As John turned to refill his cup from the jug resting between two tree roots on the little mound behind him, Algernon snitched one of the pieces. When John did not immediately notice, Algernon offered the cake to Rose, and she silently declined. Algernon then passed the cake off to Will’s plate. Will frowned studiously at the whole situation, then transferred the cake to the plate belonging to its rightful owner just as John turned back to his food with a full mug.

  “Why, thanks,” John told Will, “but I already have two –– Algernon!”

  “Hmm?” said Algernon innocently.

  “I had two pieces! Where is it? Is this it? Or did I eat it? Will? Elric? Rose? No, Algernon, it must ha’ been you.”

  “Why, you saw whose plate it came from. Surely I must be innocent.”

  “No, a guy like the Captain ––” Will began.

  “Algernon!” cried John. “I knew you did it. You’re the only one of the lot who’d do something so heartless!”

  Algernon shrugged and looked longingly at a basket of food just out of reach.

  “And you’re supposed to be the good guy,” Rose said.

  Algernon stood up and spread his arms wide, looking far down at the rest of them. “Do I look like a good guy?”

  “At the moment, no.”

  “That’s what I thought.” Algernon nodded and stepped over to the basket to choose something to eat.


About Nolie Alcarturiel

Creative Writing major and Philosophy minor, contemplating a Master's degree in Medieval History. I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
This entry was posted in Rose-Tinted Arrows, work in progress, Writing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to “If you can’t find what you need, have a peppermint.”

  1. Christine says:

    ACK. I’m behind on things! But I loooved reading this post! And I would have voted on Rose-tinted Arrows as well (I must do better keeping up with blogs!), so this is perfect. I mean, PRINCESS BRIDE? ROBIN HOOD? BEAUTY AND THE BEAST??? 3 of my most favoritest things!

    Your characters sound like a total blast. I’m especially interested in Algernon. He seems HILARIOUS. XD Loved the snippet!!!

    I think it’s awesome you have a story just to have fun in. I get so caught up in my writing pursuits, I sometimes forget to just write for FUN now and again. And I firmly believe we grow with ALL the writing we do, whether it’s something we write just for ourselves or hope to publish. Every word helps us grow!

    I’d love to see more posts about this story. ALL your stories really. They sound fun!


    • noliealcarturiel says:

      Algernon is hilarious, if he’s also sometimes infuriating. People are like that sometimes. I think often in stories writers try to get a character with a basic contradiction — something like being big and strong and also a softy — and leave it at that, but real people have so many more quirks and sides to their characters, and watching them helps you learn that. A lot of Algernon’s habits (the toothpicks and peppermints, for example) come from me watching real people.

      Having a story to write in just for fun can be relaxing when other writing is tiring you out, and in my case, where that story is in a different genre from all my other stories, it helps, because I can switch everything around in my head. It’s a bit like going for a walk after doing stuff inside the house all day.


  2. thegermangolux says:

    “I was in love with it until Hope gently broke the news to me that the plot was a wreck but the characters were fine.” That feeling is familiar to most writers in any genre, I think. I know it well, and oh, does it feel like a little brother leaping onto your stomach as you lie prone on the floor peacefully contemplating the ceiling fan.
    Thank you for the preview/teaser trailer/whatever it is. Someday, hopefully, I will understand the story’s title. But not yet. The story also sounds like it has some of the best kind of characters – ones that surprise even the author.
    Keep posting!


    • noliealcarturiel says:

      I wouldn’t know what it feels like for a little brother to leap onto my stomach, but yes, the feeling can be devastating. That’s part of the difference between good criticism and bad: they may tell you about the exact same problems, but one will make you want to fix it (if you’re at all ready to accept it), and the other will make your story sound worthless.
      Maybe I should write a post just about how I got the title. It’s an interesting story, I think. But then, I’m partial to the title myself.


      • thegermangolux says:

        It depends, too, on the work. Sometimes that story, poem, or what have you just needs to be not ‘tossed aside lightly, but thrown with great force.’ (Quote from Dorothy Parker.) But good criticism will still make you want to start afresh, at least.
        Yeah, I still don’t get that title. I hold you to explain it someday, or to at least let the book speak for it.


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