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Gala and Cordial of Vale – Illustrations by Victoria Seow

So after literally a week of gymnastics and writing while standing on my head, I’ve managed to format my fiction novel. And rework the timeline after finding out I have physically shredded five key scenes, which I wrote longhand. The novel is completely re-drafted. Edited, done. Not only that, I’ve managed to weave a coherent timeline for all of the scenes. On top of that, the conclusion is tight, the prologue is tight, and the epilogue is tight. I even have a brilliant idea for cover art.

Augustine Santa Clara- Illustration by Victoria Seow

But guess what? The geopolitics is mucked. The Monarchy of Vale (the fictional name of my country) has to be landlocked for the story to work. My protagonist is an absolute monarch of a fictional country that’s needing to negotiate with trade partners, also fictionalised.

My basis for designing the Continent was Europe, with different borders, same cities but different country names. But the m-effing European Union, in real life, it’s just sat there. It already has a trade bloc and negotiates on behalf of member states. While editing, I realise cannot use the word “Europe” or euro as currency. I could use a pound but then readers will be confused, thinking I’m talking about the UK. I am not.

I know I’m overthinking this. I know it’s fiction. But you know how certain types of people are. They immediately start fact checking your fiction. Do you guys remember Pandora? Pandora, my retelling of a doesn’t exist mythological creature entity person. Got Wikipediaded!!!

I know myself. I will trash that thing if someone bothers me.

I might have to situate this entire story on a completely different planet where the sentient beings are octopuses.

Special thanks to Victoria Seow / sunflowerfox for drawing these characters from my novel.


Life is short, so let’s be decent.

27 replies on “Illustrations”

You got Wikipediaed eh?

Back in 2006, I had written a vampire novel chapter in which the Aztec vampire princess Qonzilqointec had turned Leon Trotsky into a vampire on the late evening/early morning of August 20th/21st 1940 as he lay dying after he got an ice pick wound to the head that was inflicted by a Spanish agent of Stalin.

Although the story was put out (according to my story) that Trotsky had actually died in order that Stalin wouldn’t send out any more agents (this time with wooden stakes) to once again try to bump Trotsky off.

Imagine my surprise in 2007 when I had googled Trotsky to check some information on him and while reading the Wikipedia article, I noticed someone had put in my account of this novelistic incident and put it in as historical fact.

That notation has of course since been removed.

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That was impressive! Recently, I watched a documentary about Stalin and the assassination incident was mentioned. It was in Mexico City that he was killed if I am not mistaken? I remember thinking, Trotsky was an idiot for hiding in Mexico City. He could’ve gone to Uruguay and started an alpaca farm. Something tells me that he was on the phone all night broadcasting his location to just about everyone who asked him. As to the fact/fiction mixup, I think some people’s brains are not wired to understand fiction. The Earth is flat to them.

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The illustrations look fantastic! Really vivid.
Setting it in a future with different countries makes sense, but if you wanted to avoid the pound/euro problem, could you use a completely new currency and have your characters buy something normal (like bread or a meal) at the beginning to show how much the currency is worth?
I’m sure it could work with pounds as well though, readers will understand either way.

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Thanks so much. I am glad you like the illustrations. I love your suggestion and it makes sense to mention the cost of a small item. I’ll keep it in mind for next time. These characters have too much money. Problems and solutions are expressed in billions or millions, which is why I used the euro. I had a mini meltdown because I realised that if I use the euro, there would have to be a European union and that messes up the premise of my story. I’ll stick to pounds, as it is close enough and many countries used it.

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The artist is fantastic. I found her on Fiverr and she’s been amazing. Thank you so much – she will be very happy to know that you like her work.


You’re right. Great advice. Thanks for your input. I appreciate this very much. The story is 2030 new timeline, fictional countries. I’ve decided to use pounds instead of euros because otherwise people don’t understand how much money the currency is at first. Should have done that in the beginning. Already finished writing it. So changing the currency values is going to require a complete rewrite of the story and is the equivalent of trashing it

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How about Lichtenstein? That’s always a country that arouses curiosity, and I doubt anyone would complain if you weren’t factual about it, hardly anyone knows about it and it probably doesn’t even have a wiki page! They use the Swiss Franc, as I just learned! 🙂

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Thanks so much. I’m using made up country names, which I prefer to do. You make a good point. I could scale down and make Vale a smaller country. I will work out the logistics later. Hopefully I don’t have another meltdown.

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Thanks so much for your support. I agree that I should not focus a lot on the geography and it is not the issue. I am an overthinker and I should probably stop. But if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to edit the story.

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Congratulations on getting so much accomplished! I have to confess, though, that I don’t understand your problem in relation to the European Union. There are other landlocked countries in other continents, and they have their own currencies.

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I had exactly the same thoughts you’re having now. You raise an excellent point. I would not be having this problem had I started writing the story on a fictional continent with fictional countries. As I said, I wrote it one way and as I am redrafting, so I’m noticing a lot of things that are wrong with it.


Thank you so much. Had similar thoughts as well. I will do some more reading and try to work something out. But you made a very good point, which is that no one is really going to know which continent if I am vague enough. So I’ll do that. Thank you so much for your input you have saved my novel.

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