Work-In-Progress,  Writing Journey

Once Upon A Story…

So, I’m working on a top secret project entitled: “Once There Was Chaos” – not the actual working title, but I really kind of like it! The real working title is a secret known only to the inner circle. Yup, I’m being THAT crazy about it. Because if I tell you my actual working title, you might be able to read between the lines and figure out what I’m doing!! Lol!

In any case, I can say this: I’m finally doing a retelling, after trying and falling on my face for at least three years now, probably three and a half.

I probably talked about it before, but once upon a time (HAHAA) I got in my head that since I LOVE fairy tales more than I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer (and BUFFY IS THE BEST THING ON THE PLANET!!) that I should try my hand at some retellings since I have more fairy tale and folklore books than I have shoes. (haha)

Thing is, right after this great idea, I had like 7 to 10 ideas fall apart in a row. IN A ROW, people. I couldn’t get anything to work for crap. You know the old story elements we learned in grade school? Who, what, when, where, why, and sometimes how? Yeah, I couldn’t answer those. Mostly, I just couldn’t answer the WHY. Why did the stepmother hate her stepdaughter and want to kill her? Why? WHAT IS THE POINT OF THIS STORY?!!

Much later I realized that the reason nothing was working before was because I was being too literal. I was trying to stick too close to the original stories, including keeping the historical settings, and while I love historical settings, I’m not so great at it. In fact, I should probably stop trying because I’m sure I’m embarrassing myself, but that’s another story.

Anywho, I decided a couple of years ago (which is when the current project was birthed into some kind of existence) that I could do whatever I wanted as long as I could put it in a contemporary setting, because mashing supernatural elements with the real world is what I do best (at least it’s what I think I do best…haha).

So, I compiled a list of five retelling mashups that I thought might work and waited. And waited. And waited. And nothing happened. I did tinker with a retelling of an old legend that I love (not the Headless Horseman unfortunately) but I haven’t been able to get that to work out for beans. Also, the ending is crap.

Anyway, in December I saw The Nutcracker for the I don’t what nth time (it really never gets old, I love it) and even though it was unrelated to The Nutcracker, I finally made a break through on a different top secret retelling. It isn’t part of the original five, but I think I got the idea for it in the same year. Who knows.

That breakthrough seemed to do it, for the idea that was the most formed out of the bunch of five sprang up a few weeks later. Kind of like it was saying, “Hey, lookatme! I’m shinier! Whoo hoo! I can do flips! HAYY!”

I’m a sucker for obnoxious ideas. ^_^ Plus it had a point. The other idea (currently going with SONGBIRD just because I need something) doesn’t have enough substance for a novel. You know how when you have an idea you can kind of sense the length – whether it’s a short story, a one pager, a novel, a novella, a play, whatever. Right now, “Songbird” feels short. I’m certainly not going to add a bunch of crap to it just to make it longer, so whatever the length I decided to just go with it. Though shorter length stories are not something I’m good at or really all that interested in doing a lot of, if it works out, I might try to write another couple of shorties in the retelling category and pair them all together. As it stands, I have a few fractured scenes, a lot of beautiful prose, a dramatic ending, and nothing else of substance. It just sits there torturing me with its agonizing beauty!!

It may be that it’s just not ready. It certainly still feels a little frozen. Some ideas definitely take longer to cook into something than others. (*sigh) I’ve been up and running in two days, and with other things it’s taken me as long as five years to sort them out. “Once There Was Chaos” isn’t a fast boiling kind of story either. I’ve had a basic concept for at least two years. It’s taken this long to get the setting and supporting characters right, but I’ve gotten bits of plot every few months or so along the way. I didn’t pay just too much attention to it, but the plot bunnies tend to let me know when they’re ready. 🙂

Cheers to shiny shiny projects. ^_^


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