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The Definitive Guide to BluesClues' Novels



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Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:42 pm
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BluesClues says...



a list of novels and their status


Spoiler! :
Secondary World Fantasies:

  • The Moor Ponies - low fantasy in a vaguely Scottish setting, completed a first draft and never revised
  • a story about a prince in an extremely obvious Narnia that I otherwise remember almost no details about, mostly (?) completed a first draft and never revised
  • The Two - don't remember much about this one? except that two people were in love BUT LITTLE DID THEY KNOW that it was sort of an R&J situation. I think this was the same story that was inspired by some Egyptian pharaoic names I read in some copy of National Geographic (?) once, where the main characters were like Meryre and Meryn or something, but I'm not entirely sure this was the same story, I remember so little of it - definitely did not complete any significant portion of a first draft
  • the Meryre/Meryn story, assuming it was a different story, in which a queen was murdered and the prince, one of two newborn twins, ended up being raised by some farmers somewhere - I don't think I finished a first draft, but I think I restarted the story a couple times

The remaining fantasies all take place in the same world, while the above stories take place in different worlds or worlds that were not explicitly (and therefore probably not at all) the same.

  • Queenstar, a story about a princess who prematurely takes the throne when her father is poisoned, but it was mostly a romance - several drafts completed, each longer than the last because the first was SEVERELY underwritten
  • The Song of Greatheart, a story about a half-elf destined for greatness or something - several partial drafts completed, but I'm not sure I ever finished one in full?
  • Llwyn story, where I had read The Dark Is Rising series and was 1000% in love with Welsh for a hot minute, a probable spinoff of tSoGH involving a totally different character in a different part of the world - a partial draft completed but I think that's it?
  





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Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:49 pm
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BluesClues says...



the remarkable retirement of edna fisher


Genre: Adult contemporary fantasy
Word Count: 99,000 words
Pitch: Edna Fisher leaves the nursing home when she learns she's the Chosen One, destined to stop a powerful sorcerer from wiping out the Knights.

Image

Character art by @soundofmind.

When you’re a geriatric armed with nothing but gumption and knitting needles, stopping a sorcerer from wiping out an entire dragon-fighting organization is a tall order. No one understands why 83-year-old Edna Fisher is the Chosen One, destined to save the Knights from a dragon-riding sorcerer bent on their destruction. After all, Edna has never handled a magical weapon, faced down a dragon, or cast a spell. And everyone knows the Council of Wizards always chooses a teenager—like the vengeful girl ready to snatch Edna’s destiny from under her nose.

Still, Edna leaps at the chance to leave the nursing home. With her son long dead in the Knights’ service, she’s determined to save dragon-fighters like him and to ensure other mothers don’t suffer the same loss she did. But as Edna learns about the abuse in the ranks and the sorcerer’s history as a Knight, she questions if it’s really the sorcerer that needs stopping—or the Knights she’s trying to save.

Status: Querying
  





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Fri Sep 25, 2020 4:57 pm
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BluesClues says...



hungry girls


Genre: Adult contemporary fantasy(-romance) with YA crossover potential
Word Count: 104,000
Pitch: Megan Callaghan joins a fantasy fellowship in the hopes of breaking a curse that doesn't allow her to eat any of her favorite foods.

Image

Megan Callaghan has a dead-end job, no plan, and now, thanks to an irate customer, a curse: she can't eat tasty foods. But when a fellowship of fantasy heroes hires her, she gets a chance for adventure—and to break her curse.

Unfortunately, Megan doesn't know anything about curse-breaking. Or quests. Or fighting jerk-face enchanters who curse you when your coffee shop runs out of their favorite breakfast sandwich. And now she faces an even bigger challenge: to somehow not be the world's most awkward person while surrounded by a fellowship of cute people she's maybe falling in love with.

Especially the dark-eyed, knife-wielding, poetry-reading nonbinary ranger who might be falling in love with her, too.

Status: Revising
  





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Fri Sep 25, 2020 10:34 pm
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BluesClues says...



GroundskeeperWIP


Genre: Adult low fantasy with supernatural elements
Word Count: 8500 words + notes when shelved
Pitch: Harrington, Ohio will never be the same after a mysterious new groundskeeper appears at the cemetery.

Image

When a mysterious new groundskeeper appears at the cemetery, Harrington, OH, collectively shrugs & accepts his presence. If they paid more attention, they might notice two things:

The groundskeeper can talk to plants.
The groundskeeper can talk to ghosts.

Status: Planning
  





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Wed Sep 30, 2020 1:45 am
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BluesClues says...



the secret of celadon park


Formerly titled The Book Man.
Genre: Adult contemporary fantasy with portal fantasy elements
Word Count: 96,000 when the last partial draft was shelved
Pitch: When a balloon artist goes missing, his wife and best friend enter a world of magic and danger to find him.

Bonus: Read an early draft of this story on YWS.

Image

Image created using this Picrew.

Christian Abernathy would rather read about life than live it, but he's thrust into adventure when Duncan Smith shows up at his door at midnight, injured and pursued by a monstrous dog.

Liza Smith has lost herself somewhere in thirty years of marriage, but Duncan is all she's got - so when her husband goes missing, she'll do anything to find him.

Bound together by their friend and husband, Christian and Liza enter a world of magic neither has ever imagined. But their new friends are threatened by an ancient evil threatening to break free of a centuries-old prison. Outsiders in a magical world - and wrestling with everything they thought they knew about Duncan - Christian and Liza would rather be safe at home.

But if they don't stop this evil, their new friends will lose their home.

And Christian and Liza could lose the man they care about most.

Status: Temporarily shelved during a late round of revisions. I wrote. so many. so many drafts. of this story. The last partial draft actually has a lot of stuff in it that I totally love? But the story turns into a portal fantasy really far in, which I've never been sure about, like it makes sense because "the Otherworld" is talked about all through the story up to that point, but it's also kinda weird to introduce portal fantasy at that point, right? And then there are timing issues at the end that I've never been sure about. If I assume all the characters (except the statues) made it safely into the Otherworld during the antagonists' initial attack, then that clears up one issue, but then when they return it's still like, "Okay, why would the villains kindly wait around for the heroes to come up with a battle plan rather than immediately attacking?"

So this still needs an overhaul.

But I love it very, very much.
  





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Tue Jan 05, 2021 4:45 am
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BluesClues says...



HUNGRY GIRLS, CH. 1


18+ for language bc apparently Megan swears like a sailor in her head constantly even though out loud she swears very little

Sharing this because for revisions I'm seriously considering switching from third-person past to first-person present and this is the first time EVER I've tried writing anything in first-person present. And I??? Don't hate it???

Image


Spoiler! :
I'm staring at a case full of chocolate chip cookies I can't eat, and I'm fucking hungry.

I mean. Okay. I'm usually hungry when I'm at work, because, you know, the service industry. ARRbucks isn't any better about giving us breaks than any other business in this capitalist hell-hole, which I guess makes sense because pirates weren't known for their employee benefits or whatever? Even when we get breaks, it's hard to walk away, you know? Like we're always overrun with customers. And you're about to go on break but the register's all backed up and your coworkers are running ragged and it's really fucking hard to walk away without feeling super guilty, even though you've been on your feet for four hours and you know you deserve a fucking break for five fucking minutes.

And that's if you can walk away in the first place, because inevitably the moment you turn away from the register another customer walks up, or someone further back in line is like, "Ummmm aren't you going to help ME now?" or makes a loud and pointed comment about how slow the service is here.

Customers suck.

Don't tell my manager I said that. This job sucks, too, but I don't exactly have a lot of options and I need the money.

Anyway, the customers aren't actually the reason I'm hungry.

Well, one is.

More on that later.

Right at this particular moment it's kind of my own fault that I'm hungry. I forgot, again, to bring gruel to work for lunch.

Okay. I didn't forget. I "forgot."

Look, don't judge. I know it's not a great idea to accidentally-on-purpose forget your lunch when you have an eight-hour shift ahead of you, but I'm fucking tired of gruel. As is probably everyone else ever who's had it. Like, they probably got tired of it after, like, a single serving. It's thin and watery and gross and sometimes I'd rather not eat than eat gruel.

But I can eat it, unlike *checks notes* literally anything at ARRbucks. And I have to eat something, right? I mean I'm not enthusiastic about gruel but I'm not exactly cool with starving to death, either. Usually I try to trick myself into thinking it's something better by bringing it to work in a colorful container, which doesn't work because I put it in there, so, like...I know it's gruel.

Maybe I should ask Aalea to do it next time.

"Excuse me."

Oh, shit. I have no clue how long I've been gazing at the case of chocolate chip cookies I can't eat, but it's been long enough for a customer to come up to the counter without me noticing.

Oh. She's cute. Oh, no.

She's shorter than I am, which isn't exactly a shock because I'm five-ten and lots of people are shorter than I am. Probably around my age, i.e. should technically be referred to as a woman, but it's weird because "woman" is a grown-up word and I do not feel remotely grown up in any conceivable way. Like, teenagers look more grown up than I feel, wtf.

Oh, shit. I still haven't said anything. She said "excuse me" and then I stood here staring at her like a fucking weirdo, thinking about how not-grown-up I am at the ripe old age of twenty-three. Her brows knit together and she leans over the counter and touches my arm and says, "Hey, are you okay?" and instead of answering I jump halfway out of my skin because holy fuck she is touching me.

And then immediately stops touching me and straightens up, which kind of sucks. Because I did not jump because I didn't like her touching me. I jumped because her touching me was like a fucking electric shock.

But, like, in a good way. Not the kind of way where it's an actual electric shock and you end up dying in a bathtub or something.

"Sorry," she says, flicking royal blue bangs out of her face. She has an undercut. I fucking love undercuts. "I didn't mean to make you uncomfortable or anything. You just seemed..."

"I'm hungry."

Oh, God. Did I actually just say that. Did I finally fucking say something only for it to be "I'm hungry." What the fuck is wrong with me?

Scratch that. I know exactly what the fuck is wrong with me: I'm only capable of absolute idiocy around cute girls.

My arms go around my midsection like they're armor that can protect me from embarrassment. I mean the word "arm" is literally right in the word. "I mean..."

She smiles, and it's like the sun breaking through the clouds. I'm dead. Deceased. A hungry ghost. Her smile has killed me.

"Okay," she says. "As long as you're all right. I’m so sorry, you’re on your break, aren’t you? I can ask another—”

“No no no." Oh my fucking God I'm interrupting so hard and I hate it and I can't stop myself. "I'm not--uh--I mean--"

I want to claw my own eyes out. But I don't, because ow. And also ew. I suck in a deep breath and smile, desperately trying to look cool and a thousand percent aware that no one has ever looked cool while desperately willing it. "If I were on my break, I definitely wouldn't be at the counter."

She grins. She has a button nose and one very deep dimple and dark blue eyes that match her hair.

“Okay, cool! I’m just here to pick up a to-go order, we called it in a few minutes ago, I don’t know if it’s ready yet? It’s under Cap.”

Be cool be cool be cool.

I am one hundred percent not cool as I repeat, "Cap?" in a voice that's supposed to suggest that I'm making sure I heard correctly but definitely makes it obvious that I want to know if that's her name or someone else's. Like maybe a romantic attachment who put in the order for the two of them. Not that it matters. Obviously.

She huffs a laugh like she knows exactly what I'm thinking. "Yeah, that's right."

Dammit. I mean I could just ask.

Except counterpoint: I absolutely cannot ask a GIRL her NAME.

I'm not sure when exactly I became such an idiot. It might've been at college? In middle school and high school I thought I appreciated girls for the aesthetic. It makes sense, right? I like art. Feminine figures are curvier, i.e. more interesting to draw, than, you know, dudes.
Duh. Anyone would think so.

That's compulsory heterosexuality for you.

It wasn't until those two years at community college that I realized, hey, maybe it wasn't so much an aesthetic appreciation of the female form as, you know, sheer gayness.

Or, well, bi-ness. Or pan-ness? Or possibly some combination of one of those and some kind of ace-ness. I don't know. I'm still sort of wading through it. All I can say for sure is that I'm attracted to more than one gender. But something about cute girls in particular turns me into a blithering idiot.

Hence how totally awesome this whole conversation is going. If you can even call me blurting out like two things in a fucking panic a conversation.

The two carboard drink-holders I filled a few minutes ago, before I got sidetracked by the cookie case, are sitting behind the register. I try not to breathe in the smell. Brewing the coffee was torture enough. I haven't had coffee in weeks. Not good coffee, anyway.

“Two black coffees one with sugar one without, a plain latte tall, an iced matcha latte venti, a caramel macchiato tall, and an extra-hot—” Oh no—”no-foam triple-steamed—” Oh please no—”latte with soy milk instead of regular milk and—” Stop. Just stop. “—exactly two and a half shots of espresso, three pumps of caramel, and three pumps of vanilla.”

This girl's about to look a lot less cute if that last drink is hers.

She rolls her eyes. "That's Cap's. He's high-maintenance."

Okay. So Cap is not her.

Even though Cap would be kind of a cool name for a girl with a royal blue undercut and one very deep dimple and dark blue eyes I want to get lost i--STOP IT.

Textbook Megan. Classic Megan. Big Megan energy. What is it about attractive strangers that makes my imagination zoom into fucking overdrive? I don't think anyone thinks I'm a hopeless romantic, but in my head it's like "THIS WEEK, ON THE ROMANCE CHANNEL. ONE HUNDRED PERCENT ROMANCE ONE HUNDRED PERCENT OF THE TIME."

“Did Cap stick me with the bill again?”

"What?"

"The bill. He was supposed to pay, but he likes to 'forget,' or whatever. He said he paid online, but if he didn't I can--"

My face burns. She's waiting for her drinks and I've been standing here with the drink-holders in my hands, lost in my own head as usual. I shove them at her.

"No, you're all paid up."

"Miracles do exist!" She grins. "Thank god, honesty. Coffee for six is not cheap."

"Mmm," I say, intelligently.

She stares up at me like she's waiting for me to say more. But I don't know what else I should be saying. Probably, like, "enjoy your coffee, have a nice day." My manager gets on my case about forgetting things like that. But the silence has stretched out and the moment for that has passed, I'm pretty sure, and if I say it now it'll be awkward.

I mean, okay: the silence is awkward, too. Saying something would be even more awkward, though.

Her smile doesn't fade, exactly, but it dims. Like she's disappointed.

Or maybe I'm reading too much into that.

"Thanks for the coffee," she says.

"You too," I blurt out, and then I clap my hands over my fucking mouth. "Fuck. Shit. No! I mean. You know. You’re welcome. Any time. Have a nice day. Something like that.”

She's laughing so hard she has to put the drink-holders back on the counter. Other customers look up from their laptops, smart phones, magic mirrors, and spell books. My whole body feels like it's being stabbed from the inside by a zillion tiny needles.

"Oh no!" The girl reaches for my arm but then puts her hand back on the counter, like she remembers how I jumped the last time she touched me. “I didn’t mean to embarrass you. I’m so sorry, I laugh so loud it’s ridiculous, can’t help it. You’re just, you’re so cute. You’re like a very tall, very cute...uh...cute....person.”

Her laughter dies down. The other customers frown and return to their laptops, smart phones, magic mirrors, and spell books.

If I weren't absolutely ready to fucking die from embarrassment, I'd probably have the wherewithal to be fucking astonished that someone who is objectively far cuter than I am just called me cute.

She flicks her bangs out of her face and grins. "Sorry. I suck at metaphors. Similes? Analogies. I don’t know, I get them all mixed up. Do you want to try this again?”

“This?”

She nods. “I’ll take my coffee and say, thanks for the coffee. And then you can say, you know, whatever you meant to say. Or whatever comes to mind. Like I honestly don’t care if you say ‘you too’ again. Or fuck. Or shit. I know what you mean.”

My fingers itch to twist the hem of my t-shirt, but my apron is in the way. “At least one of us does."

Everything from my neck up is burning hot, and the rest of me still feels like I'm getting stabbed by tiny needles, and I want to melt into a puddle on the floor, where no one could see me because there's a counter in the way.

"Seriously," she says. “It’s okay. Don’t be embarrassed. Please? It’s okay, really. Here, you know what? I’m just going to take my coffee and leave, and you can pretend like this never happened. You can forget all about me. It’s like I was never here.”

Fat chance. The whole stupid encounter is seared into my memory forever, stored away with all the other horrifying moments that will keep me awake at night if I live to be ninety.

She slides the drink-holders off the counter like she's trying to sneak away with them, even though I'm standing right here. Her dimple deepens as she catches my eye. I try to smile, but I'm pretty sure I just look like I have cramps or something.

"Enjoy your coffee," I mumble. "Have a nice day."

“Whooooo are you talking toooo?” the girl whispers in a spooky voice. “There’s nooooo one heeeeere.”

Okay. That makes me laugh, a little. The girl smiles. That fucking beautiful, sun-behind-clouds, barista-murdering smile.

"That's better," she says. "See you around. Or. You know. Not. Because I was never here and you’ll never see me again.”

The bell tinkles as she bumps the cafe door open with her hip and slips outside. I let out a harsh, shaky breath and sink onto the floor behind the counter.

Right on cue, a voice above me says, "Hello!!! Aren't you going to serve me???"
  





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Tue Jan 05, 2021 9:10 pm
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IcyFlame says...



Spoiler! :
I am so torn by this. One one hand I love it and I agree, it totally works and I cannot wait to read her meeting Zaffy because that will be grand in this tense.

But it also almost makes her seem less awkward to me, I don't know!

I think to make a full judgement, I'd have to continue reading it like this ;)I also definitely don't hate it though
“I don’t expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with its shimmering fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses...”
  





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Tue Jan 05, 2021 10:04 pm
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BluesClues says...



Spoiler! :
right she seems less awkward right now because you see inside her head??? but also??? we haven't gotten to the MOST awkward bits yet and this is my very first time EVER with first-person present, so I think she could get more awkward as I go!
  





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Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:07 am
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BluesClues says...



the magic of hungry girls: a summary


Basic tenets:

  • everyone has innate but mundane magic
  • people can expand their magic through study, either formal or informal
  • some people have a greater natural inclination for magic than others
  • magic can also be influenced by emotion, especially in people who experience strong emotions or have anxiety, PTSD, etc
  • overuse can wear someone out temporarily
  • a small percentage of the population is allergic to magic

Beyond these super basic parameters, pretty much anything goes??? It depends largely on the experience and power of the enchanter, although some things are never possible. Like I might have future plans for a book dealing with necromancy, but I feel like necromancy in this world wouldn't work the way the enchanter would intend, like they could bring a person back but they'd kinda be a zombie or a shade of their former selves or whatever.

Anyway, more detail about each of these things below.

Innate but mundane magic. All humans have inherent magic, but they usually chalk things up to luck or coincidence rather than magic: Taman can always find a pen when she needs one; Megan makes amazing coffee; Cap has never broken a bone. In the Chosen Grandma story, Edna always has a handkerchief in her handbag when she needs one. Benjamin accidentally predicts the future but never realizes it.

(Like he'll go "maybe we'll meet an elf or something" and then later on they really do meet an elf, but no one realizes. And if they did, they'd obviously assume it was coincidence.)

Expanded magic. Anyone who wants to can expand their magic, i.e. use it intentionally and to do more; it just takes study and/or experimentation. Formal study can be found in classrooms or with mentors, while informal study can take the form of experimentation, magical theory or practice books, YouTube, SkillShare, etc.

Some people have a greater natural inclination for magic than others. Such people generally have an easier time learning magic; they may learn a wider variety of magic, become more powerful, and/or become extremely and broadly proficient even if self-taught predominantly through experimentation.

However, magic can also be influenced by emotion. This is especially true of people with a greater natural inclination for magic or who have anxiety, PTSD, and the like. While emotional power can fuel one's magic, making it stronger, it can also cause one to lose control of one's magic. For example, Charlie accidentally sets a building on fire when he gets too anxious during a battle. Earlier in the story, his anxiety over performing well during a magic demonstration causes him to not only overdo the requested demonstration (shattering a boulder without destroying anything else in the room) but also to temporarily lose himself, such that his super supportive, awesome, gruff, kindly old boyfriend has to kind of shake him out of the magic and make him come back. <3

(For context, Charlie is a formally trained enchanter and a very powerful one! But his anxiety can really mess up his magic use. I haven't hashed out what exactly happened yet, but somewhere in his backstory is a Bad Thing that happened one time when he tried to do some big magic, so now he's scared to do anything too big with his magic because he's scared of losing control and hurting people <3)

Additionally, overuse of magic can wear the magic-user out temporarily. This is termed magical exhaustion and may be as harmless as the enchanter feeling a bit woozy or tired or extreme enough to cause them to collapse and need hospitalization. Additional symptoms of magical exhaustion include the temporary loss of color in the irises of the eyes, confusion, an emaciated appearance, and an inability to perform further magic until the enchanter has recovered. Bed rest and non-use is sufficient in milder cases, while severe cases may require hospitalization.

(Don't ask what exactly the hospital does for them, though, because I've never bothered figuring that out and it's not relevant to this particular story.)

More powerful enchanters are less likely to experience magical exhaustion. Less powerful enchanters, the young, the elderly, and the immunocompromised are more likely to experience it. In general, however, it occurs only after an extreme outburst of magic, such as in the loss of control that may result from extreme emotions, or after the sustained use of high-power magic. Most enchanters using magic under normal circumstances do not experience magical exhaustion.

A small percentage of the population is allergic to magic. I definitely need to pin this one down more, but the basic idea is that there are a handful of people who can experience serious negative effects or even death if magic is used on them. Not just dangerous magic - any magic!

For example, Taman had a young child who got sick, but there was a blizzard and she couldn't get him to a doctor. Being a staff witch, she tried to heal him herself with magic, but he had an unknown magic allergy and died - even though she was using healing magic rather than an attack spell or similar.

In the Chosen Grandma story, it's mentioned that Jada's dad, who has a chronic condition, was once treated with magic, but he coded when it hit his blood stream. Luckily, the hospital staff removed the magic fast enough to save him, so he lived. But magical healthcare isn't an option for him.

My idea of this is that magic is generally safe to use on a person's outsides - very few people are so allergic to magic that it can't be used on them at all (and thank goodness for that, because it would be hard for them to navigate the world). Like, they could wear magical garments and live in magical surroundings, things like that.

However, they cannot eat magical foods or receive magical healthcare treatments. Attack spells would probably kill them faster than the average person. Uhhhhh. Idk, now that I'm writing this out I'm realizing this is a major thing I need to really pin down, oop.
  








“Sorry about the blood in your mouth. I wish it was mine. I couldn't get the boy to kill me, but I wore his jacket for the longest time.”
— Richard Siken