Monday, March 29, 2010

And then there are the true pioneers…

Okay I have said my piece about companions and adaptations, now here is the main course of the tirade. Rewritten Fairytales.

Rewritten fairy tales have almost become a genre unto themselves, with writers like Cameron Dokey, Donna Jo Napoli and Robin McKinley, creators of strong representations of the art that can be wrought from a three page Grimm’s fairytale. It is interesting to see a three hundred page novel take shape from these short, sparsely detailed stories. Rewritten fairytales is in particular a genre I like to work in. While I enjoy creating completely original worlds, or at least as original as I can make them, there is a satisfying concept to recreating fairytales, mainly because so many of them have endings I find unsettling. I am unsettled by happily ever after! I am not satisfied with the behavior of the women in these fairytales, hell even the men usually leave something to be desired. By really I am not satisfied with the motivations in these fairytales. So sue me if I have a problem with the concept of love at first sight, though I am a true believer in lust at first sight, but I don’t believe in a lust so immense these princes would be flinging themselves in great peril just to get a date. Plus what if the rescued maiden or princess turned out to be atrociously awful? Well then you’re stuck with her…happily ever after.

Perhaps the reason the old school fairytales do not satisfy anymore is because they no longer serve their original purpose. Originally fairytales were supposed to be moral tales, stories that taught you what to fear and to respect the things that go bump in the night. By the night has gotten considerably smaller, the unknown is slowly shrinking, there are new things that give us chills while walking alone at night. It used to be beware of vampires and werewolves while walking the dark highways of night, but now our monsters are more human, but just as dangerous. Fairytales need a new purpose, perhaps they can still tell a moral but the moral needs to be tweaked to fit a more modern time.

The writers who undertake rewriting myths, folktales, fairytales, legends and so forth now, have different goals in mind than scaring the wits of their audience. I have personally found in the numerous reworked and reshaped fairytales I have read, these works explore a great deal more of the human psyche, the motivations behind the face value approach fairytales originally gave. One really stunning example is Beast by Donna Jo Napoli, which retells the Beauty and the Beast story from the Beast’s point of view. Napoli had nothing more to springboard off of for that story than one version of the fairytale which happened to mention the Prince was from a middle -eastern country and bam, Napoli created an eloquent story of a prince’s pride being his downfall, his eagerness to gain the wisdom of adulthood leading to his curse. It follows his attempts for survival, his long journey to France, his work to make the abandoned castle he finds a suitable home for Belle, even his sorrow when she doesn’t return back to him at her promised time.

Truthfully, this makes for the more interesting story.

This is what I seek to do with my own rewritten fairytales. I want to explore the human motivations behind the characters. I have trouble believing a character who falls in love at first sight, unless there are some strong motivations behind it.

No comments:

Post a Comment