I never really thought I'd want to write something based off a fairy tale. But I think we all know what it's like to have an idea that won't go away.
I've seen a lot about fairy tale rewritings or retellings or whatever you want to call them over the past few years. From an abstract perspective, I can understand why they're popular - these stories have become such a huge part of our culture, they're tales that most people will recognize immediately, and there's just something about them that resonates. The way they can freely change in the telling, the way they've been reinvented all across the world, and the fact that the original stories are often violent and brutal... There's a lot to work with there.
Hell, if I hadn't already decided to work with this one, I might have talked myself into it with that last paragraph.
But until a few weeks ago, I'd never had an idea that lent itself to reimagining a fairy tale. I've plotted enough stories, though, to know that my best plots tend to come from combining two different ideas. A song I kept hearing at work gave me ideas toward one sort of story, just vague hints and images, so I did the usual note-scribbling, unsure if anything would come of it. That same day, I explained the concept of apple spiders to a co-worker. She said it reminded her of a particular fairy tale, and my brain made the connection. I suddenly realized what the story I'd been taking down notes for was meant to be.
I'm still putting everything together - hell, I just figured out how the story starts today, right in the middle of my drive home. (Getting story ideas on the freeway is all kinds of fun, believe me.) But the way it's coming together now, I can tell this is one that will work.
I'll need to read the original tale to really make sure I get things straight, but there are all kinds of elements I'm already putting together into the plot. The magic mirror, the glass coffin, blood and snow and ebony, so on and so forth. A system of magic I thought of years ago will fit perfectly into this world, and it's something I've wanted to use for a long time. This is why I write everything down and urge other writers to do the same - you never know when it'll be useful again.
Granted, I still don't have a full plot, and the standard number of characters for this tale means I have a lot of work ahead of me. And as I said, this isn't a story I ever expected to tell. But I'm excited about it. With any luck, I'll hash out the plot this winter and have this ready to be my second book for 2015.
I'm well and truly glad I figured all this out, because it fulfills a story desire I've had for a long, long time: I just plain really want to do "Snow White and the Seven Samurai".
Next entry: Contested.