So remember how I said I wanted to write an isekai novel featuring an "oracle" figure on the run who doesn't actually have the gift of foresight? Well, it's rapidly developed since then into something Bigger™.
Many years ago, when I was still as obssessed with fairytales and folklore retellings as I am now, I dreamed up an Alice in Wonderland retelling that...never really got off the ground.
(Sidebar: it just occurred to me that retellings are the root of my love for fanfiction! I can't believe I didn't realize that until literally this moment!)
My last blog post on the isekai/portal genre naturally got me thinking about Lewis Carroll's story, which got me thinking about my retelling idea, and BAM! It occurred to me I could merge my old story concept with this new one!
THE STRUCTURE OF THE nOVEL
The way I envision it, it will be a retelling and meta fiction, all at once. There's a lot of layers, and I'll explain it all in a bit. But first, if you don't know what meta fiction is, TV Tropes explains it succinctly:
Meta Fiction ("meta" meaning "beyond") is when a story (or movie or television show) comments upon another piece of fiction or upon its own fictionalism.
Walker lives in the "real world", where the fantasy series is nothing but a retelling* based on Carroll's works. However, it's real to the characters within it, and it becomes real for Walker once he enters it.
* the differences between fanfiction and retellings, to my mind, is that the former can be based on any existing work, while the latter can be based on any existing work that is in the public domain, and therefore something authors can legally profit off of
The world that Walker's isekai'd into is really my retelling of Carroll's works, and I've planned what's supposed to happen in that story before he enters it and changes everything. So it is, in fact, a retelling in his reality as well as ours! With a bit of 'canon divergence' thrown in, only the canon...doesn't actually exist. (Or does it...)
The metafiction aspect comes into it because Walker interacts with the world he's isekai'd into fully aware that it is fictional, and engages with it as fictional. The irony of that is that he (and everything else) is also fictional to me, the author, and you, the reader.
Okay, that hurt my brain a bit to write out and untangle, but I hope you're following along! It will be a lot less complicated to read (I hope) since this is just talk about the construction, not the actual content.
Which leads me to...
All hope seems lost...until a spy alerts Alice's enemies that the secret behind her success may not just be her skill with magic, or the powerful Cat she's bound to her will, but the oracle she has working for her.
*only some of them though, because spoilers
Leilani | author of the Miraré books in the 'real' world, died before she could complete the series.
Walker | Leilani's son, loves the Miraré series, is mysteriously transported into it one day.
Alice | Queen of Miraré, pre-destined defeater of the Queen of Hearts. Magical affinity: portals and transformations.
Fintan | The White Rabbit, head of a revolutionary group in the Queen of Heart's time. Also, nephew to the Queen of Hearts through her brother, Prince Jac.
The Red Knight | An assassin hired by Queen Carmine.
Carmine | Queen of Ahedres, neighbouring kingdom to Miraré. Magical affinity: portals via mirrors.
Harkin | King of Ahedres. Magical affinity: dream weaving.
Arianwen | Lost Queen of Ahedres. Magical affinity: shapeshifting, [redacted for spoilers].
The Cat | a trans-dimensional, shapeshifting being who usually takes the form of a giant cat, who has the ability to be invisible at will. Gravity only affects him when he wants it to. Powerful and bonded to Alice, he is forced to obey her commands. Constantly grinning, even in cat shape.
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