Monday, March 07, 2011

Fairytales: Getting the mode right


Once again, am trying to write a fairytale for fairytale review. This time their issue is the gray issue -- the lost child/lost girl/lost lost boy issue.

I'm trying to get into the right mode for fairytales. The last time I submitted something to FTR, they said the story was good but it was really a ghost story. A folklore ghost story, but a ghost story. Aaargh! True, many fairytales have dead folks in them (okay not so much) but the world I had created wasn't a fairytale world. It was more folklore...perhaps because it was a fairytale based in Africa.

I tend to merge genres...not that i have control over the way I merge different genres. I'm pretty useless at differentiation. I mean.. "what the heck kind of novel was wind follower?" And what is Night Wife? or
Onion? So yeah my blessing is my curse. ..i do a heck of a lot of cross-genre. So I have to see clear.

So... the story I'm writing could be a dream, could be surreal, could be folklore, could be Pilgrim's Progress-esque, could be Biblical, Which is not what I want. I want fairytale.

So I've got to get  a grip on what makes something a fairytale and what doesn't.

First, there has to be magic. Magic used against good folks by bad people, magic used to help folks escape evil. So far I'm kinda missing this because I have deadly flower people... which feels almost corpselike. So...uhm...have I stepped into horror?

Secondly, there has to be a family. I got that down.

Thirdly, there's a goal. Usually one person's goal. Uhm, in this...it's a family goal. Will have to work on that.

Fourthly, a person returns to his/her family and eden is restored at the end of the story. Uhm...so far the story starts with the family together and they are trying to get somewhere else. They don't have a home really. Uhm...gotta work on this.

Fifth: A trial of some kind. Sometimes a persecutor/adversary causes the trial. Sometimes a small thing causes the protag to meet the persecutor/adversary.

Sixth: Requests (usually made by someone in need or in power or both) that sets the hero/heroine on a journey. Somehow the person making the request cannot or will not go on the journey beause of illness, old age, poverty, or plain old self-servingness.

Seventh: A very good person. (Or a trickster. But I don't want to get too into trickster mode.) The very good person wins the day through his intelligence or her beauty and goodness. Once in a while the beautiful girl is intelligent but for the most part, it's her morality and kind heart that wins the day.

What else? What else? What else? Gotta think. 
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