Guest Post

Behind the Scenes of Befriending the Beast

Today I’d like you to welcome Amanda Tero to this blog — as part of her three-month long blog tour featuring her “Tales of Faith” trilogy, she’s sharing a bit about the writing of the first book: “Befriending the Beast”. One of these days, I’ll get a review up on here featuring that book . . . =)

From Random Ideas to a Story

I love behind-the-scenes. Watching the blooper reels. Reading the cut scenes. Yessssss. I don’t just want to enjoy the product—I want to know how the completion came to be.

I imagine that there are several others who like the same (show of hands now ;) ). The next three months as I’m visiting blogs, I’ll be doing several posts about-the-process (or behind-the-scenes). Just saying: I can’t wait until August when I feature “Protecting the Poor.” I mean, the whole about-the-process of coming up with Dumphey’s band of “merry men” was SO fun! But… that’s not today.

Today I want to back up to a time when a Robin Hood retelling wasn’t even on my radar. A day when it was only going to be a “Beauty and the Beast” short story retelling. Yeah. That long ago.

But, I can only share this with you if…

1) You’ve read “Befriending the Beast” or

2) You just don’t mind spoilers

Because today I’m sharing a little bit about my brainstorming process. And there are a lot of spoilers here. I don’t like spoilers at all (ask my family—as we’ve been watching the new “When Calls the Hearts,” the room will explode against knowing what the “Next week on…” trailer reveals. NO! Don’t give me any hint!! I don’t even read most back covers of books because I don’t want to know any bit of what happens. Anyone else like that?).

I’m not quite sharing all my random notes, because that was six pages of random notes, duplicated scenes from the manuscript, etc. So, I’ll just share what is pretty original and not too boring. ;) Still, you might want to pop some popcorn, steep some tea, brew some coffee, dig out the chocolate… whatever it is you like. ;) And be introduced to a very casual, non-professional me. Because, after all, that’s who I really am.

My first set of notes goes as follows (I’ll insert today’s thoughts in italics). As you’ll see, sometimes it’s just a sentence. Sometimes two. And sometimes an actual scene idea. Sometimes it’s really cut dry and boring, and other times you can tell I get a little excited.

Rose on the back cover (Yes, I mix design ideas with story ideas.)

What if the beast was the daddy? (The question that set it all off…)

Ten years since Mama died. She stayed for a while then, finding only misery and neglect, she went to her aunt and uncle’s.

Girl raised externally from the home (she was away at her aunt’s) and has basically no relationship with dad, always taking vacations at friends’ houses. But then she meets Christ. and that makes her desire a relationship with her dad. (Yeah, the “vacations at friends’ houses” didn’t make it into the finale ;))

Something will happen for her sixteenth birthday. Either custody will turn over to her aunt and uncle, her uncle will write to her father a demand to be her guardian, something.

Percy comes in and says that the king has commanded not to be seen. Belle goes days without seeing her father. Why did she even come back? What were some ways that she could show love without … being with him? His favorite dishes.

She realizes that she only has three months to make her decision.

Papa does see her, when the letter is received. No, this goes between Percy. Gives her the choice (ish). She will be under Lord Kiralyn’s guardianship, but this will sever any ties to him. She would be known as the late Queen Ryia’s daughter — and the king as good as dead too.

If guardianship was transferred to Uncle Raoul, he would not permit her to return to the castle and any efforts for Papa would be lost. Was she willing to erase all connection to the castle?

When Papa finally asks to see her on this matter, Belle is in the rose garden. She has just picked the first bud from the bushes and has tucked it in her hair. This sets Papa off. (Yeah, I don’t think that made it into the final either…)

Writes a letter to Papa

This next part… this is how my brain works, you guys. ;)

Roses – rose garden! A secret garden. Overrun. The queen’s

Queen has a prize rosebush — this is the one that the King gives a rose to Belle

Roses are forbidden. Does Belle accidentally place them in castle?

OH, OH, OH!!!!! What if … when, she’s like close to death. And the king learns about the garden.

So then he goes in there and tends it. For a surprise to her! So when she is finally well, and able to go around, she doesn’t know that the king has come around. But she wanders to the garden and it is immaculate. (Ah… yes, most of that was retained—and an interesting note about writing a “loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast:” I haven’t watched the movie or read the story in years because I prefer to stay away from portrayals of magic. So while I knew I wanted to include roses and them being forbidden, at this point, I wasn’t sure how I was going to use that rose emblem…)

Percy is the buffer between the two (There you have it—a random, no-punctuation-used idea about character portrayal)

Horse accident (happens after the King explodes for seeing the roses)

“You’ve never wanted for anything. You had my money, and your friends’ love”

“It wasn’t my friends’ love I wanted–it was yours.”

(Sometimes you get a conversation idea, but it just doesn’t fit into the story… this one didn’t make it either)

Pampered and petted by staff because she shows appreciation.

Now let’s jump to my file called “The end mixups.” Because endings are totally one of my weaknesses.

In this file, I had quotes from the manuscript and then my brainstorming. I’ll omit the excerpts just so you can see the thought-process (and because it was four pages long…)

Papa is visiting her. She doesn’t know.

She wakes up. Remembers why she’s here. Remember’s Papa’s exclamation.

She doesn’t stop to think about the fog of her sickness. Just what happened before.

She writes letter. What if she doesn’t remember the letter? What if Anis held onto it until she was sure that Belle was better before sending it? “Shall I send it now?” The word “Aye” was on her tongue, but Belle wasn’t sure that it got beyond her brain.

Does she forget about the letter? How does she view Papa’s change? Does Papa spend a day with her, she not know how to face it then talks with Percy? AGHHHHH! Don’t know! (Anyone else fuss at yourself when something just isn’t clicking??) Does Percy remind her that it’s not just about their relationship, but about Papa turning to Christ? Would there be a better chance of Papa coming to Christ with her leaving or staying? Papa doesn’t deserve a second chance … but how often had God given her a second chance? Is she willing to stay if Papa returns to his beastly behavior and doesn’t change for real? Bottom line is, what is God wanting her to do?

She didn’t seek God before writing the letter. What repercussions will it have?

Wakes up, remembering the decision that the king had made. She was going back. Her hands trembled. Was it the end of the dream, the knowledge that she was unwanted by her own father, or something else?

The king and Lord K argue, the king shouting.

“You couldn’t stay with a — a madman like him!”

Belle looked at her father, expecting to see the rage she had become familiar with. Instead, she saw sorrow. Pain.  

Does the king leave and not know when she decides to stay? Does she find him in the garden, with the yellow rose?

If she left, would it help her father to know Christ? Her focus had been off — it had been only on what she could gain, how comfortable she was. She forgot the eternal values.

And there you have it. I go from one thought process to another and often interrupt myself or ask myself questions to figure out what comes next. How do you brainstorm? Do you type it all out? Talk it out? Do you usually end up with a lot of ideas that don’t make it into the final?

About the Tour

In anticipation of the release of “Protecting the Poor” (book three in the Tales of Faith series), Amanda is guest posting or being featured on over a dozen blogs each month. Each post is unique to the blog—an inspirational post, an article on the writing craft, an excerpt from one of the Tales of Faith books… you’ll just have to visit each blog to see what comes up. ;) Amanda will link to each blog on With a Joyful Noise, so check in every week and see what blogs have a special Tales of Faith feature!

About Amanda

Amanda Tero began her love for words at a young age—reading anything she could get her hands on and penning short stories as young as age eight. Since graduation, she has honed her writing skills by dedicated practice and study of the writing craft. She began her journey of publication with a few short stories that she had written for her sisters and continued to add to her collection with other short stories, novellas, and novels. It is her utmost desire to write that which not only pleases her Lord and Savior but also draws the reader into a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ.

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I am a 23 year old young lady who is redeemed and saved from my sin only by the grace of God. A bibliophile at heart with a love of history who desires to see the Word of God practically applied to all aspects of our daily lives -- in our homes, in the grocery store, in the political realm. I strive to put my jumbled, chaotic thoughts down onto paper -- reducing them into black and white rows, letters, sentences. Into some semblance of sanity. And I share them here with all of you, where I can challenge you, make you think, and cause you to ask questions. I am the oldest of eleven children living the country life in the deep south.


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