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Untitled (The Hartling Trilogy #2)

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After much deliberation and whining, I've decided to create a nest after all. So, welcome!

My hesitation came from the fact that this year my project is the second in a young adult fantasy trilogy, and since the first one still isn't quite done, no one has read it yet (but most of you are still so supportive because you're amazing and you believe in me and you love Wren and I love you for it :sad:)

Here's what you've missed due to my skills in laziness and procrastination:

Book 1

Wren is a sixteen year old boy who lives in the ruined country of Brekda. Once a magically affluent place, it was populated by the hartling race until a war drove them into extinction and the land into sickness. They say only when the Malswyrd Sword and Bordran Shield are returned to the broken throne will Brekda be healthy again. When Wren discovers he descends from hartlings (these magical humans are called halflings) he goes to study at Hartwood Academy, a school that works to preserve the hartling culture. Unfortunately, a powerful halfling named Thessaly Dagger believes the rusty old sword Wren found is the Malswyrd in hiding, and tries to kill Wren for it. But that's not the only reason she wants him dead: Wren is a pure hartling, and he's also the rightful heir to the throne - if he can return the sword and shield. But wait, there's more! Wren is marked with a curse: he has a lost twin out there he's doomed to kill once he turns seventeen - or else be killed by them. There can only be one ruler, after all.

Aaand here's what I'm working on this year:

Book 2

Thessaly met her untimely end at the conclusion of Book 1 (er, spoilers?) but her brother, Alden, is more than happy to pick up where she left off, and he's more powerful and determined than his sister. Wren returns to Hartwood Academy for both his education and the protection it offers. Alden's men are hunting him at every opportunity as they fight the rebel group that has formed to support Wren's claim (even though he's greatly opposed to the idea of being king) desperate to live in a land without sickness and poverty. All Wren has to do is get the sword to reveal its true form, as well as find the shield before Alden does. But the arrival of two new students, Morgan and Maggie, makes life more difficult for Wren, because he's pretty sure one of them is the twin he's cursed to kill.

I've probably butchered the story with my terrible attempts at summarising, but this story holds such a large piece of my heart. For those of you familiar with the story, yes, Willow is still in it, I just had to cut my rambling down to what's strictly necessary to the plot :$ There's swords! Ghosts! Forests! Sassy boys with black hair! Kings! Growing up! Romance! Lost heirs!

If you're still here after all that, thank you for stopping by! :hug:

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So, stopping by as promised because you're amazing and the more I know about this story, the more I want to read it. Hurry up please, because, err, this is me right now... :excited:

Questions ahoy, because why not?

  • Do you anticipate any issues with writing book two before book one is done (that sounds hard, tbh) or will you be finishing off book one as part of NaNo? If not, why not?
  • The first thing that came to mind when you said Wren has a lost twin to kill before he turns seventeen was Willow -- surely I'm mistaken? Or did you mean a person who's also a twin? (From what you've said about Morgan and Maggie, the latter sounds more the case, but, you know, Wren might just be particularly unobservant, idk. :P)
  • What is your favourite thing to write about this trilogy, and why?
  • Is there anything in particular you're looking forward to writing in Book Two?
  • Who is/are the love interest(s)? Tell me all about them!
  • Aside from the obvious being-a-ruler-comes-with-responsibility thing, why is Wren greatly opposed to being king?
  • Tell me about Thessaly's motivations! Why does she want Breckda to continue being plagued with sickness and poverty?
  • This one is probably spoilery, but that's what spoiler tags are for :shifty: -- if Alden is happy to pick up where Thessaly left off, why weren't they working together in the first place?

This sounds so good and I can't wait to read it! Hint, hint. ;) Add me to the mailing list when you've finished book one, won't you? :hug:

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I love you :wub:

Also these questions are so good and allow me to explain things, haha! I've definitely spoiled a few things, but they were need-to-know for this year's NaNo :P 

  • I don't, mostly because book 1 is done and it's just little edits I'm throwing in here and there. I actually like working on both at the same time because I can see whether anything else needs to be included in the first book to set the stage for the second (and eventually third.)
  • Yeeeeah, so you're led to believe Wren and Willow are twins throughout most of the book, until they're told they're not actually related :P 
  • The character development is my favourite thing! The sword grows as Wren grows, changing every time he's closer to becoming the king he'll eventually be, and showing that growth is really rewarding. 
  • Morgan and Maggie. They're fresh additions to something I've been working on for a year, but characters I've had for a long time, and the more I learn about them the more excited I am to write them!
  • Haha, Wren's romantic interest is a fellow student called Layla. She comes from a clan that is met with prejudice and hate (kind of like the Slytherins of this world) but she's kind and helps/will help Wren in a lot of ways.
  • Well, you've named the main one, which is that he doesn't want the responsibility, but also he doesn't like the idea of being stuck in one place. He's childish, and just wants to have fun. He's also reckless and doesn't have much respect for authority... but that'll change ;) 
  • I'm going to answer those last two questions as one, because they're related. Alden uses Thessaly without her really knowing it. She's brawn and he's brain, letting her do the hard work of locating things. Alden knows that the sword and shield can only be brought to their full potential by who they recognise as the true heirs, which are Wren and... someone :P Thessaly didn't know this, she assumed she could just take them to the throne and everything will be fixed. Alden is biding his time, using Wren until he doesn't need him anymore. The Daggers actually believe they have a claim (but that's another story) and Thessaly was the eldest. Now, Alden has no one standing in his way (Wren and Wren-supporters aside.)

Did I confuse you more? I hope not :P and of course I will, because you're so wonderful :hug:

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I'm so excited every time I think about these books. They're going to be absolutely amazing! :wub:

Isobel asked really good questions. (Like, impressively so.) I'm not sure I can think of questions that are that helpful right now, so forgive me if these are less interesting.

  1. Where do you find character names? If you make them up, how do you do that?
  2. When you first started the books, Willow was more of an equal character with Wren, but that's definitely changed. Will there ever be a time when she gets the spotlight? What is she doing while Wren is having these adventures?
  3. I really love thinking about titles, so let me know if you want to talk about that. (This isn't a question, whoops.)
  4. Who is in the rebel group?


xoxo Renee

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YAY I'm so glad you decided to make a nest despite all the whining and I'm excited you're going back to Hartlings.  I know how much you love them and how hard you've worked on book 1, and I know book 2 is going to be even better!

  • I know you won't be posting as you go, but are you going to give us any kind of snippets or scene ideas so we can get a better feel for the story?
  • We all love Wren! What's your favorite part about writing him? Does he remind you of Finn at all, or was Finn drawn out from Wren? Or are they two completely different beasts? 
  • What is it about Layla that draws her to Wren?  And what about Wren draws Layla to him? WILL THEY GET A HAPPY ENDING?! 
  • How would you Sort Wren, Willow, and Layla?

That's all for now! <3 

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RENEE :wub: You're one of my biggest rocks when it comes to writing this story and I'm so grateful!

(Right?! She always does, she's amazing like that.)

1. I make up place names or spells, but not character names. Those I find on Pinterest, Babble, or listofrandomnames.com :) 

2. It really has, but she does have a large role still! She's having the time of her life learning and making friends, as well as trying her best to keep Wren out of trouble :P I swear she's in it a lot, I just summarised the big picture of the story.

3. Yes please! I think all three of them need to change, but I'm more concerned about getting the story right before I name it :P Maybe something will come up as I write!

4. I, um, don't have specific characters created yet O.o (except for the leader and the leader's son, who I'm thinking might be a love interest for Willow but who knows - this is what November is for) but basically they're a group who have always rejected the Dagger's claim to the throne. They've supported Wren for years, even though they didn't know who he was until recently. They just knew he was out there somewhere, and that they would help him when he was ready.



Jill! Thank you!

  • I might drop in with a snippet or two during the month :shifty: I'll do my best!
  • Thank you! Oh my goodness it's everything, he just comes so easily to me. He used to, but now the two of them are very different in my mind. I like to think of Finn as a prototype for Wren (which is why they're both black haired, blue eyed, short legged) because I was planning hartlings while writing HTF, so they melted into the other at times. But now that both stories are done/just about done, I can see all the differences between them.
  • Ooh I like this question. I wish I could give you a better answer than the one I'm about to give you. Layla has an air of mystery around her to begin with that interests Wren, and Wren is entertaining and refreshing for her. Eventually they spend more time together and their relationship grows from there.
  • Wren and Willow are easy because I answered this question last year :P Wren is so Gryffindor it's not funny, and Willow is Hufflepuff. I've never thought about Layla before now, but I'm going to say Slytherin. She has courage, but unlike Gryffindor she's more likely to use it on helping herself than others. She's not selfish exactly, but she's had to look after herself for a long time.


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I just wanted to offer encouragement as a fellow OF sequel writer this NaNo.  You sound more pulled together than me so I'm sure you will pull it off brilliantly.


Apologies if you've mentioned this before, but what exactly is a hartling? :couch:

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Thanks Rhaenyra! :hug:I know you'll do amazing in yours, too. NaNo is all about exploring anyway :P 

Oops, I didn't mention it anywhere this year. I'm terrible and just assume everyone knows what I'm talking about :$

Anyway, they're a race of creatures I made up. They're little, elf-like, and use nature's energy to do magic. They live in clans, but these vary greatly between features and abilities, and not all get along. There's leaders within the clans but they're all ruled over by one royal family. Greatly inspired by the work of Brian Froud :) 

Good luck with yours! :wub:

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Biancaaaaa :wub:

I never tell you this enough, but you are AMAZING :bliss:I can't believe you're writing the second book already! If there's anyone I can count on winning this NaNo that's you! I can see how much planning, thought and effort has gone into this work and knowing you it's going to be one of the best things I'm ever going to read! 

The plot thickens, and I can't wait to read excerpts. 

  • What is it about fantasy genre that you love writing the most?
  • What is it about this genre that you find most challenging?
  • You are my story planning guru :hug:How far have you planned this part? Down to chapters or scenes?
  • Do you already know what happens in the final installment of the trilogy?
  • You've done Nano before. What's the most challenging thing for you during Nano?
  • Were you always this amazing?

PS: You probably already know this but I kinda have a thing for sassy boys with black hair. I can't wait to see how this goes!

Love :rose::loveshower:

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Ysh my darling :wub:

Aw, thank you SO much! :hug:

  • There's so much I love about it, but I think the epicness is a big one for me. I love the adventures and experiences of new worlds and creatures and abilities that fantasy offers.
  • Coming up with things that are original and also believable! 
  • Aw I'm so glad you think so :$ I've planned the first half and then only have a few notes and ideas for after the middle. I'm more nervous than usual this NaNo because of that! But the bits I do have planned are down to scenes.
  • I do! I've had that one planned for a long time. It's only the second one that has always been a struggle to plot (middles, amiright?) But I did need to have the ending in mind, so I knew how to build up to it :) 
  • Concentrating! I get distracted very easily.
  • Eep :$

Love love love :rose:

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Just a quick message of support for my favourite dragon queen! 

I'm rooting for you and I can't describe how much I'm behind you with this project!

I shall be cheerleading for you all the way!


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So we're six days in and I thought I'd share my little progress :) 

There's three major players joining the cast in this book, and I'm really enjoying discovering more about them. I didn't really have a lot of planning done for Morgan and Maggie Blakemore, just their personalities, so it's been great to figure out their backstories as I go. The third is Taren Riggs, son of Orson Riggs, who is the leader of the rebel group (which I still haven't named... gah.) 

Morgan has one brown eye and one black, and a jagged scar that covers most of his chest, but he's not keen on sharing how it happened with anyone. He thrives on chaos and creates trouble wherever he goes. Maggie is the only one he loves, and she's the only one who loves him. He insists on calling Wren 'brother', but Wren isn't even sure if Morgan actually likes him or not. Morgan is from the Aladfir clan, which means he has control over fire, among other things.

Maggie is more gentle and delicate than her brother. She's beautiful, and quiet and shy. Though not as large as Morgan's, Maggie also has scars, tiny nicks on her face. She's also very powerful, but doesn't have much control over it. She's part of the Ealdorbold clan.

Taren looks like a golden child to outsiders, but there's a lot he hides under the surface. A few years ago he stole something of importance under his father's orders, and this later caused the death of his boyfriend. He grows close to Willow throughout the story, but he's still not sure if he's ready to love again. He's from the Beorn clan, making him a skilled warrior and weapon maker.

I also have a handful of snippets. They're in no particular order :) 


Willow gasped, and everyone stopped to look in her direction. She was staring at a poster that had been stuck onto a tree. Wren came up behind her to peer over her shoulder. It was a wanted poster, proclaiming in bold wavering letters that there was a bounty on Wren’s head, if he were brought to the Adwellian Order headquarters alive. A substantial bounty. A bounty that made Wren say a bad word and wish there was a hood on his cloak.


The sun had dipped below the tree line by the time Wren and Maggie climbed out of the boat and onto the jetty, and it had turned cold near the water. Maggie shivered, brushing away the mosquitoes that tried to land on her arm. Wren, though still feeling uneasy, gave her his cloak and she accepted it gratefully.

Though they were still a little ways from any of the academy buildings, there were voices coming from up ahead, punctuated by small explosions. Two figures were sitting on a fallen log just up ahead, surrounded by colored sparks that smoked and whistled, disappearing almost as quickly as they appeared. It was Layla and Morgan. Morgan’s hand hovered underneath Layla’s outstretched palm, and she giggled as he murmured something into her ear. 

Wren began to step through the underbrush with more force than necessary, stirring up leaves and cracking sticks. Layla jumped when she saw Wren and Maggie, and scooted away from Morgan, a blush coloring her cheeks. Morgan didn’t move; he only smiled lazily.

“Sister!” he called. “And brother! Where have the two of you been?”

“Out on the lake,” Wren replied, but he was looking at Layla.


The hall was dark, the lanterns extinguished for the night, but there was still enough sunlight coming weakly through the windows. There was no such light inside the classroom, however, but Wren entertained himself by producing a small flame that sat warmly in the middle of his hand. It was something he’d learned he could do last term. It was an Aladfir power, the ability to manipulate fire, but since Wren was a Kingwood, he had this power too.

His bag was exactly where he’d left it. He reached down with one hand to pick it up and throw it over his shoulder, his other hand still cupping the flame. 

The door creaked behind him.

Wren turned around, the hair on the back of his neck prickling. At first he saw nothing, only the dark, still emptiness of the classroom. Wren’s heart continued to pound.

Then there was the growling. A low, consistent gurgling like water through pipes. Wren peered into the gloom, gaze lowered to around knee-height. A pair of glowing red eyes stared back, narrowed in aggression. Though at first it looked as though they were floating, Wren’s eyes adjusted until he could almost make out the head they were, in fact, attached to. Shaggy haired and pointed ears. Lips pulled back, exposing long sharp teeth. The growling grew louder.

Wren did the only thing he could think of. He threw the flame in his hand. It hit something by the door and exploded, starting a small fire. The creature disappeared, and Wren realized what he’d done. He leaped over the desks, grabbing one of the cloaks from the hooks on the wall and used it to put out the fire. He breathed a sigh of relief once the flames were extinguished, feeling his heart return to its steady resting pace. The relief was short lived, however, by the arrival of Mr Hinckley.

“My cloak!” Mr Hinckley said in dismay, looking at the singed tatters hanging limply from Wren’s hand.

“Sir!” Wren said. “There was a creature here, I didn’t know what it was and -” 

Mr Hinckley held up a hand. “Slow down, Mr Ferguson. It was probably just a borog. They’ve been getting out a lot recently. I can’t quite figure out how…”

Wren tried to look innocent at this. He had cleaned the stables as detention so many times he knew most of the creatures by their first names, because he’d named them. He’d also taught one of the cleverer ones how a gate works. Wren shook this thought aside. “It wasn’t a borog. It had red glowing eyes.”

Mr Hinckley frowned, but he didn’t look concerned. “Are you sure that wasn’t the fire you just caused?”

Wren’s jaw was tight with frustration. “Yes, I’m sure.” 

Mr Hinckley looked back down at the smoldering pile of assignments and sighed. “Run along to dinner, Mr Ferguson. I’ll sort this out.”

“But -”

“Go on.” A shooing gesture. Wren was dismissed.


Edited by victoria_anne
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