During #StoryDam chat on Twitter last night, Tui Snider (@TuiSnider) mentioned having a black Xmas tree with skeletons on it. She inspired me to pull this beauty out of her box and let her fly. Thank you Tui. And she’s posable!
#vss very short story
When Horace hiked through the snowy forest and chopped down the perfect fir, he had no idea it had grown on the bloody lands of the fairy wars. The tree had grown so full and desirable feeding on the rotting fairy corpses.
The next morning, when he saw the tree lit up and covered in decorations, he thought Janice had gotten up in the night to surprise him. Upon closer inspection, the decorations were quite morbid. They looked like little human skeletons dressed up like fairies. He also discovered there were no lights on the tree, the lights came from their eyes.
He backed up in fear as the room filled with the sound of fluttering wings. The awakened fairy spirits flew from the tree, hungry for revenge.
Today’s Poetry Prompt and Poem
For some reason, I really like today’s prompt:
Write a poem including three modes of transportation and a bird.
Mr. Screamy and I
Majestic eagle in the tree above my room.
Alerts me that the day in all its gloom
Has arrived and he is in it.
The jets rumble overhead
Overwhelmed with Christmas travelers.
Mr. Screamy and I celebrate not being among them
Encompassed in our cloud, today I won’t join
The screaming masses in car traffic and parking lots.
Today, Mr. Screamy and I are content to be
Big, bold, loud and not stranded far from home.
I’ll use imagination transportation while he takes flight.
Back to The Story Grid Spreadsheet. Today I’m adding the last six columns that concern story continuity. They are:
Point of View – the vantage point from which the reader sees the fictional world.
Period/Time – Be specific. Know exactly when, time/day, the scene takes place in the story.
Duration – The approximate length of time it took for the scene to take place. Was it two minutes of action or did it last a few days or years?
Location – Where does the scene take place? Be specific.
Onstage Characters – list the names of the characters present in the scene
Offstage Characters – characters referred to by the active characters, but not part of the scene.
While I work on finishing up the spreadsheet, I’ll also look at another section of The Ultimate Revision Checklist from Revision And Self-Editing (Write Great Fiction) by James Scott Bell.
Since I’ll be listing all the onstage and offstage characters for every scene, this will be a good time to make a Character Web. Mr. Bell shows the web as a page with the Lead Character in the center and the other characters in a circle around, I think I would do it a little differently. I would put the lead in the center, the secondary characters around the lead and the tertiary in an outside circle, like this:
I made this in Adobe Illustrator, so it will be easy to add or delete characters and change where they fit in the relationships.
Then draw lines to show the connections between the different characters.
I took it a step farther and created a color-code for my MC’s Mentors, Allies and Enemies. I also color-coded the connections as whether they were positive or negative relationships.
This was a great exercise! In a short time, I got a deeper feel for all of my characters and their importance to my MC’s character arc and the story development. I already found characters that need more development and could strengthen the plot.
Mr. Scott recommends using this diagram to see if I can combine two or more characters to fulfill the same function. So far, I see Hanya and Mr. Graves as perhaps having the same purpose, and Seba may not be necessary as he only introduces Tshepo to The Shark, though he may be a character that needs further development.
Today’s writing hashtag themes:
Don’t Forget To Read!
The skeletons theme made me think of Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, so I thought it would be fun if there were any books based on the movie. And wowie were there. Here’s a fun selection of what I found: