Meddling with Medusa

Sometimes great ideas don’t pan out.

Take, for example, my 9-year-old girl’s dream to be Medusa for Halloween. (Thank you, Rick Riordan!)

We searched everywhere (by which I mean three stores, including Wal-Mart *shudder*) for a Medusa wig. Nothing.

“I don’t get it,” she lamented. “Ask anyone and about the third thing they think of is Medusa. Why aren’t there Medusa costumes?”

While I pondered that question, I also looked for alternatives. I bought a bag of 32 squishy plastic snakes and head cover that looked suspiciously like a hair net. I searched the house for a needle and thread. And then I spent about two hours sewing snakes to a hair net.

When I was done …

It looked like a bunch of plastic snakes hanging from a hair net.

My ever-polite girl looked at the end product, bit her lip and then said, “I don’t have to be Medusa.”

A trip to the costume store later, she is now a vampire.

The point is I completely stink at crafts.

Second point: Things don’t always work out the way you envision.

I’m buzzing about a new idea I have for a middle grade fantasy book. I want it to be exciting, daring, inspiring and all sorts of other “ings.” I can’t wait to get the scenes in my mind onto the page.

But once that happens, I’ve got to see if what I created paints the same image in readers’ minds. This is especially true in fantasy books, when authors need readers to abandon what they know as truth and accept a new world with different rules they’ve built from scratch.

I want to make sure that if I’m talking about Medusa, readers will see a turn-you-to-stone terrifying head of snakes. Not squishy plastic snakes stuck in a hair net.

What’s your favorite fantasy book? How does the author transport you from reality to what he or she has created?