Wanderland Excerpt Number Three!

So if you haven’t heard me rabbiting on about my most recent WIP, it’s called Wanderland, and it’s a retelling of Alice in Wonderland. And also it contains lots of OTHER fairytales, because…well, I couldn’t help myself.

You can see some other excerpts here and here.

They’re all pretty weird, so be warned. Also, it is a first draft, so none of this will probably even make it to the second draft, but I hope you enjoy it anyway 🙂 I mean, I’m still nervous to actually be posting these excerpts, but I thought I’d do it before the stage where I hate the whole thing.

A key:

Alice – main character

Charlie – Alice’s brother

Zella – nickname for Rapunzel – someone they’re travelling with

Zagadka – the Sphinx who gave the riddle in excerpt 2

Excerpt One

From chapter 20, in the land of Tramautumn – in which Alice and company happen upon the house of the Crooked Man

After three separate sunsets in a row, we came upon a crooked house. It rose up straight into the air, slim and pitching to the right. It was made up of a patchwork of materials – bricks and slabs of stone and wooden planks and marble and tiles and metres upon metres of what looked like…sticky tape? Was that what the house was held together with?

At the front of the yard was a little crooked gate, which opened upwards. Charlie and I came into the middle of the yard, where there grew little crooked flowers that grew the wrong way up. Purring on the front step was a little crooked cat, its tail bent several different ways and its whiskers on top of its head. It was a ginger cat and its paws turned inwards.

‘Morning good,’ said the cat. ‘The crooked man has been expecting you.’

The door burst open and the crooked man stepped into our line of vision. He held a cane in one hand, knobbly and zigzagging all the way to the ground. His legs pointed backwards and his tall hat was a miniature replica of his house. I watched in amazement as he did a handstand on top of the walking stick, his backwards-facing feet almost touching the roof. ‘Morning good!’ he yelled. ‘I’m Leslie, or the Crooked Man. This is my house, the boundary between Zonsonderdang and Alba. Yes? You have heard of me?’

‘I haven’t heard of Zonsonderdang and Alba,’ I said, amused. There was something about Leslie that put a smile to my face. I couldn’t imagine anything but happiness here.

‘The lands of sunset and sunrise,’ said Leslie, righting himself again. He spread out a hand each side of him. Jiggled his left arm. ‘Zonsonderdang, the sunset area.’ Bounced his right arm up and down. ‘Alba, of the sunrise.’

‘And what about your house? What is this land?’ I said.

‘Leslie’s Land,’ he said, grinning. His teeth were crooked as well. ‘And I see you’ve met Diddle?’

I assumed that was the cat. I extended a hand and she shook it, purring. ‘The only cat I’ve met here has been the Cheshire Cat.’

‘An old friend,’ said Diddle. ‘But I wanted to travel the world, learn to play the fiddle…he wanted to keep disappearing all over the place. Frightfully boring, if you ask me.’

‘So she came to live with me!’ said Leslie, doing a little jig. ‘Aren’t I just the luckiest person alive?’

There was no irony or sarcasm in his words. He seemed to be genuinely in love with life, which was…well, refreshing to say the least. Whenever I said something like that, something that was heartfelt, Charlie always criticised. Or someone at school did. We valued humour over love, I guess.

Wanderland, for all its faults, was never afraid to be genuine. It lied and tricked and was never what it seemed to be, but it owned that. It embraced it.


Excerpt Two

‘Why is a raven like a writing desk,’ I repeated. ‘Okay, brainstorm. Fun fact: a group of ravens is called an unkindness.’

Zella gave me a withering look. ‘How does that help?’

‘I just thought you might be interested.’

‘Are you always this irritating?’

‘Sometimes more.’

‘Charlie must adore you as a sister.’ She began to pace.  ‘Ravens and writing-desks. Right. Okay. Ravens have…wings.’

‘Ground-breaking,’ I said.

She ignored me. ‘And writing desks have…erm. They have quills?’

‘Can you make a quill out of a raven feather?’ I mused.

Zella’s eyes widened. ‘That’s it! You’ve solved it!’ Before I could say anything, she galloped over to Zagadka and yelled, ‘You can make a quill out of a raven feather!’

Zagadka yawned. ‘No.’

When Zella returned her shoulders were a little lower than they’d been before. ‘Wasn’t the answer.’


‘You should have said something.’

‘I would have, but you were a little fast for me.’ I smiled. ‘It’s okay, we’ve got two more guesses.’

She sat on the sand and let a handful of it trickle through her fingers. ‘That’s how much time we’ve got left.’



I joined her on the sand. ‘Maybe we have to think about this a different way. We need an answer that isn’t what you’d expect.’

‘Well, yes. That’s why it’s a riddle.’

But I wasn’t really listening. ‘Something tricky…what do you do on a writing-desk? You write, obviously. What do you write? Notes, I’d expect. But ravens don’t write notes. And they don’t sing, either. Do they sing? I don’t quite know. Maybe they do, but very out of tune.’ I laughed. ‘The ravens are a bit flat, today…’ I paused. ‘A bit flat. Flat notes. Hang on.’

Zella seemed confused. ‘What? What’s happening?’

‘I think I’ve got it.’ I hauled myself back onto the wheelchair. ‘Push me to Zagadka please, Zella.’

‘What did your last slave die of?’

But she pushed me. And then I said to Zagadka, ‘Both can produce a few notes, though they are very flat.’

Zagadka blinked slowly and then smiled. ‘Well done. You’ve progressed to the second riddle.’

You have got to be kidding me.

(and yes, both gifs WERE necessary)



Excerpt Three


Hey Diddle Diddle

What tune is your fiddle?

It sounds so awfully sad.

The little dog laughs when his tears are all spent

So at least we can say he is mad.


If you call me Diddle

The cat with the fiddle

Then certainly, that would be right.

But if you’d like the truth then do listen in close

Because Diddle is not here tonight.


I used to be Diddle

The cat with the fiddle

Who jumped, danced, sang all the day.

But Wanderland’s crumbling, the sky is so dark

I’m afraid I have lost my way.



So which was your favourite? Would you read my absurdly crazy retelling? 🙂

24 thoughts on “Wanderland Excerpt Number Three!

  1. I love your crazily absurd fairy tale retelling and I pretty much will just hug it whenever I get to read it. (Just sayin’.) I thiiiiiink (it’s hard to decide) that number #2 was my favourite. But I LOVE that poem and I LOVE the description #1. I mean, wow, your imagination is amazing. IT IS LITERALLY THE BEST. I am in sheer awe.

    • YAYYY. You realise I’m going to force you to read it one of these days and you’re going to hate it after that? But we can pretend you’ll like it 😀 I’m glad you like the poem. Poetry is so not my forte but it’s easier when you’ve already got a subject + rhyme scheme, lol.

  2. I really hope Wanderland gets published someday so that I can read it, and I really mean it! I get really nervous about posting excerpts from my first drafts, too. These are all great excerpts, though. I especially love the second one. It’s so funny! I also think the poem is really clever. And the first one is so creative! It must be really fun to write scenes like the first excerpt. Also, I totally understand your fear of being at the stage where you hate your WIP. I’m currently taking a break between writing the first draft and editing my WIP, and I’m starting to get scared of editing. I haven’t even read my draft over, but I know that it is a complete mess right now.

    • YOU AND ME BOTH ANA. I would love for Wanderland to be published so you can all read it 😀 YES these scenes are so much fun. Makes it all worth it. Ohhh yes the dreaded hating-WIP stage. It’s awful. Fingers crossed it’s only a short stage.

  3. These are all amazing Emily, and I would definitely want to read the full story! I can’t pick which one I loved the best (because they are all brilliant really), but I will say that I love how you’ve been integrating poetry into the story as well which is really clever. There’s something about these excerpts and your writing that immediately pulls you into the whimsical world as you read, and that is something which a good piece of writing should do 🙂 Congrats on creating something that even on a first draft seems like it’s going to be something special!

    • YAY. Excellent 😀 I’m glad you like the poetry. I never knew I would have so much fun with it – but Alice in Wonderland has so much that it felt criminal not to have some 🙂 I seriously hope I can publish this one day because I love the world so much. I’m glad you liked it!!

  4. EMILY! These are amazing! How could you pick a favourite from these glorious works?! But wow, that poem is just fabulous. Poetry befuddles me because I can’t do it but yours is just brilliant! PS. What an imagination you must have!

  5. Loved these excerpts, especially that poem, I hope you leave that in, it read perfect to me.
    Good luck when you start revisions, when this becomes a book I’ll be reading it 🙂

  6. OMFG. I don’t care what draft this is in, I need it. You have no idea Em, I’m utterly in love. I propose you set up a Crowdfunding or Kickstarter and self publish (unless you’re pitching to publishers), I’d fund the crap out of it. It’s absolutely brilliant. I love it. LOVE IT! When will it be reader for beta reading and how much can I offer you to get a spot on that team? Em, you’ve got an absolutely winner here, and I don’t say this lightly. I’m an Alice in Wonderland freak and these few snippets are even better than Splintered ❤

    • I COULD KISS YOU. I love how you comment on every one of these saying you want to read it 😛 makes me so happy. I mean, is there anything better to hear, as a writer??? And I’ll be pitching this to agents…eventually. I’ve got another work in progress that I’ll be querying in a couple of months, so who knows what will happen? If not, one of these days I’ll self-publish…somehow 🙂

      BETTER THAN SPLINTERED NO WAY. I adore Splintered so much. But thank you so much ❤

  7. Question: what does WIP stand for? Anyway, I absolutely love your Wanderland story. I love reading the excerpts, they’re fantastic!

    Thanks so much for sharing, Em! <33

  8. YOU SOLVED THE RIDDLE OMG YOU GENIUS YOU! Did you come up with that yourself? Even if you didn’t, I’ll still be impressed. XD Your excerpts are awesome! Your dialogue and characters are excellent, your description, UGH EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME I COULD TOTALLY SEE WHAT WAS GOING ON! *takes a deep, calming breath* Ahem, anyway. I do believe I shall hop over and follow you on Bloglovin’. ^.^

  9. Hello Emily! I have a question and i know this is really off subject but-
    i have been trying to get gifs set up on my blog but i cant find any! and i was wondering, do u make your gifs or do you get them off the internet? If you do get them off the internet, then where would i find them?

    Daisy Blogger

    ps Your book seems FABULOUS i NEED it!

    Though my favourite answer to that question will always be “They both have nothing to do with cheese” (I didn’t make that up, I saw it somewhere).
    I love these 🙂

  11. Pingback: Midnight Madness Newsletter (68) | YA Midnight Reads

  12. These. are. awesome.

    Educational, too! I had no idea that a group of ravens was called an unkindness. I can’t exactly think of a situation in which I’d NEED to know that, but you never know. 😛 (Probably still more useful than someone of the stuff I learned in maths heh.) But anyway, I’m rather jealous of your imagination. 🙂

  13. I loved them all, but I have to say the last one was my favourite. I’M SO EXCITED TO READ MORE OF THESE, OH MY GOSH. 😀
    Also: “I thought I’d do it before the stage where I hate the whole thing” – I wish I couldn’t relate to that statement QUITE so much. 😛

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