Monday, 22 October 2012

The Plot So Far...

Well the days are slipping by and NaNoWriMo is almost upon us.

I should be clearing my diary for November but somehow it seems to be getting busier and busier and I am seriously wondering how I am going to survive the writing frenzy.

There have been lots of discussions on-line about the different ways of approaching NaNo. Some people plot and plan meticulously while others ride the inky waves by the seat of their pants!

I haven’t time to think about what style suits me, but have I time to plan?

My idea for NaNo has been bubbling around my brain for years but I keep pushing it to the back of my head always thinking of it as a future project. When an idea has been brewing for so long you know the basic story inside out. I feel my planning has been in progress for a long time.

I also have a little secret that I am now willing to share...

It has been said there are “no new stories under the sun”.  Every story that could ever be written has been done before; the challenge is to find a new and innovative way of telling the tale.

With this in mind my basic plan is to rewrite a very old tale, something thousands of years old.

My inspiration has come from what I believe is the greatest book of stories ever, the Bible, and I plan to retell the Old Testament story of Esther giving it a modern twist.

Earlier in the year I read the Hunger Games trilogy, I was hooked and devoured one after the other; I even had to buy the third on my kindle because I was desperate to finish the series.

I want to write The Book of Esther (working title) in a similar young adult genre.

It is a tale of romance, intrigue and power struggles. Esther’s people are discriminated against and she has to find the courage to stand up to the bad guys.

Actually written like that her story doesn’t sound very different from Katniss Everdeen’s plight – as I said there are no new stories under the sun!

Best of all from a pre-planning point of view I know exactly how the story goes and I have re-read it several times in preparation.

The only question is can I rewrite the story of Esther, a mere 10 chapters in the bible, in at least 50,000 words?

Watch this space!

Nothing new under the sun ... any excuse to add a pretty picture to my blog post!

And here's a few more fun facts that I've looked up as part of my planning procrastination...

The phrase “nothing new under the sun” comes from Ecclesiastes chapter 1 verse 9. That’s just four books after Esther, if you want to check out any references!

Also I have just Googled The Hunger Games and read this on Wikipedia...

The idea for the trilogy was based in part on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, in which seven boys and seven girls from Athens are sent every nine years against their will to be devoured by the Minotaur, a cycle that doesn't stop until Theseus kills the Minotaur. Collins, who heard the story when she was eight years old, was unsettled by its ruthlessness and cruelty. Collins said, "In her own way, Katniss is a futuristic Theseus."

So even Suzanne Collins hasn’t imagined a completely original tale. It still feels fresh because not everyone has heard of the myth and it has been set in a totally different world from ancient Greece.

Now don’t tell me my blog isn’t educational!


  1. Just to say having not read the bible in any great depth, the story of Esther is unknown to me so I look forward to yours as it will be new. Regarding NanoWriMo, everyone is different and we are all here to help each other, I for one will be around to prod, support and generally be around in anyway that helpl-I know you will do great x

    1. I think part of the appeal is that is it one of the smaller lesser known books and stories. It is also the only book of the Bible doesn't mention GOD and one of only two books in the Bible named after women - the other being Ruth.

  2. That really does sound fascinating Sarah, a great story to retell! Looking forward to hearing more about it and we'll all be cheering each other along!

    1. Thanks Lisa! There'll be lots of cheering going on, in between the frantic writing naturally ;-)

  3. Oh, I love the story of Esther!! Loved how they told it in the movie "One Night With The King" too. Can't wait to see how you spin it!! Yay!!! :)

    1. Will have to look out for that movie Ruth - but maybe after November, not sure I'll have time to watch it before!

  4. As you so rightly say Sarah there are no 'new stories' it's just the way we spin them. I'm looking forward to your modern take on Esther's story.
    Like you I found the Hunger Games a great read and went straight from one to the next but I never knew that about the story being based on the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur - fascinating.
    I'm now off to see if I can find some old stories that I might re-interpret!

    PS I've just added you as a writing buddy on NaNoWriMo

    1. At least if you are open about where the ideas have come from you can't get accused of copying afterwards!
      And there have been some fantastic re-interpretations done, particularly in film which spring to mind.
      Jane Austen's Emma was great brought up to date in Clueless.
      Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew as Ten Things I Hate About You.
      Can't think of any books off the top of my head - no my mind has gone blank!
      Be interested to see which story you are going to spin now! And thanks for adding me as a buddy :-)