Now that Champion of Moonlight is over, I thought I’d take a look back at how I got started with all of this. There’s been a lot of changes, both before posting and as I posted the story, and I figured I’d share some of the process as well as just some random facts that I wasn’t able to fit into the story – it’s accompanied by pictures from my first version of the first chapter because that’s the only chapter I re-did. I’m posting because it amuses myself, but also because I know I love reading these kinds of things from other authors, so maybe somebody out there is like me and finds it fun, enlightening, and inspiring to have a look into another writer’s process. Therefore, without further ado – let’s look at the changes that’s happened over the course of writing CoM.

Fair warning: This is long (and probably boring) ๐Ÿ˜€ Also full of spoilers for the story.

The Story

The whole story came about because I wanted a couple of things:

  1. To write a love story with a perky heroรฏne and a tall, dark, handsome, mysterious, and brooding hero who was maybe a little bit of a bad boy.
  2. To write a story wherein the protagonists were smart and hard-working.

The first one is just because I like that kind of story, but at the same time, I wanted to subvert some common traits of the story. I wanted there to be a reason for the two of them to be attracted to each other – way too often, that kind of story has a brooding, moody hero who falls for the heroรฏne just because the writer said so. When I thought about how to get the two attracted to each other, I figured it had to come down to a respect for each other’s skills. I also ditched the moody and impolite aspect that’s so common for a character like that – after all, why would my heroรฏne fall for a rude jerk? That’s how the bad boy thing went out the window. Little by little, Nadir changed from the initial idea and became someone who seems cold and brooding, but who’s actually sweet and passionate. The idea for that came from my own social anxiety – I know it makes me come off as arrogant or like I don’t like people, while in reality I don’t believe I am like that. Same goes for Nadir.

The second point came about because I’m so sick of heroes winning the day because of dumb luck. Why is it that in stories, we continually learn that if you just believe in yourself, listen to your damn heart, and follow your dreams, you come out on top? Ugh. I wanted a story where my main characters are talented and successful because they work hard. Genevieve has won so many times because sheย worksย for it – every day. Not in a healthy way, really, but she works hard and it pays off. I’m also tired of main characters nearly always being somewhere between dumb and of average intelligence while smart characters are relegated to sidekicks, rivals, and even villains. Hence a story full of bookish nerds. In time I started designing the magic system so that if you want to do advanced stuff like transformations, you pretty muchย have to study – the magic is just that hard.


A picture from an early version of chapter one – the only thing different about Genevieve are her earrings, pretty much. Celeste (on the left) had a different hairstyle. At this point I also used the same curl border for the image as I do for AMVS.


Let’s start with Genevieve, because she’s the one that’s changed the least from my early version – in looks, at least. I never could find a hairstyle that suited her better than the one she ended up with – apart from the hairstyles she uses for when her hair is down and her fancy hairstyle (which is pretty much a longer version of her everyday one). The perky ponytail and curly bangs just have so much personality. She’s also always been black, because when I thought up her character, I couldn’t think of a reasonย not to make her black. She’s always worn purple – she’s a character who’s super into magic and purple is a colour that I associate strongly with magic. Funny enough, it’s also probably my least favourite colour – though I like the shades of it I’ve used for Gen.

Her personality has changed a lot during writing, though. In earlier drafts, she was much more neutral as a character and more pleasant as well. She took losing to Nadir surprisingly well – or at least got over it very quickly – and was also fairly chill about the budding romance. Once I started changing her to being more arrogant and less socially competent, all that changed. The biggest change came when I told my boyfriend that I went for her being confident and he said “well, she’s not.” And she isn’t – she’s arrogant, not confident. Once he noted that, I ramped up some of her insecurities. Boyfriend also helped me to gain a different understanding of Celeste. Speaking of…


Celeste’s looks haven’t changed much either, though she started out with long, straight hair. I changed it because I figured she is the kind of woman who loves styling it in different ways. She’s the one whose style changes the most and she’s the most fun to dress because she’s comfortable with her own body. I also enjoy the her very rich, red outfits. Once I installed body sliders for the first time, she also changed drastically – she’s very skinny and slim in my game.

I gained a new appreciation for her when the whole “Genevieve isn’t confident”-thing happened. When I realised that I didn’t understand confidence (what can I say? I’m not confident myself), I asked my boyfriend for an example of real confidence and he pointed to Celeste. It made me change a lot of her dialogue. In earlier drafts she spoke like someone much younger, kind of a teenage-y, gossip-y kind of person. After Genevieve and Nadir’s kiss she teased Genevieve about it whereas in the version you can read here, she tries to calm her down and to teach Gen that it’s okay. I emphasised her maturity and love of life, and I like her and Genevieve’s dynamic a lot more this way – my favourite scene between the two was them working on Celeste’s potion together. That wasn’t even a scene that was in the story to begin with – initially, Gen got over herself and asked Nadir about the transformation right away but once I started changing her character, I had her learning it from Celeste instead. It just made more sense.


My older outfit for Nadir certainly… was a thing that happened.

Next up is Nadir and I honestly can’t look at his old design without cringing. Darling, why do you look like you just stepped out of a time machine after a trip to the 1700s? I changed his style when he became more of a shy character and I realised that if you’re shy and anxious you wouldn’t be caught dead in a get-up like that. Hence his later outfit which is darker and less flashy. I changed his hairstyle as well, mostly just because the other one’s not EA and fits better with the others I use – it also looks better. As for his colour scheme, I think I might have dressed him in yellow because Genevieve is dressed in purple and those are contrasting colours – it’s the kind of stuff I do. The yellow of his outfits was toned down a bit later on though, so the contrast isn’t terribly obvious in the final product.


Isadora’s old look as well as female Orion – or Oceana, as she was called – in the background.

Orion changed in one major way – he used to be a woman. He and Isadora were romantically involved at that stage as well. Initially I just threw in the ghost to the cast for the hell of it. It’s a fantasy story after all, so why not? Then Oceana, as she was called at the time, became the centre of the whole plot. I changed the gender because I came up with the twist of the story: Isadora killed her partner. There’s a common and very bad trope in fiction called Bury Your Gays, and what it’s basically about is that gay characters aren’t allowed to have happy endings in a lot of works – they end up dying while their straight counterparts live happily ever after. It’s an unfortunate trope and once I decided on the Isadora-killed-her-partner story, I couldn’t in good conscience keep the characters as they were. Instead, Celeste became gay and she’s happily married. I regret not mentioning it in-story and not finding a way to write in her wife, but I’ll make up for that in the sequel.

Gabriel and Amin also both changed visually. Both were initially different to look at. I changed them because I felt like my cast was getting a little white, apart from Genevieve, that is. For Amin it just made more sense for him to be from Egypt because he knew Nadir. Gabriel got dark skin because why not. Cloris was initially heavier, but I was afraid that it was unfortunate if the only heavy character was also the least important to the plot – so I ended up just making her curvy. The picture above is after this weight change, though.

You’ll notice in the bottom picture that there’s a kitty as well. I wanted there to be a cat familiar in the manor, but I couldn’t think of anything to do with it. In the end, the only familiar mentioned in the story is Ifrey and he was already difficult enough to work with – you can’t really move birds around how you see fit, after all.


Like I’ve mentioned before, I don’t tend to choose names for their meanings. I pick names that I think sound good or fit the character.

Genevieve was initially called Guinevere, but she would usually be called just Nevere. Once I came up with Nadir’s name, though, and said them together, I felt like it became problematic. Nevere and Nadir – they’re much too easy to mistake for each other. At this stage I was crazy about the name Nadir so Nevere had to go. A little search for a name like Guinevere gave me Genevieve. I couldn’t imagine another name for her at this stage.

Nadir was originally called Nadir Hawk but was still Egyptian. It was probably inspired by the witch name generator that I ended up using for pretty much everyone’s names, though Nadir was a name I found on and I thought it sounded good. I changed Hawk for Hazan when I realised it was silly to have an Egyptian first name and an English surname.

The only character besides the mains to change his name was Amin. He was originally called Zander Wright. I changed it when he became Egyptian. Oceana was Orion’s name when he was still a female. I pretty much just looked for a male name with an O that sounded ‘witchy’ and Orion was perfect. And generally the gist of all other character names are ‘they sound witchy’. I used the formerly mentioned witch name generator, found some names that sounded good, and the rest is history. The only character whose name is sort of meaningful is Cloris’ last name – Autumn. You might have noticed I dress her in autumn colours like orange, gold brown, and orange-red. It’s not symbolically significant or anything – I just liked the association.

The one thing that caused me trouble when it came to naming was the freaking title of the story itself. At first, I called it Hawk and Thorne (referencing Nadir’s old last name… also, it’s the cringiest title; wtf, past me). Then I changed Nadir’s name and the title of the story became Moonlight Manor. An old idea was for the plot to sort of centre around a mystery in the manor, but that didn’t work either, mostly because Genevieve knew the manor so well – she would have no reason to explore it and find secrets. Finally, literally the day before I posted the prologue, I came up with Champion of Moonlight.

Chapter titles have been all over the place as well, but one title that’s remained the same always was A Day at the Races. I just couldn’t resist the Queen reference.

Random Facts

  • When I created Genevieve I used one of the premades as a base. The premade wore a silver ring with a green stone which I wanted to remove because it didn’t seem like her to wear a ring. I just forgot to remove it over and over again and over time I came to like that stupid ring. She’s worn it in every chapter apart from the prologue (where I remembered to remove it!).

Gen’s stupid ring. It’s an EA one that I wouldn’t otherwise use, but now I can’t bring myself to remove it.

  • The Sims all have standard height because I prefer stretched poses to the height slider for the sake of animations, but if I were to assign them heights, Gabriel would be the tallest of the characters at 208 centimetres. Genevieve would be the smallest at 155.
  • Nadir and Celeste are the wealthiest characters. Both are part of influential magical families, though Nadir is the last of his and Celeste has a huge family.
  • In Thursday: Among the Stars, Genevieve remarks in her narration: “It was hard to say who kissed whom.” This is her being in denial. It was totally her that kissed him first – I can’t even imagine Nadir having the courage.
  • I wrote a document with “a few” “notes” about the magic system at one point. Once I was done I realised it was five pages long and only fun for me. I might condense it and post it some day. Until then, a few facts about it:
    • There are two types of energy in the world of CoM (well, three, but nobody knows how to access the third): magical energy and life energy. Life energy is stored in all living, organic beings. So e.g.: humans, cats, firs, butterflies, and bees all have life energy. Rocks don’t. Magical energy is unique to humans and is required for casting spells. Not all humans have magical energy and if you don’t have any, you can’t cast spells – you can create potions, though.
    • Life energy can be used for indirect magic, such as brewing potions. You can only brew potions with stuff with life energy – so no rocks, minerals, or gems (sorry, EA).
    • You can however infuse objects with magic. If you have something non-organic (say, an ice statue) you have to infuse it before you can transform it, as what you’re doing is transforming the energy of an object.
  • Witches like to keep familiars – like Genevieve’s Ifrey. In the olden days, they used to think that having a familiar around made your magic stronger but that has been disproven by scholars.
  • Likewise, witches used to believe the full moon affected their powers – it has also been disproven. That, however, is how the Moonlight Tournament got its name – it was held on a fullmoon when they believed their powers to be at their highest.
  • And finally: Like EA, I call both female and male magic users witches. In my little universe this is because the word ‘wizard’ has a negative connotation. This was caused by the guy who supposedly wrote the Ink Volumes, Wymond Ink.

Aaaand, I’d better stop for now. If you bothered to read this, I can only thank you ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s a fact that the one thing us writers like more than writing is talking about writing – especially our own – so I’m very thankful to have a forum to do it here. Of course, I know not everyone is as intrigued with my universe as I am, so I’ll end it here and once again thank you guys for reading Champion of Moonlight. It’s been a super fun experience and I couldn’t have done it without you.

Until the next post, you guys take care.


socallucyfan · March 10, 2018 at 7:53 am

Magicians have this code that they NEVER reveal how a trick is done. I am so glad that writers don’t go by the same credo! ๐Ÿ™‚
I can’t express how fasinating I found this entire process. I have a lot of facts and interesting tidbits to why I do what I do in my story. And I LOVE reading about other writers who do the exact same thing. I loved seeing how each of the character’s personalities grew and evolved into who they were for CoM.
I couldn’t see Gen wearing anything other than purple, or Celecte is red (and I’m glad you ended up changing her hair).
Thank you for sharing this with us. And now I am even more excited to see the sequel!!

    NotJustaBook · March 10, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Me, too! Hearing about other writers’ processes always makes me want to write, so I’m glad that us writers just love talking and talking and talking about it! ๐Ÿ˜€
    I feel very much the same about Gen and Celeste – that’s just their colours now and I’m so glad I changed Celeste’s hair as well, lol – her old style looks so wrong on her now ha, ha!
    You’re welcome <3

      socallucyfan · March 10, 2018 at 9:18 am

      the colors help fit their personalities. To me purple is a color associated with someone who is very regal, intelligent, and a champion. That sums up Gen.
      Red is a feisty color, and after seeing Veleste become a badass, confident, hunter I see how red matches her personality.
      I look forward to learning more about their lives outside of the tournament.

Lila Remonn · March 10, 2018 at 8:10 am

Oh my, this was incredibly interesting to read! Iโ€™ll come back and comment properly later (Iโ€™m supposed to be studying lol) but I loved reading all the behind the scenes information, that usually isnโ€™t revealed. Now I want to do something similar after the end of Generation Three because Iโ€™ve got this hugeee planning document with many details that probably wonโ€™t be obvious in the chapters ๐Ÿ˜ซ

    Lila Remonn · March 10, 2018 at 9:35 pm

    Okay, I’m back!
    I really liked the dynamic of Gen and Nadir as you explained at the start. It was quite unique, especially with the mutual respect for each other’s talents being a main element, rather than physical attraction. I’m glad you changed Nadir’s character to the shy and kind. It can be fun reading about the dark, broody, handsome (and often rude) character but it’s such an overused trope that it can become grating- which unfortunately I’m guilty of ๐Ÿ˜› And Gen especially is an unusual protagonist that I very much enjoyed reading. She felt real and quite relatable, like she could be someone I would know in real life, if not for the whole witch aspect. And again, agreeing with the dumb main character thing- I get frustrated super easily (maybe too easily) with unintelligent characters (*cough Cherry cough*) so I didn’t get mad at Gen at any point, which was refreshing.
    I’m glad you changed Celeste’s hairstyle, and character, because I adore her version now!
    How do you pronounce Genevieve? I recently learned about a building called Saint Genevieve in Architecture, and the name was pronounced way differently to what I was thinking for Gen’s name >.<
    "Hawk and Thorne" < That gave me a good laugh, haha!
    The magic notes were very interesting, I would love to read the whole condensed version!
    Now I've finished commenting- again, this was fascinating to read, thank you for sharing ๐Ÿ™‚

      NotJustaBook · March 11, 2018 at 1:48 pm

      I’m glad you liked it. It was very fun to write because I feel like the romance came rather naturally ๐Ÿ™‚
      The rude, handsome bad boys are a dime a dozen. Those romances can be exciting to read, but I also like the idea of writing romances that are different and more healthy ๐Ÿ™‚ And hey, how common is shyness in male characters? Not very, as far as I know! I just really want to change things up in my writing ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’m also glad you liked Gen. I know she can be pretty frustrating with her arrogance, but I found her satisfying just for that reason – she’s not beyond redemption ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m not even super bothered by main characters being dumb – generally I’m pretty large with characters, unless I can tell the author intended for that character to be smart and then they act dumb. But yeah, I know a lot of smart people and smart people deserve to be mains too! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I pronounce it something like GEN-uh-veev.
      Hawk and Thorne is SUCH A SHITTY TITLE. If I had come up with that when I was thirteen or something, I could have forgiven myself, but nope. It was literally last year. I am 27. Why, brain. Why.
      I definitely think I’ll work on a condensed version – wouldn’t want to publish whole magical text books, haha (though Gen would probably be proud of me)! ๐Ÿ˜›
      Thank you for reading and for all your thoughts <3

    NotJustaBook · March 11, 2018 at 1:36 pm

    I definitely think you should do the same ๐Ÿ˜€ I plan on doing something like it with AMVS when that’s done as well, though it’ll be less ideas that I ditched more just some facts ๐Ÿ™‚

loladiamond01 · March 10, 2018 at 10:27 am

You are so devoted to your writing! I found it fascinating, and when you start talking about the tropes, I get immediately self-conscious, wondering how many of them I am guilty of. I just realized Sam’s an intelligent villain – which is mostly EA’s fault and not mine, LOL. You are so right in that we all love talking about our writing. I could go on about this for hours even if someone bothered to listen, haha. Your boyfriend is such a gem that he helped you uderstand your characters better. And I’d love to hear more about Celeste’s marriage in the sequel. ๐Ÿ˜€

    NotJustaBook · March 11, 2018 at 2:02 pm

    I can definitely say that writing is one of the things I enjoy most in life ๐Ÿ™‚
    Don’t feel bad about the tropey thing! Those tropes are baked into every aspect of our culture and we rarely think about them. For every trope I try and subvert, I’m sure I hit another couple of ones that are just as bad. It can’t be avoided and we just have to pick our battles ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’d actually call Sam a villain protagonist, I think ๐Ÿ˜€ but true, he is smart! Hey, nothing wrong with smart villains either, so long as smart people aren’t always the villains.
    I know, right? This post is so stupidly long, I’m surprised anyone bothered! But it’s just too much fun to talk about, so why not!
    Boyfriend is a champ and just amazing ๐Ÿ™‚ He’s smart as well and he always gets what I’m trying to do.
    I’m really looking forward to writing more of Celeste and her wife. They’re really great – at least in my head and in the few scraps of text I’ve written about them ๐Ÿ˜€

RosemaryMarie · March 10, 2018 at 1:31 pm

This was so interesting to read! It provided a lot of insight. I would love to read your notes about the magic system.

    NotJustaBook · March 11, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Thank you <3 I think I'm definitely going to condense it down and post it at some point. There's a lot of world building stuff as well that I might share ๐Ÿ™‚

sempreviva · March 10, 2018 at 2:57 pm

Thank you so much for sharing this with us!
I have the same obsession with names and colors – this sometimes hits my ocd pretty badly (I don’t want to use the same outfit colors on different characters or I sometimes count the letters of the names/surnames of certain characters to see if they match – well I’m better now actually, lol!)
I loved that you strayed from the bad boy route – can’t say the same thing myself – I much prefer Nadir this way and it makes so much more sense for smart and proud Gen to fall for someone like that!
And what can I say? Celeste was and will be my all time favorite!
I will look forward for the sequel! Thank you again for sharing this information with us! ๐Ÿ˜€ <3

    NotJustaBook · March 11, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Thank you for reading all of this, as well as the story ๐Ÿ˜€
    I generally give each of my characters a colour scheme and stick with it. I try and vary it but I’m kind of bad at that. When I can make colours match perfectly, I nearly always do – hence why my characters often end up dressed in the same colours ๐Ÿ˜›
    Ha, ha, I do love a bad boy myself – it’s a guilty pleasure of sorts. It just did not suit Genevieve ๐Ÿ™‚ At the stage when Nadir was closer to the bad boy side of things, he was still polite, but somewhat cold and distant. Then I started having scenes where the two geeked out and his sweet, kind, dorky personality just came out full force. He’s just not a bad boy AT ALL.
    I love Celeste a lot, too ๐Ÿ˜€ but I just cant choose between my three mains. I’ve adored writing all three.
    Thank you again <3

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