Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Manuscript Graveyard

Here I sit on this (surprisingly warm) December morning, heaving a sigh because the (altogether-dreadful-and-never-to-be-seen-by-living-eyes) rough draft of Book 5 is now complete. Redrafting awaits, yes! But for a moment, I may breathe.

And as I breathe, I can't help but reflect on other novels begun in the last few years that have not made it so far even as the (altogether-dreadful-and-never-to-be-seen-by-living-eyes) rough draft. My list of abandoned projects is not as extensive as it might be . . . I'm a pretty stubborn cookie when I set my mind to it. But there are definitely a handful of pieces that I have begun and discarded. Some with very good reason! Some . . . well, there might be potential in them. Someday. Maybe.

Thought you might like a peek into my own personal Manuscript Graveyard:

1. Phantom Dancers--A seriously boring, rather full-of-itself, ghost-story retelling of "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." If I ever touch it again, it will need some major revamping!

2. The Mute Princess--A comedic novella about a princess who has a brilliant gift for eloquence . . . except when she meets the love of her life. Then the curse of her evil fairy godmother descends, and the princess falls completely tongue-tied and can't speak a word! Kind of cute. Might pull it out again someday, just for exercise.

3. Cinderbelle--A retelling of "Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast" starring one of the bad-tempered older sisters who is sent to the Beast instead of the sweet and beautiful youngest. I mean, who wants to keep that around the house anyway? Let the Beast have her! Heheh, I rather like this one. I might have to finish it one day.

4. The Song of Love--A comedy novella about an art thief in post-WWII Venice, loosely parodying The Maltese Falcon. When was I ever that ambitious? Can't imagine how that one got started!

5. Troll Hunt --A short story based on my own childhood in England during the Gulf War. This one's actually finished, but needs to be illustrated. Don't know when I'll ever get around to that, though!

6. The Song-Holder--A convoluted retelling of "The Snow Queen" and "The Marsh King's Daughter." Meant to be co-written with my sister-friend, Erin. Too mixed-up to support itself, however. But some interesting ideas down at the core. Might shake it out again one day.

So there you have my Graveyard of Forgotten Stories. Even professionals go chasing up rabbit-trails sometimes. Often. More often than I like to admit . . .

But please do note, for every forgotten story, I have finished at least two others. Don't abandon your work unless you see absolutely no alternative! And never throw it out entirely, because there might be a gem hidden in the midst of all that nonsense that will glint with inspiration for you one day . . .

9 comments:

Clara said...

Oh. My. Word. Cinderbelle sounds AMAZING! (as do all the others) Beauty and the Beast is my altime favorite fairy tale!It's nice to know that other people have tons storys that haven't been finished...I have more than I'd like to count:) Congrats on the finished draft!

Eszter said...

Wow. The tombstones in your manuscript graveyard has such interesting names! The Mute Princess reminds me a little of Una (how she mixes up her words whenever she tries to insult Prince Aethelbald). I love your Cinderbelle idea, because of course, Beauty and the Beast is my favorite story too! (Clara, we should start a club!lol). The name Phantom Dancers sounds really, really cool. Have you ever thought to tie any of these stories to your Tales of Goldstone Wooe series?

Eszter said...

[slaps head] What is with me today? I keep misspelling words!

Abigail Hartman said...

I have to agree with Clara - Cinderbelle sounds like it's got potential. The Song of Love sounds interesting, too (hey, you mentioned The Maltese Falcon: how could it not be interesting?). I don't usually begin writing a story unless I'm set on completing it, which precludes nice rambles on rabbit trail-stories. I think I have a phobia of not finishing a novel...

Anyhow, congratulations on the finished rough draft! I am awaiting Moonblood's release with much excitement.

Clara said...

lol!! I can see it now..."Clara and Eszter's Beauty and the Beast Club. Join for free!"

Galadriel said...

I tried a rewrite of the Marsh King's daughter once. Never got anywhere with it. And the same for the Beauty and Beast where the Beast had a griffin sister.

Paris said...

Ah! Cinderbelle sounds AMAZING! I want to read it and it's not even a book! I think that's a great story idea.

Elizabeth K. said...

My sister says the Cinderbelle story sounds highly interesting!
Myself, I like the Maltese Falcon in Venice. Now that would be a fun read! (Why Venice, if I may ask? Have you been there?)

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

Elizabeth: Nope, I have never been to Venice! Honestly, that whole project I look at with a certain amount of bafflement wondering how it even got started. It's all about a stolen painting--The "Song of Love" from the title--two hapless dectives (losely modeled after Sam Spade), and a gorgeous Italian museum collector's daughter (a la Miss Wonderly), who turns out, of course, to be the villain. Why Venice? I haven't a clue.

But the CINDERBELLE story I really might pick up again. There were some good ideas in that mix and plenty of room for further development!

Eszter: I have thought about tying some of these stories into Goldstone Wood, and aspects of SHADOW DANCERS will probably feature in one my Goldstone Wood stories eventually. But Goldstone Wood is made up of original fairy tales, so I'll probably save all retellings for a later series or just write them as stand-alones later on. :)