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“We either live happily ever after or we get killed by horrible curses:” On The 10th Kingdom, and other early creative influences!

Last night, I discovered that The 10th Kingdom has finally been re-released on DVD.

My reaction was immediate, overjoyed, absolutely unrepentant capslock. And, of course, to order myself a copy, as I’ve not gotten to watch it in its entirety in years.

I’ll save for the proper squealing-session/’review’ for when I have watched it again, but, for now?

The 10th Kingdom first aired when I was about thirteen or so. When it did, I recorded the whole bleeding thing on VHS (VHS tapes which I still had until I lost them in my Epic Appalachian Emancipation™, aka my ridiculously eventful escape/move up north), and one of my still-BFFs and I were so ridiculously excited about it that we would call each other when it came on and watch the episodes together over the phone.

Yep. There was, without a doubt, some serious fangirling to be had, right from the start.

But I realised last night that there was more than that, too:

Looking back, I’m pretty sure that The 10th Kingdom was actually one of the biggest Creative Influences (deserving even of capital letters) on me, ever — and that it was also largely responsible for my continuing rampant obsession with fairytales as an adult/author.

(And, to this day, if I could choose other people’s fictional characters to steal for my own brainchildren, Wolf would still be in my top ten. ♥)

And that got me thinking. If The 10th Kingdom was one of my biggest early influences…what were the others?

It didn’t take me long to come up with a list…or to start laughing at myself once I had.
 
 

Animalia, by Graeme Base
Eccentric Circles, by Rebecca Lickiss
Into the Land of the Unicorns, by Bruce Coville
The Truth About Unicorns, by James Cross Giblin
Telltale Lilac Bush, by Ruth Ann Musick

 
 
So, in short, what turned Tiny!Jacey into the StillTiny!Jacey: Storyteller she is today?
 
 

ALLITERATION FAIRYTALES FAIRIES FAIRIES DOORWAYS TO FAERY UNICORNS UNICORNS HOLY CRAP CREEPY THINGS

 
 

Yeah, that sounds about right. ♥

I think Wolf summed it all up best himself: ‘We either live happily ever after or we get killed by horrible curses.’

Oh, indeed.

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Six Sentence Sunday: She carried on screaming, because it seemed that there was nothing else to do.

A Six Sentence Sunday sneaked in amidst holiday shenanigans! (Working in a giant bookstore days before Christmas is never a boring thing, I promise you all that.)

This week in The Clockwork Coloratura, my little clockpunk retelling of The Pied Piper, Anna is left to try and come to terms with the fact that the song she had thrown herself into following has seemingly betrayed her, and she is now left lost and blind and alone.
 
 

She carried on screaming, because it seemed that there was nothing else to do.

The screams she could at least understand, and they went forth neatly in the only directions that mattered: Out and away.

(And she did not dare to consciously wonder if they might somehow bring the boy to her, but hope burned just as brightly at the back of her throat and hid itself behind every cry.)

She carried on screaming, and did not remember for several long seconds that she still had feet and hands. She had forgotten her body, in its current useless state; she had accepted that it no longer served a purpose but to bring her self closer to the source of the song.

But the song was scattered and her eyes had grown dark, and she had no choice left but to reach out and feel.

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Six Sentence Sunday: Nothing but a chaotic cloud of noise.

Last week, the strange song suddenly stopped in The Clockwork Coloratura.

This week, Anna is left only with an even stranger cloud of noise, and she struggles to understand both why and what exactly this will mean.
 
 

She did not understand, but she could not deny that something was inescapably wrong.

Before, the song had stretched forward, becoming a path, a single solid line. There may have been countless intricacies embedded in that one line, far too many for her to catch and fully comprehend, but the line itself had moved in only one direction.

And that one direction was the only thing that she had needed to know.

But now there was no direction, was nothing but a chaotic cloud of noise.

There was no forward; she could no longer even discern which way was back, neatly eliminating the prospect of giving up on this strange journey entirely and attempting to find her way back to the boy.

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Six Sentence Sunday: When she realised she was screaming, she knew that she was lost.

Last week in The Clockwork Coloratura, the streets that Peregrine walked in his search were eerily silent.

But for Anna, on her own strange journey, this is far from the case.
 
 

She screamed.

She could not hear the sound herself; she felt it, a violent expulsion of air from the very depths of her lungs and a bright expanse of red that scraped her throat just as raw.

And when she realised she was screaming, she knew that she was lost.

She did not know how such a thing could have happened — she would have sworn that she had followed the song exactly, had almost perfectly matched its pace, with no indications that she had made a misstep or that the song itself had lead her at all astray. She had not fallen and had not stumbled, despite the weakness and dizziness that still clouded her brain.

The song had guided her faithfully, and she had followed, and she could not imagine that after everything, it would now allow her to fall.

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Six Sentence Sunday: Like chill coming up to greet you through the ground.

Ahh, the last Six Sunday post of The Clockwork Coloratura before NaNoWriMo begins!

Speaking of, I still have no idea what I’m even doing for NaNo, but hey, what the hell. I make no secret of the fact I am a pantser when it comes to writing, hah. (See: The Clockwork Coloratura itself, aka The Accidental Novel.)

But before NaNo (whatever it may be for me) begins, let’s take a last look back at Anna, as Peregrine still attempts to hunt her down.
 
 

On some level, she was aware that she was cold.

There had been chills before, of course, with the fever, the wild fluctuations between sweating and shaking; but they had been relatively short-lived, as fever-fluctuations tended to be.

This was a different breed of thing.

This was cold, a steady, constant, creeping thing, like chill coming up to greet you through the ground if you were unlucky enough to be left sleeping exposed on stone. It surrounded her, and it did not abate, only grew stronger as more of it began to amass.

At first, she wondered if this meant that she was finally dead.

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Six Sentence Sunday, an announcement, and meet The Clockwork Coloratura!

Okay.

It’s official: The Baby is growing up.

It’s creeping towards 20,000 words, now, and nearing the end of what has only turned out to be Part One. (When, at first, I had been roughly estimating that 20,000 words could hold the story in its entirety…ahem.) I’m still not sure how many parts there will be altogether, but I’m going to guess at least three or four, and that they’ll all probably be more or less this same size.

So.

I suppose I may just be writing an accidental novel now, at that.

Go figure.

It even, finally, has a proper title!

I think that I am calling it The Clockwork Coloratura.

(I do love alliteration, and ‘coloratura’ is one of my favourite words, as well as a painfully-apt musical term. At the very least, it should serve as a working title!)

I don’t know, yet, what all this story is going to entail, or where it’s going to go. (For me, being a writer isn’t about controlling stories; it’s about giving yourself up to them as freely as you hope your readers will. It isn’t creating something new; it’s unearthing and polishing relics that already exist, putting them back together and cleaning them up until they are finally whole again and shine.) I don’t know how it’s going to end.

I do know that this story is a lot of things — it’s a clockpunk retelling of the Pied Piper fairytale, obviously; it’s a dystopian, post-apocalyptic story; it’s the start to a series of clockpunk retellings of other fairytales set in this same world.

But mostly, it’s a story about two lonely children, and the desperate way that loneliness can make you cling.
 
 
And now that the announcements are out of the way, have this week’s Six Sentences of The Clockwork Coloratura itself. :)
 
 

Outside the door were flakes of skin.

His first thought was of snakes, of molting, of little girls being swallowed alive and somehow managing to claw their way free, and these were the images that stuck with him even as he shook his head and forced himself to reexamine the scene. On second glance, it was obvious that his first impressions had been quite wrong; far too little skin remained to signify such a thing. The flakes left behind were small, no bigger than a bitten-down nail, and barely big enough for him to recognised them at all. They may as easily have been dust, may have been ancient paint flaking free from the walls, might even have been fragments of paper left behind to crumble and curl.

They might have been any number of things, and yet somehow he knew that they were hers.

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Six Sentence Sunday: She walked regardless, and she did not fall.

Every week, I seem to feel the need to announce that I am still (somehow!) working on this same clockpunk Pied Piper project, because my own consistency still surprises me.

I get the feeling it will be quite some time before the surprise vanishes, hah.

So then, world: It is still coming, and I am still not Libra-flouncing away!

But I still do not know how long it’s going to want to be, or have a proper title for it. Ah well.

Onto this week’s snippet!

Anna, left possibly blind and infection-riddled and fever-wracked, is somehow still stubbornly making her way through the streets, drawn by a mysterious music towards some fate she does not understand but cannot ignore.

Fate and necessity and momentum, however, do not obliterate the pain of leaving things behind.
 
 

She walked regardless, and she did not fall.

She could no longer see, it was true, but the song had grown exponentially louder the minute she stepped out of doors. There had been a muffling, inside with Peregrine, as though he had filled even her head with bandages or else used them to insulate the walls, and it had made her heart lurch as painfully as her steps in response.

But silence was death, and she would have her fill of death soon enough. She would simultaneously accept it and embrace this one last bit of life while she could; staying still and quiet would serve no purpose.

Better, anyway, to let him believe that it had been her own folly, rather than his fault.