The Origin of Fireflies

I’m going to post the Fiona part of Dance Me a Match this week, so I thought I’d talk about how Fireflies came about.  It starts with another novel.  For National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo), I was writing the story of a reality show that crossed a dance competition with a matchmaking show.  For those of you who don’t know, in NaNo, you are challenged to write 50K words in the 30 days of November.  Because of the 50K rule, I decided to go with a cool structure for the novel.  I would split it into 25 parts – 8 sections or weeks of the show with 3 chapters each, plus a separate chapter for the finale.  Each chapter would be 2000 words, thus making it 50K, and I’d write at least one chapter a day (so I’d be done on day 25, in theory).  Each section would have a chapter from my main character’s POV (the teen cameraman with a crush on the host), and two chapters from the contestants’ POVs.  A different girl would be in each chapter, so that in the end I had 16 contestant POVs plus the cameraman’s.

When I started, I had no idea how I was going to come up with these 16 POVs, so I started taking songs that I liked or found a story within and applying them to Dance Me a Match.  I got two-thirds of the way through the novel when I realized I was one girl short.  Fortunately, sagelikethesister had just introduced me to the Owl City song, “Fireflies,” which I had fallen in love with.  I created this whimsical insomniac based off the song and started integrating her into the story.  When it came to her chapter, I experimented with voice.  Usually I get stuck in an attitude-filled voice, but for Fiona, I had this hazy stream-of-consciousness narrative.  I adored it.

One of the things I loved most was how Fiona’s view of the world was so dreamy and she didn’t always know what was going on, but we knew because of information we had from other POVs.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to do that as much in Fireflies because Fiona’s POV is the only one the novel has, but there are a few instances of it.

When I finished DMaM, I knew it wasn’t really something I wanted to go forward with.  I’m not really an edgy type of girl, and DMaM is another proof of that.  I also didn’t ever connect to it, except for a few POVs… like Fiona’s.  When the novel was done, the only chapter I wanted to read was Fiona’s.  So I took that chapter and created a full novel around this one girl.   Anybody who’s beta read Fireflies or read some excerpts will probably see some similarities in the DMaM chapter.  First of all, it just didn’t seem right to leave out Fiona’s search for a ghost.  So I put that in Fireflies.  Also, her musings about her brother and his TBI is a huge part of Fireflies (although not that long in the DMaM chapter).  Finally, some of my favorite lines in the second are echoes of the first. 

Anyway, I still have a fondness for her part in DMaM, which is why I’ll share it with you this week. 

Lots of love,



2 thoughts on “The Origin of Fireflies

  1. I love hazy stream-of-consciousness narratives!

    Fiona sounds awesome. Can’t wait to get my hands on Fireflies, I’ve never read a literary MG novel before!

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