New Projects

sleeping-beautyThis has been a productive week. I spent a good part of last week dealing with a stomach bug running through my house and various children staying home from school, and then last weekend we went camping with a bunch of people from the kids’ school. (Yridessa had quite an adventure on her first camping trip.)

Since I’ve been home, I’ve been working on catching up on laundry, experimenting with a couple new art projects, and I’ve spent a lot of time writing.

I’m working on a new story. I’m at about 60,000 words right now. It’s one I started several years ago for NaNoWriMo, but then got busy working on other things and never finished it. I pulled it back out a few months ago, and I’m really excited about how it’s coming along.

It’s a fairytale-inspired story, and it’s the starting point of a set of similar dark fantasy types of stories that I plan to do.

I’m trying not to make it just a retelling. Not that there’s anything wrong with retellings. I’ve read some that were delightful, and Havok’s Fairytales Unfettered issue was a lot of fun.

My goal is to have a story that draws on fairytale themes, but is entirely its own. For this story, it’s working quite well. The inspiring story is is Sleeping Beauty, so the theme is there, but it’s not a traditional Sleeping Beauty story. It’s more like Sleeping Beauty meets the Salem Witch Trials meets Rip Van Winkle meets Druids.

The next one I’m planning, which I’ll start for NaNoWriMo this year, is going to be Little Mermaid inspired.

I’m having a harder time plotting that one, because it’s been done in so many incarnations. From Hans Christian Anderson to Disney to the movie Splash (which is being remade with a merman instead of mermaid), mermaid stories tend to follow the same types of arcs. Creating a unique story that is a darker fantasy with more elements and inspirations like are in my Sleeping Beauty story is proving harder than I would like.

Meanwhile, I’m plotting out some of the future stories, and what fairytales might inspire them. I have a few ideas. I want to steer away from the Disneyized stories, specifically stories with a romantic plotline, for future stories (she says as she’s plotting Sleeping Beauty and Little Mermaid). Stories that are well-known enough to be recognized, but not so over-done that they’ve run their course. Stories that haven’t been tied in to Once Upon a Time and aren’t dependent on True Love’s Kiss.

What are some of your favorite fairytales? Why did you like them? What sort of story would you want to see in a fairytale retelling?


About Avily Jerome

Avily Jerome is a writer and the editor of Havok Magazine. Her short stories have been published in various magazines, both print and digital. She has judged several writing contests and is a writing conference teacher and presenter. She writes speculative fiction, her ideas ranging from almost-real-world action/adventures to epic fantasies to supernatural thrillers.

20 comments on “New Projects

  1. There’s an excellent Korean drama called Secret Garden that has the Little Mermaid embedded deep in the story. http://arielm.blogspot.com/2012/09/little-mermaid-in-secret-garden.html

  2. I’m a huge fan of fairytales. Traditional, retellings, and deconstructions. I’d like to see some more obscure ones retold. One of my favorite childhood books was Clever Gretchen and Other Forgotten Folktales.

  3. One of my favorites is The Golden Bird. I think it’s a Grimm. I just love the fairytale rule of 3, and of the guy having to follow weird instructions and blowing it at the last minute. Also it has a talking fox. What’s not to like?

  4. Funny, I actually have a mermaid novel idea, too. Not a dark fantasy, though, and it’s on the backburner right now, but the main idea is “merfolk off the coast of Cape Cod” that would explore the idea of “What if merfolk had the ability to walk among ground-dwelling humans, and we didn’t know it – until [insert inciting incident of said book]?”

    I’m not sure if I have a favorite fairy tale… I like them, but none of them stand out enough to be a favorite. Although I’ve always liked The Nutcracker, and I’ve been dying to see the ballet for years. So another of my (future) story ideas is to turn it into a YA fantasy of some kind.

  5. I think your story idea sounds really interesting – best wishes as you delve into it! 🙂 As far as a favorite fairy tale goes, for me it’s hard to choose. There are some true classics penned by the Brothers Grimm that aren’t instantly recognizable as they have either never been adapted or are not that widely known (such as “Godfather Death,” “Clever Gretel,” and “The Story of the Youth Who Went Forth to Learn What Fear Was” [sometimes entitled “The Youth Who Could Not Shudder”]). However, if I had to choose, I would lean more towards the works of Hans Christian Andersen as he penned some of my personal favorites, namely “The Snow Queen” and “The Fir Tree,” and I think he was more mindful to combine lovely writing along with powerful morals. While I’ve never attempted a fairy tale retelling myself, it’s something I’d be interested in trying to tackle. As far as favorite retellings go, I love Marissa Meyer’s “Lunar Chronicles” series, which takes well-known tales like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and Snow White and gives them an ultra-cool sci-fi spin. They rank among some of my favorite books as they’re full of adventure, have engrossing plots (at least I found them to be), possess a fun cast, and aren’t the typical annoyingly fluffy YA novels. I’d highly recommend them!

  6. I like several fairy tales by Charles Perrault, who predated the Grimms by ~100 years; it’s been said that his versions of the old tales influenced the Grimm’s versions of stories like Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and Little Red Riding Hood. Robin McKinley wrote a lovely (though at times dark & achingly painful) novel titled Deerskin based on Perrault’s story Donkeyskin.

    But I love a lot of other fairy tales, sometimes because of the underdog winning, sometimes because of the lesson/moral, sometimes just because of the sheer magical eeriness and wonder. The Snow Queen and The Tinderbox (Hans Christian Anderson) are favorites as is Urashima and the Turtle (Japanese), Beauty and the Beast (French, by Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve), The Feather of Finist the Falcon (Russian), and The White Doe (aka White Deer, French, by Madame d’Aulnoy).

    I also enjoy incorporating characters or references to fairy tales in my own writing. Several years ago, I wrote a puppet play adaptation of a Russian fairy tale called Silvershod. Currently, a steampunk WIP has three fairy tale characters as minor characters, and a flash-length urban fantasy based on the baker’s daughter folk tale is making the submission rounds.

    And yes, I’m weird kid enough (at heart) to still enjoy the Fractured Fairy Tales videos from the old Rocky & Bullwinkle cartoon show. 🙂

    Hope you have as much fun with fairy tales (reading and writing) as I do, Avily!

    • I adored the Rocky and Bullwinkle Fractured Fairy Tales!

      “The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales” by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith is along those lines.

      I love the idea of inserting fairy tales in other stuff!

      There was an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer that was based on Hansel and Gretel. At one point, Giles says something like, “Some folklorists believe regional tales have actual, historical antecedents!” and Buffy doesn’t get it, so Oz says, “Fairytales are real.”
      I’ve always loved that scene, and a lot of my stories are based on that concept.

      • I wonder how many people reflect on how frightful some/many of those old folk & fairy truly are. Consider Hansel & Gretel: children abandoned in the forest, baited & trapped, a cannibalistic captor. Even sanitized kid versions can be downright creepy. The stuff of nightmares.

  7. […] Avily Jerome’s new projects, I’m going the fairytale route as well. My latest WIP is a steampunk deconstruction of Beauty […]

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