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Messages - J9AC9K

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Writers' Corner / Re: One Sentence writing advice
« on: May 26, 2015, 02:10:03 PM »
Yeah, telling a story that has never been told is super hard.

Much more sense in trying to tell an old story the way it should have been told, but nobody did yet.

For me, it's not even necessarily about trying to adapt an old story in a new way, but about not letting the fact that there's been a story told that has some common features with the one you want to tell stopping you.

For example, when I was twenty I started writing a comic book about a werewolf detective in a town full of fantasy creatures who were hiding in America. I stopped working on that after I heard about Fables - which is a comic book series about a group of fairy tale people existing in NYC, and the Big Bad Wolf is their sheriff. My story would have had very little in common with Fables beyond the superficial. But I let the quest for "originality" stop me.

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Writers' Corner / Re: One Sentence writing advice
« on: May 25, 2015, 07:53:13 PM »
"“Some writers confuse authenticity, which they ought always to aim at, with originality, which they should never bother about.” - W.H. Auden

When I was in my teens and early twenties I really cared about having an *original* hook to be the basis of a story. Often I'd be dismayed to find an idea I thought was unique had already been done - in some manner - by another writer. The above quote by Auden got me to stop caring about originality, and to care instead more about how authentic I made my characters and how true their actions were.

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Hi, I'm new to the forum, and this is my first effort here. I hope you enjoy.
Title:  The Prince And His Elder Brother
Word Count: 1305

Spoiler for Hiden:
Once upon a time there was a prince who had a great power. He could tell stories, and they would become truth. In his kingdom, farmers would come before him, fall on their knees, and beg, “Please dear prince, please tell a story of how my crops prosper." And so he would tell this story, and the farmer would find it true. Merchants would come before him, kneel, and humbly request, “Your grace, my wares must be sold at the highest value to neighboring kingdoms. It will help bring greater wealth into our own. Please tell a story to make this so.” And the prince would.

            Other kingdoms stopped warring with the prince's own. What was the point? He could simply tell a story of how the enemy general led his troops in the wrong direction, or the other kingdom’s weapons would all turn to wooden toys. And so the prince's kingdom was peaceful. Because of this, the people of his kingdom gave the prince great gifts: a vast wardrobe, delicious foods, and splendid treasure.

            But not all in the kingdom were happy. The prince had a brother who was his elder. The kingdom should have been his, but the people would not have it. The power of the prince was too great. Tradition was thrown aside, and the elder brother was forgotten by his people. The elder brother lived in fear that the young prince would kill him to further legitimize his claim to the throne. But the elder brother was clever.

           He traveled across the world, studied from the wise, and sought out all knowledge mundane and mystical. The elder brother believed there had to be magic stronger than his brother’s great power. And he was right.

            He found an elixir in a beautiful crystal vial. When consumed, the elixir forced a soul to love another. The elixir would make the drinker think all their thoughts towards the one who served them the elixir. They could not eat unless instructed by them, could not put on clothes unless told they looked pleasing to them, they could not do the simplest tasks without first being instructed to do so by the object of their love. The elixir left only an empty shell.

            The elder brother then traveled the world searching for the most beautiful woman. He found a princess of a faraway kingdom. She was stunning and her voice unrivaled. Her entire kingdom would listen in silence, across hundreds of miles when she sang quietly to herself, hoping the wind would carry her voice. The elder brother approached her as a suitor. Against his expectations, she embraced him. She saw he was clever, learned, and well-traveled. She admired these traits. But this was not enough for the elder brother. He came to her one night with a beautiful crystal vial. He told her it contained a wine from a rare and wonderful vineyard. She drank it.
 
*     *     *

            Soon after, the elder brother returned to his kingdom with his new bride. The people greeted them warmly for they loved the princess on sight. When the prince laid eyes on her, the elder brother knew that he was successful. The young prince felt great lust for her, and when she sang at the elder brother’s request, the prince fell in love. Weeks went by, and the prince came to know the princess. She would speak only of the love she held for her husband, and the prince, for the first time in his life, grew jealous.

            The elder brother said he had to leave on an errand. He'd be gone for a year and a day. He would leave his bride behind for he was traveling to a dangerous land. The young prince spent all of his time with the princess. He refused to see his farmers, merchants, and military advisors. He wanted the princess to see the greatness in him that his people did. But she continued to only speak of the prince's elder brother, and she began to whither away. She would not eat or drink without her husband there to tell her to do so. Servants had to force food and water down her throat to keep her alive. The prince grew mad and desperate by this love. The princess would hardly acknowledge him no matter what he said to her or what he gave her. He had told many tales before, but in none of them had he taken another’s will from them. He would manipulate fate in various ways, but never a person's desires or thoughts. He attempted this now.

            He wove a tale of how the princess felt hatred over his elder brother leaving her behind. How she felt terribly alone. But the prince was there. She grew intimate with him, and finally she fell in love with him.

            This tale would not come true. The prince tried weaving it many times. Changing small details, adding subtleties, but none of it became truth. The servants could not feed the princess enough, and so she slowly starved to death. The prince could not stop grieving. All around him his kingdom fell apart. The farmers had bad crops, and so the people grew hungry. The merchants could not sell their wares, and so the people grew poor. And other kingdoms once again threatened the prince's own, but his soldiers had grown unused to war, and so they lost many battles. A year and a day past. The elder brother returned to a kingdom in ruins.

            “What have you done to me?” The prince said to his elder brother on his return. The elder brother wore fine black silk, his eyes cold and blue. The prince dressed in tatters for his vast wardrobe was gone - stolen by peasant mobs.
            “My dear brother, whatever do you mean?” The elder brother said.
            “Do not play with me,” the prince said. “Somehow this is all your doing. You've hated me for years, and you couldn't stand to see the kingdom prosper under my rule.”
            “My brother, you could have continued your prosperous and magical rule,” said the elder brother. “I have been far away. However can you claim I am blameworthy for all this destruction?”
            “You are still playing with me,” the prince said. “You brought that woman here. I loved her. I loved her more than you ever could, and you did something to her. You broke her, and I could not weave a tale to make her love me.” The elder brother drew his sword.
            “Vile and small man," the elder brother said, "Destroy a kingdom because you couldn’t force a woman to love you.” The prince told a tale of how he too held a sword. The tale became truth.
            "Sinister and dark being,” the prince said, “Steal a woman’s soul so you can bring your brother to ruin.” Their swords clashed. The prince began to weave a tale of his victory, but the elder brother in his last travels found a way to make him his brother’s equal. The prince was caught off guard by this, and so the elder brother drew first blood. But their swords kept clashing. And they each told tales they desired to become truth. Much of what they said contradicted the other. Paradoxes came into being across their broken kingdom. Their people fled in fear and madness.

   And then, the elder brother pierced his brother’s heart. The prince collapsed to the floor as blood pooled beneath him. The elder brother saw what he’d done and wept. He tried speaking words to bring order and happiness back to his kingdom, but found that everything he said only created further darkness. He kneeled next to the dying prince and held his hand. Looking into each other’s eyes, they both knew what words needed to be said,

“The end.”

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