Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Story Inspirations: Stoneheart

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"I lay a curse on your kingdom, and upon your unborn son!  Your soil will be infertile, your forests will dry up.  All your land will shrivel and fade, and so will our people as year after year their crops fail.  As for your son- yes, he will grow strong- and yes, he will become king after you- but he will never love.  His heart will be as stony and cold as the land he rules.  And as the years pass and your kingdom grows ever poorer, he will have no choice but to pledge his allegiance to me.  Then your kingdom will be mine forever!

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The Fisher King is a part of the old Arthurian legends.  It tells the tale of a king who is wounded in battle (usually in the legs, crippling him).  As his health deteriorates, so does his spirit and his kingdom.  If the king is healed, his land will flourish once again- but if he dies, his land will be cursed forever.

In Stoneheart, which was originally titled The Stonehearted King, a young prince is cursed with a heart of stone, incapable of feeling any strong emotion.  His fate is tied to that of his land, and one cannot be healed without the other.  

Once again, love is the central theme to this story.  I guess you can tell where my thoughts drift most often.... love, love, let's have some more love.  Brotherly love, fatherly love, motherly love, romantic love, oooh!  And you know what we need more of?  I know, LOVE!!!  >:D

This story came to me in the evening while I was listening to a song from one of my all-time favorite shows, Riverdance.  This song, called The Heart's Cry has little to do with the story for the most part.  But the choruses were the entire basis for both King Stoneheart's curse and *SPOILER!!!* the breaking of it. *END SPOILER!!!*  The lyrics are as follows-

In time....

(Time holds the heart's key)

Key to everything is love....

(Love makes the heart flower)

Flower into a deep desire....

(Passion in the heart's cry)

Passion and desire.....

As these moving chords resonated in my mind for the hundred-billionth time, I wondered what sort of story might go along with such a song.  Whipping out some paper to sketch out a quick outline, I quickly formulated the tale and began writing.  I wrote... all... night.  Almost, anyway.  It was a mad rush of writing.  The first draft was pretty rough, and it went thought a huge re-write once I got around to adding it to the fairy tale collection.  The original ending was much more simplistic, and still managed to have some logic loops that I couldn't stand. 

Stoneheart is the story that had the most typos of the entire book, and this was mostly because I lost the file somewhere along the lines and had to re-type the story completely from a manuscript I'd printed out after the first night I wrote it.  So while my eyes read the manuscript, my fingers typed what I saw, resulting in quite a few spelling mistakes and half-repeaed sentences.  

This story was also the hardest to illustrate.  Five full-color watercolor illustrations lined with black ink seemed like a great idea in the beginning, but I quickly found that combination to be challenging due to the black ink's tendency to bleed.   -_-

There was one illustration that didn't make it into the book, and remained uncolored.  The reason?  Well, I started it somewhat late in the formatting process and I didn't want to ruin the rest of the document by squeezing in another picture, thus upsetting the word placement in every other story in the book.  I sometimes wonder if I should have just bitten the bullet and put it in.  Here it is... you can tell me your thoughts.  :)

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-Emmarayn Redding

(Images copyright Emmarayn Redding.  All rights reserved.  Song and lyrics copyright Bill Whelan)


  1. This almost sounds like it might have a bit of Beauty and the Beast in it? Or maybe Howl? Whether or not it does, I love that you found inspiration from Riverdance! (One of their songs also inspired an element of one of my stories, but as it's more a worldbuilding thing, it hasn't shown up yet.)

    Every time you do one of these posts, I regret more that I left the actual book of these stories at home.

    1. Maybe a little of both! ;D Less of Howl, perhaps...
      I'm curious- which Riverdance song inspired you? I love all of them so much. ^_^

      Yes, you silly girl. What were you thinking??? XD