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Monthly Archives: November 2011

Raw! Unedited! Snippet Sunday – From Snow White Retelling

To celebrate sending my Snow White story to beta readers–which I plan to do before the night is over, I promise–here is a brief snippet.

Lars didn’t lust after his employer’s wife—not really. She was fifteen years older than he, and rather more matronly than he was yet ready for, with a double-chin, well-nursed bosoms and a large, round backside. But she did represent something very desirable to him.

He had never seen a woman shaped like her before. Men, he had seen aplenty—his own father, for one, plus other court dwarfs who regularly amused the royalty. They—most of them—had same thick torso, the same stumpy arms and legs, the same distinctive face.

But on the Frau … well, he tried not to think of what she looked like in the nude. Herr Dexter would thrash him for such thoughts. And so would that giant son of his.

He wondered what the other farmhands thought.

The four of them didn’t always work well together, but they knew better than to cause trouble. None of them wanted to be sent away. None really had anywhere to go, except back to whatever unpromising situation they had come from … except maybe Rudolph. Of the lot of them, Lars only really liked Gunther, who was also the oldest, except for Herr Dieter. Rudolph was pure trouble. Klause was quiet and sullen. Lars had only been among them for a handful of weeks. As the newcomer, he got the hardest work—plowing the field.

I hope you enjoyed it.

Which brings me to a request. I know there are a few German speakers who read this blog. I’d dearly love for a native German to proofread my incidental use of German. If you speak German and are interested, please email me at tia dot nevitt at gmail dot com, and I’ll send you a copy.

As I ran through this story one last time, I took notes on my process because I thought it might make an  interesting blog subject. I’ll post it later in the week. Plus, now that I’m done with this writing and editing marathon (it was more like NaNoEdMo for me), I think I’ll take a little break and breathe some life back into this blog.

That Sophomore Book

I don’t mean “sophomore” in this case as juvenile. I mean as the second book.

I’ve written more than 2 books. I have written three full-length novels, and since the first one was 230,000 words, you could even say I’ve written four. The Sevenfold Spell isn’t even among that number because it’s a novella. I was hoping to be able to produce two or three additional novellas in quick succession.

But dang. I got hit with the Sophomore Slump.

I started the Cinderella novella with high hopes. I had what I thought was a good premise. I started writing and I thought things were going well.

Then, I started second-guessing myself. You see, the Cinderella story is quite different from The Sevenfold Spell. I was hoping to go for some humor, but it didn’t work out that way. It has a virginal protagonist who remains that way throughout the story. I came up with an awesome villain.

But the plot … well, it kept failing my “why should the reader give a s**t?” test. The Cinderella story just doesn’t have all that much inherent conflict. Or rather, it’s conflict that the reader really doesn’t care about (with the stepsisters/stepmother) that is eventually culminated with a comeuppance, which really doesn’t resonate with me. And I think, as the author, I have to find it compelling in order to be able to do anything with it.

The part that gives me heartburn is I knew all this last August. I tried to carry on, to up the stakes, to infuse it with more conflict. I tried writing it in first person. I wrote a prequel that I really like. I set it aside for a while to polish up and submit my two novels (the first is a trunk novel). But every time I came back to it, I had less and less enthusiasm for the project.

But I didn’t want to give up on it. However, before long I realized that I wasted a year.

Finally, in July, I set it aside for good and started work on Snow White. It’s finished now; I’m just giving it a week to sit before I read it again before I send it off. I’ve even had some good plot improvement ideas in the meantime (which is why I let it sit). I also still need to read it aloud.

I didn’t have any of the problems I had with the Cinderella story. The more I wrote it, the more I liked it. Also, I’ve started my Beauty and the Beast story already, and I keep coming up with more ideas that I like for it. It may even be the best story of the three, which would be just fine with me if I can keep improving with each novel.

My difficult lesson? To listen to myself. When I know something isn’t working, I need to set it aside and work on something else. Because to set something aside doesn’t mean you give up on it forever. It only means that now is not its time.