Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Fairy Tale Variations

Over the course of the last several months, I've been outlining a fairy tale retelling. It had been a long time since I'd read the fairy tale, but I thought it was a little known variation of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. Nope. With a little help from my mother-in-law, I discovered that the tale is actually called The Unusual Nightingale. And while there are quite a few retellings of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I haven't been able to find one for The Unusual Nightingale.

Yes, this makes me happy.

Why did I make the mistake in the first place? There are a lot of similarities between the two fairy tales. The Unusual Nightingale begins more like Beauty and the Beast, but the ending is more like East of the Sun, West of the Moon. And the story that I've been outlining isn't really any of them. It has bits of a nursery rhyme and an old story that inspired Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice, and I'm searching for a historical culture that I can anchor it in. I don't know how much of the fairy tale will be left when I've written and revised it, but it's a good place to begin. How many variations of Cinderella are there?

Do YOU have a favorite fairy tale?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Elizabeth Gilbert's Take on Creative Genius

This TED video isn't new, but it was exactly what I needed this week. If you have a little while, it's worth watching.

I don't talk about inspiration on here often, because I worry that someone who hasn't experienced it will think I'm being weird. When I write poems or picture books, they tend to come all at once; if I don't write the idea as a whole, I can't go back and capture the unfinished part. That doesn't mean that I'll never have a chance to capture that idea again, but if I'm to get it right, I'll have to start over; it won't be the same.

But when you have children and friends, you get interrupted. And I love my husband, but he is more likely to interrupt my work-in-progress than to protect me from interruptions. *waves to husband* And this is okay. It just makes capturing those fleeting ideas more challenging.

Writing a novel is a more forgiving process for me. I can stop in the middle of scene and come back to it, though it's still easier for me to write from the beginning of a scene to the end. I know that not all writers are like this, though. Some leave scenes unfinished so that they'll have something to work on when they come back. And in theory, that's a great idea. It just doesn't work as well for me.

What about you? Do you have something that's hard to finish once it's been interrupted?