Prince Phillip 002 – Setting the scene

The setting of a story is one of the most important aspects of storytelling that hides in the background. How do you go about selecting a setting for a fairy tale though? Be sure to read to find out how I chose the setting for Prince Phillip.

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Setting is obviously an important part of any story. After all, it is the place in where your story is taking place. Of course, fantasy has an interesting advantage when it comes to setting. After all, many fantasy settings are the made up creations of the author. They are complete fabrications. That offers a certain level of freedom. You get the chance to borrow from multiple cultures and geographies, then mix and max them as needed to create something new.

Unfortunately, I had a slight restriction. I am retelling a fairy tale. That requires an actual environment. A real place. So how does one choose a real, earthly place?

I decided to go with the origins. Sleeping Beauty is a German fairy tale…well it might be French. There is no real clear answer, so I went with the Germans. Awesome! I’ve narrowed myself down to a single country. Germany is still pretty large though, so where to go from here? Well by choosing a single territory. Ok, technically two. Thuringia and East Thuringia. The Thuringian region has everything that I need. It has a couple cities, a few mountains, and, most importantly, the Thuringian Forest.

But physical location is not the only thing needed for a setting. After all, all stories take place in both a location and a time. Great. Now I need a time. When to set my story?

Luckily for me, some of the requirements of the tale easily eliminate many time periods. Prince Phillip is a fairy tale. That means Middle Ages. But like German is a large country, the Middle Ages is a long time period. What I needed was a time where relatively small regions could have their rulers claim to be king. That meant centralized national power was out, so we are looking early Holy Roman Empire. I also needed a time period where the fantasy elements would still be somewhat known, but not common.

Pre-empire felt too early, but I also couldn’t go too late. Charlemagne brought Christianity to a large portion of Germany by the sword in the 800s, but that is too early. I do want some classic feeling fantasy battles. I couldn’t go that early and have a realistic army fight. I also couldn’t wait too long because once Christianity was firmly established, it went hard with ridding the world of its pagan beliefs, so post-Crusades was also out. That pretty much left me with the early 11th century.

So there you have it. Prince Phillip takes place in the early 11th century in the Thuringian region. Does that mean I’m going to be draconian in my application of the time frame? Nah, it is a fantasy after all and there are some genre conventions and personal preferences I will probably use. But it is important to have a level of authenticity there. With a time and place for the setting, I can provide that authenticity.

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Prince Phillip 001 – Outlining

I just completed the basic outline for Prince Phillip. I’m not going to lie, I used to hate outlining projects. Not just fantasy writing, all of my writing. It’s a pain in the butt. It almost used to make me feel trapt.

But those opinions have changed as I realized that outlining does not have to be a restrictive process. I have always had some level of outline in my head for all of my stories. Writing it out is just a way to help me keep track of everything. It just took a matter of shifting my perceptions.

For my new work in progress (WIP), I have decided to try this out. For Prince Phillip, I got Scrivener (nope, not sponsored. Not trying to sell it either). I decided to lay out my proposed chapters. Each chapter has a few key bullet points for the scenes. The scenes have a couple bullet points for key events/beats. BAM! I think I know where I want to go with it.

Now I know that some authors like to meticulously plan out everything. Everything. Every single beat, twist, and turn. If that works for them, great. If it works for you, awesome. It doesn’t work for me.

This doesn’t mean that I am completely done with the outline. I only have a few themes established. Gotta do a bit of a deeper exploration. And I do need to still create my characters and establish their wants and desires. But hey, I’m happy and ready to rock and roll with it.

Be sure to stay tuned. Steel Stash Writing has more coming out. A newsletter will be coming out soon, we have a twitter and facebook, both @steelstashwrit1. And I’ll be chronicling the development of Prince Phillip here as I go. So be sure to follow and subscribe for more info. Thanks.