Monday, February 18, 2008

A Twisted Fairy Tale

By C.L. Beck
© 2008

Before I registered for the LTUE Sci-Fi Fantasy Symposium, I wondered ... if I attend, would I come out with the arms of an octopus and the head of a Wookie? Would bizarre people wearing Star Trek and/or Scooby Doo costumes moderate the discussions? And whereas, before attending the symposium my mailing address used to read "Anytown USA", afterwards would it read, "Space, the Final Frontier"?

I'm pleased to say, after sitting through long, but enthralling hours on a chair designed to test the fortitude of a Klingon warrior, that most people there were normal authors.

Normal authors—okay, I'm thinking that's an oxymoron. Or an insult. I'm not sure which.

As it turned out, most of the sessions covered topics applicable to a number of genres, and the attendees wore jeans and sweatshirts. Well, I take that back, I did see some guy in a long, flowing cape and gave him a wide berth—until I realized it was my husband, Russ, with a blanket around his shoulders. I'm thinking he brought his blankie along in case he got bored during the panel discussions.

On Saturday afternoon, an interesting session called, “Twisting Fairytales," caught my attention. What—fairytales aren't twisted enough already? We have to make them worse?

Take "Little Red Riding Hood" for example. In it, a wolf—one that can talk, mind you—poses as Red Riding Hood's grandmother—whom he has just eaten. Ahhh, cannibalism—that's a great topic for kids.

He lies in bed, wearing Granny’s hat and shawl. Now we have a cross-dressing cannibal—an even better theme for impressionable children.

In skips little Red Riding Hood, all dressed in a flaming red cloak with a pointed hood. One that could have could have been worn by the Emperor from Star Wars, if the cloak had been a little longer and in that figure flattering color, black.

Just wait, it gets better. Have you ever asked yourself what little Ms. Hood was carrying in that basket on her arm? Mushrooms she gathered in the woods—probably the kind that cause hallucinations.

The wolf and the girl are having a polite conversation about body parts—"Grandma, what big eyes you have"—when the wolf leaps out of bed and chases the Little Red Emperor ... er ... I mean Riding Hood out the door. In the meantime, a woodsman with a sharp hatchet dangling from his belt—no wait, maybe it's the dwarf, Gimli, with an axe tied to his head—kills the hairy beast and throws Beauty into the fires of Mordor.

Then Gimli slides the glass slipper onto the pro-feminist Ms. Hood's dainty foot, and they ride off into the sunset. Or maybe into the ocean, where she grows a mermaid's tail and Gimli becomes a singing lobster.

I'm not sure which.

One thing I do know is I enjoyed the session so much, I'm going to try writing a twisted fairy tale of my own—just as soon as I figure out how to unglue my octopus arms and take off my Wookie head.

What books C.L. recommends:
Life is Like Riding a Unicycle by Shirley Bahlmann
Publishing Secrets by LDS Storymakers (BJ Rowley and others)
Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Rennie Browne & Dave King

C.L.’s other work:
Newspaper Column


Unknown said...

LOL! I enjoyed reading this. A twist on the norm always wakes me up and makes me think.

Cindy Beck, author said...

Thanks for stopping by to read. Glad you enjoyed it!