Writing The Monsters Within

– Written by author Des Fonoimoana –

Not long ago I was reminiscing about how The Monsters Within came to exist and how many nights I spent haunted by the characters, even with other projects in front of me. They demanded I tell their story to the point where one day, I had to. I must have started writing the novel when I was 14 or 15 and now at my ripe age of 27, my story will finally be in the hands of readers. Back on the older console days, I was playing a video game with an antagonist that sparked the first thought of The Monsters Within. This antagonist was incredibly interesting to me, as he wasn’t the main baddie but he was connected to many of the characters, and I felt he had a story of his own to tell. He didn’t get the chance to show how diverse he truly was and reveal his motivations. I thought he deserved to have a voice. 

Thus the character Jett Torn (though his name has changed since his fruition) was born. A wounded individual with a hard past and a vendetta. Over time he definitely softened as a character and his connections to others grew into stronger relationships, but this gave him a dynamic he originally wasn’t gifted. I started to sympathise with him and he quickly became my favourite character. The world around Jett came next: The City, his opposition, the deceased love, and the man who controls him. Jett, being my favourite character, was not ready for the world to completely meet him. He made a brief, bitter appearance in the beginning but was not much more than a mention until later in the book when his character grew to be more important. 

Shadow became his biggest obstacle as he navigated working for a wicked monster and trying to honour his morals under the horrible orders demanded of him. A rebel, assassin, and snarky woman, she can either be his greatest ally or his greatest enemy. She is haunted by her choices in the past, unable to escape them unless she can find her redemption. But for Shadow and many other characters, things are not always what they appear to be. It has been a journey forming this story. Over the course for more years than I am willing to admit, the characters haunted me, demanding for their story to be told. I could not be certain what story they might tell though after seeing them take form I am feeling confident about it. I wrote scenes here and there when I felt so inclined but it was not until National Novel Writing Month that my story took off. For two years I participated, cranking out 50,000 words over the month of November. My second NaNoWriMo I cranked the 50,000 out in the course of 6 days (I wanted to see how fast I could write it) and promised myself never again

But at that point, my story was told. The Monsters Within was a full, first draft ready to edit. I began my first edit, followed by having amazing beta readers give me solid feedback. I went through edits on my own about 4 times, using feedback and notes as well as trying to align the plot points that were chaotic due to writing over such a long course of time. 


Des Fonoimoana has been writing since she could lift a pencil (though her stories were not always legible). During the day, she works with teens that have emotional and behavioural disorders and serves the community. At night, she spends time writing, drawing, gaming, and playing guitar. And of course, spending time with her husband and corgi, Ginger. The Monsters Within will be coming to you 14th August!

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