Camp NaNoWriMo

I’ve never successfully completed NaNoWriMo, for many reasons. Well, actually, for two reasons. The first being that November has always turned out to be a ridiculously busy time of year for me, and the second being that I’m a terrible person with poor time management skills.

So this year I’m going to try Camp NaNo instead. Which is exactly the same thing, except in July and you can set your own goal rather than November’s set 50,000 words. July, as it turns out, is also looking to be ridiculously busy. I’m starting a new day job on the 4th (goodbye casual video game sales, hello full time movie, TV and comic tie-in merch), but hopefully this will be a clever way to kickstart new writing habits to fit around my new schedule.

So what am I writing? Good question!

I have four novels currently in various stages of first draft/development hell, but this month I’m trying to move forward with my YA dystopian science fiction project, which I’ve been periodically working on for several years now. It’s based on Subject, a short story I had published in Perehelion Magazine in 2014. I love the concept and the characters, but due to a lack of confidence and fear of the scope (my silly brain has decided it’s the first book of a trilogy), I’ve struggled to write it down. But that’s a terrible reason not to do something, so I’ve decided to charge ahead.

I’ll be aiming for 30k words (though ideally the finished book will be up around the 70k+ mark). This is quite an ambitious goal based on my past output – I’m ordinarily quite a slow writer, and I fuss over things instead of just letting the ideas flow – but what’s life without a terrifying challenge?

Wish me luck!

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Storytelling Without Words, or, Journey: The Loveliest Game Ever

Only two video games have ever made me cry. The first was The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, because I was twelve and it was the first game I ever really fell in love with and because I had very strong romantic feelings for a certain blonde polygon.

The second was Journey.

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Journey is the third game by indie game developer thatgamecompany, first released on the PlayStation 3 in 2012 and remastered for the Playstation 4 in 2015. I’d seen screengrabs and gifs floating around the internet for years, and being someone who is extremely susceptible to pretty things, had wanted to play it very badly. But being the owner of a mere Xbox 360, Wii and Wii U I had nothing to play it on.

BUT. Towards the end of 2015, life did me a solid. Sony announced a limited edition Star Wars Battlefront PS4 console, and thatgamecompany announced a remaster, launching within a few months of each other. I’d been looking for an excuse to upgrade to a next gen console for a while, and there it was. I put Journey on layby and pre-ordered my PS4 and on the 17th of November, dressed head to toe in Star Wars garb, I returned from the Star Wars Battlefront launch (my day job is in a video game shop… that’s probably relevant information) with my PS4 and my Journey (and, admittedly, Fallout 4 and an Asokha Tano figurine) under my arm.

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Journey is a game without words, maps or combat. It begins with a little figure in a red robe waking up in a vast desert. The figure is given one goal: to reach a glowing mountain in the far distance, and has only the ability to walk, jump and emit a musical chirping noise to get it there.

And so the journey begins.

I had expected Journey to be beautiful, but I was blown away by how beautiful it actually was. Not just in the visuals, which are stunning, but in the concepts themselves. The world of Journey is a world I haven’t seen before. The creatures are gorgeous, original and respectively frightening and empathetic. The enemies scared the bejeezus out of me the first several times I saw them. The allies are lovely: curious, friendly, comforting and occasionally pitiful, which is impressive given that they are essentially identical flying pieces of cloth. There was a point where I thought I’d lost track of my clothy guides and I was genuinely sad, because I liked being near them so much.

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What I hadn’t expected Journey to be, was moving. But holy crap is it. Without a single line of dialogue, without ever explaining the importance of or even giving a reason for reaching the glowing mountain, Journey creates a powerful, emotional narrative that takes the player through ancient deserted cities, subterranean temples and frozen mountaintop wastelands.  Through colour, mood and the most effective video game soundtrack I’ve ever heard, it played my feelings like Miles Davis played the trumpet. From euphoria to trepidation to fear and loneliness, from despair to hope to pure, exuberant joy. The tears I cried in this game were happy tears, and I am not a person who does those.

The strength of Journey’s story is in its simplicity. The backstory is for the player to deduce from the clues in the broken cities, and the importance of the titular journey is similarly up to the player to interpret. The ending is as ambiguous as the beginning. The journey is all there is.

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Journey can be played in two modes: solo offline, or online multiplayer. Now, I am not a fan of online multiplayer games in most situations – I play video games to get away from the real world and all the people in it, not to have them shouting in my ear – but Journey’s multiplayer is something kind of special.

Where the solo game is all about solitude in an empty world, multiplayer is all about companionship. From the second ‘level’ on, it matches you with one other player somewhere in the world. You don’t get to know a single thing about this person – there is no chat, no gamertags, no way of communicating but the chirping sounds you can both make. How you play is up to you, but this is a game that rewards cooperation. Huddling together in the snow regenerates your energy, each chirp restores the other’s power to float longer distances. Characters wearing white cloaks – players who have found all of the games secrets – will often help less experienced players to find said secrets. At the very end of the game, where your footprints leave clear tracks in the snow, it’s customary to leave each other love hearts and well wishes. To the credit of the game and everyone I’ve ever encountered in it, nobody has ever drawn me a penis. And that, my friends, is a rare thing.

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Journey is only a short game. It takes me about an hour to finish, and I’ve finished it something like twelve times now. But it’s a comforting game. Like a favourite book or movie, I’ll keep coming back to it and I’ll keep getting different things out of different play throughs. If you have the chance, or if you’re one of those people who are sceptical that video games aren’t worth considering as an art form, you should give it a shot. You might be pleasantly surprised.

BONUS: Here is the complete soundtrack, which is excellent for writing or relaxing to.

NOTE: This is not a sponsored post. I am not in a Journey centric cult. I just really like this game.

 

Darth Vader’s Guide To Writing

Night had fallen, bathing the forest moon of Endor in the unfettered light of a billion stars. The beauty was lost on Darth Vader, who ignored the view as he swept through the upper corridors of the Imperial Outpost.

A metal door slid upwards as he approached. A commander whose face and name he had either forgotten or never bothered to remember stepped out to meet him. He was accompanied by the obligatory entourage of gleaming white troopers, blasters raised at a young man dressed in black. Luke Skywalker.

‘This is the rebel that surrendered to us,’ reported the commander. ‘Although he denies it, I believe there are more of them and I request permission to conduct a further search of the area.’

Luke met Darth Vader’s gaze, unflinching.

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‘He was armed only with this.’ The commander handed Darth Vader a silver cylinder. Ugly to look at. Powerful to possess.

‘Good work, Commander. Leave us, conduct your search and bring his companions to me.’

‘Yes, my Lord.’ The commander left the way he had come, the stormtroopers following dutifully behind.

‘The emperor has been expecting you,’ Darth Vader said, leading the way back up the corridor. Luke Skywalker followed, compliant.

‘I know, Father.’

Vader looked at him, pleased by this easy assertion. ‘So, you have accepted the truth.’

‘I have accepted the truth that you were once a Jedi named Anakin Skywalker, my father…’

Vader stopped. ‘That name no longer has any meaning for me,’ he said, emphasising each word with the dormant lightsaber.

Luke raised his chin. ‘Then it will mean nothing to you when I say that I’ve read Love In The Time Of The Clones?‘ he asked.

Vader fell as silent as his respirator would allow. ‘I do not know why you think that would be of any interest to me,’ he said at last.

‘Master Yoda told me everything. How, even as he fought in the clone wars, my father wrote and published an epic romance in four parts under the pseudonym Annie Landrunner. It spent four hundred weeks at the top of the intergalactic best seller list. Truly the force was strong with him.’

Vader said nothing.

‘But stranger still,’ continued Luke, turning away to rest his manacled hands on the corridor’s railings, watching his father’s dark reflection in the glass, ‘is the fact that Annie Landrunner continues to publish almost annually to this day. Madame Rodian. The Ithorian Patient. Seducing the Senator. All bestsellers. All with rave reviews.’

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Darth Vader looked up and down the corridor, confirming what he already sensed. That they were, for the moment, alone. ‘What is your point?’ he asked.

Luke swirled, pale blue eye meeting shining black viewing sensor. ‘Teach me,’ he hissed, his calm veneer falling away to reveal an intensity, a desperation. ‘Teach me the ways of your process. I am ready.’

Vader was caught off guard. ‘You… are not here to surrender?’

Luke took a step closer to Darth Vader, clutching his father’s gloved mechanical wrist. ‘I need to get out of this Jedi thing. Literally all of them but Master Yoda were murdered. And that was only because he hid in a swamp for thirty years. Seriously, Father, I can’t do that. I was there for two weeks and I wanted to feed myself to a swamp slug.’

Vader didn’t move, processing this new information. Searching his son’s words for falsehoods or trickery.

‘My friends will be all right, but I’m in over my head. I’ve searched my feelings and the truth couldn’t be clearer. I don’t want to fight a war. I want to be a writer, like my father before me. I want a nice, quiet life on some up and coming inner galaxy planet with good coffee and free wifi. I just don’t know how to start.’

The Emperor had warned Darth Vader that his son would try to save him, to appeal to his better nature. And how right he had been, for what better side to him was there than the side that had penned Ten Nights On Tatooine? If this was Yoda’s last move, then it was a well conceived one, for Vader felt the lure, the siren song all writers hear when someone asks them to talk about writing. It was darker than the dark side, more powerful than the Emperor, and Vader was powerless before it.

‘Perhaps you should follow me to my office,’ he said, removing himself from Luke’s impressive grip.

‘Then you’ll do it? You’ll teach me?’

‘Your destiny lies with me, my son. Just not in the way I had imagined.’ With a wave of his hand, Luke’s manacles clattered to the floor. ‘Come,’ he said, indicating the way. ‘We have some time before the Emperor expects me, and there is much to say. For you do not yet understand the power of proper punctuation. Come.’

Luke nearly swooned with relief. ‘Yes, Father. Thank you.’

Abandoning their respective loyalties, they strode forward side by side. Father and son, Sith and Jedi.

Writers.

This blog post could also have been titled ‘Content Generator Drives 29 Year Old Back To Writing Fanfiction For First Time Since That Very Enthusiastic Harry Potter Phase In The Early 00’s.’

Too wordy, though.

Collecting Strangers

Every now and then I’ll hear a snatch of conversation in passing, and if it’s interesting enough, or makes me smile, I’ll write it down in my phone (yes, hello, I’m a millennial) and jot a few notes about the speaker. It’s a fun, if admittedly kind of creepy hobby and it’s a great way of teaching yourself how to write natural dialogue and how to describe real people – not just idealised or stereotyped characters you’ve pulled from your head.

For example, here are the notes I took on my trip to the United Kingdom and Paris last year, exactly as I wrote them at the time (I won’t even fix the grammar or formatting in a very painful act of commitment to authenticity):

Overheard:
In Hay book shop, skinny white guy with skull tattoos peeping out the back of his t-shirt ‘have you got anything on skeletons, skulls… the head? Like, the anatomy of the face?’ Barely concealing amusement, conservative looking worker with round specs ‘let me show you to our biology section.’

Edinburgh: ‘Nerd alert, I used to have a character in Everquest who was a dwarf cleric healer…’ A large ginger American woman. At that age where she could have been 29 or 45.

London: a tall, skinny man in business shirt and slacks, on the phone: ‘…when I was a boy you used to be able to get a naughty pen…’

London, Euston: three little girls, two brown, one white, running out of Accessorize brandishing socks at their parents. ‘Only eight pound!’ says one. ‘Now we have matching socks!’ says another.

London, Covent Garden: a late twenties brunette in a shop on the phone, flipping through cards without seeing any of them. Stressed, breathless, talking quickly. ‘I’m one-hundred per cent sure, in that way you can never be one hundred percent sure of anything in these situations, that it wasn’t my fault.’ Tears welling, work related.

Observed: Disneyland Paris, food court. Little girl in full cinderella costume on the floor trying to do the worm with her Buzz Lightyear brother(?). Neither succeeds. Both giggling.

Observed: outside Disneyland Paris, the toilets. An early teen boy (French) visibly uncomfortable with having to hold his sister’s Elsa doll. He proceeds to smash his brother repeatedly in the head with it. Sister (6sih, brunette, dressed as Elsa) is upset on returning to find her now bedraggled doll. Snatches it back. Brother looks sheepish.

Five of these make me smile, two make me sad. All of them teach me something – about people, about the world, and about the way I think and write.

It also gives you something to do when you have to take public transport and you’ve forgotten your headphones. Give it a go! And feel free to leave any of your own favourite strangers in the comments.

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6 Surprising Ways Writing is More Refreshing than New Socks

Look, it’s no secret that I’m pretty crappy at blogging. The internet is already full of great and terrible writing/publishing advice and my life really isn’t interesting enough to document. It’s one of the many reasons I write fiction. It gives me something to talk about other than the dog I’m currently looking after and the boysenberry I just planted and subsequently had to rescue from said dog.

So I’ve enlisted the help of a content generator! And the peculiar algorithms of portent.com have given me this gem:

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So here we go! Six Surprising Ways Writing is More Refreshing than New Socks.

Google’s definition thingy defines the word refreshing as ‘serving to refresh or reinvigorate someone.’ Now, you could make the argument that socks, new or otherwise, have never actually refreshed anyone in the history of the earth (unless it was summer and  the socks had spent the night in the fridge, which is completely legit), and until my birthday this year I’d have been right there with you. But. My dear friend gave me a pair of Daria socks and I can very seriously say they’ve given me a whole new lease on life.

Screen Shot 2016-05-19 at 1.23.26 pmThis is my ‘new lease on life’ face. 

So let’s operate on the assumption that socks can, in fact, be literally refreshing to human people. In the same way, let’s accept that writing can too.

Now that we’ve covered that, let’s address how writing is, in fact, more refreshing than even the most refreshing of new socks. And not just more, but surprisingly so.

 Right.

Um.

Okay.

1. Writing Doesn’t Have That Slightly Too Tight Band Around The Top.

Writing comes with many side effects. Anxiety, humiliation, abject despair, all that. But what it does not have, is that band around the top of socks that sometimes digs in a bit too tight and leaves a weird imprint on your skin.

You know the one.

And if you try to loosen it you end up snapping something vital. And then that destroys the entire ecosystem of the sock, and it ends up sagging around your ankles, and then the bobbly heel bit ends up somewhere around the arch of your foot, but you’re wearing boots and you’re at work so you can’t fix it, and then somehow your sock just comes completely off inside your shoe and it feels weird and terrible and you can’t do anything but smile weirdly because if you try to tell anyone what’s going on inside your shoe they’re going to think you’re peculiar.

Anyway, writing – surprisingly! – doesn’t have that, and that knowledge in itself is refreshing in a tenuous sort of way.

2. Some Socks Have Palm Trees On Them But Writing Is More Immersive. 

When I think of the word ‘refreshing’ I think of palm trees, because I am also thinking of cartoon oasis’ in cartoon deserts. Which is strange, because I grew up in an actual desert with zero palm trees and any natural body of water probably had nature’s greatest death machine chilling in it. But that’s media influence for you.

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Relevance!

 

Where I’m going with this, I think, is that you can see a picture of an oasis on some socks (and then put them on and get clammy feet, which is absolutely not refreshing unless, again, you’re keeping them in the fridge, but after about four minutes that thrill wears off and you’re back to being a normal person in what are probably warmly moist socks which is worse than having warm dry socks so in the end, were those four minutes even worth it?), or you can write about an oasis. The burning white sand, the shuk, shuk, shuk of the very lost tourist’s feet as they trudge over the dunes, legs feeling heavier and heavier until… something glimmers in the distance. A blinding spark of light that hurts to look at and yet promises sweet relief to a mouth turning to stone. On they press, forcing leaden limbs ever onward, finding God to pray that the blinding spot isn’t a just a cruel trick of the mind until, finally, their ragged shoes soak through with water. Blissful, not cold but real, honest to God water. They drop to their knees and scoop painful handfuls past broken lips and drink and drink and drink.

Or you could just have an actual glass of water, but this is a two-option list. You can wear some socks or you can write some stuff and you should defo write some stuff as proven in that pulitzer worthy excerpt there.

Seriously:

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3. Uh. Writing is probably new to you! But socks probably aren’t. 

That’s refreshing, isn’t it? I mean, you were probably made to write something in high school about what you did on your holidays or some one-page story for English about a theme or something and you probably did it last minute and it was probably all a dream but then you wake up and the events of the dream START HAPPENING as a really great twist ending, and well done you. But you’ve quite possibly never had a solid crack at writing for fun! That’s not based on a statistic, please don’t check. Why would anyone even collect data on that? Is that why the CSIRO keeps getting its funding cut?

Anyway.

If you’re a shoe wearer, and many of us are – no judgement if you’re not, of course, but also, maybe a little, context depending – then you’ve almost definitely worn socks at some point. It’s not a new experience, and now that we’ve all been through the toe-sock fad of the mid-00’s and after you’ve tried out my cool little fridge tip, there’s really no new sock frontiers to explore. I mean you could switch to bamboo socks or something, but don’t. They come in boring colours and they feel kind of weird.

But writing! Writing is always a new frontier. What emotions will it make you feel about yourself today? Tune in, folks. It’s always extreme and occasionally even positive.

Where am I up to? 4?

4. Twilight Exists, But So Do Really Ugly Socks. 

I’m using Twilight as a cheap shortcut for ‘poor writing’ here, as I’ve not read any of it, and I have no real opinions on it. Cool? Cool.

Yes, some people write incredibly terrible stuff. But it makes them happy, right? I mean, sometimes it gets published and does incredibly well and it doesn’t make you feel terrible at all because GOOD FOR THEM, RIGHT? I AM VERY HAPPY FOR ALL SUCCESSFUL WRITERS WHO AREN’T ME.

But some people do this:

UnknownCalling it. His name is probably Christopher. Not Chris. 

And it is objectively worse than anything Ian McEwan* has ever done.

5. What Were We Talking About?

Fact: I’ve listened to Lemonade twice since starting this post.
Fact: It’s difficult to have that many opinions about this topic.
Theory: Poor choice maybe?
Thought: Ooh, I’ve still got some some mint slice in the cupboard.

6. Writing Is Actually Pretty Great And Socks Are Just Sort Of Whatever.

We’ve completely abandoned the refreshing and surprising angle, but let’s be honest, there weren’t that many legs in it to begin with.

(I’m funny.)

Anyway. In conclusion, point number 6, writing is pretty awesome. If you’re inclined to write, you should absolutely have a go. You don’t have to aspire to professionalism. Writing is a great hobby. You can write in a journal, you can write extremely interesting and enlightening blogs, you can write tweets or essays or poems or short stories or novels or sagas or whatever. If any part of you has the urge to write, go ahead and act on that.

Because socks, however fabulous, and actually a pretty great source for compliments because people seem to really love a novelty sock, are just socks. They’re not that involved an activity. A pretty poor choice as a hobby, unless you’re making them yourself, and we are just not going down that road because this is already a really unnecessarily long blog.

But that’s fine. Because socks are socks. And writing is writing. And they’re actually a horrible basis for comparison.

Thanks, content generator!

Ceinwen Out.

drops-mic-lisa-simpson-1Look, I tried. Let me have this. 

*Or is it?

From Writers Block to Fairytales

I began writing Almost Midnight as a writing exercise to jog myself out of a major writing funk. 2014 was not an easy year for me personally, and I wrote very little prose after launching The Edge of the Woods. After busying myself with some script work, I was determined to get back into it, but every time I tried to think of something new or work on one of the concepts I’d started plotting before my dad died, I’d come up blank. My fingers would hover over the keyboard, tap out half a sentence, delete, and hover again. I’d groan, sigh, swear, make another cup of tea, do my nails, swear some more, close the computer and give up and watch a TV show. The part of my brain that tells stories was asleep behind a wall of thorns and vines and I couldn’t find the right sword to cut my way through.

I decided that if I couldn’t work on my novels, I could at least try to update my blog more often (which, if you follow this blog, you’ll know how well that went!), but I struggle to think of topics to write about. I’m not a journalist or a columnist, I’m terrible at essays and my opinions evolve so often I don’t really want to commit to that many of them on the eternity of internet. So I thought I’d use a shortcut and try to retell a story I already knew (that was safely in the public domain). I began with one of my favourite fairytales, Hans My Hedgehog.

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I barely remembered the actual structure of Hans. I’d never read it, only watched the episode of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller, and not in years. I knew that Hans had been cursed to be a hedgehog by some fault of his parents, I knew that he was reviled, that he rode a rooster and lived in the forest, that he tricked a king into letting him marry a princess, that he became human for one hour every night, that the princess ruined his chances of breaking the spell, and that she walked the world to find him in a pair of iron shoes and broke the spell with love. Most of these are unique to the Jim Henson version. The original was, like so many fairytales, incredibly cruel.

So I used what I remembered as the framework, and almost at once something new began to grow from the gaps in my memory. I wanted to know who Hans’ parents were and what they’d done to doom him to life as a (actually pretty cute) monster. As if hearing his name called, out stepped a poor but ambitious young woodcutter from behind the wall of thorns.

That first day, I made my personal best for words written in one session. Hans was the sword I needed to free the storyteller trapped in my head and I wrote all day for two weeks until his story was done. Too long for a blog post at 13,000 words, but a story finished and one I felt proud of. Rewatching the episode of The Storyteller afterwards, I found I’d also written something quite new. My Hans didn’t look a thing like Jim Henson’s. Nor did our princesses, or our kings. I had added a fairy godmother in the form of a little hedgehog, and Jim had faceless magic and John Hurt. Our endings are different – though both happy – and every character’s motivation is different. But they’re both Hans My Hedgehog in that special way a fairytale can be told a thousand ways with a thousand endings and still be the same story.

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Writing fairytales didn’t completely cure my writers block. It was another six months before I really got stuck into my Cinderella retelling, which was less the labour of love I felt for Hans and more an attempt to understand a heroine I’d only ever been able to connect with in one retelling – 1997’s Ever After. Cinderella, in all the other adaptations and all the stories, didn’t make sense to me, which always bothered me given how popular a story and character she’s always been. It took much longer to write than Hans, and it’s by far the longest story in the collection at 25,000 words, but to my very great surprise I found myself more at home in Ella’s head than I had in any other character before (which, naturally, means she will be everyone’s least favourite heroine!). Ella is at first held back by the terrible things that happen to her, and then by her own fear of further disappointment or rejection. Cindersoot became a story about finding the strength to speak up and not waiting for someone else to change your life for you. At last, I feel like I understand Cinderella. And more than that, I like her.

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The story I knew I always wanted to have a go at rewriting was The Little Mermaid. It’s been my all-time favourite story for as long as I can remember. When I was young I watched the Disney movie at least once a day (but more like three) for years, but at the same time also watched the 1975 Japanese animated film (featuring the sea foam ending) and a low budget direct adaptation we found at the local video shop. So while I worshipped at the new feet of Ariel, I was always aware of the original ending, the little mermaid’s quest for a soul and the prince’s love for someone else. I thought it would be the easiest of the three stories to write, given that I knew it and loved it so well.

So, of course, it was nearly impossible. I knew it too well. I was basically trying to rewrite the original but with a prince who wasn’t a condescending prat (read Andersen’s original, he is the least dreamy prince of an already impressive cast of unappealing romantic heroes) and without the mermaid’s quest for an immortal soul (which is actually an aspect of the original I love, but as someone who isn’t religious I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing it). Everything I tried to write was terrible. It was bland and unoriginal and it, somewhat appropriately, had no voice. I was back in 2014, writing and deleting and swearing and coming dangerously close to ditching my laptop at a wall.

But I couldn’t give up. I’d always wanted to write this story. And besides, I’d already told people I was writing it. So I started again, and figured out who my mermaid was. Was she a princess? Did she have a family? Why would she give up her voice? Why does she fall in love with the first human she sees?

The answer to all these questions, as it turned out, was pretty much ‘no.’ No, she wasn’t a princess. She didn’t have a family. She was alone, and had always been alone. She was searching the ocean for someone who looked like her, and found the closest thing in the humans who travelled upon it. She didn’t give up her voice, because she had never had to speak anything but the language of the sea, which I discovered was a song. She didn’t fall in love with the first human she saw, but the one who looked as lonely as she felt.

And then it went from there. The story I wanted to tell was one of love, that loving someone doesn’t entitle you to be loved back. That true love expects nothing but gives everything, and that the love of a friend is not worth less than the love of a lover, even if it’s not the love you crave.

In the end, The Mermaid was exactly the story I’d always hoped to tell. I’ve gotten reports now from several people that it made them cry, which is a very high compliment.

Fairytales mean a lot to me. I think they’re always relevant, parables reshaped by the time and the teller, a game of Chinese whispers through the ages.

Will I write more? Absolutely, one day. But for now, I’m outlining a story set in rural Australia in 1994. Which, weirdly enough, might not have been possible without a magic hedgehog.

Almost Midnight

You can read Hans My Hedgehog for free here.

Almost Midnight: Three Classic Fairytales can be found on eBook for US$2.99 from AmazoniBooksNook and Kobo.

The paperback is available for US$11.99 from Amazon.

 

 

Almost Midnight: Three Classic Fairytales is HERE!

When I had the idea to publish a small collection of fairy tale retellings (back in June), I thought it would take maybe four months, tops. After all, I’d already written a retelling of Hans My Hedgehog that I felt very proud of, I’d started my own version of Cinderella and I’d always wanted to have a crack at my favourite fairy tale, The Little Mermaid.

What I didn’t expect was for Ella to have so much to say that her story stretched out to 25,000 words (the accepted minimum for a young adult novel) or to be so intimidated by completely rehauling a story that meant so much to me as a child that I had to rewrite The Mermaid nearly five full times.

But here we are, nine months later. The stories say everything I want them to, and they’ve been beautifully illustrated by my very talented friend Ben Sigas. I’m very proud of this book. I hope you like it.

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You can buy the eBook for US$2.99 from Amazon, iBooks, Nook and Kobo. The paperback is available for US$11.99 from Amazon.