Tag Archives: Cinderella

This #WIPpet Wednesday: Glass slippers for a prince — and the consequences

I’m still working on (hopefully final) revisions for Island of Glass. With my daughter visiting, there’s a lot less time for writing and translating, and the translation job has to come first. So this week, my WIPpet will again be from my glassmaking fairy tale.

Last week, someone said they would love to see the shoes, and I promised to provide a description. Now this is certainly a lovely glass slipper, but Chiara’s is even cooler:

Glass slipper art

I want to provide the description of Chiara’s art, but at the same time, I want to move the story forward a little bit. So this week I’m going to give you two short excerpts from the novella, 4 paragraphs each for the month, 4 from the completion of the glass shoes, and 4 from the scene of the prince’s reaction to the gift:

“Pasquale, could you heat the millefiori rod for me? I want to make a rosette for the front of the shoe.”
He grinned and pulled on an apron. “As the maestra commands.”
She extended the shoe into the heat again, while Pasquale prepared the rod that would become its laces.
When both of the glass evening slippers were completed, the workers in the hot shop stood back, admiring Chiara’s art. The blue glass of the shoes were decorated with glittering gems of clearest cristallo, and the rosettes at the front made of a mosaic of pure, colorless glass, combined with slices of colorful millefiori. The strips appeared tied together with the carelessness of a real shoe. The red heels had the exact curve of the elegant slippers preferred by the nobility of Venice.

So those are the glass slippers, and this is the way the prince reacts after receiving them. This snippet comes directly after the one I provided last week:

Chiara blushed, glancing at her footmen, his guards, and his secretary. They all stared into the distance with that lack of expression servants cultivated, as if they didn’t hear a thing. She knew that wasn’t true. Although the prince’s words had not been loud, they were easily audible to all in the room. But footmen and guards obviously did not matter to him — he treated them as little more than pieces of furniture.
He noted the direction of her gaze. “Do you want me to send them away?”
“No, please do not for my sake.” She tried to keep any hint of panic out of her voice.
He chuckled, placing the second slipper next to its mate on the gilded side table. “Most young women scheme for the opportunity to be alone with a prince of La Serenissima. Yet here you are, offered the chance, and you turn it down.”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

More from Island of Glass for #WIPpet Wednesday

My daughter arrived for a visit from the States on Monday, and this morning, she and I had the youngest in the family because of a strike in the city day care centers. In the afternoon, I did some translating, but then I had to take a break to sleep off the effects of having to look after an energetic four-year-old until early afternoon. In the evening, my daughter and I went out to dinner together to what has long been one of our favorite restaurants here, Stadtgraben. And it was wonderful as usual.

With everything that is going on right now, I’m still working on the latest revision round incurred by the comments of my last beta reader for Island of Glass. So since that’s all I’ve been doing creative writing-wise for the last week, I will be returning to the novella this week. Which is appropriate, since the original short story was inspired by a trip I took with my daughter to Venice almost a decade ago, where we stayed on Murano.

Santi Maria on Murano

I was utterly fascinated by the history of glass we learned while we were there, and it inspired and fed into the story.

Anyway, I’m not going to give you any complicated math this week, just 26 sentences for the 26th day of the month. In this scene, Chiara has presented herself to Prince Vittore of House Foscari with the gift she made for him, inspired by the events of the last scene I shared:

Chiara bowed her head in acknowledgment. “May we inquire as to the exact nature of the crime of which he is accused?” she asked diffidently.
The prince laid the box on a table, removed the wrapping, and began to push aside the wood shavings. “Why, attempting to sell Venetian trade secrets, of course.”
Her heart sank, and she clutched her hands in the folds of her silk skirts. That was much worse than simply violating the ban on leaving the islands of Venice. “My uncle would never sell trade secrets,” she protested. “After all, it is in his own best interests if the glassmakers of Murano create glass that is in demand throughout the world. As long as we are the only ones with the knowledge to make cristallo, our wealth will continue to grow.”
“Then what was he doing on the mainland in Padua, can you tell me that?”
Chiara was considering the wisdom of pointing out that Padua was part of the Venetian Empire, when the prince pulled a velvet-wrapped bundle out of the box and pushed aside the fabric.
“Ah!”
Prince Vittore held the glass slipper up to the light streaming in from the high arcade windows, turning it in his hands to inspect her handiwork.
“It is one of a matching pair,” Chiara hastened to tell him.
“Beautiful,” he murmured reverently, and Chiara could feel her cheeks grow warm. He looked from the glass slipper to her face, his gaze intense. “From your hand, Maestra?”
She nodded.
“I’d heard rumors that the young maestra of the Fenice Glassworks did brilliant work.” He laid the shoe on a low table beside him and reached into the box for its twin. “Had I known how brilliant, I would have made your acquaintance long before this.”
He might be paying her a compliment, but she couldn’t help thinking that his voice had a slimy quality, reminding her vaguely of a reptile. “You do me too much honor, my prince.”
He pushed aside the velvet, his eyes still holding hers, and his expression had turned speculative. “Talented and beautiful,” he murmured. “A very intriguing combination.”

WIPpet Wednesday is the brain child of K. L. Schwengel. If you’d like to participate, post an excerpt from your WIP on your blog, something that relates to the date in some way. Then add your link here — where you can also read the other excerpts. 🙂

Moving forward on City of Glass, some thoughts on story length, and a new cover

Not too much to report this week. I’m enjoying writing the new version of “City of Glass” a lot, exploring avenues in the story world I couldn’t when I thought I had to keep it at short story length. When selling a specfic short story to traditional markets, the best chances of making a sale are for stories under 5,000 words. Some markets won’t even consider stories longer than 4,000 words. Since most online and print mags pay per word, it makes a lot of practical sense. For print mags, the shorter the stories, the “more” they have to offer their readers in each issue — one novella can take up half a magazine. For online mags, which often operate on a very low budget, it makes even more sense — the shorter the story, the less they have to pay the author.

In this brave new world of epublishing, the situation is diametrically opposite. Readers are used to getting complete novels for 99 cents, and if all they get is a short story, they feel cheated. I do my best on my covers and in my descriptions to make it completely clear that the product they are considering is a short story (officially defined by the Science Fiction Writers of of America as a piece of fiction under 7500 words), I list the word count and the number of pages, and yet I still get reviews from readers who were apparently expecting novels. I’m not the only one — it’s a common complaint on the Kindle Boards.

Anyway, “City of Glass” was originally 4500 words when I was trying to market it to traditional short story markets. It is now at 10,000 words, about half complete. The new first draft should come in at close to 20,000, after which I will have to fill in the blanks I left and add more sensory detail (window-dressing). It looks like it won’t be any problem to turn my reverse-Cinderella story about a glass-maker on Murano into a novella (officially defined by SFWA as over 17,500 words *g*).

This project has me thinking that I could do the same thing with some of my other short stories, like “Dragon Time.” (Not that I need any new projects …)

Speaking of short stories, I’m putting together a new mini-collection, a 99c jobbie like Never Ever After, Story Hunger. Here’s the first version of the cover:

What do you guys think? Any and all comments welcome!