Splintering Wonderland

The Idea :
People often ask how I came up with the idea for an Alice in Wonderland spin-off, and what my writing process was like. These are my favorite questions because each author's process is different. Some writers are inspired by newspaper articles, current events, etc..., and then craft detailed plots before they even research or write.

As for me, I'm a visual writer, so I'll see something intriguing that spurs a story idea--whether it be a live scene, a picture, a movie, or even an unusual arrangement of words. Next, I have to motivate and get to know my main characters (I even find head shots of them for visualization). After that, I research, which in turn births a very sparse skeleton plot. What's nice about having it be vague is I'm free to let my characters feel their way through the story.

It was a given that I would one day see something which would ignite the spark for an Alice in Wonderland adaptation, considering I'm a huge fan of Lewis Carroll's genius. The actual idea came to me when I went to see the Tim Burton & Disney Alice adaptation. The cinematography was so vivid, techno-colored, and evocative that I didn't want to leave the setting when it was over. So I started playing out Wonderland continuations and scenarios in my mind. I decided to write a follow-up story about the world, making things a little darker and a little funkier, but I needed it to be contemporary and different than it had ever been done.

Then I saw the book Alice I Have Been and everything clicked into place. I could have my contemporary heroine be a descendant of Alice Liddell, the girl who actually inspired Carroll to write his story to begin with! Once that fell into my lap, I started the process of writing.

The main thing I did for research was re-read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. It had been years since I'd revisited them, and I needed the characters and settings fresh in my mind. It was important to me that my book be a tribute to Carroll's amazing works, while having the funkiness/creepiness that he injected into his scenes evolve from subtle nuances to take center stage. In my favorite fairy tale retellings, the author doesn’t make light of the original. They expand on the first author’s vision by turning the characters and settings on their heads while digging deeper into the world. I’m hoping I managed to do that with Splintered, and also hope to see a whole new generation seek out the originals upon reading my spin-off, because Lewis Carroll's works are creations of pure literary beauty--vividly allegorical adventures for readers of all ages.

For an excerpt from the book, and deeper insight into the development of my characters, hop over here or here. Also, you can learn more about the book in my 5 Frabjous Facts About Splintered post.

For more insight into my publishing journey, follow this link to my previous blog where I heralded the steps that brought me here, and also this link to check out my timeline.

The Splintered FAQS:
Q: How long did it take you to write Splintered?

A: I started in April, 2010. Finished in October, 2010. So about six months.

Q: Is Splintered the first book you've ever written?

A: It's the first young adult novel I've written. I've been writing adult fantasy novels since 2005, and have nine books completed now. If you'd like more information about my writing journey, read my Query Tracker success interview here. There's even an example there of the query that landed me my second agent.

Q: How many times did you re-write/edit Splintered before it found a publisher?

A: About five times (pre-publishing edits). My writing process turns out very polished first drafts, because I always go back and edit what I wrote the day before to get back into the head/voice of my MC. But I tend to write very long, so I always have to cut wordage in the second draft. For example, this book originally started as 120K. I cut it by 12K after several agents turned down representation, citing momentum problems as the reason. My agent Jenny and I went through it once more before sending it off for submission to publishers, and ended up cutting the beginning down before we found a home with Amulet.

Q: What's the most important thing you've learned as a writer/author during the process of getting Splintered published?

A: Actually, it's an epiphany that came to me when I left my first agent, and saved me during my stages of editing for Amulet.  (This can also apply to unpublished writers, too, via critiquer and agent feedback). If a writer is serious about getting published, they have to be flexible without compromising. I know that sounds contradictory, but there is a way to do it ... a formula: Know the difference between pride and vision. If people are telling you to change something in your book that you love, stand back and ask yourself why you love it. Is it personal to you? Something that other people, including your readers one day, are likely not to connect with? Or is it something integral to the characters in your story. Something that’s a part of them? That’s the difference between pride and vision. Pride applies to the glory it brings you. Vision applies to the glory it brings your characters. Never make changes that will compromise your character(s) which ultimately IS your book’s vision. But be humble enough to let go of pride if it will make your character stronger and your book a more solid read.

Want to know more about this world?

Sponsored by Amulet and coordinated by Gabrielle Carolina at The Modge Podge Bookshelf.

We plunged into the rabbit hole and the Splintered world of Wonderland during the virtual book tour. If you missed out, here are the links and descriptions to each post. It's too late to enter the giveaways, but it's not too late for some juicy insights into the landscapes and characters. Enjoy!

1. Mr. Dodo's House @ I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

2. Ivory Queen's Castle @ Reading Angel

3. The Red Queen's Castle @ Krazy Book Lady
4. Christmas Tea Party @ Katie's Book Blog
5. Gifts in Wonderland @ Icey Books
6. Wonderland Fashion @ ReadingTeen
7. The Ocean of Tears & The Zombie Flower Forrest @ The Mod Podge Bookshelf
8. Wonderland's Historic Library @ Book Hounds YA
9. Wonderland's Secrets @ Mundie Moms
10. The Spritelings @ Pages From My Thoughts
11. Butterfly Threads @ Jennifer Daiker

10. Visiting Hour at the Asylum @ Crossroad Reviews