2/25/2016 2 Comments
On fairy tales
I love a good fairy tale. Conversely, I really hate a revisionist retelling of a fairy tale. You know the type - the ones where we're given a sob story about the background of the (always previously despicable) villain and are expected to suddenly sympathize with them. Oh, they can't help how horrible they are! They have daddy issues! But... that's just me, perhaps. It strikes me that it's not up to me to say what path another writer should or should not take in their storytelling choices. We will always write to our consciences, and our individual worldviews will always be reflected in our works. But it also strikes me that what makes a fairy tale truly speak across ages is a certain virtue - a certain indisputable morality where the lines between good and evil are not blurred. Fairy tales are, at their core, simple and full of archetypal characters. Their simplicity allows them to appeal to children, and their use of archetypal characters makes them perfect vehicles to carry messages and display heroism and villainy in stark, contrasting ways. When the archetypes are skewed, therefore - the narratives rewritten - the stories cease to be true fairy tales.
Retelling fairy tales is very popular right now, especially in Young Adult literature. I've obviously gotten interested in this topic since I am in the process of writing a novelization of a classic fairy tale. Part of my research as I outline my own story has been to read popular re-tellings and watch movie re-tellings. (I know, I know... sounds awful, doesn't it?) :) While I am NOT writing a novelization of Cinderella, most of my current fairy tale consumption has centered on that story. I think it's because Cinderella has always been my favorite fairy tale. When I was a child, my best friend and I watched the Disney Cinderella so many times, her mom had to buy a new VHS for us because we wore out the first one. Cinderella holds a special place in my heart and has a special virtue as a fairy tale, I think. In the interest of time, and not making this blog post into a behemoth of an essay, though, I will save the rest of my thoughts on the matter for next time. So, in the next blog post, I will review book 1 of The Lunar Chronicles: Cinder, Kenneth Branagh's Cinderella, and Ever After. And as always, I'd be happy to hear your thoughts!
2/29/2016 09:08:29 pm
I agree. When authors (and screenwriters) leach the villainy out of their villains and the heroism out of their heroes and heroines, we are left with a soupy mess of angst-filled characters muddling their way through a directionless plot.
K. B. Hoyle
2/29/2016 09:48:06 pm
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