Plotting the next one

NaNoWriMo 2012 officially ended yesterday, and I’m happy to say that of the nine people on my NaNoWriMo Buddies list, five of them got their purple Winner badges.

NaNoWriMo Winner-180x180

At any rate, I had such fun getting to know my characters, and, as much as I complained about the difficulty of writing from the perspective of a naive 15-year-old, it really was an enjoyable experience. So enjoyable, in fact, that I’m anxiously awaiting Camp NaNoWriMo in April 2013 and have already started work on the plot for this next book.

My first novel, tentatively titled Will the Real Prince Charming Please Stand Up? (the first draft of which is currently available in part on Wattpad.com), is based on a question I’ve mulled over for quite some time. What if, I wondered, Snow White ran off with Prince Charming, only to discover that he isn’t so charming after all?

See, the end of Snow White leaves much to be desired, in my opinion. I mean, Prince Charming shows up and is really just interested in her because she’s pretty.

Oh, yeah. He’s a winner.

So that’s where my story picks up.

My next novel will be a twist on Sleeping Beauty, and this picks up at the end of the traditional fairy tale, too. But what I wondered here was what would happen if Sleeping Beauty didn’t recognize true love’s kiss? That would completely mess up the fairy tale as we know it.

I like fairy tales. They’re fun to read and dissect and figure out ways to modernize them. And apparently, I’m not alone. I was reading a Huff Post Books piece about the resurgence of modern fairy tales that totally explained it. In it, author Andrew Carl made an insightful observation:

There’s something fun, though, about catching up with a character like the [Ugly] Duckling in a brand-new context — before, after, or in somewhat twisted parallel to the adventures we know by heart.

That’s part of why TV shows like Grimm, movies like Snow White and the Huntsman, comics likeFables, and even Broadway musicals like Wicked have all proven popular. These revisits have a certain built-in power to them, because we the audience are instantly connected to the characters, already invested in their lives and histories before they say a single word. It’s sort of like meeting up with a lifelong friend after a too-long absence. You used to know everything there was to know about them, so now you’ve just got to find out what you’ve missed and where they’re going next.

Do I think a major publishing house will pick up Prince Charming? Oh, gosh – I have no idea. I’d love it if they did. But at the very least, I’m writing something I like that, if there’s any truth to what I’m reading and seeing, is something other people might be interested in reading, too.

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