Rereading The Fault in Our Stars

So . . .  Seeing as how I don’t get to see the movie The Fault in our Stars for another two weeks, I’ve decided to reread the book.

For those who don’t know, The Fault in our Stars is a book by John Green, one half of the vlogbrothers.  Its extremely popular and those who haven’t read it probably consider it to be overhyped.  It’s not.  Trust me.  I thought that it was merely popular because of “Nerdfighters” (the vlogbrother’s YouTube subculture – yes, they created their own subculture, which is pretty badass if you ask me), but its not.  It’s actually a very good book – one of the best fiction books I’ve read during my university career.  When I watched this video of John Green reading the first chapter of his book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F_vFvbfn9Fs I knew I went straight over to Chapters and got myself a signed copy of the book.  It was worth the price.

The story itself is about two teenage cancer patients who fall in love.  There are a few similarities to A Walk to Remember: I’d say The Fault in Our Stars is more gritty and realistic, although it’s still quite an idealistic story (which suits me just fine: I’m an idealist 😛  Deal with it *cue cute cat pictures and motivational quotes*).  There’s a little teen angst but a lot of humor – a lot more humor than I expected given the subject matter – but it’s very tasteful and very realistic.  I was surprised at how well John Green captured the voice of a teenage girl.  Hazel Grace Lancaster has, in my opinion, a very realistic narrative voice.  I’m always anxious about writing male protagonists, especially in first person, so John Green gets a lot of respect for having the guts to make his narrator not only female, but young, in love, and dealing with a problem he probably never had.

While the story has many, many little morals thrown sprinkled throughout its plot (ex. how to deal with the possibility of impending oblivion), in my opinion the main themes are love, sacrifice, the desire to leave a lasting mark on the world, and the humanizing of people who we normally consider “other,” in this case, cancer patients.  Hazel and Gus are sick, they are suffering, and their pain is not ignored: it’s real, it’s there, the author does not shy away from describing it.  However, they are not first and foremost humans, not cancer survivors, and the majority of their problems come from being human and a large portion come from being teenagers: cancer only amplifies the angst and existential crises that they would have experienced nonetheless.

I could go on and on about The Fault in Our Stars.  I probably will at a later date.  But to end my ravings of a mad woman, I will merely say: read it.  You won’t regret it.

Your bookish,

Aleksandra Gieralt

Detailed outline draft 1

Hello guys!

So . . . I admit I have yet to finish the detailed outline of my Sleeping Beauty story (note: title suggestions are welcome).  I am currently outlining the second act – the one narrated from the princess’s point of view, in more detail.  A few details changed, and an extra chapter was added in the process.  Although the outline is as of yet still incomplete, I will nonetheless share my outlining process today, using the “set up” section of Act 1 as the basis:

I start out with Katytastic’s basic outline

Act 1

Set up – Introduce Hero and ordinary world

Introduction (set up)

Inciting Incident (conflict)

Immediate Reaction (resolution)

 

Then I fill in the blanks (name the hero, name the world, very briefly explain what the set up, conflict and resolution will be):

Act I: [POV of Flammia, the Warrior Fairy]

Set up – Introduce Hero [Flammia in this chapter] and ordinary world [fairy court]

Introduction [Fairy counsel regarding the birth of the new princess and her christening]

Inciting Incident (conflict) [to invite Malicia, the evil fairy, or not?]

Immediate Reaction (resolution) [They will not invite Malicia]

 

Once I have all the sections of all the acts outlined, I add the setting, time, characters and action, which, according to my French literature professor Dr. Vaillancourt, are the basic elements of a story, to each block.  WARNING!  ATROCIOUS SPELLING AND GRAMMAR FOLLOWS:

Act I: [POV of Flammia, the Warrior Fairy]

Set up – Introduce Hero [Flammia in this section] and ordinary world [fairy court]

Introduction [Fairy counsel regarding the birth of the new princess and her christening]

– Setting: High Queen’s castle in fairyland (near a waterfall with flowers), in the courtyard

– Time: Medieval-ish time period, noon

– Characters: Flammia the Fire Fairy, listening in to a conversation between the Logic Fairy and the Art Fairy, getting into a discussion with a servant girl fairy

– Action:  They are discussing the birth of Princess Clarity and her christening, the political situation in the kingdom they are about to visit, the responsibilities of a fairy godmother, etc.  They are waiting for the fairy counsel regarding the preparations for the ball.  Flammia describes the situation to the servant fairy and agrees to sneak her into the counsel room

Inciting Incident (conflict) [what to give the Princess]

– Setting: The counsel room of the high queen’s castle in fairyland

– Time: Medieval-ish time period, afternoon

– Characters: the 12 good fairies: Titanna the Fairy of Order and high queen of the fairies, Flammia the fire/war fairy, the Water Fairy, the Earth Fairy, the Wind Fairy, the Sound/Silence Fairy, the Art Fairy, the Logic Fairy, the Light Fairy, the Joy Fairy, the Peace Fairy, and the Love Fairy; Malica/Erissa the Chaos Fairy (disguised as the servant girl)

– Action:  They are discussing the gifts that they will bring the baby when the servant girl transforms reveals her true form: Malicia the Chaos Fairy.  She declares that she did not get an invitation to the counsel or to the christening, but that she intends to go anyways before disappearing dramatically

Immediate Reaction (resolution) PART 1 [They will not invite Malicia]

– Setting: The counsel room

– Time: Medieval-ish time period,

– Characters: The 12 good fairies

– Action:  Flammia admits that she is the one who brought the servant girl into the counsel room and takes responsibility for Malicia’s discovery of the truth.  She agrees to be Princess Clarity’s main fairy godmother and protector.  The other fairies admit that Flammia’s rash actions are to blame for the mistake but they note that Malicia would have found out one way or another nonetheless.

Immediate Reaction (resolution) PART 2 [Flammia prepares for the ball and prepares for Malicia’s attack]

– Setting: Flammia’s volcanic castle

– Time: Medieval-ish time period, evening

– Characters: Flammia and her Roman soldier lover

– Action:  Flammia prepares for the christening; we find out why her lover was cursed (Malicia cursed all the 12 good fairies when they refused to give into her rule); they have a conversation in which the Roman soldier tries to comfort the frantic Flammia; Flammia will be VERY heavily armed at the christening

***

As you can see, a lot changed between the first outline and the final outline.  I even ended up adding a chapter to the resolution.

Once I finish the outline, I will have a very basic short story written.  In the case of this particular story, I will most likely have enough information to write an easy-reader picture book.  However, since I am aiming for a 50 000 word+ novel, I will be expanding (a lot) upon the 936 word outline I have created.  I will most likely do one or two more outlines once I am finished this first detailed outline.

I have also begun world building and character sheets for the three narrators.  I will most likely create character sheets for the wicked fairy Malicia/Erissa, the other twelve fairies, and the parents of both Princess Clarity and Prince Drek along the way.  I’m also considering giving Prince Drek a sibling, most likely a sister.

Thanks for reading guys!

I hope you enjoy the blog!

Your diligent,

Aleksandra

Outlining Sleeping Beauty

Hello guys!

Today I’m sharing my very first outline of the Sleeping Beauty story with you.  There are, obviously, spoilers.  But we all know how it ends: with the words “and they lived happily ever after” 😀

 

First of all, I “stole” my outline from Katytastic’s 3 act, 9 block, 27 chapter outline.  This is my first time using an outline to describe an ENTIRE story.  I am a little worried that using a three-act structure will make the story formulaic, but I think that in this case it makes sense, seeing as how I have three narrators: one per act.  Here’s a link to Katytastic’s outlining videos:

Katytastic’s best outlining video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=94F-3Z6CJJw

Katytastic’s first outlining video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QUlPUHxr2oc

Katytastic’s writing process including outlining: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZyrJEmneaHQ

Katytastic’s outlining process with story example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Ee3dYG32YA

For those who have Scrivener: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ryXJ18eUp8

Outlining live show 1: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hialqv6sfP4

Outlining live show 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBKO-t6_Caw

PLEASE do check out her page.  She inspired me to finish Nanowrimo

 

Now, without further ado, presenting my spectacular, incredible, unforgettable outline of my own version of Sleeping Beauty (which is obviously a working title :P)

Sleeping Beauty: Basic Outline

Act I: [POV of Flammia, the Warrior Fairy]

Set up – Introduce Hero [Flammia in this section] and ordinary world [fairy court]

Introduction [Fairy counsel regarding the birth of the new princess and her christening]

Inciting Incident (conflict) [to invite Malicia, the evil fairy, or not?]

Immediate Reaction (resolution) [They will not invite Malicia]

 

Conflict – A problem disrupts the Hero’s life [Malicia curses Clarity and Flammia modifies the curse]

Reaction (set up) [The fairies arrive at the christening]

Action (conflict) [Flammia is stopped from giving her gift to Clarity by Malicia who curses the princess]

Consequence (resolution) [Flammia modifies the curse, the kingdom must change to suit new circumstances]

 

Resolution – Hero’s life has changed direction

Pressure (set up) [the fairies will watch over Clarity, the kingdom is going through extreme changes, there’s fear everywhere]

Pinch (conflict) [Revolutions, fear and panic]

Push (resolution) [Flammia helps calm the crowds and is instrumental to solving some of the kingdom’s problems, she becomes one of Clarity’s principal guardians]

 

Act II: [POV: Clarity, the cursed princess; Ending – POV Flammia]

Set up – Hero [Clarity] explores new world [her kingdom]

New World (set up) [Clarity is now a teen; she’s growing more beautiful and more curious]

Fun and games (event/conflict) [something involving Clarity and nature, showing her scientific side, maybe to do with weaving and clothing?]

Old world contrast (resolution) [There has to be something about peace vs. fear, technology, curiosity, etc, not a full resolution]

 

Conflict – Hero encounters crisis of new world [Clarity meets Erissa the spinster?]

Build up (set up) – Clarity befriends the spinster

Midpoint (conflict) – the problem is that spinning wheels are illegal

Reversal (resolution) – Clarity hides the spinning wheel, perhaps in her secret space where no one will think to look

 

Resolution – Hero dedicates to finding solution [Clarity is cursed, Flammia watches over this]

Reaction (set up) – There’s a ball in honour of Clarity’s 16th birthday, Clarity is excited but nervous because it’s her first ball

Action (conflict) – Clarity is embarrassed at the ball and runs to her hiding place where she meets the spinsters, pricks her finger on the spinning wheel and falls asleep

Dedication (resolution) – Flammia and the other fairies find her.  Flammia tries to fight Malicia/Erissa, but she takes Flammia’s necklace which contains her cursed lover.  Malicia/Erissa turns into a giant dragon and the land is overgrown by thorns

 

Act III: [POV Drek, the half-ogre prince]

Set up – hero [Drek, Clarity’s kingdom] faces defeat, victory [saving the kingdom, Clarity, and Flammia’s lover] seems impossible

Trials (set up) – Many heroes have tried and failed to slay the dragon Malicia.  In an African kingdom, Prince Drek hears of the curse from the fairies, who are looking all over for a hero to save Clarity.

Pinch (event/conflict) – Drek sets out on the quest, to prove to his kingdom that he isn’t a wicked ogre but a good man inside

Darkest moment (resolution) – After many trials and tribulations on his quest, Drek ends up captured by Malicia’s minions

 

Conflict – Hero must find power and take action

Power within (set up) – Drek escapes (possibly with the help of Flammia’s lover)

Action (conflict) – Drek receives magical items from the fairies, including the gift Flammia could not give to Clarity – fighting spirit

Converge (resolution) – He journey’s through the thorn field to the dragon

 

Resolution – hero fights and wins, resolving quest

Battle (set up) – Drek comes face to face with the dragon after facing great challenges

Climax (conflict) – Drek fights the dragon.  His courage awakens Clarity who watches from the window.  She runs down to the garden to help out however she can.

Resolution (resolution) – Drek slays the dragon but the sleeping curse passes onto him.  Clarity kisses him – this is his first kiss – and he wakes up.  Drek and Clarity’s actions awaken everyone in the kingdom.

 

The final version of my story will obviously not have 27 chapters.  I will probably add chapters describing Flammia’s cursed lover, Princess Clarity’s childhood, Prince Drek’s quest to save her, maybe even a chapter about Clarity and Drek’s respective parents, Malicia’s perspective, or the Fairy Queen’s perspective.  Obviously I will need to add to the ending to describe Clarity and Drek’s process of falling in love.  I’m not 100% sure that those two will end up together, and that if they do they will be passionate lovers.  They might end up in an arranged marriage whose relationship is one of close friendship rather than passion.

However, I will use the 27 chapter 3-act structure as my basis.  This will be an interesting experiment for me.

If you have any ideas, email, tweet, or Facebook message me 😀

Have a lovely day

Your hard working,

Aleksandra