Sleeping Beauty

Back in the middle of September, Anne Elisabeth Stengl held a “Show-and-Tell” for the authors writing Sleeping Beauty retellings for the Five Magic Spindles contest.

I (briefly) thought about sending in my two little story ideas, but then I realized that would probably be a bad idea for several reasons – temporary titles, foggy plots… but mainly, I realized I would spending a lot of time fretting over that little story blurb when I really needed to be working on the actual story.

Well, two months later, I’ve finally got my story ideas up. This is kind of my congratulatory victory dance too, because they’re basically done. (Basically, because I don’t think in my eyes they’ll ever be done, and plus, it’s impossible for me to keep my fingers off the keyboard until they’re actually gone.)

So, here we go! (All pictures compiled by me, from Pinterest.)

Wake Unto Me


In post-Civil War New Orleans, a riverboat captain finds himself caught up in the family drama of a girl who has stowed away on his riverboat, The Golden Spindle. Charmed by the girl’s elegance and liveliness, he falls in love with her. But when a strange river pirate comes aboard, and his first mate’s loyalties come into question, he is faced with an impossible dilemma; sacrificing his love in order to save her.

I should feel guilty about this story, since it won’t be sent in, but I don’t, not really. Sometime in August, the second story idea popped up, and from that moment I’ve only written about 18 words in Wake Unto Me. It’s not that I don’t love it, because I do, it’s just that I had doubts to begin with on whether it actually had a chance. A previous fairy tale contest on Beauty and the Beast had a story (I haven’t read it) that had a ship setting, and honestly, my second story, was really stealing all my time away. So in the end, I chose not to send this in, although I certainly won’t stop writing it. This story is a personal favorite, and I intend to give it the best finish and polish I can.


“My dear you can have no possible idea what it feels like to be old. Now go to bed and let this worn-out old man finish his work.”
“Yes Papa.” With this meek submission and a sly glance through the only window in the house that afforded a view of the Mississippi, she paraded solemnly to her room. But if she considered her furtive glance harmless, her father did not; for in three quick strides he was by the window, with but a single contemptuous stare to offer before drawing the shades closed on the Golden Spindle.

“Oh must we?” The man shifted the bulging pouch to his side, levelling his own stout gun at the hushed guests. “Now then,” he continued, boredom drawing out his words. “Drop your weapons or I’ll be forced to shoot.”
Whitcomb nodded to a reluctant Peabody, their guns thudding to the floor. Whitcomb’s stare met the intruder’s with even iciness. “I assure you, the Golden Spindle will prove far more trouble than she is worth.” The invader shrugged.
“Pirates can’t be choosey.”

Peabody tugged his jacket back to order, and following Whitcomb’s command settled himself on the stiff velvet couch. “I hardly know where to begin.”
“Anywhere,” was the gruff reply.



A Secret Worth Keeping


A journalist is tasked with writing a series of columns for the one hundredth anniversary of the disappearance of a wealthy textile manufacturer and his family. Despite misgivings, he pursues the job relentlessly, determined to unravel a mystery of fortune and deceit long obscured by time. But the greatest obstacle to overcome could be his own preconceptions; when a time capsule comes into his possession revealing letters written by the family’s daughter, the lines between past and present blur, and he is thrust unexpectedly into a world of doubt and danger.

So, yes, the uncooperative one. I started writing it in September, and got to 19,000 words before I realized a side character should’ve been the main character. I don’t know when I’ve felt more panicked, for though my cast and setting would be the same, the plot and countless plot devices would be out the window. Still, I gave it go. After one false start of 5,000 words, I hit on the story above, and that’s the one I’m finishing with. Also, working a story that has two timelines separated by a hundred years is VERY hard. Especially for someone who dislikes plotting. Ugh.


Perhaps it was naïve of me, Jack, but having spent most of my life at home, I wasn’t very familiar with this type of clandestine activity. I wanted to tell father, but that would’ve revealed my horrible suspicions. So I went alone, and no one knew.
“An incredibly stupid decision,” mused Carter, taking a sip from a tall mug of coffee as he delved into the next letter.

Carter gazed up three stories in admiration, idealistic images of Emilia Durant’s parties coming to mind; horses reining in by the soft rays of the shiny lamplight, party goers of tall hats and mink furs wending up the broad steps to the carved walnut door. But there the illusion ended, a sheet of fluttering paper informing him the Durant Art Museum was open for guided tours at ten and two o’clock.
His footsteps echoed against parquet flooring as golden light and the scent of a toasty furnace roused his spirits. A group of senior citizens packed into the foyer eyed him curiously, the red coated docent pausing his rote narration with a frown.

Those are the stories! Regardless of whether the second wins or not (if we’re being honest, I don’t think it will; I mean, the plot still confuses me and I wrote it!) I’m so happy I ended up writing these stories :) Sure, it was a lot of work and bother, but they’ve taught me a lot about writing, and mostly, pacing. This was the first time I’ve worked against a hard deadline when writing a story of any great length, and I’ve learned quite a few things about myself to apply to future endeavors.


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