Reimagining Fairy Tales

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:

  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”

A boy in the waves

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.


New Project: Snow White and the Real Heroes

working cover for DWARVES OF SEVEN

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!

"Growth" © Ann M. Lynn
Growth © 2017
"Rape" © Ann M. Lynn
Violation © 2017
Fly © Ann M. Lynn
Fly © 2017
"The Good Story" © Ann M. Lynn
The Good Story © 2017
"Nightmare" © Ann M. Lynn
Coping © 2017
© Ann M. Lynn
Shine © 2017
"Humanoid" © Ann M. Lynn
Humanoid © 2017

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

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!

Reading Review – Winter of Women

Cover of Kristin Cashore's FireOnly men made my 2011 summer reading list. When I noticed this, I attempted to compose a list for the Fall of Females. That was more difficult than I’d expected.

I am very selective, and I was still in the mood for novel-length hard science fiction, which doesn’t seem to include many female authors.

On my shelves already are books by Octavia E. Butler, Deborah Chester, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Anne McCaffrey. My personal library also includes J. K. Rowling, Carrie Vaughn, and a handful of fantasy authors that aren’t as well known. A few novels by Diana Wynne Jones and Mercedes Lackey are still sadly on my wish list.

So, whose works did I still need to read?

I looked at CJ Cherryh, Connie Willis,…and Mary Shelley. The problem was that I started in autumn with Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Wow, was that painful. No one had warned me about Frankenstein’s loathsome personality and the amount of time that his monster spends admiring perfect people. I learned there’s a reason more contemporary authors have rewritten the story several times.

I didn’t take home another novel by a female author until January, when I decided to forgo Stephenie Meyer‘s The Host for Twilight with the goal of better understanding RITN’s target audience. I then moved on to more books in the fantasy romance and young-adult genres:

Fire and Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The Game (novella) and Hexwood by Diana Wynne Jones

Beauty and the Werewolf by Mercedes Lackey

Steel by Carrie Vaughn

Inside Job (novella) by Connie Willis

Twilight surprised me, Fire was a delight (and a stronger work than Graceling), Beauty and the Werewolf was a disappointment, and the rest were about what I’d expected.

What am I still missing out on? I’d love recommendations, especially for science fiction and young-adult romance.

Publishing News: Steel, Apple, and Leviathan

In my previous post, I put up a few links that I wanted to be able to find again and that might interest others. This is another link-heavy post–but so much better!

Cover of Carrie Vaughn's SteelThat’s because I remembered you might not yet have heard of Carrie Vaughn’s Steel, officially released in hardcover this week.

The first chapter of this young adult novel about a modern-day fencer who is magicked to an 18th-century pirate ship is available on Carrie’s newly re-designed Website. Take a look!

By the way, who else thinks this is one of the best covers of the season? Artist Larry Rostant used common elements of fantasy covers–a glowing sword and a partially-obscured face of a beautiful young woman–but also covered the girl in appropriate clothing of deep colors that accentuate the gorgeous sword and showed her holding the sword accurately. It makes the fencing geek within me want to dance…

Also released this month was the paperback version of Carrie’s first standalone novel, Discord’s Apple. Her first young adult novel, Voices of Dragons, will be released in paperback any time now.

Let’s move on to the short story world!

Eric James Stone‘s religious/science fiction “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” has been nominated for the Nebula Award. You may read the entire novelette online for free until March 31.

I first read this story in the September 2010 Analog Science Fiction and Fact (thank you, Eric!) and was not surprised at its nomination. The primary conflict between differing spiritual views and science was resolved, as much as was possible, in a beautifully dramatic moment.

Winter Writing Events

Finding information on the Internet about nearby conferences, conventions, and workshops for speculative fiction writers can be a pain. I’m creating my own list but thought other writers might appreciate a look at some of the options.

Below are ten events in the U.S.A. that will either take place this season or have application deadlines in the next couple months.

The estimated cost is for Admission or Membership fee(s) for an adult and does not include travel or other discretionary expenses.

Many conventions are as inexpensive as a new book on writing, if you exclude travel costs. Conferences and large workshops are harder on one’s bank account.

To view any of the event Websites in the list in a new window or tab, right click on the link. Otherwise, the new page will replace this post.


Title Dates City Est Cost App Due
COSine Science Fiction Convention Jan 21-23 Colo. Springs, CO $35 N/A
Chattacon Jan 21-23 Chattanooga, PA $50 N/A
Capricon XXXI Feb 10-13 Wheeling, IL $70 N/A
Life, the Universe,
& Everything 28
Feb 17-19 BYU, UT
ConDFW IX Feb 18-20 Dallas, TX $35 N/A
Potlatch 20
Mar 4-6 Seattle, WA $90 Feb 11
Northern Colorado Writers Conference Mar 11-12 Fort Collins, CO $327 N/A
Clarion West Jun 19 –
Jul 29
Seattle, WA $3,240 Mar 1
Clarion Jun 26 –
Aug 6
San Diego, CA $5,007 Mar 1


Half of these are science fiction conventions. Are you wondering what a convention is and why you might want to attend one? Clarion graduate Paula L. Fleming explains in her article on Attending a Speculative Fiction Convention.

What Fleming doesn’t make clear are the benefits for people who are already selling their work. Robert J. Sawyer answers Why Authors Attend Science Fiction Conventions.

Have you attended one or more of these events?