Thursday, June 5, 2014

In Which I Brainstorm

This is my first official participation in Anne-Girl's June Crusade. (See sidebar link for more information)

Miss Anne Elizabeth has started a fairy tale contest, and while I didn't finish a story in time to enter it last year, I want to have a story for this year.

But the theme this year is "Beauty and the Beast." A great fairy tale - a brilliant one, even ... and that's the problem.

For me, the thrill of retelling fairy tales is to fill in the gaps and get the story to make sense. Beauty and the Beast isn't your typical fairy tale. Unlike Cinderella and Rapunzel and Snow White, B&B has a definite source and the original version was nearly a novel in its own right (no, I haven't read it, but it is long.)

It doesn't have any substantial holes. It's message - getting to know each other before marriage, and not judging by appearances - is strong, so no need to fix that. It was never my favorite Disney movie - they made too many changes to the plot that I didn't care for.

I had suspected that she would do B&B for a while. I watch book trends and I know which ones are the popular ones. Cinderella and B&B are the most common tales to retell out there. And yet, no ideas have come to me as I earnestly hoped she would do Rapunzel or even Snow White.

But she's chosen B&B, so I guess I'll have to come up with something or opt out again ...

Wait ... what if I filter my reluctance into the retelling ... what if there's some sort of school that you go to, and at the end you get typed into a fairy tale that you have to play out to get your happily ever after (or something like that) and the girl who gets Beauty and the Beast really wanted to do a different fairy tale, and so keeps trying to shift B&B over to it.

Yes. I like that idea.

The question is, what fairy tale would she prefer over B&B and why? As I said before, my main problem with this story is the fact that it doesn't have problems. And I don't want to go the racism route and have her issue be the beast himself - oh, I know! She wanted a fairy tale where she could go on an adventure of her own - not sit in a house all day and be asked by a beast to marry her every night.

But which fairy tale?

Now, I know lots of fairy tales - and some of them B&B types - where the princess goofs up with her prince charming and the person who had put him under a spell spirits him away and she has to chase after him to win him back, but almost all of them are obscure. The best known is "East of the Sun, West of the Moon," but I'm not certain I want to go that route either ... um, or maybe Snow Queen ... I could ride off the popularity of Frozen ... but again, I'm not liking that route. Too much mainstream for me. I like a taste of obscure.

So ... how about Fairer-than-a-Fairy? It's one of my favorite fairy tales, inspired a pivotal scene in The Ankulen and it has quite a few things in common with B&B. The message of love can be based on more than appearance and daring deeds. I like that one. The princess gets to do the rescuing, but it's not her fault that she loses him - they were co-prisoners and their captor decided to move him to a different enchantment. (Honestly, I'm looking forward to retelling this one in Bookania! And believe it or not, its characters are related to the Beast in Bookania, so I really like where this is going.)

As for names, the princess will be Adara. It means Beauty. Which is appropriate. For the beast, I'm not certain it's important yet, as she won't meet him until she's trapped in the fairy tale and he won't be able to tell her his name and past until the end of the story. He'll just be the Beast.

That sounds good enough for me to write a back cover (since that's one of the requirements for this challenge)

Adara wanted to be Fairer-than-a-Fairy. It's not a well known fairy tale, but she thinks it the best, it has adventures, and she never was one to crave the limelight. But instead she's Beauty. The one who marries a beast. And spends most of her time in a house - a big house with lots of rooms to explore, but still ... a house. Well, it seems she'll just have to make the most out of it!

As for a title, I think I'll go with Fairer than Beauty, for the present.

And now to go actually write it. I have another plot bunny started, but it's a story that's been running around in my head since Christmas, so you won't be seeing a brainstorm post for it (though I will tell you a bit about its inspiration)


  1. Oh wow, I love that idea! Cool! (I didn't know Beauty and the Beast was almost novel-length. Hm! You learn something every day!)

    1. I didn't know it either until I was researching the other day. What I thought was the original is actually the abridged child's version (the other is somewhat risque, I'm told.) It involved all sorts of complicated backstory and a slightly different way for the beast to be unenchanted.

  2. Ooh, I like it! I'm having a hard time even coming up with an idea... and have been contemplating not entering this time around... I dunno. We'll see. :)


Hi! Now that you've read my post, hast thou any opinions that thou wouldst like to share? I'd love to hear them!

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