Behind-the-scenes! It’s long–you have been warned. 😉
The inspiration for The Sacrifice lies way back, before I even had a blog. The original story was inspired by a short dragon story from The Children’s Book of Virtues edited by William J. Bennett. I came up with a story that was essentially The Sacrifice, but still quite different. I was planning on writing it down, but then had inspiration for The Captured Princess Series (cheesy title, I know), which has basically the same plot line as The Sacrifice, just stretched and twisted into five stories–and pretty long stories too, for me at least. After writing that, the other story felt short and uninteresting and I gave it up.
After my amazing father helped me set up this blog and I started posting Into the Dragon’s Lair, I decided to write The Sacrifice and post it on my blog, since The Captured Princess Series was too long, and was in the hoping-to-publish boat.
After that, I went and found The Children’s Book of Virtues to read the story that had inspired me again, and found it was none other than St. George and the Dragon. So there I was, re-telling the most well-known dragon story in the library and make it super suspenseful–go figure. Ah well, I had fun, and I think I managed to freak some of you out just a little. 😉
The original story was quite different from what I ended up writing down. You’ll hear me refer to that first draft a lot!
Penelope is one of my all-time favorite characters to write about! She’s a pretty stereotypical princess–brave and kind. But she’s just a tad bit sarcastic and teasing at times. It’s definitely Henry’s influence. 😉 The story was well under way before I finally realized that she was a lot more feisty than I’d expected. After that, I had all kinds of fun. I love her as a character–let those call her the stereotypical heroine who will–and she was so fun to write about!
Sir Richard is also a fun character, but tricky to write about. Very, very tricky, with all due respect! I had but to get to his first section, and that pesky writer’s block came slamming down in earnest. I blamed it on the fact that he was a guy, and girls were easier for me (for obvious reasons), but I’m beginning to think he’s just a unique character. Like Her Highness aforementioned, he has a quiet sense of humor. It was just hard to balance the courageous, humble side of his nature with his occasional sarcastic comment. But, on a cheerier note, Dad gave me some good insights on him while proof-reading and I do like how he turned out in the end!
And then there’s Henry. He’s not around a lot, he’s not absolutely essential to the story-line. But let’s be honest: I love him. I did actually consider leaving him out, but something told me he needed to stick around. I think he was able to add to the story and not just muddy the water. And I love how his relationship with Penny turned out! Since they’re the only two siblings and have similar personalities, I just imagine them having all kinds of fun and getting into all kinds of trouble together. I do kind-of feel like I gave them the same personality, but they are different in their own way.
And I totally modeled Henry’s looks on the prince in the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty and this Playmobil figure:
And then there’s Gimel. He’s been around since the original first-draft story mentioned above, but he was quite different then. Played a bigger role, and was quite different. And as for his looks. . . ! I’ve never had a character whose looks where so undecided! He has undergone more changes than anyone else I can think of, poor fellow! Only one thing has stayed the same: he’s always had dark hair. It was dark brown at the beginning, and then black, and then who knows what, and finally black for The Sacrifice. But always dark. He was never blonde. That just didn’t didn’t work in my head.
Gimel is another character I considered removing from the final draft. But it turns out he’s quite stubborn. And honestly, I really, really like him. There’s just something about his staunch, unheroic courage and hard, brown eyes that I love. Just didn’t have the heart to leave him out for the sake of shortening the story.
And his name has changed as much as his looks! Gimel is actually from the Bible. It is the name of one of the sections of Psalm 119–the longest Psalm in the Bible. Jael and Cyrus are also Biblical names. Eleanor’s name was suggested by Savannah in the comments of this post, and Cedric was suggested by both her and Ellen on the same post. I was reluctant to use Cedric, as the only other place I had heard it was in Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, and I didn’t want to copy him. But considering Savannah and Ellen hadn’t read Ivanhoe, I decided it was fine. And Sir Richard is named after my grandpa. 🙂
In the first draft, the Princess actually married the knight’s guide. I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to have it in the story or not, and finally decided I didn’t have time. The whole story spans two weeks, so having months squeezed in at the end was not going to fly. And after the whole The Mushroom Feast thing, I was pretty sure we’d had enough implied romance for the time being. And Gimel couldn’t propose within a few days of meeting a girl. It’s just not like him–and not like me. 😉 Also, I felt like Penny’s strong relationship with her family made romance hard. It’s not like a girl with a good relationship with her family can never get married, I felt like she just wanted a little more time with them, after being separated like that. And with all the trauma I put her through, it’s the least I can do.
The Writing Process
The Sacrifice might have been the hardest to write out of all my stories. The writer’s block was killer. I can’t say why–it was so weird. It took a year to go from writing the first sentence to scribbling the last words of my first draft in my notebook.
But when I step back and think about it, there are a few stories that have taken me several years to write. I just do not write fast! I get ideas for stories much, much faster than I can write them down.
So, putting things in perspective, finishing writing and editing in less than a year is fast for me. Honestly, what kept me motivated was you guys. Knowing you were excited about reading my story and getting impatient about the wait kept me coming back and writing more, and setting goals for myself. Thank you so much, y’all, this story would not have happened without you!
Back to you! 🙂
And now it’s your turn! Feel free to ask any questions you have about The Sacrifice in the comments! I will do another post on Friday with all the questions and all the answers, so everyone can hear them.
And would you mind answering a few questions from me? Please be honest–I really want your opinion!
- Who was your favorite character?
- What was your favorite part?
- Was there anything you didn’t like, or felt detracted from the story?
- Was there anything that did not make sense?
- Would you recommend this story to a friend?
I would love to hear what you thought!