Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Another meeting of the IWSG already?

Yes it is! Wow - February flew! If you don't know what this group does go here and join up! We meet on the first Wednesday of every month and that is today.

Here is the merely suggested question for this month:

March 1 Question: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

Why yes, I have! I'm not sure what you would call a really old story - and I'm sure you mean one of my own really old stories but how old do you think I am? Okay. I am really old. For a dog. For a human I'm middling old. But I seriously digress.

I pulled out a short story that I knew had more in it because the readers of a contest told me (like they always do) that my short stories are more like novel intros. So I took that story and turned it into a novel. The story was about a mother who only incidentally to the plot had two children. I turned it into a novel which is mainly about the youngest daughter and the mother's step-aunt. I think the reason that I did this, because normally I'd rather just have a brand-new idea for a novel, is that the name of the youngest daughter was Pinky and she just insisted on being heard. Now that story is  (many many ) years later completely utterly finished and in the hands of a few publishers ! Ta da! So I think it worked out. I have a few (okay - four) novels that could use a good going over. I'm not sure I'm up to it as I'm now on to another novel but, we'll see. I think each story teaches me something whether it sees the light of day or not.

Another way that I looked at this question was to consider whether I've ever used an ancient story as the inspiration for something I'm working on. I can't remember any that have worked out but I am inspired by revisiting ancient fairytales, myths and so on. I'm totally impressed with what writers have done with the Archie comics in the television show 'Riverdale'. How they turned this lighthearted account of teen life in the fifties into a gothic story in a contemporary world is truly fascinating. Jughead remains my fave character!

This last month I didn't really work on my new novel though. I worked on two essays for a big non-fiction contest here in Canada. It was really great stretching my muscles in a relatively new way and as the word limit was 1800 quite a shorter way too. I'm very interested in the essay format and tried something poetic with one of my submissions. Hope I do well, but if I don't I still have two essays that I'm proud of. I've been reading lots of essay books. Here are some I'm currently reading  -View From the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman; The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin; and Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit. 

And that brings me to my final thought for this month's meeting - reading good writers talking about their writing or the state of the world or feminism or anything in that line - well, it keeps the negativity at bay. So, writing companions, when I get down on my own output, I increase my input!

How do the rest of you manage, especially during these long pre-spring days? Truthfully, we don't have spring here - it will be frozen over until June. But I have spring fever still and a desire to get everything in order. I'm having my new hip surgery at the end of this month so I really want things tickety boo. I also took myself off social media (yes - that one which is not a dear face or a good book) which is giving me oodles more time. Which I spend writing, cleaning, drawing, cleaning, organizing and cleaning. Ha!

Here is a drawing I made of my dear home under a huge rainbow. 


Gail M Baugniet - Author said...

All rainbows are beautiful. Love yours. It's interesting that Pinky stuck with you, needing to be heard.

Margot Kinberg said...

How interesting, to use an ancient story as an inspiration, Jan! I'd never thought about it quite that way, although I know it's been done many times. Hmm...... Lots to think about, for which thanks. And now, time to look at some of the shorts I've written and see what might be there.

Jan Morrison said...

Gail - Oh yes - Pinky was only referred to in the original story - but even then I felt a tug. Little did I know that she was a fourteen year old tsunami! Thanks for dropping by!

Margot - yes, we can mine our own old gold mines or look to those truly ancient stories - that's what Shakespeare did!

Bish Denham said...

Isn't fun and rewarding to work on an *old* story and make it new! Congratulations!

Damaria Senne said...

Good luck with your operation. It sounds like Pinky's story worked out well. Hopefully the publishers agree and take it on. Best wishes.

Susan Scott said...

Good to read this Jan - those old myths, legends, fairy tales are timeless and enduring ... can be well mined for plot structure etc ..

Good luck for the op :)