Last week, I took a break from Do7, OotS, and all the other stories that exist in pieces to finish a short story that was buried in my files. One simple question about formatting caught me up, sent me out on the world wide web for research, and inspired me to write an entire post. [Update: The information is available on new pages under Resources.]
Maybe you’re with me in trying to figure out how to format short stories. Please let me know if any part of
this post was the new pages helps you.
Happy New Year’s Day!
WIP cover for inspiration
Dancer in medieval dress
I had resolved to make the second of January my launch day for drafting my short novel, Dwarves of Seven–but I forgot! The year is beginning from the first day with brainstorming, note-taking, and drafting a new page for the story.
While working on the opening lines, I could already see gaps from autumn’s research. I know of writers who leave most of their research, world-building, and character designs for last. That’s not my way. Filling in the gaps as they’re noticed helps make scenes flow smoothly.
Anyway, what’s happening is that I am now officially drafting this novel!
This week’s writing soundtrack is Carmina Burana, based on the medieval texts compiled under the same name.
WordPress snow is falling! That’s fun to watch, those white pixels that appear to drift across my blog.
The extra activity in my mind is less fun–but more productive. I’m still working through the preparations for three novels I aim to write in 2018 while ideas for more stories drift through my thoughts. Here’s a quick update.
I’ve slipped a few pages into the my Snow-White short novel, Do7, but have otherwise allowed that story to rest.
RitN is an old Science Fiction romance that I’ve started dusting off for revisions. The current draft is about two-thirds completed. I’m trying to record my ideas for smoothing out transitions between scenes for when I’m writing new scenes next summer.
The outline for my sea-prince story is expanding nicely. This month, I’ve focused on modifying Hans Andersen’s original “The Little Sea-Lady” to match my vision for a longer and less religious story that ends with the suffering hero getting everything he wanted–just not the way he thought he would. For next month, I’m planning on completing a long synopsis to break into scenes.
The other stories drifting around my files at this point include a two short short stories (a Fantasy micro story and Sci-Fi flash) and a poem. (I tend to move my stories between files while working on them.)
In ten days, the real storm should start. I’ll awaken the Snow-White, Rose-Red, and the seven dwarves in an attempt to complete one of the fastest drafts in my writing history.
Wish me luck for the new year?
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 or novellas 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:
- Do7, from the Grimms’ “Snow-White” with elements of “Snow-White and Rose-Red”
- RitN (an old project, revised) more loosely based on “Beauty and the Beast”
- A sea-prince story expanding on Hans Andersen’s “The Little Sea-Lady”
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.
These projects feel like new adventures to me! I want to throw myself into all of them simultaneously.
Let’s see how far enthusiasm can sail.
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.