Back on the wagon – The Dark Queen of Darkness

I know I said I was going to kill the project, and I did, for a bit, but then I started working on other things and got myself through a few other books, but eventually circled back around. After I killed the project, I started thinking of what might bring it back. I assumed that it might be a complete re-write, but that wasn’t necessary. What I did instead was add another concept into the pile. A trickster. After listening to Neil Gaiman’s Norse Mythology, it became clear that a trickster character of some sort would go a long way in being the agent of change necessary to move the characters and story forward. Anyhow, I did come up with something and wrote a tiny prologue, almost so short you couldn’t call it a prologue. Here it is:

Under the gloom of a sky that seemed to know only two tricks, both involving heavy cloud cover, an errant swirl of air beat it’s way around the edges of a lake so dead and clear, every rock and muck covered log could be seen upon it’s bed. The spinning current of air slowed then suddenly intensified, picking up sticks and stones and all manner of leaf litter in an eddy that coalesced them into the figure of a man. It paced the shore for a moment and flung an arm out over the water. A stone separated from the figure and skipped across the glass-like surface raising ripples from a dozen impact points. The ripples spread out, joining together and by degrees, the image of a woman formed on the lake, as if it were a mirror.

If the swirling mass of man-shaped forest debris could properly smile, it would have. A voice made from the rustling of leaves and creaking of limbs poured into the gnarled glade. “Your time is near, dear jailer. What fun we will have when you can no longer keep me pinned in this forsaken lifeless valley.”

The ripples on the lake calmed, returning to a state of glass-like stillness, and the forest debris dropped to the ground, leaving the disturbed bit of air to once again worry around the shores of the lake.

Breaking a Fairy Tale 

Except for my efforts to get Wine Bottles and Broomsticks published on inkshares.com I’ve got two major works in progress at the moment. The first is the Deep Space Help Desk – I really want to knock that out, but I got stuck -I have to back up a chapter or two and take a different angle. Really, I just need a solid day to focus on that project to get it put back on the rails again. The second project, The Dark Queen of Darkness, is in slightly better shape, even if I’m finding it a slightly more difficult project to write. 

The Dark Queen of Darkness is an unexpected project. It launched as a way to test out my new iOS version of Scrivener, and also an excersize in employing tricks learned (stolen) from Terry Pratchett. Not so much as taking his words or style as incorporating parts of his approach to story telling, it appeals to me and, as they say, what doesn’t kill you or get you sued for copyright infringement will only make you stronger. In any case, the story has taken hold because it’s got a fairly clear trajectory. At least, it has if I treat it like a fairy tale, albeit a seriously broken, yet true-to-form fairy tale.

With all that in mind, and some advice received after sharing the first part of the first chapter, I went back and pivoted slightly more toward a YA vibe, and starting working the fairy tale angle a little harder. Right now, I’m looking largely at Snow White, while brining in characters from other tales. This isn’t anything like a new idea, but it’s a new approach for me. I also happen to be fortunate enough to have in my possession a stack of books containing hundreds of old fairy-tales with a publication date of 1928, which I realize as I write this puts these books at nearly 90 years old – the oldest we have in the house by a considerable number of decades. The image up top features one of these books with the illustration of Snow White and Rose Red, which I only know because I read that one last night from the other book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.

In any case, the idea with this story is to make it an upside-down fairy tale that takes on the well trodden tropes and re-uses them in a slightly bent or fully ironic manner. For example, there’s the huntsman. He appears in a bunch of stories, I’m going to work him in with a lead role. Prince Charming comes in all over the place, even if not by that name. He’ll appear, after all how could a good, epic fairy tale end without a kiss by a Prince Charming? I’ll also see about writing in some dwarves, trolls, elves, wizards, and other various characters. With that, I’m off to do a bit of research and plotting.