Update: Adapting Fairy Tales to Novels

If you allow a writer one story, they ask for another.

I completed the outline for Dwarves of Seven (Do7) and immediately set to work on an outline for a story from my ideas folder. The plan is now to work on three novels inspired by fairy tales. I’ve layered my schedule for next year (shown below) with months blocked off to speed-draft each one. My stories for 2018, in order of priority:

  1. Do7, from the Grimms’ “Snow-White” with elements of “Snow-White and Rose-Red”
  2. RitN (an old project, revised) more loosely based on “Beauty and the Beast”
  3. A sea-prince story expanding on Hans Andersen’s “The Little Sea-Lady”
Project schedule from Xcel
Chart of a self-publisher’s wishful thinking

The newest outline is for the sea-prince novel. I’m learning more from working on this outline than I did for Do7.

  • I understand less about oceanography than medieval German folktales, so writing about dwarves in an alternative 12th-century Germany is easier than writing about sea-people.
  • Working from general expectations of a story, as I did for Dwarves, is easier than adapting a detailed short story.
  • Hans Christian Andersen was a more interesting person than I would’ve guessed.

I’ve started researching Andersen to understand what inspired him. My goal is write a story expressing the themes that matter to me but in a way that doesn’t contradict too much of the original author’s work.

I’m excited to work on all of these projects. Let’s see how far enthusiasm can sail.

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New Project: Snow White and the Real Heroes

Folktales (or, fairy tales) are a convenient source of inspiration. Adaptations of the Grimm Brothers’ tales are especially good at inspiring new stories. Whenever I read one to my daughter, I think of ways to absorb familiar elements into retellings.

Most of the time, I jot down my ideas in a few lines for for later. One of these stories poured out into an eight-page outline that could result in a 30,000- to 45,000-word story. This novel (or novella) will feature iconic characters from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and the friendlier “Snow-White and Rose-Red” within a fantasy world based loosely on Germany in the Twelfth Century.

Here’s a logline I’m playing with.

A magical family of dwarves save a princess and overthrow her evil parents to reclaim their rights among humans.

You can read about the main characters and watch for updates on the Dwarves of Seven (the working title) page.

15 Every 15 in Review

My short series of 15 Every 15 story bites allowed me to share my work after the latest quiet spell.

Did you see the posts? Here are all seven story graphics from the series!

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Thank you for reading. Writing without an audience is like swimming without water. You make the motions more meaningful.

New Design for the 2017 Holiday Season

Every time I visited the site during my recent 15 Every 15 series, I faced a design that looked outdated and mismatched.

We’re entering the holiday season (here in the US that means the cluster of Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, the winter solstice, Christmas, New Year’s, and the like). This is a time for redecorating, contemplating personal appearances, and frantic repairs around the home before relatives arrive. Seems like a fitting time for a new design, right?

I decided to go big with the layout and colors. Either way, this theme offered:

  • accessibility features for a better experience on various devices,
  • a fixed navigation bar that remains at the top while you scroll, and
  • more room for content on the screen.

The current gold, gray, and white color scheme might stick around past January. We’ll see. I also took the opportunity to drop in a new site icon (image in tab bars) and tweak the static pages (available from the top navigation bar).

So, what do you think?

15 Every 15: The Good Story

My daughter is a storyteller. She collects words as readily as rocks and plant seeds. While bits of nature fill her pockets, her mind fills with tools for her stories.

As soon as she knew how to speak a sentence, she recounted her observations in rambling detail and her dreams in disturbing clarity. She not only tells the story, she performs it. Her hands wave in the air and her voice changes to set the mood.

This is the micro version of her favorite story to tell when she was four years old. She insisted it was “the good story”. I would try every time to rewrite the story into a happier version, yet she held on to the key points that gave her versions a darker tone.

Her versions are better, anyway.


This is the last part of my 15 Every 15 series. Keep an eye out for the graphic cards all together in an upcoming post, and please feel free to comment on your favorite part of the series. Thank you for reading!