Sometimes feedback takes a while to sink in. It can be a puzzle or in a language foreign to your own way of thinking. This was one of those times when things finally clicked together in my head. Some things which felt like separate problems were really the same thing in the end. So I’ve been editing again, which feels endless, but I really believe the story is better for it.
And more beta reading! I do this whenever I have a little free time, mostly to pay it forward. I always feel a bit guilty for asking other people for feedback, but we all need it. Friends, if you need a beta reader please don’t be shy about pinging me. I will say yes if I have the time, though I have to admit I don’t have as much time as I’d like lately. (But you never know, so please ask!)
Sometimes you find a grove accidentally, like wandering into the subway and someone is busking the same tune that was playing on the radio. This month tuned itself around fairy tales: princess’, queens, kings, other worlds and fairy creatures. It’s still singing in my ears.
It feels important that there are fairy stories in many cultures though their creatures might be called by different names. There’s a shape to these tales that makes them feel mythic in a different way than other stories do. Maybe they tap into something deep and true, or hover like the shadows at the edge of a campfire. There are rules to the magic, even if you can’t ever understand them: like throwing salt over your shoulder, or begging pardon when you walk past a certain tree. There’s always an dangerous side to the beautiful. A cost for every gift. Wishes with double edges.
What sacrifices would you make for what you want? What is the one thing you couldn’t bear to lose?
And that’s made me think about the stories that we sometimes can’t tell aloud. We tell them in puzzles and codes, and once upon a times, describe the dreamscapes that haunt us as half-remembered things. Stories are never the thing on paper that they are in your head. Maybe storytelling works like a fairy curse: you can’t ever talk about what happened in faerie, only around it.
Or just maybe the heart of some stories don’t want to be known just quite yet, and you have to coax them into the light like a unicorn. Maybe you must be worthy first.
- Tea Princess Chronicles by Casey Blair (Ongoing Serial)
- A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi
- Roses and Rot by Kat Howard
- The Girl Who Swallowed the Moon by Kelly Barnhill.