So the question at the end of the last post was, is it worth it to revise the fairy tale?
The answer turned out to be yes and no. See, by the time I finished writing the story I had originally planned, I had a million other ideas for the world I was creating. I wanted to include them in the revision, but I couldn't tell if it should be a whole separate story. I loved those ideas, and found them way more interesting than what I'd already written, but I didn't want to have wasted *eight months* of work.
So I sat down with Lajos Egri's The Art of Dramatic Writing. I decided to try to identify a premise for both stories, and see which one was stronger. Egri points out why a premise is so important, and how strange it is that not all written work has one, with the following example:
A man rushes down the street, panting for breath. You intercept him and ask where he is going. He gasps: "How should I know where I'm going? I am on my way."
Egri says that a good premise is made up of three parts: Character, conflict and where the story is going. For example, he identifies the premise of Macbeth as "Ruthless ambition leads to its own destruction." Character is identified in the phrase "ruthless ambition", one can easily see how that character trait would lead to conflict, and the end of the play is suggested by "its own destruction".
In the end, I couldn't come up with a premise for the story I had already written, because there wasn't any conflict. I decided I would do a major rework of the plot, but keep the main characters, which would make me feel less like I had wasted all that time. And although my story is nothing like Macbeth, I have chosen to get started using that premise: "Ruthless ambition leads to its own destruction". Hopefully as I work out the plot and further develop the characters, I will be able to refine that basic premise into something uniquely mine.