I finally can commit to my book now that I am done with Nicholas Nickleby. Since the book does not have a title, I decided to call it “Fairy Frogs and Toads” at this point so people will know what I am talking.
One of the things I love about Charlotte are the various Greenways. It was about six years ago, and I remember about six years ago, I was on this broadwalk, and I looked to the left, and I saw a bunch of these cattails. I thought “Cattail Forest”. That is basically where the idea was born. As the years went by, more and more ideas were added to this story. I don’t know how I came up with some of the character names or when certain plot points : but I do how I came up with some: Sarge- his name was inspired by a character from the movie, Cars II and Tweetsie, who was added to the book this year was named after the Tweetsie Railroad.
One of the hardest things about this journey was figuring out if I wanted it to be a picture book or a chapter book. I soon realized the plot fits better in a chapter book. I still wanted illustrations to be a part of it: the world the Fairy Frogs live in made sense for illustrations so that is what it is going to be. The Fairy Frogs after all are Spring Green: not just any Spring Green: a special Spring Green that speaks Fairy- their wings are translucent with a gold trim. The toads are Gray Green, and some toads have warts- so them are not very pleasant to look at.
Either this year or last year, I don’t know why, but the phrase Graysloup came out of my mouth. I just thought, you know what, that should be the name of where the Toads live. After all, Graysloup is very dreary and the weather is quite humid and muggy. There are ditches, the creeks are not clear, thy have to sleep underneath a highway, so it is not very appealing: see why Marge is trying to get Sarge to clean up the place or get them to move out.
I started writing the book this summer. Then I had to take a bit of a break not knowing how to continue. I also knew that I had no idea how some of the characters were. I realized in that time frame, there was no why I could write this book while being in the middle of reading Nicholas Nickleby. So once I put down Nicholas Nickleby, I fully committed to writing the book down.
Just a week ago, I think, I went to Lowes Hardware to try to figure out which Spring Green the Fairy Frogs were and which Gray Green the Toads were. The Fairy Frogs, the color was always struggle. It was a special Spring Green after all: after all they are Fairies and had to work well with their wings.
I have always been this storyteller- just never written a story down. So just from seeing those cattails, a story was born. That is where it began. All of the Fairy Frogs’ names are very magical and enchanting. All the Toads are well Toady and fit their characters- see what I mean. Over time, I loved the storyline more and more. The two leader names show the differences big time: Aires and Sarge: what is crazy about them being leaders is that they also are uncles in my story: Aires is Darcy’s uncle while Sarge’s is Marge’s uncle.
Changes made over the years:
1. Marge’s relationship to Sarge- she originally wasn’t to be Sarge’s niece. I soon realized it will be make Sarge a better antagonist and Marge a better character if I make them related. It also gives Sparkle a bigger motivation to befriend Marge. So that change I decided made the story even stronger
2. I realized this yesterday. Do you know how “Cattail Forest” was the name of of where the Fairy Frogs live? I realized that is not the right name. That should be the name of the entire Greenway. The Fairy Frogs need a name that is more magical and enchanting. After all, there is a grove of trees in the middle- found in these trees are treehouses suited towards the talents of each frog. The trees are connected by bridges. In the habitat, there is a Gazebo for the singers, dancers, and performers to entertain. The creeks are extremely clear and are lined with painted pebbles, and some are carved into various shapes.
I put down a breakdown once again of the book: just really short
Basically, Sparkle befriends Marge, who is in need of a friend and compassion. But Sarge, leader of the toads and Marge’s keeps on trying to get in the way of their friendship. Sparkle’s friendship with Marge eventually leads all the Fairy Frogs to try to befriend all the Fairy Frogs.
All the characters: names will tell you if they are a toad or Fairy Frog
Sparkle- a drawer, who is 12 and best friends with Misty. She is adventurous, courageous, and rebellious. She is so invested in her drawing that she is willing to draw anymore even in places that are off limits: that is how she meets Marge in the first place.
Misty- a singer, who is also 12 and Sparkle best friend. She is fiercely protective of Sparkle, which makes it hard for her to find time to write her music.
Aires- a confident leader and uncle to Darcy. He is head carpenter and his one rule is to: stay away from Graysloup: he made that rule to protect the Fairy Frogs from getting hurt. He is always worried about Sparkle since she always gets into trouble.
Darcy- Aires’ nephew. He is a sculpture frog and best friends of Felipe. He is about 14 or 15- I don’t have any personality traits yet in him. This is just as much as I know about him as now: I am hoping as I write the book his personality will come out.
Felipe- He is 15 and he is Darcy’s best friend. He is a woodcarver.
Celeste- She is only 8 and is a potter.
Tweetsie- I actually named her after the Tweetsie railroad. She is discovering what her natural talent is throughout the book. She is only 5 years old and is very energetic. By the end of the book, she will finally discover what she is naturally gifted in.
Sarge- he is the leader of the Toads and Marge’s uncle. He is the complete opposite of Aires. He and his brother (Marge’s father) never had a good relationship, and is part of what made him become who he is. He mistreats all the toads and demands some of them to mistreats other creature so he is a not good leader one bit. It is the worst when he mistreats his niece, Marge: it is his NIECE for crying out loud. So he is basically a bully throughout the book- he is the main antagonist of this book. If Sarge does not clean his act up in the very act, I will kick himself out of Graysloup.
Marge- I have this very soft spot for her due to how Sarge treats her. For someone who is 12, she has this incredible wisdom. She knows that how Sarge is running Graysloup is not right: she has stood up to him on multiple occasions- told him to clean up his act or told him to clean up Graysloup, but always does not end so well. She feels like this outsider and always wants to stay away from him. All she wants is for someone to show her compassion and to be a friend. She knows that other toads are suffering and she wants to make right: her friendship with Sparkle is the center core of the book.
Norg: while Sarge is the main antagonist, he is the 2nd in line. He is Sarge’s spy, who spies on the toads for any unusual activity especially on Marge. He tells Sarge whenever Fairy Frogs are there to make it easier for Sarge to split up the friendship cycle. But it will be much easier for Norg to clean up his act than Sarge- so if Norg redeems himself and proves himself to be a leader in the end of the story, he will become the new toad leader in the end.
Claude- he is only rude because Sarge demands it, not because he wants to. He is only about 14/15. When the Fairy Frogs begin befriending the toads, he ends up becoming friends with Darcy and Felipe: after all they are about the same age.
Effa/Rudy: I don’t know a clue about them, but I didn’t want Marge to be the only girl toad