Breaking down Rapunzel

Rapunzel. The one with all the hair.

The best known of Aarne-Thompson-Uther Type 310, The Maiden in a Tower. This iconic story was the second of the Barbie movies, though it took until 2010 for Disney to finally produce the perfect note of Tangled.

It's the tale that we're telling together in The Arista Challenge. So let's break it down, shall we?

Basic Plot: Woman has pregnancy cravings and gets her husband to steal some greens from their (not-so-)friendly neighborhood witch. Witch demands the baby in return.

Witch puts the girl in a tower, names her after the plant that was stolen from her. Girl has LOOOOOONG hair, which the witch uses as a ladder up to the tower room. Girl also has beautiful singing voice.

One day, a prince happens by, hears her singing. Sees her in the window. Falls in love. Can't figure out how to get up there to her. Finds out that her hair is the ladder. Calls it down. She's scared at first, and then she falls in love. They plot to make thei…

Introducing: The Arista Challenge

Well hello, everyone!

I imagine that most of you know about the Rooglewood Fairy Tale contests, where everyone scrambles to rewrite the same fairy tale in hopes that their story will one of the five selected for the coveted collection Five Something Something. 

I wrote for three of the four collections, CinderEddy for Five Glass Slippers, Poison Kiss for Five Magic Spindles, and The Seven Drawers and Red as Snow for Five Poison Apples. Unfortunately, The Seven Drawers was the only story that I was able to finish in time to send it in (And I'm now waiting with bated breath to find out whether or not I won.)

Unfortunately, Poison Apples was their last contest.

So, we were talking in the Facebook Group about how sad we'd be to lose the community. And I had a thought.

I can't offer a contest, but I can continue the challenge. The picking of a fairy tale and the writing together with fury. I can't offer a single collection with cash prizes, but I can offer a joint release l…

Tips From a Young Writer: The Mid-Goal

Originally Posted On Knitted By God's Plan

Mid-goal? I hear some of you ask. What's that?

Well, it's a plotting device that I noticed somewhere in the writing of The Ankulen and I have used in almost every one of my books. And I searched books of writing advice, but the closest thing I've found anyone else talk about is the pre-climax (or something to that tune) which, though it's similar, has it's differences. A pre-climax is usually an echo of the official climax, the big difference being the fact that the hero fails.

The mid-goal is broader than that. And it's something that I have employed in all three of my published books, and in Infiltration. I've seen it in other books, too, so I know it's not just me. So what is it? Well, in the simplest terms possible, it's a pivotal event or a second goal for your characters to achieve that will completely shift the focus of the novel and on which the ultimate goal and climax of your book relies. Usua…

Tips From a Young Writer: Beginnings

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan.

Once upon a time ... (Any old Fairy Tale)

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times ... (Tale of Two Cities)

There once was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it ... (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader)

Every good story has to begin somewhere. It needs an opening line that peeks your interest and makes you want to read more. It needs an opening chapter that introduces you to the characters, but leaves you with questions as to why are they like that!!!???

It needs a good beginning.

The question is, however, how do you get a good beginning?

First off, start with the chapter. You can always change the opening sentence later to make it sound more grabbing, but if you write a brilliant first sentence, and then it completely does not fit the book, well, it'll just make you cry. Sure, try to make the sentence as grabbing as you can (for you, if you aren't pulled into what you're writing at the first sentenc…

Tips From a Young Writer: Editing

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan

Did your villain really put on a pair of dirty Rocks? The proposal scene between hero and heroine is completely sappy and/or cheesy. You never did figure out what happened after the villain trapped the hero's younger sister on that island ... in fact, you completely forgot that your hero had had a sister!

Somehow, the words you see on the paper/computer screen is nothing like the words you remember spilling out of your fingers.

So what do you do? Do you crawl into bed, pull the blanket over your head, and decide that you will never write again, if all you can write is this horrid mess? Surely a good author wouldn't have made these horrid mistakes!

Let me let you in on a little secret. Every writer makes mistakes. Every book starts out horrid. Even the greatest books in the world have gone through the horrid stage called first draft. You're not alone. Welcome to the world of editing.

Editing? You ask. Did you just say editing? Y…

Tips From a Young Writer: Changes

Originally Posted on Knitted By God's Plan

So you're writing along, you've got a good story line, your characters are being (mostly) cooperative ... only, you've decided that maybe the story would be better if you gave Sadie a dog instead of a cat ... or if Jack were a Jill instead ... or maybe you have a few too many characters and need to get rid of a few ... or maybe the story would sound better in first person ...

In other words ... you need to make a change or two.

This is a perfectly legal thing to do. Your book is your book, and you can do whatever you want to it. Although, I will warn you, some of your characters may resent some of your changes, especially if you decide to get rid of, say, a close friend, or a close sibling, their love interest ... or them. However, your story is yours to change, and they can't really do a thing about it.

However ... if you do decide to make a change, you'll need to go through and make sure that your story is consistent…
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