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Butterfly Questions

     Interesting title -- perhaps I should explain.  You all, I presume, know Anne-girl...and if you don't, you should immediately skip over to her blog at and get to know her right away.  Anne's blog has been my favorite for a long time.  I don't know why.  I just like it so much.  Her stories have meat to them...and adventure...and not too much mushy stuff.

     Sooo...anyway, she started talking about book butterflies...which are like plot bunnies...only not exactly.  Plot bunnies and book butterflies can look alike, but it seems to me they have a subtle difference.  Here is how I explain it:
Plot bunnies are stories ideas that bounce into your head while you are working hard on your WIP.  Their goal is to distract you from your goals -- giving you a grass-is-greener-on-the-other-side-of-the-fence complex.  They make your current goal look stale and boring by comparison...but if you follow them you find that they lead you nowhere.
Book butterflies are story ideas that flit into your head and may have solid potential.  Like plot bunnies, book butterflies may come while you are working on another project.  However, instead of dropping your current WIP to chase them, you just let them flitter around and see which one lands.  If one sticks with you, even waiting around until after you finish your WIP, then it should be pursued.   
     So maybe "plot bunny" is merely a derogatory term for book butterfly.  Or maybe the difference is in how you react to them.  Either way, I like the term book butterfly.

     Anne-girl, I hereby warn you that your newly-coined term is going viral...

     If you head over to, you will see that Anne-girl is playing with one of her new butterfly friends.  This one is called King of Glass.  And, for fun, she made up a questionnaire for it.  And then she graciously permitted us to borrow her questions.

     Which I thought was a great idea.

     So, I am going to be answering her Butterfly Questions for Thorn of Peace, which is one of my waiting-on-the-back-burner stories that I have been rolling around in my head since last summer...maybe longer.  Here it goes:

1. What is the title of this Book Butterfly?
     It is currently working under the title of Thorn of Peace.  Basically, a little sister is invited to mediate between her two older brothers but they soon find she is also a thorn in their side.

2. Where are you right now in your process with it?
     Like Anne-girl's story, this one is in the precook stage.  It's in there.  It's simmering.  Ideas are gathering.  I wrote a couple chapters to capture it (that's my way of tossing a net over the butterfly and saving it for later).

3. Do you think this will become a full-fledged WIP (work-in-progress) or are you thinking that this is more of a passing fancy?
     I would like to think that it would become a WIP...later...after I finish Broken Clouds, maybe.

4. Who is your protagonist?
     The little sister, of course.

5. What does she want more than anything?
     To fulfill her assigned roles.  To make everything better.  To be a good princess and little sister and daughter.

6. What is her story goal?
     To make her brother's behave and to learn how to rule a country well.

7. Who is the antagonist?
     Sometimes she is her own antagonist.  Sometimes its her brothers.  Sometimes its corrupt leaders in her own country.  Sometimes it's rebels and attacking neighboring countries.

8. What is their goal?
     Sometimes she wants two opposing things.
     Her brothers want to have their own way -- and not have each other in the way of that.
     Corrupt leaders want to get the most out of life while giving the least.
     The rebels want freedom, equality, and restitution.
     The neighboring country wants more power and resources.

9. What is your inciting event?
     The oldest brother sends for his little sister.

10. What is the main conflict in your story?
     I would have to say the dichotomy of the brothers.

11. What other books would you compare with this butterfly?
     Someday, I am going to learn how to answer this type of's a skill, I think, that should be learned if one hopes to be published.  But, sadly, I have not mastered it yet.

12. What is your favorite thing about this new idea?
     It is based on scenes and people in my own life.  I know a couple of strong personalities that behave in a fascinating but predictable way.  I transported them to my imaginary world and set them free to be themselves, and it is amazing to see their strengths and weaknesses play out.

13. If your book was a dessert, what would it be?
     I don't think it is a dessert...

14. Who is your favorite character so far, other than the main protagonist and antagonist?
     A little servant girl

15. Snippet
     Calene swung to face her.  “Can I rely on your secrecy?  What I have to say to you cannot be told to anyone.”
     Petura felt a prickle run down her arms.  “Yes, of course."
     Calene studied her face and then nodded.  Still, he was slow to answer, taking time to carefully fit the stopper into the top of the pitcher.  “It’s Droben.”
      “Our brother?” Petura exclaimed, startled.  She tried to pull his face up in her memory, but all she could remember was that he had dark hair and Calene had blonde.
      “I don’t know what to do with him!  The man is impossible, causing snarls and snags wherever he goes!  Father wanted us to get along but sometimes I think…!”  Calene broke off and drank his glassful.  Then he wiped his lips and went on, “Which is why I need you here, Petura.  If I remember rightly, you always have a way of making things go easier.”
     Petura drew back.  “You brought me here to make Droben behave himself?”
     “I just need you to keep an eye on him and smooth his rough edges a bit,” Calene said, his face pleading.  “I’ve tried to do it – God knows I’ve tried – but Droben and I are like two bulls.  He won’t listen to me like he will listen to you.”
     “Does father know about this?” she asked.
     “No, it wasn’t such a problem before father became ill.  But now I’ve got the whole kingdom weighing on my shoulders and Droben has gone off the deep end.” Calene shook his head.
     Petura could feel a headache advancing across her brow, and she pressed her fingers to her temples to ease the pressure.  “But father wanted me to be safe in Preden!  What do I know of court life and the management of princes?”

16. Where did the idea come from?
       A situation in my own life.  The complexity of some people in my life and my own conflicts within myself felt like they were going to make my brain explode.  Then I realized just what a great plot I was living, and I decided to turn it into a book.  So, like I said, I took scenes from my life and dropped them into the imaginary country of Pelestia.  And then I had fun with them.

17.  Genre?
     You tell me -- it's set in an imaginary country that is somewhere on planet Earth...or some planet like Earth.  It has kings and queens, rebels, battles, intrigue, hypocritical religious body, and a difficult family.

18. Graphics? Fake covers?
     Nope, I haven't mastered that art yet.

19. Cryptic spoiler?
     A man must first learn to rule himself.

20.  What is the next step to pursuing this butterfly?
     Strengthen my end.

21 and 22. I don't have answers for.  Sorry.

And there you have it!  My answers to Anne-girl's questions.  Ta-da!
This story is in line, potentially, behind Broken Clouds, which is in line behind TCK.  We'll see if it goes anywhere or no.  :)


  1. This sounds like a great story Esther! I am intrigued by your taking events in your own life to put in your story. By the way I would call that a political adventure story or a coming of age story.


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