October 27, 2010

I go through a fortnight (Sorry--fourteen days. I’ve been here way too long.) of wandering the castle and pretending I know what I’m doing. It’s not too hard. There are probably hundreds of rooms in this place. As the party/birthday thing gets closer, it gets harder to find an empty room. Eventually, I find a quiet corner in the kitchen next to barrels of apples and sacks of grain. It smells like goose poop, but the sacks are nice to sleep on. And there’s food.

Why am I still here? I got the witch invited. Isn’t that what she was so upset about? I go over the fairy tale in my head again: Baby princess is born. Witch doesn’t get invited. Witch comes anyway and punishes everyone by cursing baby. After that, it gets a little hazy. I’ve seen the movie so many times, I’m not sure how much of it is accurate. I know the princess pricks her finger on a spinning wheel and falls asleep. She has to be kissed to wake up.

That’s all I have to work with? Doesn’t it take sixteen or eighteen years for that to happen? I bury my face into a sack of flour and choke on the dust. What did I do wrong? Why am I not home? The story should be changed. No, the story should be non-existent at this point. No angry witch means no spell.

The day of the celebration finally gets here. I borrow a dress from one of the rooms. I have to make sure to get all the details I can about this story.

I don’t think I need to describe this feast. Just know there’s a lot of food (Home grown. I mean, the turkey’s feathers are still in the kitchen.) and a lot of people dressed up. (So. Much. Lace.) I stand against the wall where I can see the royal thrones and the royal baby crib trimmed in velvet and lace. Everyone comes up to give their gifts. Some of the presents are kind of dumb. What baby would want a million rolls of cloth?

Some of the fairies (the ones with wings and pointy hats) give some interesting gifts. One youngish-looking girl puts her hand on the baby’s forehead and blesses her with strong bones. No one blesses her to be a light sleeper. Another fairy goes up to the baby and things… change. It’s like walking in on people talking about you and they suddenly shut up. Everyone stares at this fairy in her emerald-green dress and hundreds of twisty knots all over her blonde head. The woman smiles at the baby the whole time except for one glance at the queen. The fairy’s smile widens before she goes back to looking at the little princess.

“A gift,” she says. Her voice doesn’t fit her. It’s deep and almost masculine. Definitely not a soprano. “A gift for the princess.”

The king stands. He looks like he swallowed a hot pepper. “Don’t you touch her. You’re not welcome here.” He sounds like he swallowed a hot pepper.

The fairy waves a rolled up piece of parchment and my heart drops like a rock into my stomach. “I’ve been invited,” she purrs.


October 25, 2010

If You Want to Take a Writing Class, Now is the Time!

I got this info today:

Anyone that signs up for How to Revise Your Novel (HTRYN) or How to Think Sideways (HTTS) between this coming upTuesday (the 25th) and November 2nd at 10:00 AM, will get the Motivation
video course ($50 value) and the Dialogue video course (another $50) for free.

I'd highly recommend getting HTRYN for post-nano. If you aren't doing nanowrimo, but want to learn how to tap into your muse and write a better novel, then HTTS is probably a better choice. If you're not sure which one is right for you, read the descriptions I've linked to. I've taken both of these courses and each one put my writing lightyears ahead. It's a great way to really push yourself and learn what works for you, while improving your writing dramatically.

I took the Motivation video course. It's interesting. It breaks things down and shows you what motivation is and how to conjure it. The best part is: it's applicable to anything, not just writing. I'm looking forward to the dialogue video course :)

I'll give more details as I get them.

October 20, 2010

I dream that an owl is scratching at the wall over my head. It’s really annoying. I fight to wake up and when I open my eyes, I’m staring at the underside of a wooden table. I smell books… and feet. I’m surrounded by feet.

I crawl out from under the table. I’m in a cramped little room with stone walls. (No doubt—I’m in a castle of some sort.) Ninety percent of the floor space is taken up by the aforementioned table. The other ten percent is occupied by a few small women in small chairs. The women are wearing floor-length dresses just short enough that their bare toes poke out from under their skirts. I guess this fairy tale doesn’t mention much about footwear. Guess I’m not in Cinderella.

The women ignore me. They’re too busy scratching their quills against parchment. I lean over a shoulder and read the old-fashioned writing. It’s an invitation. To a celebration for the princess. Actually, it’s more like a birth announcement and it mentions a time and place. Maybe a baby shower?

Two little men shove stacks and stacks of finished letters into large Santa-esque sacks. Since I’m still being totally ignored, I use this time to think. A fairy tale with a party… Not a ball, but a birthday for a princess.

Sleeping Beauty, of course. I smack myself in the head with my palm, making a slapping sound loud enough to finally get some attention. A nearby woman turns to look at me in shock. “Who are you? What do you want?”

Another woman looks up from her work. “Did the queen send you?”

"Um… yeah.” I clear my throat and throw my shoulders back like I know what I doing. “Yes. Her majesty has changed her mind. Be sure to invite everyone. Do not leave out one single person.”

The first woman’s mouth parts in surprise. “Even the witch.”

I nod smugly. “Even the witch. Invite her. We don’t want to upset or offend anyone.”

The two women nod in agreement and return to their work. I fold my arms in satisfaction and congratulate myself on job well done. Crisis averted.

So why am I still here?

October 13, 2010

Hansel and Grettle, Meet Ivy Thorn: Part 2

I set off following the trail of rocks, very pleased with myself. I never would have seen these stupid rocks if I hadn’t taken a nap. See—naps are awesome.

Again, I won’t boor you with the lack of details. This forest is huge. And monotonous. Eventually, I come up to a house.

Sorry, not a house. A shack. And it’s not made of gingerbread. Bummer. It’s really just a bunch of boards, barely held together. I realize this must be Hansel and Gretel’s home. And their parents, the ones that decided it would be a good idea to abandon their kids in the woods, probably still live here.

I take a deep breath to help me relax. It probably wouldn’t be a good idea to punch the dad in the stomach at this point. Probably. Then I march right into the front door. Well, I march into the big gap between the boards that make up the front of the house. I assume they use it for a door.

A woman in rags pauses when I walk in. Her hand, full of grass or something, suspended over a small pot hanging over the fire. “Who are you?” she asks. “What do you want?”

Seeing her hollow cheeks and dry, thin lips makes me relax a little. There isn’t any furniture in the house. There isn’t even a floor. The grass is gone, leaving only dirt to walk on. There’s a tree stump near the fire that the woman was probably sitting on. I realize the pile of rags near my feet is probably their bed. Not taking my eyes off of it, I say, “Your kids are with a witch. There’s food there. And probably money.” I seem to remember some sort of happily-ever-after ending and the children wind up with the parents again, so I assume that means an end to their poverty. Fairy tales usually end like that. At the very least, they’ll get to eat the witch’s house.

I look up. The woman’s hand still hovers over the steaming pot. “My children?”

I nod. “Yeah. They left a trail of stones through the forest. If you follow it, you should find the witch’s house.”

Behind me, a man’s voice says, “Who are you and what do you want?”

I turn and see a man, too tall for the rags he’s wearing. I can see his narrow torso through the gaps in his clothing. He’s scowling at me. But as he takes a step toward me, he goes blurry. I close my eyes.

Everything goes quiet. I hadn’t noticed all the forest sounds or the noises of the fire, until they disappear. I open my eyes and I’m standing next to my bed. I relax, lowering my shoulders. Time for breakfast.

October 11, 2010

Hansel and Grettle, Meet Ivy Thorn: Part 1

This time, I wake up in the forest. It’s been a while since I wake up in a fairy tale, so at first I think it’s a dream. Most of the time, when you think about the forest, you think about chirping birds and filtered sunlight through the canopy, but when you have no idea where you are or how to get out, it’s feakin’ scary.

I push my hands into the dirt and get up on my feet. Before I let myself panic, I start walking. The forest looks the same in every direction, so it’s not like I can make the wrong choice. I can kind of tell that the sun is high up in sky, but it’s still dark down here.

I wander for a long time. I mean a really long time. I won’t boor you with the details of my fruitless journey; just know that by this point I’m tired, hungry and thirsty. Mostly, I’m tired. (I think that totally goes against Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs or something. Just take my word for it. I’m bushed.) Maybe this is a really short fairy tale and it’ll end soon all on its own. A girl can hope. So I kneel down and scoop up a big pile of pine needles to sleep in.

Can I just say: there’s a reason they’re called needles. I fold my arms under my face, but the rest of me is still being pricked to death. It’s like I’m not even wearing any clothes; they just poke right through.

I roll off the pile of death-mulch into the dirt. I guess I’m tired enough that I can sleep on the hard ground.

When I wake up, I wonder what the heck kind of fairy tale I’m in. I know there are a lot that involve wolves. As soon as I realize that, I sit upright and look over each shoulder. I have a healthy respect for big dogs. Big dogs have big teeth. But wolves have fangs. Do you hear wolves before they attack? Are talking wolves different from regular wild wolves?

That’s when I notice a line of small rocks on the ground. A trail! I stand up and brush myself off. I’m smiling pretty big. If I’m right, not only is this trail going to lead me to a house made of food, but I get to shove a nasty witch into an oven. Not bad for a day’s work.

Part 2/2 of Hansel and Grettle, Meet Ivy Thorn
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