"The Hope of Hattie Phelan", Writing Updates

THOHP Dev Edits and Writing Tag Fun!

Hello, fellow campaigners of the writing world! This week on my blog, I want to discuss my book’s developmental edits and a writing tag that one of my writing friends did on their blog last week.

Dev Edits

The most significant change I made it adding a plot. I kept most of the scenes, minus a few towards the end that didn’t add anything to the plot, but I did interweave a recurring plot that ties it all together with Hattie’s struggles, and fears, and causes a bit of conflict.

There are the two biggest changes:

  1. Plot: Hattie needs to raise money for Da so he can move to Iowa as well.
  2. Character dynamics: Wally and Hattie.

In the past drafts, Wally and Hattie never start on the right foot, fighting since day one. But as I’ve been figuring out their characters and personalities, I’m finding that they would both get along quite well for the most part (Hattie is an ISTJ while Wally is ISFJ). But I make them have a more conflicted relationship near the end because Hattie doesn’t understand where Wally is coming from on a certain subject. So, instead of starting out rocky, they start out quite friendly.

I have also changed Aunt Margarette’s name to Maisie since everyone calls her that anyway. If Hattie called her Aunt Margarette, it’d be like if my future nephews and nieces would call me Aunt Abigail instead of Aggie. And, Maisie is easier to write compared to Margarette (why did I choose the weirdest spelling possible?).

(P. S. If you want to read about Aunt Maisie years before the Hope of Hattie Phelan is set, you can read my short story in the Everything Anthology by the King’s Daughter’s Writing Camp!)

I also changed the timeline of when Hattie is saved. I make it more natural and don’t turn her to a perfect Christian at her redemption. Like all of us, she has to work through things.

Also, LETTERS and MEMORIES! I use these to reinforce the character of Da and the trauma of loss and abuse in the workplace.

I now have ideas for four books in the series (three more to write!), so it’s now good that I have an outline to move forward, though I am focusing on my sci-fi series at the moment. But with this first installment at approx. 85,000 words, I’m excited to see where the series will go.

Writing Tag

My writing friend, Anna Lane, posted this on her blog, which you can check out here.

Reading the last page first

OUT. I have done this before, but I do not recommend it. I always regret it.

Enemies to lovers

IN 100%. I use this trope wayyy too much. I love the banter and the misconceptions in the beginning. The best part, if done right, is the humility at the end as the characters overcome some sort of weakness to see the best in each other.

Dream Sequences

I’m not a big fan of it, but I prefer dreams over flashbacks. I rarely have flashbacks, especially to the detail that they’re written in, but I can’t say no because I did it in my latest book.

So, my answer is IN and OUT.

Love Triangles

Oof, I’m gonna go with OUT. I rarely enjoy this in books because to ME it’s obvious who they should end up with, and it’s always the broody versus sweet man thing. If someone does a unique spin on this, I am okay, but I usually avoid this. Besides, I know people where it has happened to them IRL and it is hurtful to every party.

Cracked Spines

In and Out. I don’t care. Yeah, it’s not aesthetic, but it means it was well-loved. I read a book for the contents, not the spine.

Back to My Small Town

Okay, this could go either way. Either, it’s the really hokey Hallmark plot, or a sweet hometown. I prefer the latter, so In and Out for me.

Monsters are regular people

Out. I don’t really read about monsters or stuff like that. If you take it metaphorically as in a person is really a monster (like evil), I’m In.

No paragraph breaks

Out faster than you can blink. I’ve closed so many books over my life time because of this, especially when it’s in the wrong place. I don’t want four people to be talking in the same paragraph, thank you.

Multi-Generational Sagas

In and Out. I love family dynamics and love to see the legacy grow. My only downer is that it’s sad when people get older, but that’s a part of life I have to accept. But I’m talking about Anne of Green Gables and such. If it’s in one book, I tend to never even pick up.


In. I have my go-to books to re-read all the time.

Artificial Intelligence

IN. I love writing about my faulty AIs in my sci-fi book, and wouldn’t mind reading more. A good one I can think of is Iko from the Lunar Chronicles.

Drop caps

IN, again. I love the design aspect of formatting and if done right, I’m in love. It helps frame the page well, and I double love it when there are easter eggs within them. I like them simple, I like them extravagant. I totally love drop caps.

Happy Endings

In and Out. I love both. I prefer happy endings filled with joy and the good kind of closure, but when it comes to sad endings, I’m picky about it. It has to be done well. I don’t like all hope being cut off, but the Rogue One ending from Star Wars is arguably the best ending I’ve witnessed that isn’t happy. It’s bittersweet and filled with hope. Also, the Notebook ending got me sobbing.

Plot Points That Only Converge At The End

IN. I don’t mind being slightly unaware until the end, as long as it’s resolved. Bonus points if you re-read and can see the hints the author dropped.

Detailed Magic Systems

In and Out. I don’t read many books with magic, only Narnia and Lord of the Rings, and I think they perfectly encapsulate simplicity and complexity. Both are done well and have the main focus on not ourselves but the higher power (which they have written to be allegorical to God).

Classic Fantasy Races

In and Out. I like the classics of Tolkien and Lewis, but I honestly am longing for a bit more creativity since everyone does that now.

Unreliable Narrators

IN. As long as it’s done well. I enjoy reading and writing from perspectives that aren’t completely honest with themselves. Think of the character Emma from Jane Austen. She has such a clouded worldview that she does all this stuff wrong…

Evil Protagonists

In and Out. It depends. If there is a redemption arc, I’d read it, but I don’t want to root for a character who is evil.

The Chosen One

In and Out. Besides Jesus, I think that there aren’t chosen ones in the aspect of this scale. I think that God can choose people to stand up during certain times like Esther or even MLK jr., but I feel it’s not about them being chosen, but more about their willingness to speak when no one else would. God doesn’t favor any of us above the rest.

When The Protagonist Dies

In and out. There has to be a reason. Much like what I said about happy endings, I think either can be done well. BUT I prefer them to live. I will say it’s harder for me to re-read since I know what happens, but then again, look at Jesus. He died and it was for a purpose, and luckily, He rose again.

Really Long Chapters

In and out. If the chapter is captivating, then yes! But once it starts to drag and I find myself looking for a stopping point, that is frustrating. I prefer to read shorter chapters anyway.

French Flaps

OUT. I hate dust jackets, though they are pretty, because of the annoyance when reading, and French flaps are built-in ones. Burn them all, please.

Deckled Edges

IN and OUT. Depends on the genre. If it was a historical fiction or a classic book, YES. But it doesn’t really fit sci-fi and contemporary.

Signed Copies by Author

IN and OUT. If it’s someone I don’t know, I won’t do it. But I would love to get a signed copy of any of my author friends, because it means more to me if it is MEANT, you know?

Dog-Earing Pages

In and Out. I know I’ll get a lot of flack for it, but I don’t care. Sometimes, you don’t have a bookmark and it needs to be done. I only stopped because people made a fuss about it. *goes to dog-ear all the books just cuz*

Chapter Titles Instead of Numbers

In and Out. It really depends on the genre again. If it’s a comedy book, I NEED TITLES. Like, the comedic potential, sirs and ladies. But sometimes, just a number works fine.

Thank you for reading!

Feel free to take the tag for yourself and let me know if you post it!

Salutations, fellow adventurers!


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