Issabelle's Posts,  Writing

Know the Novel: Into the Lamp Plus Some Announcements

Hello, hello, fellow bloggers/readers/writers/bibliophiles/or just person who was bored with nothing else better to do. So I have some awesome news to announce at the end of today’s post with some things I wanted to share. So, I’m lumping this post as a get-us-all-excited-for-my-new-writing-series post. 

Wait, what! A new writing series! How did I not here about this?!

Dunno, but if you missed my post introducing it, then check it out here. Really, go see it. I’ll wait until you’re back.

*watching the clock*


*wondering where I put my cup of lemonade*

Great! You’re back now. (Or you just scrolled down, wondering what’s wrong with me.)

So, I have something SUPER exciting for today. Know the Novel. It’s this…um…I’m not sure what to call it. But it’s this really fun thing that Christine Smith does on her blog every year around this time. I’m very new to her blog, so this is my first time participating! (If you want to learn more or do it on your blog, read the post on it here.)

Okay, so let’s get into the questions for today. (Note: I try to keep my posts short, but this one might run a little long, but it’s all good.) The answers come from my current WIP, a YA fantastical modern retelling of Aladdin. 

#1. What first sparked the idea for this novel?

Oooh, good question. Unfortunately I have a terrible answer. For some strange reason, I never remember in great detail how I get my ideas, they just show up and bug me until I write them. But I’ll do my best. So, it was earlier this year. My family and I was watching this movie called Kazaam. (It wasn’t really great, so I don’t recommend it.) Anyway, I just remember thinking at the end of it what if a teenage boy found a genie who was a teenage girl? And then I’d seen this drawing my friend, Lacey had drawn of this genie girl in pink. (Looking back, I think she might’ve been drawing Jeannie from “I Dream of Jeannie.”) And it was like what if this genie was a girly-girl genie, what would it be like for the boy? And then it just all came together.

#2. Share the blurb or just an overall summary.

Are you ready for this? 

Sixteen-year-old, Colin Carlson just wanted a normal life. He was preparing for college in a couple years, his chance to finally do something more important than working at his aunt and uncle’s restaurant. But all his plans are shattered the day a strange dude shows up and makes him go on this crazy hunt to find a lamp. A lamp that supposedly had a powerful genie inside. Yeah, right.

Except it did, and now Colin’s stuck with a genie. A teenage girl genie, who says he gets three wishes. He’s ready for his first wish, which happens to involve the richest man in town’s daughter. Colin’s had a crush on her for years now, and with this genie, he may finally have a chance to impress her. But someone is after him, seeking the genie’s power for some mysterious desire that Colin wants no part of. As everything unravels apart, Colin is drawn into a fight to save his genie and her world. But how is he supposed to save the day when he’s so clumsy, awkward, and, in other words, not hero material? He is caught in the middle of a war between two worlds, but he may not yet be ready for the challenges ahead. 

#3. Where does the story take place? What are some of your favorite aspects about the setting?

Okay, so this story has TWO worlds. Like in Narnia and Harry Potter and that stuff. There’s the world the genies live in and our world. So, our world’s setting is in Delbert, Florida. A town that is not on any maps. Basically unknown by the rest of the world. (Well, it’s more like it’s lumped into a city near it, but kind of secludes itself. Does that make sense?) My favorite aspect about the setting is the ocean about thirty miles east. I have some amazing scenes that take place there.

#4. Tell us about your protagonist(s).

Colin is the main character. He’s clumsy, awkwardish. He also has a bit of an attitude problem. He’s messy and most of the times has this I-don’t-care attitude. He just doesn’t want anyone to know when he really does care. He’s an amazing chef (well, chef’s not the right word), but doesn’t like cooking. Just does it because he needs the tips he gets at the restaurant for college. He wants to go to college because he thinks it’s his chance to do something important, and if he does something important, it’ll make him important.

#5. Who (or what) is the antagonist? 

Dolf. He’s the villain who’s trying to destroy the genie world. But he has this whole reason where he thinks that he’s really saving our world. And a sad backstory, but I’m not sharing it.

#6. What excites you most about this novel?

The magic!!!!!! I have this whole magic system with the genies structured out. It’s really complicated. Well, at least, I’m having a hard time keeping it straight. And this is the first time I’ve ever written a fantasy story. EVER!!! I didn’t even like fantasy all that well, until I started reading Jennifer A. Nielsen’s fantasy books, and then I kind of liked it. And then I started writing this book, and I fell in love with it. Really, I now have a ton of fantasy books lined up on my TBR list.

#7. Is this going to be a series? standalone? something else?

It’s a planned series, but I’m working the first book out to be able to standalone. So, it can standalone, it would just be better with books 2 and 3. 

#8. Are you plotting? pantsing? plantsing?

Plantsing all the way!!!!!!

#9. Name a few unique elements about this story.

Okay, so I’ve already said the magic was complicated. And Colin is a really unique character (I think). The genie world is also really cool. And there’s this whole backstory of the genie’s and Colin’s that I think is really unexpected. So *shrugs* that’s the best I’ve got.

#10. Share some fun “extras” of the story (a song or full playlist, some aesthetics, a collage, a Pinterest board, a map you’ve made, a special theme you’re going to incorporate, ANYTHING you want to share!).

Okay, are you ready for this? I’m getting ready to swarm you with a bunch of stuff. 

First off, I don’t have a playlist, but I know some amazing songs that are like Colin’s theme song. 

#1. “Fighter” by Danny Gokey

#2. “Masterpiece” by Danny Gokey

#3. “From Now On” from The Greatest Showman 

Now I’m going to share something I’m calling a character board. The first one is of my main girl lead, Genie

The next character is another genie, Chessna

The last character is Colin’s cousin, Rora

And now a quote board/graphic. Yeah, I don’t know what to call it.

So, don’t forget to tell me what you think in the comments. (Oh, and which character/character board is your favorite: Colin, Genie, Chessna, or Rora)

Again, apologies for the long post, but now I will announce my dates for my upcoming series on character development. I wanted to do a post every other Thursday, but some ran into some holidays.

Oct. 15: Character Development Part 2: How Much Should You Describe Your Character?

Oct. 29: Character Development Part 3: The Importance of Giving Quirks to Your Character

Nov. 12: Character Development Part 4: Understanding Your Character’s Reactions

Nov. 24 (Tuesday): Character Development Part 5: Avoiding Overused Tropes *okay to be honest, this topic might change, since I forgot what I was going to talk about*

Dec. 10: Character Development Part 6: Digging Deeper

Dec. 17: Character Development Part 7: Applying What We Learn

Dec. 29 (Tuesday): Character Development Bonus Fun Wrap Up

Okay, so I hope you’ll join me on this series. 

And tomorrow Teen Writers’ Nook has a new page coming up. It’s called Critique Corner. There I (or Lacey and Alana) will share some portion of our work for you to read and give us advice. Tomorrow, I plan to have up a portion for my first chapter from Into the Lamp. I hope you’ll stop by and read it.

Real quick, I wanted to share two amazing writing websites for aspiring teen writers, since I had already given the spotlight to another blog I love. (This was my original post idea, and I still wanted to give these two blogs a spotlight, so I’m still going for it.)

First is Go Teen Writers. You may have heard me talk about them, but it’s because they are amazing!! Really, I’ve learned so much from them. And guess what! They have a new writing book coming out December 3rd!!! Go Teen Writers: Write Your Novel. They’re going to talk about writing and how there isn’t “one right way to write a book.” I’m super excited for it. Learn more or preorder your copy here. And while you’re there, check out their blog.

The other amazing writing website is Wild Writing Dreams. I just discovered it, in August or September, I don’t remember. But Mary @ Wild Writing Dreams is incredible. Her posts are filled with so many amazing tips for aspiring teen writers. Definitely one to check out here.

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading today’s post. And don’t forget about Critique Corner tomorrow. (It might be tonight when it goes up. Really depends on what my writing schedule for today looks like.) And I’ll see you back on another post. For now, Keep Writing!

Issabelle Perry is a proud Jesus follower, an extroverted writer, and a homeschool graduate. When she's not writing, you can find her reading, jamming to Skillet, studying history, hunting for Narnia in wardrobes, or envisioning herself wielding a magnificent sword (but due to her clumsiness, let’s hope that never happens). This self-proclaimed exclamation mark enthusiast can be found hanging out at Teen Writers’ Nook, a community of teen authors Issabelle co-founded in 2020. She is the author of Don't Let Me Go (Sky's the Limit Press 2024), May We Make Them Proud (2023), and a co-editor for two anthologies. What she’s probably doing right now is fangirling about her favorite books to random people or scanning the pantries for chocolate.


  • Christine Smith

    Aaaahhhhhh a contemporary Aladdin retelling! I LOVE THIS. Some fairy tale loving friends and I were not too long ago mourning over the fact that there just aren’t many Aladdin retellings out there, SO THIS IS THRILLING!!!! And it sounds like such a fun concept! All your characters seem precious! (And, GIRL. Your aesthetic graphics are GOLD. I am drooling over here. You’ve got skillsss.)

    This just sounds so, so amazing! I hope writing it goes wonderfully!!! And thank you for joining in Know the Novel! 😀

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU!!!! And, yeah, I had noticed the lack of Aladdin retellings out there. I went searching for Aladdin retellings to see what others did and I may have found, at most, eight books. *shrugs* (Thank you soooo much! I love doing aesthetic graphics, but wasn’t ever sure if they were any good, so you’ve really just made my day 🙂 )
      Thank YOU for hosting Know the Novel, this was really fun for me. Can’t wait for November’s part two!!!!

  • Kimberly

    WOW! What an awesome idea. I wonder what Dolf has in store for the Genie world and how Colin will become involved with it -and, of course, hopefully, save it, and his ‘girly-girl’ genie. I like her already. When you have ‘girly-girl’ with POWER – there’s nothing you can’t do! Can’t wait to hear more about it.

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU!!! Genie is one of my favorite characters. Yes, I couldn’t have said it better myself. With “girly-girl” and Power the sky’s the limit!! Thank you again!

  • Chelsea R.H.

    This looks amazing! I love retellings and I haven’t seen any contemporary fantasy retellings of Aladdin. Genie looks like a fantastic character and such a great twist on the original! I also love Colin. Not really the heroic type characters are my favourites!
    Good luck with the writing (and welcome to the glorious fans of fantasy!)

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU, SOOOOO Much, Chelsea!!! Yes, I have always been a fan of retellings, and to my knowledge, I don’t know of a whole lot of contemporary Aladdin ones. I couldn’t agree more with you on the not really heroic type characters. They are some of the ones we remember forever, and I hope Colin will be the same way! And Genie is amazing, too!
      Thank you for commenting. 😉 (And, YES, I’m loving the fantasy!)

  • Jen

    This Aladdin retelling is so cool and unique! I’m not sure I’ve heard of a modern take on this tale before. All of the characters sound amazing and I love that Genie is a girly-girl! ^_^

    Oh, choosing a favourite character board is SO hard. They’re all fantastic! You did such a great job making them! <3

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU, Jen! I’m glad you liked all of my character boards, and I totally understand, choosing a favorite is hard for me. And I also love Genie being a girly-girl, too. 😉 (Soooooo, glad I’m not the only one.)
      Thank you again!

  • Katherine

    I love the story of Aladdin and this sounds great! Magic is always exciting. I absolutely love that Genie is a girly-girl. I love the song “Masterpiece” by Danny Gokey. And I love your character boards! They are so awesome. I like Chessna’s board the best.

    P.S. I wasn’t actually drawing Jeannie from I Dream of Jeannie, however, I did use her as inspiration in my drawing. I love that I was able to inspire you.

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU, Katherine!!! I love the story of Aladdin, sooooooooooo much, too! Chessna’s board was actually the first one I did, and as such, will always hold a special place in my heart. (Wow, an odd way of saying I like it.) And “Masterpiece” by Danny Gokey is such a great song!
      And that’s good to know it wasn’t Jeannie, my apologies for getting it wrong.

  • Allie Andersen

    That’s so exciting, Maggie!! You’re WIP sounds very interesting! 🙂 I found it funny that Colin is a really good chef yet hated cooking. 😆 Also, those three songs are amazing! Danny Gokey is awesome and The Greatest Showman is the best soundtrack ever! 😉

    Also, I love your graphics!! They’re so beautiful!

    • Maggie

      THANK YOU so much, Allie!!!!! Yeah, it is really strange with Colin, but he has a perfectly good reason. Okay, all I have to say about Danny Gokey and The Greatest Showman is ABSOLUTELY! I love them.
      Aw, thanks!! I’m glad you liked them. 🙂

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