Avon Van Hassel

Building Worlds and Filling Them With Magic

Ok, so maybe not ‘interactive,’ but I don’t know what else to call it. I’ve been super busy lately in my personal life,  so I don’t have the time to devote to my usual heavily researched blog posts. And then, as of Tuesday, I’m participating in my twelfth round of National Novel Writing Month (including 6 Camp NaNo events). I’ve never lost, and I don’t intend to now.

For those who are unfamiliar,  in the month of November,  we novel-inclined individuals pledge to write a whole 50,000-word novel in just thirty days. On top of personal obligations, work, Thanksgiving,  some people have kids who are in school or younger. I’m still getting Magic Beans ready to pitch and also writing the sequel, Golden. It’s a lot of fun, but also just a lot in general.

So I’m departing from my previous lecture style posts and using this one page to play a game I’ve started on my Facebook group for NaNo victims. It’s a 30-day writing challenge designed to let people talk about their books and themselves as writers, and hopefully learn as they go along. Every day, I intend to answer each of the 30 questions, so keep checking back to see what I’ve added!


Day 1: Tell us about yourself as a writer. What do you like to write about and why?

Until I started this series,  I wouldn’t have called myself a reteller of fairytales. Honestly,  fairytale retellings kind of irritated me, like how everyone is remaking and rebooting everything these days. But then this idea exploded and took hold of me and wouldn’t let go.

Would say that grey areas intrigue me, the mysteries of history, the missing documents, stolen art, the things that vanish without a trace. The sorts of things that tickle the back of your mind like a detail that history forgot. I think that’s what attracts me to fairytale retellings. Fairytales notoriously make no sense. So how can I rework the story so that it does? How do we get from Point A to Point B? How can I make giants living on a cloud rational?

I like trying to find answers to the questions people have learned to ignore.


Jill and the Beanstalk? (Beanstalk, by Michael Whelan)

Day 2: Tell us about your story.

This month, I’m writing Big Teeth, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood,  against the backdrop of the rest of my fairytale kingdom. Only in my version, Red works for the Big Bad Wolf.


Ancailindeasrua is my NaNoWriMo username

Day 3: Who is your main character(s)?

My main characters are Alois, the beanseller from Jack and the Beanstalk; his partner, Sulat; Ooang, an orphan with a red cloak; and Croison, the Omega Wolf.


‘Red Riding Hood–Peace Offering’ by Budi Satria Kwan (Sorry, no source outside of Pinterest that I can find)

6 thoughts on “National Novel Writing Month 2016, An Interactive Blog Post

  1. jazzfeathers says:

    Sounds fascinating. I’ve always liked fairy tale retellings, and maybe one day I’ll write one. I’ve set out to write a historical mystery for this NaNo, but yesterday I’ve realised I don’t know enough of the era to write in awareness. So today I don’t know whether I’ll win this NaNo. But It’s ok, I’m loving the story that’s shaping up, and I can’t wait to write more abotuit 🙂

    Happy writing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I’m sorry I didn’t see this until just now! I hope you did finish NaNo, it’s such a wonderful feeling. Is this still the 20’s book you post stuff about on Twitter?


      1. jazzfeathers says:

        No, I didn’t finish because halfway through I realised I still needed to research a lot more before I could write that story with any confidence. But I’m not sorry for my decision, it was the right one 😉

        This was a new project set in Berlin in 1926. The project I usually post on Twiter is set in Chicago in 1926.

        What about your NaNo?

        Liked by 1 person

      2. It was Book Five in my series. It started off well, but there was a lot of upheaval in my family life and I nearly didn’t finish. In the end, I came to the conclusion that after so many NaNos, I’ve probably learned all I need to from the exercise. That said, I have an unblemished record to hold onto, so I doubt I’ll ever stop doing it!


      3. jazzfeathers says:

        For me, it isn’t about the excercise. It’s about the challenge in itself and the fantasic atmosphere of camaraderie. The possibility to meet new people, cheer each other, help finding information. It’s just a wonderful experience 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      4. That I agree with 100%. The OLL are hugely supportive, and it helps that practically everyone in my circle do it too, so we suffer together ❤

        I kind of fear that if I don't do it, I'll never stick to a deadline. I've never actually finished a project that wasn't started or finished during a NaNo month. So maybe I still need the structure and pressure.


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