Unusually for me, I feel totally prepared for Nanowrimo and it’s only August. (End of August, but are you checking?)
Thanks to a few hours of good work yesterday.
…and a Writing Excuses episode that gave me an idea, and a story I started like 10 years ago that was really bad but has a good concept.
The podcast was talking about styles of narrative:
– epistolary writing (told as letters or journal where the writer doesn’t know the story)
– reflective narrative (i.e. where the teller is writing the story down specifically after the fact)
And I thought, what if I did both? Where it starts as a finished (reflective) narrative, so you think you get the whole story, then a series of letters in the second half reveal how much the first narrator was lying in order to make herself look better….
I really liked this idea, but I needed an actually story to pair it to. So I went to my archives of ‘unfinished stories’ from ages past, and the second one I looked at is one called Pumpkin Eater.
Here’s an except from the original story:
Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater,
Had a wife and couldn’t keep her;
He put her in a pumpkin shell,
And there he kept her very well.
Those words… they sang those words, over, and over, and over. Night and day, they would not cease, but kept the rhyme going on… and on… and on.
Oh, how she tired of it. Oh how she hated it. Oh how it filled her eyes with rage, her mouth with a snarl, her mind with thoughts of revenge. Revenge. Ha! She dreamed of it, every night, and much of the day. But dreams — those were all they were. Confined as she was, with no way of escape. How long had it been? It seemed centuries, but she could not be sure. The sun did not penetrate she shells of her prison, nor did the sound of owl’s harken the night. She remembered how she used to listen to the owls… before it happened….
OMG can you even stand to read more than like 2 sentences? I can’t. It’s totally dramatic and horrible. It was kinda supposed to be a horror story so that makes sense of a sort 😀
But the basic premise is that a duke, who yes grows pumpkins (or his duchy does), marries a young woman and as time passes she discovers his sinister intent, and eventually he traps her in a magicked pumpkin and she begins to hallucinate. (He wants to drain her magic or something. Can’t quite remember. Don’t really care.)
So what I want to do is tell the story in her point of view, where she is totally the victim and ‘Peter’ is creepy and undoubtedly the villain… then introduce letters they’ve both been sending / receiving that tell a completely different story, where she has used him in a plot and caused him undue misery.
I’ve already plotted the whole thing and it’s great.
Except it’ll be really dramatic and tragic during her part. I’m not sure if I can get around that, unless I introduce comic relief. (I think I have to.)
All that’s left is to plot a timeline, then do a bit of world-building. Not much is necessary, I’ll leave most of it vague, but I do want it to be Russia-esque, and there’s some war in the kingdom that I’ll need to explain to myself if not in the book, and I may kinda figure out the magic but it’s not that important.
Great! Now just gotta wait 2 months until Nanowrimo starts…