Author has written 35 stories for Tangled, Sleeping Beauty, Princess and the Frog, Harry Potter, Brave, 2012, Wreck-It Ralph, Cinderella, Star Trek: 2009, How to Train Your Dragon, and Frozen.
Current active stories: Redeemed Wherein a princess is born, finds true love, is betrayed and turns to evil. Part 3 of the tales of the princesses who learned who they really were, together with Rapunzel Goes Home and Roused. I guess I should rename Rapunzel Goes Home Returned.
Loved: A Frozen story that assumes the Queens of Arendelle and Corona are sisters so there is some cross-over there, but since Rapunzel and Eugene were in Frozen I don't consider it an actual crossover.
Suggested story reading order:
Tangled & Sleeping Beauty & Frozen
The best way to get started reading my big, epic stories for Tangled and Sleeping Beauty is to:
watch Tangled first, then read Rapunzel Goes Home extended edition,
then watch Sleeping Beauty and finally read Roused.
Redeemed is the story of Maleficent set both before and after Sleeping Beauty and Tangled but it is best to read it after reading Roused.
Loved is set concurrent to Tangled, since I assume that the Queens of Corona and Arendelle are sisters.
The Trial of Mother Gothel assumes that Gothel is captured at the end of the movie instead of killed and put on trial, with happy endings for all involved.
Feral Rapunzel's First Christmas assumes that Gothel kept Rapunzel in the room under the stairs and only used Rapunzel as nothing more then a source of magical healing.
For my Brave stories, begin with I am Mor'du,
then Brave Alternate Endings,
then I Almost Lost You
and finally The Crowns of DunBroch.
Merida Comes is a separate modern alternate universe that features Merida and Mulan as muses based out of Disneyland.
How to Train Your Dragon x Brave
Raided A Merricup story where Scotland gets attacked by Russian Vikings on one side and wild dragons on the other. Hiccup gets shot down by Elinor and Merida. The Berk Vikings have problems of their own. Hiccup comes up with a solution for everyones problems but requires a marriage to Merida to cement.
Wonderful people who have extended my ideas, read their stories:
C5SysEngFTS: Captain Foresters New Destiny
WritersProse: Meet Your Maker
Maleficent-darkgoodwitch2416: Reaching A Dream, Healing: Saving the White Sorceress
Sept 14 2013
Started a new story: Redeemed The origin of Maleficent and, if I can pull it off, a happy ending for the Mistress of All Evil.
Aug 17 2013
So, I’ve reached 500,000 words (only counting what I have posted to fanfiction.net which has been edited as best as I have been able to pull off). Halfway to that magical, mythical goal of 1,000,000 words. Will it mean I will be a good writer some day? I still don’t know, though my writing does seem to be improving, and a few people like what I post and that is good too.
Where did it all start for me?
I would have to say it all started for me in third grade, the classroom had a small shelf of random book, including Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew and importantly for me Tom Swift. Tom Swift and His Flying Laboratory was a revelation, science and teens and tech. I ate it up. I still have a few of them, the stories haven’t held up too well, but it got me to reading. Mom was worried about me not reading on time, so she would buy me comics, but of course she didn’t get me the good ones, no she had to get me Richie Rich not Batman, Spiderman or Superman, which would be worth something today. My parents did get me Asterix comics which were a blast, mainly because sounding out the names was a big deal. I didn’t get a lot of the grownup gags that were mixed in but that came later.
Reading stood me in good stead. School was pretty awful for me socially, and having a safe place to go like Middle Earth, Naria, Pern, and the rest was a big deal. I watched TV like most but books were often better and safer and no commercials. Mom always did become upset when I was so lost in a book I couldn’t hear her call me for dinner.
I’ve read a lot. In college I took a class where we had our reading speed tested. The teacher explained we should be near 250 words per minute. I was near 2000wpm, I did it twice to make sure, with an order of magnitude difference I was sure I had made a massive stupid error of some kind. Over Christmas break I got a stack of 7 books that were supposed to last the break. They didn’t even last until dinner.
We own 7000 books, almost all of them I’ve read. That’s a lot of books, moving sucks. And then there are all the books from the library. I estimate I’ve read over 10,000 books.
How did I start?
It seems so silly now. We went to see a movie, but I don’t think it was coincidence. We had gotten gift cards for the local theater and restaurant from a Secret Santa, which hadn’t happened before. We went on Valentine’s Day, and decided on the Disney movie because we needed a happy ending for once. Life was pretty bad then, no money, no job, no future. Tangled was somehow still in the theater it was gone just a few days later. It was good, but then the Queen was comforting the tearful King and I was weeping. Then at the end they jumped to the Happily Ever After and I was going ‘how could all that happen?’
Never had a movie effected me like this. So I sat down and started writing about what would happen to Rapunzel, Eugene, Pascal and Max as they returned to the palace, then I had to figure out why met on the balcony instead of somewhere more logical, what the King and Queen were like and I thought it would be good for them to return to the Tower to resolve that issue. Finally, to find an explanation for how Eugene and the PubThugs weren’t in the prison.
I called it Rapunzel Goes Home, yeah, not the most original title but it got the job done. I posted it as I went to fanfiction.net. I ended up writing a novel length (53k) fanfic. I was very surprised at how big it was. Even more surprising was the fact that people were liking it, reviewing it, and even suggesting ways to make it better. I also could not believe how good it felt to write. I was terrified when I was finishing up the story. Would there be another story or anything that would let me feel so good again? Would I lose this like I had so many other things before?
Would I be all empty inside again?
But there were more stories.
Because it caused the itch. I saw holes in the story of Rapunzel and Eugene and I wanted to fill them. It was something to do while I was dealing with my wife’s medical issues and going back to school. Then I watched Sleeping Beauty with my daughter and I saw things I didn’t expect and felt the need to fill in the holes in that story.
Does what I write matter?
I have no idea, it matters to me. I write because it helps me feel better, and I share because it seems to help other people. I’ve made more friends through my writing in the past two years then anytime in my life. I like to read my own stuff, that may sound strange but there it is, I have tried to make it as good as I can and it is good to me.
Learning about writing
I took a creative writing class in college, scifi even, I didn’t do every well. It was something different from the normal English classes we were supposed to take.
I read about successful authors and how they do things, and listen to podcasts like Writing Excuses and Grammar Girl to hone my craft. I am frustrated by my lack of grammar skills, and haven’t found a book I can really get my brain around.
I know I am not like the financially successful writers, I can’t plan out a whole book in advance. I don’t follow the formulas very well. I find a starting point, and a happy ending and my characters and I go on a journey together to reach that goal. We trek over the mountains of madness and slog through the swamps of despair, we change and grow and we are different at the end of the journey.
What have I learned?
I’ve learned that I need to write, for my sake. If I don’t write, I get “grumpy” as my wife says. I’ve learned that there are a lot of other people out there that turn to books and stories as a way to escape pain, just like me.
I’ve learned that real success isn’t in word count or money, but in lives changed. Words like humbling, terror and love come to mind to describe the feelings that come when I get a message saying that my story inspired them to change their life; that they turned to my stories to drag themselves out of a deep depression, or that they decided not to kill themselves today.
I’d really like to be able to make money via writing but that isn’t going to happen, with what I have written so far. I am finally beginning to create some of my own original stuff, sort of, mostly it is just a different take on old fairy tales, not the most original thing in the whole world I know, but it seems to be the only thing I can do reasonably well at the moment. I have not yet had a King’s Cross moment, though it is unlikely to ever come.
Where to go from here?
Keeping writing is the most important thing. Help others as I can. Try to find a mentor to make this go faster and learn the other skills a successful author needs, like editing, marketing and design. Well, most of them can outsource those things, I’m too poor.
My advice to new writers.
Write if it is a burning desire in you. Make things you will always be proud of even if it isn’t perfect.
Start writing and finish what you begin, even if it is “...and they lived happily ever after” or “...rocks fell from the sky and everyone died. The end.”
Know that some muses are good and some are not. Repel the ones that are evil.
Don’t sweat too hard about plot holes, most people don’t care that much as long as you use them like coincidences for getting your characters into trouble, but not out.
You will get partway into your story and it will feel like a muddle. You will feel lost in the swamp, surrounded by alligators with no way out. But off in the distance is that ending you know your character needs. Keep going. Your story is like other stories, what did they do at the same point?
A plan is good, but don’t expect it to survive intact very long, by the time you get to that point in the story you’ll be a better writer anyway.
Don’t be afraid to go back and fix things that don’t work but don’t stop your story to do that, just add the fixes you thought of to your notes, they can be fixed in the next draft.
Find good people to surround yourself with.
The two must important lines in your story, the first and the last. The first gets the reader hooked and the last lets them gently go.
How I write
With all the articles I see on the subject I might as well tell you how I write. This is at best an idealized approximation of how I write anyway.
I am a pantser, organic, or whatever you want to call someone who writes first and plans a bit later.
I have a few major files. One is my writing journal. This is the place I dump everything that isn’t part of an in-process story. Character sketches, setting information, plot ideas, links to interesting articles, quotes, and whatever else relates to writing. Now if I get enough ideas on a particular story idea, I copy all related material to a story note file and start filling it with scenes. Once I have these thing in place I have enough of a story skeleton to break it into a separate story file and start filling in anything I can. I’ll often revisit scenes from different POVs or a different take. I’ll write until I have the major pieces of the main story from beginning to end.
This can be the hard part. This is the swamp, filling in scenes that get you from D to E and creating characters and settings to allow the main character to do what needs doing and so on. This is the part where I get tempted to give up, but I know that this happens to all writers. I’ve read enough interviews with writers and even editors that this always happens, keep writing–it’s going to be a slog–and you’ll come through to the good land of a complete story.
I don’t write in order. Ideas just don’t come in that sort of order for me. Sure, I guess I could create a by-the-book formula story, which I think I should try soon, but so far it’s been fun to jump around and puzzle it together when I’m “done.” Which usually means I have plenty more to write to fill in the gaps.
Once I have enough scenes to have a clear idea of what the story is like I create another file of just the story. This is generally in chronological order, this gives me a clear understanding of what happens when in the story, but this is usually not a very entertaining story. I will generally have an introduction of the character, some kind of inciting incident and a part of the climax or ending, just enough of a story to have a story. I may realize that I am doing something fundamentally wrong with the story at this point. The POV may be wrong or the setting allows for an easier solution then the story calls for, or something like that. Then I’ll go through it all and copy and paste it into a new file in story chronological order, so I know what happens first to last. This is where I begin to get what the story is all about: is it a man vs man or boy meets girl or a monomyth story and I can start to see the holes that need to be filled in. This is the first draft.
The next file is created when I think I have most of the story in place and then I just have to find the beginning. The story that begins just before the key opening moment and all the backstory is distributed within the rest of the story where it makes most sense to add it. Lots of material is moved around and edited at this point. This is the second draft.
Writing is a series of prototypes
I was an engineer. We would receive an idea for an electric device, we would figure out what it would need to do, find datasheets for parts and build a schematic, this is like an outline or formula.
But, as we learned from experience, datasheets lie, so we have to build a primary functional complete prototype, using demoboards and protoboards to put the parts together to see if the whole thing even has a chance of working. We always found something that didn’t do the job, and we would replace that section. But in the end we had a system that took an input and gave us an output, it would be huge, often taking up a whole table, ugly, and missing most of the requested features but we knew if the idea worked or not. That is the sole purpose of a first draft.
Then we would try to create the feature complete draft. Taking what we learned from the first prototype we got some easy to troubleshoot parts, create a single board to carry them and see if we can create a second prototype that has all the major features that the client wants. There are fewer mistakes and we learn more thing in this go through, but it is too big to manufacture, but it can do the job. But now we know the prototype works and it has most of the features desired. This is the second major draft.
Now that we know what we need and where everything goes. We then design for size. How small can we made the board? Can we get it to fit the size of the proposed device? In writing this is where you are editing out the fat and enhancing the grammar. This is the one you send to publishers. But this isn’t the final draft.
The final draft is designing for manufacturablity. This is where we talked to the manufacturing group to see if they can build the thing in mass quantities, and they often had good suggestions for making it cheaper to build. So we moving things around. In writing this is edit phase where you make changes so it fits a more marketable niche. This might include changed the age of your protagonist and altering some of the language to fit a particular market. Then it goes to the presses.
What I have learned about writing
There are two distinct phases to writing: creating and editing.
Creating is the first step. You get an idea and you start to explore it. Since I write fanfic, I often ask the question, “What happened next?” or “How can it be worse?” And a lot of time is spent answering those questions. However, I have found that worse question is rather dangerous my characters go through some awful things. This part is also very messy. You synthesize all kinds of information hidden in your head to create a story. You are an info-ferret digging for data stored somewhere you can get it.
Editing is where you clean up the mess you made in the creating step. You fix the spelling, put things in the right order, polish the grammar, cut things that don’t work, find things that need to be added in another round of creation.
Research is so very important. The more you know the deeper your writing can be. You can’t imagine what you can’t conceive.
We all write a certain kind of story, and they have certain tropes that the audience expects. We can play with the tropes but they have to be mostly there. So you should read a few of the top books in the category of the story you are writing. I am not sure what the difference is between an outline and a formula is, because a story will fail if it is too far from what the audience expects.
If you want to be a better writer you need to learn more about writing in general, hit up the library and see what they have. There are plenty of list articles on the web about the top 10 tips from most every author. I also like to listen to podcasts like Writing Excuses and Grammar Girl. Though I wish I could find a grammar book that I can get my head around, most of them seem to expect you to remember all the things your third grade teacher was supposed to teach you, but I can’t.
You also need to spend some time learning stuff. All kinds of seemingly random things that can add detail to your stories. I like articles that describe daily life of people in various ages. Hitting random a few times in Wikipedia or TVTropes can yield fascinating things, and Reddit/BestOf almost always has something interesting. Links should be saved to your writing file.
Writer’s block can be a pain, but it often happens when I want the story to go in a direction other then where the characters are able to go. They can go to darker places then I want sometimes, but it is better that they do. This becomes a problem the longer a story goes, the more you establish the character’s personality the more control it has over itself. Usually a bounded free write is helpful. Allow yourself to explore any possibilities within the confines of your universe.
Writing is a story
Feels like comforting someone that has gone through a terrible trauma and needs to unload on my shoulder. There are times the story is cold and impersonal, like they are talking about it happening to someone else, but other times it is naught but tears.
What have I learned?
Writing is hard and dangerous work that is also a lot of fun.
Taking an idea, such as ‘how did Rapunzel get home’ or ‘what really happened after Aurora’s Happily Ever After’ and making a story is a big undertaking. Researching the movies, getting to really know the characters, and then extending the story realistically, is tough work.
But when the story starts to come together, and you feel the great creative powers of the universe come into play, it is the most wonderful feeling ever. Most days you feel it a little bit, others not at all, and some precious few days you are channeling lightning through your body.
Yet writing is dangerous too, you are opening yourself to the powers of the universe and not all of them are good, some are evil and will try to destroy you. They can’t snuff you out in an instant but they will do it over time, grinding you down. Be wary. And never, ever write yourself into your stories you are too vulnerable that way. Vulnerable to criticism that can hurt you when it isn’t really about you.
Let the muse be outside of you.
When you first start with muses things will be awkward, the things coming into your head don’t translate through your fingers onto the page well. Keep at it and the communications gets better. It’s much like dating but not so tied up with weird mating rituals.
Muses can be quite precious, but they are not scarce as some authors think they are. Ideas are thick on the ground, nuturing an idea so it grows into something good is a challenge but not something rare and that needs to be enslaved.
Sometimes reviews scare me.
Sure there are the ones where the story has changed the life of a person, but there are others. The ones that compare me to great storytellers are almost as scary. I’ve read that you can ignore the reviews that say you are the next Stephanie Meyer or whatever and I can believe that. But I don’t get reviews like that, I get messages that say things like, “You used that technique as well Joss Wheldon and G.R.R.Martin used it.” They compare my technique and style to people like the above, and others like Walt Disney, J.R.R. Tolkien and Anne MacCaffery. They spent their whole lives as storytellers, but I’ve been an engineer, I only really started writing a couple of years ago, pros have told me I’m not good at this, yet for some few people, I am just what they need, and that is good enough.
Where to go from here?
Keep writing, reading and imaging. I am trying to create some original works but it is still just a retelling of fairy tales, but I have to dance with the one who brought me, because I love them. Though I expect to someday write some science fiction, because that is what brought me into reading.
I would love to write for Disney, maybe I could be a screenwriter but novelizing their Princess movies would be ideal. There is so much left out of all of their stories, they have more depth then you might expect. I’d like to finish them, but I need to care for my family too.
Mar 31 2013
Started cleaning up Rapunzel Goes Home (extended edition) Unther as a beta is a great help.
Aug 21 2012
I've got a bunch of stories and while they are mostly independent there is an order to some of them, and I added a quick list for your convenience.
Jul 21 2012
Congratulations to Cookie Lover 3 to the 100th review for Roused!
Jun 9 2012
50 Chapters into Roused. A big story and we finally get the main characters together.
Jun 7 2012
A big thanks to MyNameIsAlexandraRider who favorited "Hermione Orphans Herself"
Jun 2 2012
Eugene'sBlondie it would be easier to discuss the story if you signed in but Gothel did that to keep Rapunzel from ever hurting herself ever again, but there are other repercussions as well.
Mar 15 2012
Roused had begun. An new adventure for the Princess Aurora and the Princess Rapunzel. See the videos on my YouTube channel.
Mar 12 2012
C5SysEngFTS created a fanfic of my Rapunzel Goes Home fanfic, because he wanted to know what happened to the Captain of the Guard. I didn't go anywhere with it because it wasn't important to Rapunzel and her family. He needed some time off to recover from the multiple concussions. So now we hear the rest of the story.
Mar 3 2012
Posted another video, even used my own voice. Giving Briar Rose the gift of her true name didn't go as well as the fairies had hoped.
Feb 25 2012
I am going to start publishing Roused my part 2 to Seeping Beauty that is a crossover with Tangled in a few weeks. I even created a video I put on YouTube: TheBalunStormhands and my tumblr: bstormhands. tumblr. com
Oct 27 2011
I've started uploading Rapunzel Goes Home (extended edition) I'm going with a T-Th-Sat release schedule for now. So I have time to record the audiobook podcast version. find bstormhand on tumblr or balunstormshand on iTunes to get the audio version. Special thanks to C5SysEngFTS for his help and inspiration and promotion.
Oct 6 2011
Steve Jobs died. He was one of the great creative forces of this generation. All he really did was try to create a good computer, but the side effects were amazing.
Steve Jobs wanted a computer that didn't take up a whole room and created the Apple computer, as a side effect someone created Visicalc, the first spreadsheet.
The world lost someone special and so did I.
Sept 18 2011
One of my nephews got hurt at the Reno Air Show Crash. He got a broken scapula, bruised lungs and assorted minor injuries. He spent some time on a ventilator but is off of it and is making good progress, all things considered. What would a boring life be like?
Sept 2 2011
It's funny how the things I've learned about Rapunzel in the Briar Rose story, currently titled Roused, are forcing me to change some things about Rapunzel Goes Home. I am now working on an Extended Edition of that story to flesh a bunch of things out. I've added a scene I came up with for C5SysEngFTS, who didn't use it but was so heart wrenching, Eugene was begging for it to go into RGH(EE), so I did.
Occasionally I hit a depression phase and writing is hard or at least slow. but then I try to remember just how awesome this story is. When my self doubt is telling me that the climax isn't climactic enough, I went all "Are you kidding me!? First she does _ to the goons, then she confronts _ , discovers _ , and finally blows _ to kingdom come. And that's only her, everyone else is doing stuff too. It's a climax to make George Lucas proud. Stupid self doubt. Even if it a pile of caprolite, it is such a humungous pile of caprolite it is epic all by itself.
I need to remember to add more setting details to liven things up.
Aug 6 2011
I've been getting the thought lately that I am not starting the Briar Rose story early enough, I was starting at the Kiss where Phillip awakens her. That was a good place to get into her head. But it wasn't the right place.
Maleficent and the Broken Princess wasn't quite early enough either.
I was missing how her relationship with her aunts change when they reveal they are fairies. Briar Rose has heard lots of fairy tales from the fairies, obviously.
Suddenly, she is in a fairy tale.
She is also smart enough to realize that being a princess in a fairy tale is not the best place to be.
The fairies are not trying to hurt her but they are trying to get away before her young man shows up, not knowing that it is Prince Phillip, her betrothed. And they are deathly afraid of Maleficent and her curse. Fear is overriding common sense all around. They accidentally jump out of the firing pan into the fire.
Caught in the middle is poor Briar Rose.
I just want to give her hugs and loves to make it all better for her. Well, in the end it does, it takes a couple of weeks but it does. But those are an awful two weeks.
This is the 5th version of the opening, I hope it's the right one. I really want to publish this story, but I still have the princes to finish nailing down.
Jul 14 2011
It's almost Harry Potter Day, so I wrote a little one-off of how Hermione felt about orphaning herself. What she did is totally hardcore and she could never brag about it. Which is too bad, it was a move that should rock even a DeathEater back on his heels.
Jul 10 2011
Okay, I needed to give myself a little power-up. So I made a wallpaper and put it on my deviantART gallery. Get Your Flynn On! http://fav.me/d3ln4c3 (cut and paste)
June 24, 2011
Rapunzel Goes Home is done and published to this site. My first real work of fiction. It came out as 156 page in my word processor. Considering I almost failed the one creative writing class I took in college it feels really good.
It's not perfect, it has some rough patches, but it's a good story, well told. At least in my not so humble opinion:) One of the problems of writing an publishing at the same time. I'm going to finish the next one first. it's changed too much to do it any other way.
But I am also a little sad. That adventure is over. There is another one I am working one, but it's not the same.
May 6, 2011
For some reason after watching Tangled that gap between the climax and the finale drove me nuts and stories started to pop up in my head as I finally wrote some down and it was fun. A lot of fun and then I found this place through TVTropes and this place is a lot of fun.
We got the Tangled DVD the day it came out and a couple of days later I started writing. It's now a month later and I have completed the Rapunzel Goes Home story. It's not finished, it needs editing, more polishing but I collected all the scenes I wrote in different documents into one big file and put them in the right order just to see how big it was and how well it flowed.
I hadn't intended it to be a big thing, a dozen or so pages maybe. I hadn't written anything creatively since college, and those were limited to 10 pages or less. Imagine my surprise when I saw the page count at the bottom of my word processor, 120. 120 pages!? over 45,000 words!? My jaw dropped open. I had never intended to write a novel and yet here was a novel length work staring back at me on my computer screen. And I did it in a month!?
Then I read it all the way through. It sucks, but not in a bad way. It sucks because it isn't really done. It needs polishing, cleaning up grammar, moving things around, some glue between scenes, some description here and there to break up the dialogue, but it is pretty good too. It's not just a rock but the statue is revealed a little bit, I feel with the characters, I laugh and cry and feel for them. There is really something good in this story of mine.
Yet I never considered myself an author. This is a new facet of myself I had never considered before and now I have to adjust to that because it feels good, really good, to write fiction like this. At the very least I have found a new hobby, but it feels like more, I don't know where this new path goes but it really feels like it needs exploring, because it is filling a need that I didn't really know I had.
Saturday, June 4, 2011
I'm about half way through the Sequel to "Rapunzel Goes Home" and by halfway I mean I wrote Plot A or the story about the princesses It goes from beginning to end, it is still very rough in places but it looks like everything is in place. Now I just need to figure out what the princes are doing. This is a different experience from my first big story, it has been a lot harder. I actually had the last chapter done first and that has pretty much stayed the same. Everything else changed radically.
The idea was pretty simple, I chose the neighboring kingdom to be King Stefan's from Sleeping Beauty. I needed a neighboring kingdom for the seneschal to consider sending Rapunzel and Eugene if she didn't pass the test. Having the worst case scenario of an evil princess that was the secret apprentice of Maleficent was just too cool. And some place for the Stabbington brothers to run to was nice too.
So I thought it would be cool to have Aurora return home a few months after Rapunzel and run into some trouble and Rapunzel could come help. Yes, I know they are set nearly 500 years apart, but when did that ever stop a good story. :)
I got some pretty cool scenes but then the story just stopped, it wasn't right. I almost gave up on it. But I got the call, to keep working on it. I watched Sleeping Beauty again, for research purposes and noticed fun things like the walls of the cottage were painted, they had something in common. The ground was really broken, so they must have earthquakes. I needed to remember to have Rapunzel comment on the weird trees.
And then she faced Maleficent and it wasn't the same, ever again.
Disney never finished Aurora story. They've had 52 years to do it and no one has ever really noticed.
But I did.
So I am.
I hope I am good enough to do her justice, she deserves it.
Find me on the web:
livejournal: balunstormhands. livejournal. com
deviantArt: balunstormhands. deviantart. com
tumblr: bstormhands. tumblr. com
Unsafe External Link