My Frankenstein Bio


labI wrote my Frankenstein-bio back in 2012 when I was trying to come up with my “About me” page for my blog. At first, I was reading other author’s bios on Goodreads to get ideas on how to write one, but when I notice my similarities to other writers (Except for that little, tiny NY best seller, etc. detail lol.) I decided to have a little fun by piecing some of their bios together that also fit me.

It’s alive! Here is my Frankenstein bio:

Dorlana Vann is the author of contemporary fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults. She is the author of the Modern Faerie Tale and describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” She has been telling stories since before she could write. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves. Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland she wrote her favorite short story, “If You Feed a Wolf,” where she just let her imagination go wild.
A life-long reader, Dorlana has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping. She’s a self-professed coffee addict. She does not know how to spell… This has not prevented her from writing books.

OK, here are the actual lines taken from these terrific authors (They might be different now because it’s been years):

“author of contemporary fantasy novels for kids, teens, and adults. She is the author of the Modern Faerie Tale “- Holly Black
‘describes all her work as “fairy tales in one way or another.” ‘ Erin Morgenstern
“has been telling stories since before she could write. Today, she continues to spin tales of ghosts and demons and werewolves.” Kelley Armstrong
“Thinking one day about Alice in Wonderland…” – Suzanne Collins
“A life-long reader, [inserted my name here] has always loved mythology and folklore. When she can actually tear herself away from books (either reading or writing them), she enjoys bad reality TV, traveling, trying interesting cocktails, and shopping for dresses. She’s a self-professed coffee addict” – Richelle Mead
“She does not know how to spell fudgsicles. This has not prevented her from writing books.” Carrie Jones

My “about me” page has changed a lot over the years. Even though I never actually used the Franken-bio, it was a lot of fun and showed me that no matter how successful we feel, writers have a lot in common.

Love and Laughter,
Dorlana

Don’t Forget to “Save the Cat.”


AEEDE2AC-7580-44BE-B2A8-7C98D11D0DCEWhen I was writing the rough draft for The Trouble with Scarecrows, I received comments back from a critique partner. It was clear that she hated my main character to the core. Of course, I defended my reasons as to why I had given Brenda a Scrooge personality. For one, she is actually the antagonist in the first book so I had to stay true to her character; and two, I thought I had managed a deep character arc.

Then I received comments from a second critique partner. She didn’t show such disdain, but still she’d marked certain places where the character made her feel uncomfortable and where she’d thought she’d gone too far … pretty much saying the character was mean.

I had spent a year with this character (on just this book) and it was hard to think about making drastic changes. But I had no choice but to really pay attention now. So the first thing I did was just add an extra clear “remorse scene,” one where the MC poured her heart out saying how sorry she was for all her wrong-doings.

I was satisfied with that for a little while, but my nagging brain wouldn’t let it be. I knew it wasn’t enough. *Sigh* The character was the heroine, not the antagonist anymore, and even though she was feisty, tough, and determined, I also had to make her likable. So I went through the novel, softening her up where needed and only having her feistiness appear as reactions to situations.

But I still had this feeling that something was missing. Finally, during the rewrite, a writing concept I had forgotten all about popped into my mind: Save the Cat. If you are a writer, you have probably heard the term. It is a concept and the name of screenwriter’s how-to book by Blake Snyder. 

Here is the writing rule from the book Save the Cat: “The hero has to do something when we meet him so that we like him and want him to win. A screenwriter must be mindful of getting the audience ‘in sync’ with the plight of the hero from the very start”

Even though this information is in a screenwriter’s book, I think it applies to novels too. It makes sense and it certainly applied to my story. Even though I was fixing the character in later chapters, I needed that initial scene so that the readers would sympathize with her immediately. It didn’t take me long to find the obvious spot for this in my first chapter. (A shout out to my honest and tough critique partners!)

I wrote down the three little words and posted it to my bulletin board with my other two important writing reminders: “Emotion, Thought, Decision” and “A scene is never about what a scene is about.” It will sure save a lot of grief and time if I remember to “Save the Cat” before I start writing my next rough draft.

Love and Laughter,
Dorlana

P.S.

The Trouble with Scarecrows is available now on Amazon

A scarecrow is the opposite of a wingman, a dating decoy used to scare away any “crows” who are giving unwanted attention, making it difficult for the right man to have a clear shot.

Thirty-year-old Brenda Fisher believes the best way to get over her ex is to face her past and find a new guy. She knows the type of man she needs in her life … and the type of man she does not, which includes alpha males like Neal Parker.

Neal Parker’s friend and former boss, Larry White, had been gracious enough to let him stay at his old apartment rent-free while Neal pursues his culinary degree. But now the owner of the multiplex–Larry’s high-strung ex-girlfriend, Brenda Fisher–is threatening to sell it out from underneath him. Brenda is possibly the sexiest woman Neal has ever met. Nevertheless, he’s aware of her past destructive relationship with Larry and knows it’s best to stay clear.

When Neal finds out Brenda might be in need of some help in the romance department, he tries to trick her into an exchange: scarecrow services for the apartment. Brenda does not appreciate being manipulated. She ups the stakes, and if Neal wants the future he’d planned, he’ll have to play by her rules.

The Retelling of a Fairy Tale (Dorlana Style)


Dorlana Vann - Author

silverweed cover ebookHi Friends,

I’ve been using fairy tales to inspire my paranormal short stories and novels for many years. Instead of a straight retelling of the classic tales, I love using them as a stimulus by borrowing elements, capturing the mood, or using them as a backstory, etc., to write contemporary interpretations. Sometimes I even use a formula: classic fairy tale + paranormal element = supernatural fairy tale. I also often add a fun challenge.

Here is a list of my favorite methods that I have used over the years for you to try:

  1. Have someone list all the words which they associate with a fairy tale and then write a story, using the fairy tale as your muse, but without using any of the words on the list.
  2. Add another element: I usually use something supernatural, like werewolves, mermaids, vampires, etc.
  3. Pick a genre (mystery, romance, sci-fi) before you read…

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The Frog Prince + Merlin the Magician = Weeping Lake (a fairy tale inspired short story)


Weeping Lake

by Dorlana Vann

weeping lake

Vivian stood beside of the lake. Her bright hair waved like the water as the wind graciously blew in from the south. She inhaled and then looked down at her newly acquired engagement ring. She had said yes, but she knew that wasn’t what she meant. Everyone had been there, watching them, watching her with anticipated excitement.

And since she did love and respect Scott, she didn’t want to humiliate him by saying no.

But it was just too soon. She didn’t want to marry the first guy she loved. She wanted to experience life and to be free to travel. She hated—for him—that she wasn’t ready to settle down.

She stared at the ring, the massive diamond sparkling in the sunlight. A diamond that must have put Scott back a couple month’s salary. A diamond that said, “You belong to me.” She only wanted to belong to herself.  “I wish …”

Vivian sighed wearily before everything seemed to happen at once: a gust of wind, her name softly spoken, and her ring vanished from her finger.

“Oh no!” she cried and dropped to the ground frantically searching. She pulled at the grass, ripping it from the dirt, turning in circles, tears wetting her face and plopping on her hands and knees. She didn’t stop until she had examined every piece of earth the ring could have possibly landed on.

She crawled toward the lake. If her engagement ring had dropped in there, it would be gone forever. How could she tell Scott she wasn’t going to marry him and that she had lost the ring? She placed her filthy hands on her face and cried for herself. Soon her wails could be heard for miles, and her tears had washed her hands clean.

“I can get your ring back,” said a masculine voice.

Vivian gasped and scrambled to her feet, heavy breaths flew from her mouth. But no one was there; nothing but a weeping willow swaying in the wind by the lake, green and lush with early summer. She wanted to run; her thoughtful time by the lake had turned strange. But she couldn’t leave without the ring.

“All I ask in return is but one small favor.”

“I’ve lost my mind,” she whispered as she desperately turned this way and that way, looking again for the speaker.

“I am but a lonesome tree, weeping in the mist of time.”

“Who’s behind there?” She ran around the tree, ducking inside its leaves, searching in the shade and up into the branches. When she made it back to where she had started, she said, “This isn’t funny.” She thought maybe she should go and get Scott; they could come back to look for the ring together. Maybe marriage wasn’t the worst thing that could happen.

“All I ask is seven days of your time whenever I request.” At this, one of the trees branches stretched toward her and would have touched her shoulder had she not jumped back.

She stared up at the tree: breathtakingly beautiful, alive, and sad.

“Just say the word, and your ring will be returned to your finger.”

Vivian was positive that her distraught over losing the ring had caused her to hallucinate. Therefore, it wouldn’t hurt to say okay? And if some extraordinary supernatural event was happening to her—maybe she wasn’t aware that trees could talk because they never had anything to say to her before—what would be the harm in saying yes? It was a tree for goodness sakes, and trees were rooted in the ground.

Her confusion and desperation collected as she cried new tears. “If you get my ring back, I’ll do whatever you want.” When she felt a slight tingle, Vivian immediately looked to her hand, and there her ring sat as if it had never been lost. Without another thought about the tree or her promise, she ran home.

***

 

A few months later, Vivian sat at a coffee shop sipping her espresso and writing an e-mail to her mother who lived faraway.

Scott hadn’t taken the breakup very well. He had cried and told her he forgave her but would never forget her, nor would he stop pursuing her. He swore that she would eventually be ready to get married.

She felt a presence and glanced over her laptop and across the table.

“Is this seat taken?” the guy asked. His eyes blazed amazing green, and his facial features were symmetrically perfect.

Vivian could only shake her head, trying not to smile too widely.

“You are not an easy one to find, my dear Vivian.”

“Do I know you?” She closed her laptop.

“You no longer wear the ring.”

“No, it didn’t work out. Are you a friend of Scott’s?”

“I am friends with you.”

“No, I’m pretty sure I would know if you were my friend.”

“We met months ago by the lake. You said you would spend seven days with me if I retrieved the ring.”

“Is this some kind of joke?” But she had told no one about what had happened because she really didn’t believe it herself.

“No joke. You made a promise.”

“I made you that promise?” She put her hand on her face and gently scratched her cheek.

“I am the tree, cursed by the lake many centuries ago.”

“Really? If you’re a tree how is that you sit across from me now?”

“Since you promised to spend time with me, I am temporarily released from the curse of loneliness.”

“So you’re saying that being a tree isn’t the curse.”

“If you go back on your word my roots will go back into the ground, and I will have to endure another century alone. And I doubt if I waited twenty centuries, I would ever find a creature as lovely as you on land, sea, or soaring in the air.”

From that day on, they were inseparable. She spent her mornings listening to him tell of times before her own and spent the evenings wrapped in his arms. She grew to love him from her fingertips to her toes, from the depths of her soul, from there until eternity.

And she also believed him.

On the seventh day, her heart was filled with sadness. Would sitting under his branches be enough for her.

The ceremony was small, just the two of them, and at the place where they had met. As soon as he placed a ring of twine and twigs on her finger, his curse of loneliness vanished.

Two blissful willows swayed in the wind by the lake, green and lush with early summer.

The End

 

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Weeping Lake
is one of the short stories from my collection Supernatural Fairy Tales: Fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories. It was inspired by Brothers Grimm’s The Frog Prince from Children’s and Household Tales. Germany: 1812, and the legend of Merlin the Magician.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Inspired Poem


 

Bashful

by Dorlana Vann

When I saw her stretched across the tidy beds,
love’s potent sword struck my heart before I knew
who this lovely stranger was or one word said.
But I remained silent, as I always do.

With one bite, she fell ill on that dreadful day.
In a glass coffin, it hurt to see her lay.
I longed to kiss her ruby lips but froze.
Joy but regret: the prince woke her and betrothed.

 

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Bashful is one of the fairy tale poems in my collection Supernatural Fairy Tales: paranormal short stories. It was inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. 

 

Jack and the Beanstalk Inspired Poem


MRS.

by Dorlana Vann

Poverty breeds greed in a weak soul.
I should have stomped the lad like a pest.
Does hunger justify wickedness?
He was just a boy, not a foul troll.

But now sorrow arrived and grief grows.
No one to cook for or to caress.
Poverty breeds greed in a weak soul.
I should have stomped the lad like a pest.

Husband was cruel, a tyrant, and bold.
But we lived far away from the rest.
In the clouds we made our tranquil nest.
Defending his goods, his only goal.
Poverty breeds greed in a weak soul.

 

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Mrs. is one of the poems in my collection, Supernatural Fairy Tales:fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories and poems. It was inspired by Jack and the Beanstalk by Andrew Lang, The Red Fairy Book. London:1895

 

P.S. I wrote this poem 8 years ago but couldn’t remember the type of poetry. So today, I had to work backwards by putting the rhyming pattern in Google (ABba abAB abbaA) And discovered that this is a rondel .

Love, Laughter, and Fairy Tales,

Dorlana 🙂

Beauty & the Beast + Rip Van Winkle = Wink (fairy tale poetry)


Wink

by Dorlana Vann

Wink was an elf; lavender was his color.
His world was made up of sunshine and magic.
The sky was ginger, and the trees were scarlet.
All the ladies declared he was most charming.
His kind parents urged him to settle down
And to carry on his name and his beauty.

He was set up with a girl with no beauty.
Snow was sweet but lacked significant color.
Wink spent the difficult night with his eyes down.
Wishing Snow would change by way of white magic.
The more she spoke the more she did seem charming.
If only she were pink or lovely scarlet.

Suddenly the sky turned an evil scarlet.
If this was a trick it sure was a beauty.
Wink tried saying something funny and charming.
But he was nervous by this change in color.
Brilliant radiance beamed from this strange magic.
Wink and Snow thought their Heaven was falling down.

Wink woke with no idea of what went down.
He didn’t smell the sweet fragrance of scarlet
Flowers. And didn’t see his world of magic.
And the girl, Snow, was gone along with beauty.
There were trees and grass, but not the same color.
Nothing about this new strange place was charming.

People laughed, but not because Wink was charming.
He was different and strange, and they looked down
at him. Wink was a very bizarre color.
His face was no longer purple but scarlet.
This made him think just what he thought of beauty.
He longed for his homeland that was so magic.

As if by way of magnificent magic,
That which he thought before as only charming
Was now what he would define as real beauty.
Snow, as white as pure splendor, was walking down
the road. But would her expression be scarlet?
After all, she did fit this new land’s color.

Her words were soft magic, “Dear Wink. Why so down?
“I’m no longer charming.” His eyes burned scarlet.
She said, “Beauty is not defined by color.”

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Wink
is one of the poems in my collection, Supernatural Fairy Tales: fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories and poems. It was inspired by the short story Rip Van Winkle by Washington Irving from The Sketch-Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent. England:1819 and Beauty and the Beast (French: La Belle et la Bete) by Jeanne Marie Le Prince de Beaumont. France: 1756

P.S. The sestina is my favorite type of poem to write. They have 6 stanzas, repeating 6 words at the end of each line in a certain order.  And it ends with a 3 line envoi, using one of the words inside and one at the end.  They are so much fun and a great writing challenge.

 

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