Click on over to Soul Mate Publishing and check out my post about how to write a novel using, what I call, The Building method. This technique builds inspiration upon inspiration, like a house, from the ground up.
Below is the example of how I used the technique for one of my young adult novels, Silverweed: A supernatural fairy tale.
Foundation: Little Red Riding Hood/werewolves/superstitions
Framing: Silverweed Muffins: Short Story
Exterior: I did something both fun and challenging for the outline. I condensed the classic tale of Little Red Riding Hood down to 20 sentences. These 20 sentences became my chapter titles. So when I began to write, these were also my inspiration for the story. Below are the first ten chapter titles:
Chapter 1: Once Upon A Time
Chapter 2: There Was A Dear Little Girl
Chapter 3: Take These Goodies To Your Grandmother
Chapter 4: I Will Be Careful
Chapter 5: Half A League From The Village
Chapter 6: “Good Day,” Said The Wolf
Chapter 7: I Must Act Craftily So I Can Catch Both
Chapter 8: Little Red Drifted From The Path
Chapter 9: The Wolf Knocked At The Door
Chapter 10: He Devoured Her
Interior and Final Walkthrough : Silverweed a Supernatural Fairy Tale
Love and Laughter,
Here’s my TBT short story – I’m really not sure when I wrote it (before 2010) and it wasn’t one that was inspired by a classic fairy tale but is my own fairy tale.
The Kingdom of Pillars
by Dorlana Vann
“I didn’t do anything!”
“Do you want father’s wings to be taken off? Is that what you want? You march yourself right back there.”
I stared at my sister, all blue and getting bluer by the minute. If we would’ve been having this conversation a couple of months earlier, I might have turned my back to her and aired her out. Instead, I smiled.
“What are you up to, Rose?” she growled.
“I understand everything now. I’m happy and miserable at the same time.” I sighed and sat down on a buttercup. “I even understand love and how it can fill your heart and break it at the same time.”
“You did go to the Kingdom of Pillars, right?” Indigo glared at me.
“I didn’t have a choice. Remember? Guards with sticks and mean words.”
“Hmmm… Are you telling me you fell in love in there? With what? Your reflection?”
“It is a lovely sight, isn’t it? But no, you see, I was once like you, only able to see outer beauty.”
“Is that so?” she said. “Let me get this straight. You think the Kingdom of Pillars is beautiful … or is the King?” I could see her thinking herself into a small gag and look of distaste.
“When I’d first arrived, I looked at them the same way everyone does. It’s like a line has been drawn between the lands. One side, our side, is light and green. You make one tiny step and the world becomes scary and dark. And I was scared.”
Indigo looked a wee bit uncomfortable, almost guilty, so I kept going.
“I understand why father picked me to go instead of you. You were already betrothed to Emerald before you were born. He had no choice but to send me. It wasn’t your fault I was born second. Always second. I understand that a princess had to be sent in order to bring peace. Besides, if I wouldn’t have gone, the curse might not have been broken.”
“Wait a minute.” She smoothed her long, sparkly blue hair behind her ears. “You’re telling me that you broke the five thousand-year-old curse?”
“It was the most wonderful sight in the whole entire world. First, let me tell you what happened in the beginning, when I arrived in the Kingdom of Pillars.”
Indigo arched her eyebrow as she sat down in the morning dew.
“I was a bit grossed out when I first met the King. You know how Pillars look, right? Kind of round and prickly-looking. Those black and yellow spots and rings aren’t very flattering either. Oh, dandy me, he crawled so slowly … on the ground. He had tiny little legs and those black little dot eyes. He was no where near as hideously handsome as Emerald.”
Indigo had been staring at me with curiosity and a growing grin, but at this, she looked down.
“I suppose I wasn’t the best guest,” I continued. “But I was in shock, you know, out of my element. Could you blame me? I was surrounded by these … grubs. Not to mention, I felt like my own family had deserted and sacrificed—”
She shot me a look. “Now you’re just being dramatic.”
“Really? My husband had sixteen legs.”
“You just told me you thought he was beautiful,” she said smugly.
“Well, maybe at first, I didn’t. I hated him, the place, you …”
Indigo crossed her arms.
“The first night I did nothing but sulk and refuse anything offered to me. Really now, how could I eat that dull food? Everything was already half dead, like winter had already arrived. It seemed strange to eat and live in such sadness. That was how I felt; alone and sad as I sat there and watched them eat and eat in the madness of the day. King would look at me every once in a while and ask if I was okay. I hate to say, but I turned my back to him and fluttered my wings.
“He kept asking, again and again, so I let him have it. I told him exactly what I thought about him and his ugly kingdom. I hurt his feelings, and I was glad … until he said, ‘I’m sorry, my Queen. I will not bother you again. Even though your presence makes this gloomy world bright, you are free to leave.”
“So you did?” Indigo jumped up and put her hands on her hips. “You came back home! How could you, Rose?”
“But I didn’t!” I smiled. “At that very moment, I felt special. More special than I had ever felt in your shadow. Indigo this, and Indigo that. I was Queen, no longer a princess.” I wrapped my arms around myself and flew into the air, twirling around as I did.
“Get down here, Rose,” she shouted.
“Come with me,” I said. “You have to see.”
She sluggishly stood, but a second later she was beside me, and we flew through our forest.
“Oh … he lavished me,” I continued. “He was kind and made me feel like I was the most important creature in the world. He brought me flowers and dew drops and honey. The food didn’t taste as dull as it looked, it was fine. Everything was fine.”
“Hmmm … so then, if it is such paradise, why are you here?”
“One day he told me not to worry, that he would be sleeping for a couple of days. He said the kingdom did this every couple of months. Still, when it happened, I grew scared and cried and cried over him.”
“You cried because he went to sleep?”
“No, not just asleep; it was bizarre. They were all wrapped in these web-like cases.” I tried to explain it with my hands. “I didn’t think he could breathe in there. Something was wrong. I thought he was dying, so I sprinkled my life-dust on him.”
Indigo’s mouth grew into a giant circle and she stopped mid-air. “You used your personal dust on him? Rose, you know you can’t use it on yourself any longer! If something happens to you—”
I held up my hand. I understood the consequences. “It doesn’t matter. The most amazing thing happened. His prison started coming apart, and the most beautiful, amazing winged creature emerged. It was my King! He had huge double-like wings, oh so much bigger than any fairies. So many colors! Not just one, like ours. He was bright yellow and white and orange.” I put my hands to my face. “And then, and then… they all emerged. The entire kingdom, all so colorful and beautiful, floated into the air. They reminded me of buttercups, daisies, and roses, being blown by the wind. Even the dark, gloomy clouds drifted away and the sun began to shine.”
Indigo’s face froze with an expression of bewilderment. Then she said, “I didn’t think it was true. I had heard that they used to be beautiful creatures before one of us cast a spell.”
I closed my eyes as my thoughts turned bittersweet. “We played and flew and chased for days on end. Even when the sun set the splendor of the colors was almost more than one could bear. But then …” I grabbed her hand and flew faster to my destination.
“What?” She asked, letting me drag her through the air. “What happened? Why do you look so sad? If it was so wonderful, why did you come back?”
I choked back a cry with a smile as I looked at my sister who seemed genuinely concerned. “Like snowflakes they all slowly began to return to the earth. I went to the king, who balanced on a leaf barely able to move. I asked what was happening.” I held my hands to my heart as I remembered his words. “He told me not to worry, that I had broken the curse. That he and his kingdom owed everything to me and my sacrifice. My little fairy dust did all of that. I went to give more, and he told me he didn’t need it. He said he had finally been able to live out his cycle and now it was time for them to move on—to die. They had been trapped and unable to evolve for thousands of years.”
Indigo gently pulled free to wipe her eyes. “That is so sad,” she said.
“The fluttering of their wings quietly died away. The last words my king said to me were, ‘Long live Queen Rose.’” I pointed down to the valley below. “Look! Can you see them?”
Indigo sucked in a quick breath. “I thought you said they all died.”
“They,” I said looking at my adopted children, “are the next generation. A generation that will live, fly, and die like they are suppose to. This is why I came back to see you one last time; I needed to tell you, to tell father, that the feud between the two lands is truly over. And from now on, my home is no longer to be called the Kingdom of Pillars, but the protected Land of the Butterflies.”
I’m working on edits for my second book in my Trouble with Men Series – The Trouble with Scarecrows. And one of the biggest challenges I’ve had with this book is my female protagonist, Brenda Fisher. If you’ve read Book 1, The Trouble with Snowmen, then you know she is the antagonist in that story. So I’ve been working with this character since early 2012.
I’ve created some pretty mean, selfish, female characters over the years, but Brenda started out as one of the most self-centered personalities I’ve ever imagined. Which made her tons of fun to write! When I started writing Book 2, I thought I had to stick to her true nasty nature in the beginning and then give her a fabulous massive character arc – like in the story, A Christmas Carol, she would be my Scrooge!
But as Book 2 progressed (I finished the rough draft February 2013) and critique partners started reading and commenting, I found I had a major problem. Brenda made people angry – they hated her. Lol. Not good for the heroine. Even if she does redeem herself by the end of the book, it was too late.
Since then, Brenda has gone through a lot of changes. She still has an edge, but I feel she also has heart. And although she has been through the ringer (My editor read Book 2 first and said I’d better make some changes in Book 1 if she was going to become a heroine – so I even had to make changes for her there.) it molded her into a dynamic woman with many layers. And after everything, I can easily say that Brenda Fisher (Fishlips) is my favorite character I have ever created.
Love and Laughter,
The Trouble with Snowmen (Book 1 Trouble with Men) Available now in eBook – Print coming soon.
The Trouble with Scarecrows (Book 2 Trouble with Men) April 2016
Happy Halloween Everyone! I am giving away my romantic comedy/ghost story October 27, 2015 – October 31, 2015.
Ghosts, Mystery, and Fashion. Can this diva solve her own murder, or will she be stuck in limbo forever?
After recovering from the shock of seeing her own dead body, (still dressed to kill from last night’s party) fashion model, Jaclyn Jade, discovers she’s a ghost with a choice. She can either immediately go back to Hell, do nothing and stay in limbo, or find the reason she fell short of grace and advance to Heaven.
Because she was murdered, Jaclyn hopes that finding her killer will unravel this mystery. With the help of a timid closet-psychic who can speak to the dead, and a handsome, yet arrogant, ghost of a man from the roaring 20s, her search for answers initiates a quirky journey of self-discovery. Personalities, eras, and worlds collide as this mismatched trio race against time to solve the mystery of Jaclyn’s Ghost.
Here are some links: