Writing Haven

By Erin MacLeod

Welcome to Writing Haven! Here I'm going to share short stories, answer questions, and keep everyone up to date on my writing and publication journey. Hope to see you in the comments!

  • Erin MacLeod

The Fae Queen's Court

Updated: Jan 12, 2019

Hello again!

Last week I promised I was going to discuss my original trilogy: the Fae Queen's Court.

Long story short, this series came about from a combination of an old family legend and a broken promise to beta read my now roommate's first chapter. At the time, I promised her that I would look it over and send it back before choir the next day. That ended up not happening, but I invited her back to my dorm to talk while I 'finished it up'. To distract her while I hurriedly read through what she sent me, I told her about an idea that had been bumping around in my head for a few weeks.

Now, I've always loved fantasy novels, but that was paired with a very analytical mind. Quite often, I spent more time trying to figure out how the logistics of these books(i.e. how magic or shape-shifting) would play out in real life then just enjoying the books. It follows that my favorite form of magic is the 'science we don't understand variety', where the magic is the remnants of some long forgotten civilization or aliens. it's probably why I like games like Assassin's Creed and Skyrim so much. I loved having an explanation for why people like you and me should be so extraordinary and such improbable things should happen to them.

You'll understand, then, why my first real writing effort was a science fiction book where the magic is science. I could write a story about a race of people turned into monsters and frame it as magic, but it is ever so much more fun to take otherwise normal people and figure out how to science them into monsters.

Here's where the family legend of the Fairy Flag comes into play. My oldest sister, Jen, made a book about this legend when I was young and I loved rereading it. It was the first time I ever heard of someone in the real world having a fantastic legends about their family and not just an overused cliche for something cool to happen to the protagonist.

There are few variations of this legend and how we obtained the flag, but the one my sister used combined a few of them. In essence, a clan chief married a fairy woman but her father, fearing for his immortal daughter with a mortal spouse, said she could only stay for a year and a day. In that time, she gave birth a son and he was beloved by all around him. She wept when her father came to take her back to their people and made her husband swear that their child would never cry for she would hear him and wouldn't be able to stand the sound.

As expected, the chief fell into a deep depression upon losing his wife and his clan threw a ball to cheer him up. The maid responsible for watching their son wanted desperately to attend the party, but her duties kept her away. She told herself that it would cause no harm if she crept to the top of the stairs to listen to the music and left her charge unattended.

While she was gone, the child kicked his blanket off and starting crying from the cold, but she couldn't hear him over the music. The child's mother, far off in the fairy lands, did hear him and disobeyed her father to rush to her child's side. Picking him up, she swaddled him in her shawl and held him until he stopped crying.

There's more, about a promise to help the clan three times if they waved the flag, but that wasn't what caught my attention. What I was interested in was the child born of their union. He was half fairy. What if, I asked my roommate, the descendants of that child could bring out their fairy blood? What if there was someone who could find the bit of people that were elves and dwarves and dragons and bring them back?

From there, I focused on how I would bring them back. You can't turn your average Jane into Smaug, but you can take advantage of materials and gases already in our bodies to make something close to that. From there, their children will be more and more like dragons. This was followed by the realization that the 'fairies' must have some sort of technology that survived them, something we would feel the effects of even if we weren't aware of it.

A whole world from a legend I heard as a child and 200,000 words later I'm still learning so much about it.

The Fae Queen's Court is the culmination of a family legend and a story I've been writing since before I could read or write, even if I wasn't conscious of what I was doing. What is the conflict? It must be painful to change that much and people in pain lash out, which necessarily leads to misunderstanding. Where is the story set? In the wilderness, where they went to keep from hurting people and to protect themselves. Who leads them? A woman, the only member of her species, who leads because she is the only one who can. Who is our hero? A human whose wife and children are not.

Fantasy clothed in the garb of science fiction. Magic and non-humans and a world that's a fun house reflection of ours.


Next week I'm going to write about my editing process and what I've learned along the way.

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