Quail Bell Magazine publishes both “real” and “unreal” stories. Some seriously talented writers have been featured on their website, so be sure to check it out.
I’ve already talked a bit about the inspirations behind “A Forest of Bones”--visually, it was very much inspired by Kay Nielsen’s illustrations and the whole baroque/rococo-type look. Starting out, I didn’t have a specific image or sentence in mind, just a feel--I wanted something pale, pretty, flowery, but also dark and spindly. The story really took off when I came up with the last sentence and the naming scheme. Each princess is named after a specific virtue, so you begin with Mild and end with Noble. I knew that Mild would be the main character, and I knew that neither she nor her love interest, the soldier, would be especially young or beautiful.
Here is the music I listened to while editing, and here is the Pinterest board. You can read the full story here.