This week: Red Riding in the HoodEdited by: Legerdemain
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This week's Action / Adventure Editor
A New Take on an Old Yarn
The brothers Grimm wrote over 200 fairy tales and documented more than 500 folklore legends in the 1800's. While many like Cinderella and Rapunzel are well known, quite a few tales are not. Tales like Fitcher's Bird are quite gruesome. The German folklore they recorded are much like today's urban legends. The origin of the term "fairy tales" comes from Marie-Catherine Le Jumel de Barneville, Baronne d'Aulnoy, a french writer who termed her work "contes de fée".
Fairy tales and urban legends are told in every part of the world. These stories, told over and over, continue to be inspiration to new authors. William Shakespeare's King Lear and Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales are considered to be variations of old tales. Hans Christian Andersen continued the tradition of drawing on old tales to create something new. George MacDonald also used parts of tales to create his fantasy writing. Imagine using a Red Ridinghood plot line for a modern day adventure story. Perhaps the wolf could be a drug-addicted pimp and the lumberjack could be fire/rescue.
So if you're looking for some reading to inspire a new tale from your pen, try reading some fairy tales. But please, read them first before indulging a bedtime story for your children. Or it may be a very long night...
b}This month's question: Do you find new takes on old stories a good read?
Send in your reply below! Editors love feedback!
Excerpt: "It is a grave matter for us. One of our own has become mad. He has killed several of our kin. I have blamed myself as I helped raise the boy. However, it is beyond my ability to deal with," the elder said passionately.
Excerpt: If not for Kindyfow1, I would not have felt the gentle tug of curiosity pull me to the woods. Kindyfow loved to frighten me with stories of wicked souls trapped between life and death finding sanctuary from the sun in the thick woods. She combed my hair or held me fast, her plump cheek smashed against mine, with entrancing words: “They fear daylight, and the woods are dark."
Excerpt: Snow never realised how much danger she was in until the night her stepmother tried to have her killed. When her chauffer confessed to his lack of nerve to commit murder in the steam carriage ride home, she bolted away from him and into the outskirts of the city. She fled for her life without looking back to see if he were following. Dodging gaslamp lighters on their stilts and slow moving couples walking arm in arm, Snow never stopped moving.
Excerpt: I had shooed her into going to bed with a firm but loving hand on her reluctant bottom. Even at six, she was an expert at squeezing extra minutes beyond her bed-time. I had just issued the times-up edict; prising the TV remote from a pleading hand.
Excerpt: Tamsin looked in the mirror. The light glinted off her blonde curls, causing an iridescent halo to surround her hair. Smirking with satisfaction, she carefully pulled the red hood over the top, allowing some of the hair to spill forth at the sides.
Excerpt: “Not bad for a twelve year old. Right Father?” Miles stated proudly of his fine swordsmanship ability. The quick-paced clank of steel against steel echoed across the magnificent English courtyard, as father and son continued their sword spar. Lord Petrus, who has been known throughout his lands for his expertise with the sword, enjoyed spending these quality times with his son.
Excerpt: I realize that if the castle is swarmed with men sticking their noses in every corner sooner or later one of them will discover the truth. But why then did you have to offer such high a prize in return for success?
Excerpt: They placed Snow White in a glass coffin and prepared her for the journey up the mountain. The old woman wasn't going to spare anyone to deliver her to the Prince, so she summoned the mice that lived in her clock. They were blind and since they couldn't do much of anything, she used them for deliveries.
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This month's question: Do you find new takes on old stories a good read?
Last month's question: Do you like to throw unusual challenges in front of your characters? Why or why not?
jbenj responded: Of course. I think its the fun part of the job, especial since I aspire to see my books in the thriller section. The more unusual the better. I think authors like Dean Koontz do it best with books like 'The Husband' or 'Velocity.' Lets do something so terrible to them and see how they handle it. To me its like a big experiment. I like to start only with that challange and then start writing. I've actually got two stories in the works built upon using some unusual sitation as the catalyst. Usually something that pulls upon the protag's moral compass. 'I must act or an innocent will surely die.' That sort of thing.
Lady of the Myst replied: I think throwing challenges (especially unusual ones) is a valuable tool for character growth. Throwing them into situations outside of their comfort zone and making them sink or swim can reveal personality strengths and weaknesses. When in doubt, or if the plot slows down, throw a challenge at your character. You will be glad you did.
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