Guest Post and Review: Once Upon a Twisted Time

Today Miranda Stork has jumped on board.  She is one of the four authors who wrote outstanding novellas in Once Upon a Twisted Time.  Please be sure to welcome Miranda and be sure to check out my review after Miranda’s take over.

Would Your Book Make A Good Movie?

Come on, admit it. You’re just like me, and you’ve often wondered who would play the perfect part of your main character. If it was made into a movie, that is.

When I’m writing, it’s exactly how plots work their way onto my pages. In my head, all of the characters are acting, as though in a movie. And yes, there are often quite a few retakes in there. And whoever makes the sandwiches for the buffet table needs firing, because they’re always stale. But we’re going off track here, back to the movie. Thinking of it in this way always means that the characters voices are heard in my head, helping me to write down their dialogue in a vivid way.

But more than this, imagining it in such a way allows me to write it almost with the structure of a film. For example, when you are writing a film script, you use the following structure;

Stage One; The Setup.

The first 10% of all screenplays have to draw your reader in. It’s no different in a novel. The first part of your book needs to draw people in, and hook them. You introduce the main characters, and must establish an identity with them. (For example, they are the likeable, funny student. Or the creepy yet smart FBI agent. Or the snarky, drunk unicorn. Whatever works.)Your setup should drag the reader from their normal world, and plunge them headfirst into yours.

Stage Two; The Opportunity.

Your character must next be presented with something that will make them have a new desire or goal. Perhaps they get offered the plans to the bank heist of the century, perhaps they are told how they can go back in time, or earn that raise. But something must shift in their universe to make them want something new, to set them down the path you want them to follow.

Stage Three; The New Situation.

This has to be the character’s reaction to the previous opportunity. They must get used to the current situation, and devise a plan or idea for it. For example, taking the bank heist idea, the character could work out a plan for it. Perhaps they look for associates to help them with it. Maybe they don’t want to do it at all. It make include a change of environment (which will definitely happen in a screenplay), and your character must go elsewhere to continue the story. But, as the situation continues, and your character gets closer to their goal…

Stage Four; The Change of Plans.

This is the point at which the opportunity presented in stage two becomes a defined need for the character. For example, imagine your character’s original motivation was to travel to travel to another country, to help someone else get rid of the mafia. But then the mafia kill the character’s father. So now the opportunity is defined into something more personal for the character. This is also usually the point your reader (or audience) begin to really root for them to win through and reach their desire.

Stage Five; Progress.

This is the next large chunk of your story. Your hero or heroine works towards their goal, and the story moves on in this way. You can include conflict in this part, of course, but it must seem as though they are edging closer, and all is so far going well.

Stage Six; The Point of No Return.

This is usually the exact halfway point of your book (or screenplay, I’m confusing myself). Your character has fully committed to their goal, and have usually preformed a task, or done something which ensures they cannot go back from this point on. It is almost the point where they are taking the biggest risk of all in the whole book.

Stage Seven; Complications.

This is where the ‘spanner in the works’ comes in. The plot point that means your character’s journey is interrupted, and is usually either a set-back, or a threat in some way. They usually have much to lose now, and are thoroughly entwined in the plot. The stakes also become much higher, whether they win or lose. And success is getting closer, it seems, until…

Stage Eight; The Major Setback.

This is the point which should have readers at the edge of their seats, and something occurs which means that your character seems to have had the ultimate setback. For example, in a story where the boxer has been fighting in the ring, they get one hell of a right-hook from the opponent, and it looks as though they are going down. All hope will seem lost at this point, and they will have to make one final, all-or-nothing push.

Stage Nine; The Final Push.

Your character must now throw everything they have into the basket, count all their chickens, bolt the doors, and however many other references they can fit into one sentence. Your hero or heroine by this point will be broken down, beaten at all odds, and grasping for that last straw. They have to summon all their information learned throughout the plot, all of their courage, and head face-on to the….

Stage Ten; The Climax.

Lots of things have to happen here at once, the character has to face the biggest challenge of all, and determine what their fate will be. At the same time, their motivation, the desire of the whole book, must be resolved. However, the climax is not necessarily the end…

Stage Eleven; The Aftermath.

Depending on the type of book (or screenplay) you are writing, will depend on whether or not you will use this stage. If, for example, you have written a book where the character’s climax happens quite near to the end of the book (check out my novel ‘Conner’ for an example 😉 ) then your objective is to leave your reader stunned or on a high. This is usually used if you want a sequel to your current book, no matter what genre. However, if you are writing a romantic novel or a thriller (if there will be no sequel), then usually there is an aftermath. For example, the hero has declared his love for the heroine. But then there may be a short chapter afterwards, describing how they get married, showing them content in their new life. The aim is not to put a full stop there, but to show how your character is now living in their new life now they have completed their goal.

If you follow these steps, your book will read almost like a film, and also as a well-balanced storyline. And you never know, one day you may be getting a call…. 😉

Book Blurb:

Once Upon A Twisted Time

An Anthology of Dark Adult Fairytales
By: Tara Stogner Wood, Trish Marie Dawson, Lindsay Avalon, and Miranda Stork

Genre: Fairytales/Paranormal

Publisher: Moon Rose Publishing

Date of Publication: 31st October 2012

Number of pages: 250

Word Count: 76,000

Cover Artist: Miranda Stork

Book Trailer:

Book Description:

Think you know your fairytales? Think again. These aren’t your normal happily-ever-after. Within these pages, a murderous Little Mermaid gets her revenge, the Cinderella doesn’t really want to wear the slipper, Snow White is up to her eyes in industrial experiments, and the Beauty is in fact the Beast.

This collection of four novellas will surprise you, make you gasp in horror, sigh with relief, and sit on the edge of your seat. And most of all…they will make you rethink everything you think you know about dark fairytales…

Song of the Abyss-Lindsay Avalon

Princess Nerissa had envisioned a perfect wedding to a handsome prince. Instead, she fell into a nightmare. When her new husband tries to murder her just hours after pledging his life to her, she must flee towards the sea. Caught in transition from woman to selkie, she is trapped by the dark waters she hoped would be her salvation. Now her destiny becomes that of luring young men to their death…until one comes along that reignites the spark of love inside her. However to ensure her future, she must first face her past. Revenge must be taken…for both her life, and the life of the young man she now loves.

Miss Cavendish and the Spark of Salvation-Tara Stogner Wood

In a city toiling under the iron fist of the Spiegel Syndicate and its monopoly on coal, Miss Georgina “George” Cavendish is on the brink of a breakthrough that could change the world forever. There’s just one thing standing in her way, her aunt – Xenobia Cavendish. Threatened by her efforts, the Syndicate procures the services of a notorious assassin with a past tied to her own, known as The Huntsman, to dispatch the brilliant scientist. But once he gets a glimpse of the headstrong beauty, will he be able to do the job, or will Georgina sway him to The Cause? And will George find the breakthrough she needs in time, or is New London Town doomed to forever lie under the dark shadow of her aunt’s factories?

Hawke and the Beast-Trish Marie Dawson

Some curses last forever, and some can be broken with the whisper of three little words. Isabella Rose Woodward fell in love with a witch’s son over a century ago. Her punishment for breaking the young man’s heart was a beastly one. Every month she turns into a different creature, aging on the full moon when her curse allows for a brief return to her human form. Her only salvation is to find a man that will love her as she is…be it adorned in feathers, fur or scales. Has she found this love with the handsome Jasper Hawke? Or will a mysteriously determined Hunter find her first, and snuff out the life she so desperately seeks? A life of normalcy, where she loves and is loved in return… just as she is.

Reborn City-Miranda Stork

Nyx has one mission in life; bring down the brainwashing of New Omsk’s citizens, and release them from their mundane lives of toil. The year is 2355, and the world is a new place. A Governor is in charge of every city in the world, and humanity is attempting to rebuild itself after recovering from a war that nearly killed it. But this Governor has set his eyes on the intrepid little hacker, Nyx, and he will stop at nothing to get her. But perhaps he needs her more than he ever dreamed he would…as do his citizens.


I love a good fairy tale.  Since I was little I loved fairy tales and as I got older I loved the different takes that many other authors have gone with traditional tales.  So, when I was offered a chance to read and review these tales I was very excited.  These four diverse yet similar stories take the base of the fairy tale and like the title says twists it on it ear.  I loved the use of the selky legends incorporated with the story of the Little Mermaid.  I loved that Snow White was a scientist.  I loved that Beauty was the beast.  I loved that Cinderella was a hacker and a revolutionary.  These twists let you forget your reading a fairy tale but the love part brings up back to why we read fairy tales in the first place.  Although these are not your usual fairy tales I wouldn’t necessarily read them to your children as bed time stories.  There is violence and graphic sex scenes.  I’m sure the graphic violence is reminiscent to the original tales, but the additional sex scenes adds a level that as an adult reading these stories I would love to be any one of these “princesses”.  I would recommend this read to anyone who has read Gregory Maguire’s twists on the fairy tales and anyone who like a good paranormal romance.

I’d like to thank Miranda Stork for stopping by today and Bewitching Book tours for allowing me to host this stop in the tour.  For more information about Once Upon a Twisted Time you can go to Barnes and Noble, Amazon or any other book retailer.

About the Authors:

Tara Stogner Wood-

Tara Wood divides her time between creating domestic bliss and creating hot paranormal romance with the occasional side of kink. When not playing June Cleaver for her hubby and daughter, she can be found at the local Starbucks slamming back Frappuccinos and plotting out her next idea. Or she’s watching the BBC. Tara resides with her wonderful and tolerant family in the suburbs of Houston, Texas. She is currently at work on several projects, one of them being the next book in her In Blood series.

Trish Marie Dawson-

I was born and mostly raised in San Diego, California where I live now with my  family and pets. I’ve been writing short stories and poetry since high school after an obsession with Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’. After over fifteen years of crazy dreams and an overactive imagination, I began my first book ‘I Hope You Find Me’ in December of 2011. When I’m not writing, I am homeschooling my amazing daughter and mildly autistic son, reading whatever I can get my hands on, or enjoying the Southern California sun. As a strict Vegetarian, I hold a special place in my heart for animal rights and dash into the backyard weekly to rescue lizards and mice from our mini-lab/aussie shepherd/cocker spaniel mixed dog, Zoey…who is always getting into some sort of trouble.

Miranda Stork-

I was born in Guisborough, North Yorkshire in 1987 and have lived in various places around Britain, including Newcastle and Glasgow.

My writing is inspired by various writers, including the vivid characters of Charles Dickens, the imagination of Stephen King, and the gothic imagery of Anne Rice.

My love of horror began at an early age, when I was only three or four. I could read proficiently at the age of three, and devoured fairy-stories, but I always had a bent towards the darker stories, such as the Brother’s Grimm’s tales…Red Riding Hood was always a firm favourite, although I always felt sorry for the wolf, despite him having tried to eat everyone!

Lindsay Avalon-

I am a wife, a mother to an adorable mini schnauzer, a programmer, and now an author. I love reading romance because no matter what may be happening in my life, I can always count on my books to end happily ever after. My sister drilled into me an appreciation for fantasy and mythology, something I try to bring to my books. After hearing me complain a few too many times that I had “nothing” to read despite the hundreds of paperbacks scattered around the house, my husband began suggesting I write my own stories. When I finally took his advice I discovered that although I enjoy my day job as a software engineer, my true calling is to be an author.


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