Sunday, March 28, 2010
I sit comfortably in the living room, warm, my feet propped up. Out the front window I see the green of the white pines, their long needles drenched and glassy from the cold rain. Although the sky is gray, downcast, and drear, I know the snips of green are popping up through last fall's leavings. Rising from their scarce beds the lilies, hyacinths, tulips, daffodils wait for warm sunny days to burst into bloom. And in the shady spots where they have been allowed to grow and spread, the crocuses already stand purple and gold.
The birds have taken to the backwoods, but I only need step under the green canopy to hear their songs and drummings.
It's spring, Easter is a mere week away... I'm glad to see and hear the world today. Good morning.
And on a completely different note, I found a link to this article on the "Five Most Overused Childrens Book Plots. It doesn't have anything to do with what I write, which is possibly the reason why I'm humored. I wonder what the fantasy novel equivalent would be? Or would they be rewrites of the following favorite stories -
1. Beauty and the Beast
Beautiful person is thrown in with an ugly person and must learn to accept that ugly person for the beauty that lies beneath.
Mistreated or otherwise forgotton person gets chance at happiness and day in the spotlight, but it comes with a time limit and strings.
3. Little Mermaid or Prince and the Pauper
The grass is always greener in somebody else's lake. Person longs for a life that he/she wasn't born with. Must learn to appreciate things right under nose, either that or learn to sacrifice self for things they believe in or love.
Poor outcast is given a miraculous chance at power and it is all his/hers for the taking, as long as he/she doesn't get too big for britches. Or, there are consequences if you steal or lie your way to prosperity. At some point, you have to tell the truth.
5. Jack and the Beanstalk
Poor nobody goes on a great adventure, finds treasure, and must use wits to battle monsters.
Optional 6. King Arthur
Poor orphan boy rises to greatness when he alone is able to do a very simple but remarkable thing and be declared King by the powers that be. Then he must civilize his country and defeat all enemies while forming an army of heroes and wooing a gentle lady - all with the help of a grizzled old wizard. <- And I would say this story dates back to King David with the help of the prophet Samuel.
The above examples, of course, do not include the other two prototypes which show up in almost all genres -
1. Romeo and Juliet
Star-crossed lovers go through a lot of trouble to be with each other, despite the fact that their races, families, friends, social set - everything that used to matter to them - stalwartly tries to keep them apart.
2. Much Ado about Nothing
Story centered around two couples, one sweetly and definitely in love and the other obnoxiously and snarkily in hate. The couple sweetly in love is pulled apart by lies and tricks by others. The couple snarkily in hate falls in love and draws together to bring the sweetly in love couple back together. <- Possibly known as the inspiration for Pride and Prejudice, which definitely has inspired zillions of such book and movie plots.
I'm halfway through the fourth book of the seven I borrowed from the library last week. This book, "The Glass Maker's Daughter" by V. Briceland - I absolutely worship it. Imagine a place in Italy where seven noble families have made a pact of fealty to the King and the powers that be. Every sunset, they raise their flag and blow the horn, and their casa will stand. If they fail to perform the rite upon a night, then a disaster will occur instantly and their casa will fall.
Risa was distressed when she becomes the first of her family to go unchosen, when all children were taken into private schools to learn more about their families crafts as well as the magic that goes into their work. Glassmakers, for example, weave magic into the glass to make it unbreakable.
Halfway through the book the reader realizes even before she does that it was a VERY good thing that she went unchosen. For she is left at home to keep the casa safe while her family is held hostage at the palace and in the schools.
And though this isn't revealed yet at page 150, I'm placing my bets that the old beggar whose life she saved is really the king who was supposedly dead.... *picks book up to finish reading*
Oh - and if I ever become published, I'd like to have a bio that goes like the author's:
"V. Briceland wanted to be an archaeologist when he grew up. Instead, he has worked as a soda jerk, a paper-flower maker in an amusement park, a pianist for a senior citizens' showtunes choir, an English teacher, and a glass artist. He likes writing novels best of all. He lives in Royal Oak, Michigan, where there is a sad lack of ruins to be excavated."
Ha. I was right. Finished reading the book. Thoroughly satisfying.