Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What if...?

People ask artistic folks where their ideas come from. As one who loves to read and write fiction, I get my ideas from stories:  novels, newspaper and magazine articles, television programs, news casts, etc.

I can't pinpoint the exact inspiration for my current tangent. But I suddenly had an idea for a twist on the cliche′ foundling fairy tale.

The good news is, I finally finished the first draft of Galactic Empress. After setting it aside for several weeks I solved the problem that blocked me near the conclusion of the novel. As a first draft it needs considerable reworking, so I've put it aside again before tackling the changes.

I dug out The Quest (alternately titled The Quest for the Thing, The Quest for Ahmen-Ra, Quest Schmest) to rework it using Larry Brooks' Story Architecture and Randy Ingermanson's Snowflake Method. While in the process of doing this a new idea popped into my head.

What if...?

So I quickly wrote down the story concept and the tentative theme.

With those in mind, I decided to skim through The Complete Grimm's Fairy Tales for stories related to foundlings. Of late I've been using quad-ruled composition books in which I collect anything and everything related to a specific story idea. I went to the original composition book for an unfinished novel called Legacy. The incomplete draft of Legacy has elements that meld with my new story concept so I'm hoping I won't have to start from scratch. I'm recording the bare bones of fairy tales or just noting specific ideas (characters, settings, action, spells, etc.) from the stories. With luck, my findings will flesh out the new concept and set Legacy on a more successful path.

By the way -- the fairy tales collected by the Grimm brothers are full of gory, bloody scenes. Not your Disney fairy tales. Much closer to NBC's Grimm (filmed in my home town!). Cinderella wasn't the only one with a nasty stepmother. And for pete's sake, watch out for your jealous siblings! What's with all these kings giving away their daughters in marriage? Or the spoiled princesses demanding ridiculous or dangerous challenges of their suitors before accepting them in marriage? Whatever you do, don't ever cross on old hag or wise woman. Then there is the number three. It's everywhere! But most importantly, the common themes running throughout the fairy tales are kindness will be repaid, and greed will be punished (often in a grisly manner).


...what if an old hag misinterprets what she sees in the forest?

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