Monday, January 13, 2014

Eight Stories Reimagined

Okay, so, I like fairy tales.

I know, I know, I should warn you before I drop a bombshell like that. But it's true. I like fairy tales. I like fairy tales so much that just about 100% of my original writing involves them in some respect.

So, last week in my New Years Goals, I talked about how I want to write more this year, and how I have a bunch of projects that are sitting around waiting to be finished, and yes, the majority of them are fairy tale related. So I thought I'd talk about them, since, lo and behold, there are eight (more or less).

1. Deliverance

Deliverance is a massive, massive, 120,000 word novel I wrote over the course of two years for various Nano-related projects. It is a retelling of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. I wanted to write from the view point of one of the classically overlooked number, so Deliverance, my narrator, is princess number eight, and the novel is so long because it tells much more of their story than just the dancing through their shoes bit every night. This is this month's project, because while the novel is finished, it's amazingly not great because I decided to "pants" the novel when I started it -- write without planning and with only the vaguest idea where I was going. Which is why the beginning especially is full of holes and partial plot points that never went anywhere and a noticeable lack of foreshadowing for what ends up happening. So I'm working on draft two, to try and fix a lot of those issues.

2. The Minstrel Queen

This year's Nano project that isn't even close to being finished. It's a novelization of my favorite fairy tale, The Lute Player, and it is kickass and awesome and I really want to finish my version, but gah motivation is a thing that I lack. My novel is the story of a merchant's daughter destined by prophecy to be a great queen, regardless of the fact that that was never a life she wanted. But she meets her prince and falls in love and marries him, but then he finds out about her prophecy and believes that she lied to him. Then he goes off to war and is captured, and she is the only one who knows he's still alive. She disguises herself as a minstrel boy to go free him, but once she does, he can't see through her disguise, so has no idea it's his wife he has to thank. In his mind, she's still an object of hatred, and she can't bring herself to reveal the truth to him because she wants him to recognize her on his own. 

3. "Untitled Beauty and the Beast Story" part 1 and 2

I actually had this written and completed and was super proud of it, and then the flash drive it was on got corrupted and I lost the whole thing (BACK UP ALL YOUR WORK IN MULTIPLE PLACES AND HAVE A HARD COPY). And while I had sent the story to Maggie, I'd sent draft one, which I had rewritten and reworked about six times since draft one was completed. So I've decided to start over from scratch, rather than try and rework that old draft again. Basically, this is the traditional BatB story (not Disney's; the original), but it ends in the middle. It's Beauty (Annabella) writing down the story of what happened to her when she's trapped in the cellar, unable to make it back to the Beast in time to keep her promise. So, if you know the story, you know what will happen. But she herself doesn't, and the short story ends before the happily ever after.

But cool a story as the above is and will be, I do feel the need to resolve it, especially since I did tweak some aspects of the story and don't get around to explaining them. Basically, in this part, Bella's niece, the daughter of the sister who was so horrid to Bella, finds her aunt's journal (part 1) up in the attic of her home and becomes obsessed with finding the castle in the woods and discovering how hr aunt's story ended. Again, had this all finish, and lost it, but at least with this one, I was never fully satisfied with the ending.

4. "Just Another Vegetable: A Modern Rapunzel"

When I did my fairy tale review project last year, I discovered that no one is modernizing Rapunzel. So I decided to. The short story I posted earlier on this blog has a character, Kale, who is briefly mentioned as a friend of Darcy, the narrator of that tale. Kale, I decided, is my modern-day Rapunzel. Her username on a website dedicated to fairy tales is JustAnotherVegetable, and she is an adopted sixteen-year-old who believes her mother is trying to ruin her life. Except that, rather than make the "witch" the supreme evil of the story, she's just an overprotective mother trying to keep her daughter from going down the wrong paths in life. But the tighter she holds, the more Kale struggles to get free. She sneaks out one night, runs away with her boyfriend, and gets pregnant. I'm splitting the prince into two people, and bringing my Rapunzel back to her mother in the end.

5. "Untitled Princess and the Pea" retelling

Remotely related to Deliverance, this short story is based off a short play a group of students of mine wrote a couple years ago. They did a bunch of little fairy tales and decided to rewrite Princess and the Pea. I'm taking a lot of their ideas and working them into this story (with permission). Queen Remembrance (one of the sisters from Deliverance), has a son named Earnest, and she wants to find him a girl who can serve beside him and help him be a better king, so she devises a series of contests to help find the perfect adviser. But she twists the contest and tells people that it's to find a true princess, sensitive, generous, and obedient, to win the prince's hand in marriage. This is to weed out the obvious gold diggers. Verity, a young farm girl who is friends with the prince without knowing it, hates this contest, and when she gets roped into participating anyway, she's determined to use her time with the queen to speak out for the good of the kingdom.

6. "Untitled Squire's Bride" retelling

God, this one's been sitting on my hard drive for forever, 1500 words of a beginning that I've never given a chance to go anywhere. Really, I just want to mainstream the story because I love it and hardly anyone knows it. I'm focusing on the servant character, I think. I don't know. This one is still just a collection of half-formed ideas.

7. "Untitled Snow Queen" novella.

So this is one that's been bouncing around in my head for a long time. It's another modernization, again born out of my fairy tale review project and wishing that more people who adapt it would veer away from the romance between Gerda and Kai. I've made them cousins. Kyle is a wild kid who is always getting into trouble, so when he disappears and they find his motorcycle in the river, everyone assumes he died, and what's more, "always knew he was coming to this." The only person who doesn't believe he's dead is Grace Anne, his shy, quiet, insecure cousin. She knows something's wrong, and the more she studies the river, the surer she becomes. She figures out that there's some kind of magic tied to the bridge, so she goes to jump, but a boy from her school sees her, thinks she's trying to commit suicide, and jumps after her to save her. So she ends up having to take him along on the journey as well. I'm actually pretty excited to get started on this one, since it's been adapted poorly a number of times.

8. Reimagined: Fairy Tales for Our Time

Eventually, I want to have enough of these short stories to put together into an anthology. So I've got the six listed above, and there are two I've already finished: "How a Knight in Dented Armor Saved a Disappearing Maiden," which I posted part of earlier this year, and the practically required Cinderella story, "How the Ash Girl Found Her Prince," a story where everything about the Cinderella Story goes off without a hitch until the prince comes and proposes and Cinderella (Ash Ann) decides she'd rather marry the cobbler who made her shoes, much to the chagrin of her Fairy Godmother. :)


  1. If this post was on Facebook, and it was possible to do so, I would "like" it a thousand times! =D

    1. You could PUT it on facebook if you wanted Katie :) There's a row of buttons just under the post (they feature the G+ one, cause, ya know, it's google) but if you click the facebook icon it'll guide you through how to share it on facebook. If you want :)