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Showing posts from June, 2015

Roogleood Brainstorming: Part 3

It hasn't even been a whole month since the contest was announced, but I know several of you have started on your stories.
Today I want to talk about Sleeping Beauty herself. I have heard that it's the characters that make a retelling so appealing. And I'm not just talking about Rooglewood retellings. How many times have you read a boy meets girl type of story? Or watched an asteroid-hits-earth type of movie? The plots are very similar; it's the characters that make it new and fresh.  Am I right?
Your characters are going to be unique because YOU wrote them. And you're pulling from your own set of experiences and relationships to create them.
So tell me about your heroine - what is she like?

Snippet: Color and Music

Colors swirled around her, keeping time with the music.  It was the first day of the ball, and guests had flocked to the castle of Hanadil by the scores.  For a moment, Ilona felt dizzy, but it was a delightful dizziness that made her feel as if she could float away into the music itself.


"Maud will check at the undertaker's to see if he has any ready-made coffins." Madam dusted her hands on her apron and surveyed the white-wrapped corpse with a grim expression.
     I stood in a corner, twisting my hat in my hands and wondering how she could accept death with such a square jaw. I didn't even know the boy -- had only seen him fall -- and I felt like I had lost a friend. "I'll go with her."
     Madam raised her eyebrows but didn't argue. The stolid Maud with her pug nose and decided limp wrapped a shawl over her head and stumbled out the door ahead of me.
     The streets were narrow, and the homes and businesses leaned precariously over us, as if ready any minute to tumble in and obliterate the street.  Snow blanketed everything, heaping in mounds over unidentifiable objects.  More flakes continued to fall, dusting my shoulders and Maud's shawl with white.
     Feeling that some conversation was necessary, I cleared my th…


"Three?  What would I do with three?"
"The same as you do with one!"
          ~A variation of the argument between Tevye and Lazar Wolf [Fiddler on the Roof]
I have three barebones stories in my head for Sleeping Beauty.  One is set long, long ago and far, far away.  One is set in modern times.  And one -- well -- I can't even measure in earth years's on another planet.  How's that for variety?

So my plan is to work on these three for a little while and see what happens.  Maybe one will automatically take the lead.  Or maybe I'll polish up all three.

Once I get them settled into story form, I'll probably try to ask some friends what they think of the stories.  Friends can say "this is perfect" or "this needs more work," but if they say "regardless of how fabulous this story is I don't think it sounds enough like Sleeping Beauty" then it will probably be scratched from the running.

And if non…

Fullness of Joy Literary Tag

Fullness of Joy is celebrating their 4-year anniversary with a literary tag.  Below are my answers but I also encourage you to take a peek at Joy's blog.  She has a giveaway there, if you are interested.  :D

"Fullness of Joy Literary Celebration Tag" 1. What is your favourite "happy" sort of book? (a book that either has joy/happiness as a major theme, or a book that gives you a happy, cozy feeling inside).      Pollyanna is a "glad" book! 2. Did you ever have, in your childhood/youth, a certain book that launched you into a serious love of reading which made it something bigger than a mere hobby in your life?    No, I don't remember NOT reading. 3. What is one overhyped novel that people nowadays term as a "classic" that you really didn't like as much as everyone else? What made you dislike it so much?      The funny thing about my brain is that I will "humph" at it for a week and then promptly strive to forget all about it.  …

Snippet: Nightmares and All

This time, I am sharing quotes from two of my Sleeping Beauty ideas.  They are working under the titles of An Arranged Marriage and SPINDLE, but those titles may change as the stories develop.  Enjoy!

It’d be cruel of me to give you nightmares.  

Rooglewood Brainstorming: Part Two

So last week, for our brainstorming session, we talked about the essential elements of Sleeping know, the things that make you say "it just wouldn't be Sleeping Beauty without ___."

I had 4 people comment, and here is the results of our brainstorming:
Spindle (3 out of 4 votes)
Sleep/Long sleep (3 votes)
Curse (2 votes)
Princess (2 vote)
Little fairies/two fairies (2 votes)
Kiss (1 vote)
Gift (counteracting the curse) (1 vote)
Prince (1 vote)

Today, we are going to talk about things that we could change.  Some of the broadest changes would be in setting, time period, and type of story.  So let's start there.

Remember the point is just to throw some crazy ideas out there and see if any of them stick.  It will also help all of us to see what types of stories appeal to our blogging friends.

So what kind of settings could we put Sleeping Beauty in?  If we look at previous anthologies, we see the typical "kingdom" setting.  We also see spaceships, c…

Snippet: The Pretty Part

I have started my Rooglewood retellings for Sleeping Beauty.  So, for the next several weeks, I am going to post a quote from my stories on Saturdays.  I hope you enjoy it!

“This is the part that hurts.  Can’t we skip it and go straight to the ‘pretty’ part?” ~AAM

Just Not Hero Material

I am fond of believing that anybody can be hero material.  Heroes come in all shapes and sizes.  Some are bold; some are quiet.  Some are fearless; some press through their fears.  Some are strong; some are weak.  Some are crazy geniuses; others are simple folks.  Even the unlikeliest character can become a hero...

...But only if you have enough time to show the change.  Readers still demand a certain level of action and sacrifice by the end of the book.  Being able to take a un-hero-like character and push him through trials that show his true metal is part of what makes a great book.  But what if you are writing a short story?

Short stories can cover some of the same epic changes, but, due to the...well...shortness of a short story, you don't have as much room to cover the changes.  Fewer characters can go through big changes, and the big changes cannot be quite so big.  There simply isn't enough word-space to do it justice.

Which is why I had to rethink the hero in one of …

Rooglewood Brainstorming

Okay, folks, I'm here to take a vote. Most of you know that Rooglewood is hosting their third annual fairy tale contest. And, if you don't, you can find out more information here.

Each fairy tale contest must be a creative retelling, but must also include elements from the original tale.

For Cinderella, there was a prince, a mistreated/hard-laboring girl, a stepmother, stepsisters, a godmother, a ball, a pretty dress and carriage, a midnight curfew, and, of course, glass slippers.

For Beauty and the Beast, there was a beast (who was really a prince), a girl, a ransom (giving of oneself in exchange for another), and roses.

So I want to hear what you think: What are the most important elements of Sleeping Beauty?

Beautiful People: June

I am joining with Sky and Cait's Beautiful People link-up.  They posed the questions for me to answer for my character.  Rather than answer them myself, I will let Ilona answer them.  It seems more fun that way.
Ilona, so you know, is the only daughter of the king and queen of Hanadil.  She is a character in a new story I am playing with.  Here it goes:
1. Do you know your biological parents? Why?      Yes, of course, I know my parents.  Why wouldn't I?  I was raised by them!  (And by my nursemaids).     Do you know your grandparents?      Noooo.  My papa's parents died before I was born.  And my mama's...I've never heard about them.  Is that strange?  Maybe they died, too, and she is too sad to talk about it.
2. Have you inherited any physical resemblences from your parents?      I look very much like my papa.  I have his hair color.  But I am beautiful like my mama...or so he tells me.
3. What are your parents' dress style?
4. Do you share personality traits…

Epic Bible Quote Challenge

For this one, you have to read the whole story (in I Samuel 15) to understand the betrayal that Samuel uncovered.  And how Samuel cried to see a great man placing trust in himself instead of remaining humble before the Lord.  It was the beginning of Saul's downfall.

But Samuel said, “What then is this bleating of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?”


Last year, when I entered the B&theB contest, I kept it very quiet.  

I didn't talk about the contest for fear of attracting competition.  

I didn't talk about my story for fear somebody would steal it.

I hid.

But I watched and listened, too.  And I saw other writers taking advantage of the community.  Nobody spoiled their stories, of course, but they talked to each other.  They shared loglines and premises.  They shared joys and pains of writing.  They shared excitement over the contest itself.  And they had fun together.

And this year, I'm going to do that, too.  I'm going to join this community of writers as we pursue this year's contest together.  Because I want to share my joy with you.  And because I want to know a name on the winners' list next it mine or yours.

Half-full, half-empty, or the whole glass?

My dad and I were talking about artistic people.  You know, the ones who take their time to sketch a glass and the result looks exactly like the glass.  These are people who can see the whole glass -- seeing things that other people never notice -- and it makes them amazing artists.

     I know some writers who take time to see the whole glass.  They sit down with their characters, having conversations with them for hours on end, until they feel they know their characters as real people.  And they do this because they are artists and they want to see each character completely.

     But what happens when a glass has nothing to stand on?  It will fall and shatter...Unless it stays safely in the artist's imagination.  Knowing your characters is not enough, by itself, to get a book written and published.  The rest of the story must be created.  The author has to be persistent to write it down, even if it doesn't come out perfectly the first time.  She must tackle the edits …

Cover Reveal and Contest Announcement

We knew this day was coming.  We've been waiting for days, weeks, months to learn of the next Rooglewood contest.  Well, the day is finally here.  Today, Rooglewood announces the terms of their 2015-2016 contest.  Now for the cover and Rooglewood's description! Are you ready?

Rooglewood Press is delighted to introduce their third fairy tale novella contest—
Five Magic Spindles a collection of “Sleeping Beauty” stories
     The challenge is to write a retelling of the beloved fairy tale in any genre or setting you like. Make certain your story is recognizably “Sleeping Beauty,” but have fun with it as well. Make it yours! Rooglewood Press will be selecting five winners to be published in the Five Magic Spindles collection, which will be packaged up with the phenomenal cover you see here. Maybe your name will be one of the five listed? 
     All the contest rules and information (how to enter, story details, deadline etc.) may be found on the Rooglewood Press website. Just …