11 December 2007

Ten Fairy Tale Revisions That Haven't Happened Yet

My upcoming novel, A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH, is based on the Grimm's fairy tale "The 12 Dancing Princesses." A majority of times when you stumble across a fairy tale rewrite, the author takes great liberties with the plot, the setting, the characters, the atmosphere, and so on. The tale, in the end, can bear little resemblence to its origins, like the ten billion different versions of Cinderella or the Ugly Duckling.

Less frequently, the tale sticks closer to its fairy tale roots, like Robin McKinley's two versions of Beauty and the Beast or my own SUSANNAH. Both styles of retellings have their charms and challenges. Even the tales we think of as the originals today are merely the versions written down by whatever enterprising soul recorded them. In the romance genre and others, authors love to put their own spins and twists on these folk, fairy and mythological tales because of the classic themes embedded therein.

But enough of the academic approach! Here's a list of fairy tales I figure I ought to twist:

1) Rumplestiltskin. In which Rumpy, the little horny devil, spins more than gold for the queen. No one is surprised when the queen's first child looks a lot more like a dwarf than the jerkwad, materialistic king who only married her for the gold. Queenie then runs away with the hot short man and her kid. The end.

2) How Six Men Got On In The World. I've never tried my hand at any m/m, so why not start with some m/m/m/m/m/m? How Six Men Got It On All Over The World. My randy team of balloonists floats around the world in two years. They missed the eighty day mark because they kept running out of "supplies".

3) Snow White and Rose Red. This story includes a shapeshifting bear who's man enough for both lusty maidens. Toss in a suspense/treasure hunting plot where they race to find the magic jewels against the evil albino gnome (plus some religious imagery and Madonna references), and you have a possible best-seller on your hands.

4) The Three Billy Goats Gruff. In many versions, the goats are brothers, and we all know how popular brothers are in the romance genre. I guess this will have to be three connected books? The problem is, weregoats aren't sexy, even if they are horny, so they might have to be cowboys battling over water rights. Cowboys often adopt a gruff manner, so in the end, it's all good. And we'll call one of them Billy.

5) Goldilocks and the Three Bears. It's not what you think! She's actually an environmentalist fighting with those damn Gruff brothers who want to herd their goats on the land that's supposed to be a bear preserve. Should she be with Billy? Or Wolf? Yeah, yeah, I know, but how can I resist naming one of the Gruff brother "Wolf"? Answer: I can't.

6) Chicken Little. The sky is falling, and this buxom research scientist is the only one who can prove it! This might end up as a disaster movie on TNT, but as long as John Corbitt can be the sherriff/love interest, I'd definitely be willing to help revamp the script.

7) The Fisherman and His Wife. Totally women's fiction. That blasted cheating husband keeps going out "fishing" and coming back with all these presents for his "Queen", no, his "Empress", and finally she figures out what he's been doing. They're guilt gifts. So she baits her trap and catches both fish in it, with the help of a hunky PI who may be the love interest in the next novel of the "Fat Rita: PI" series.

8) The Greek Tycoon and the Virgin Mistress. What, that's not a fairy tale?? But it's been retold so many times, in so many ways! Are you sure? Well, in my version, she's the tycoon, he's the kept man.

9) Rapunzel. She's not a princess, but her extensions are fierce. What nobody realizes is that she's actually a modern-day Medusa, and she's trying to find the one man who *will* turn to stone when her gaze falls upon him. The rest of them, to her dismay, wilt in her presence. Such is the life of a cursed goddess in 21st century America.

10) Pinochio. Lad lit. After his friend Jack gave him those "magic beans", every time smooth-talking Pino tells a lie, his weiner gets a little bigger. At first--since he started out with quite the deficit--this seems like a blessing. However, he soon learns that not all ladies agree that size is the only thing that matters--they'd like a little love, caring and honesty to go with that beanstalk.

Know of any fairy tales you think need to be rewritten? What do you think the third Gruff brother should be named?

Here's a quick list of some already published romance novels based on fairy tales and other myths: http://www.likesbooks.com/fairytale.html

Jody W.
A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH--January 29, 2008, Samhain Publishing
http://www.jodywallace.com * http://meankittybox.blogspot.com


Sela Carsen said...

You are a twisted woman. I love that about you!!

And I adore retold fairy tales. Somewhere on a back burner, there's one of my old favorites waiting for me. *sigh* So romantic!

Have you read McKinley's latest? A YA called Dragonhaven. DD has it and won't give it up for me to read! Brat.

Cathy in AK said...

You need a coffee spew alert on this one, Jody : ) I'm going to have images of goat men butting heads over some blonde in my head for the rest of the day.

I'm sure I've read more re-told tales than I think I have, but none come to mind at the moment. Mostly because I need to refill my coffee cup to get my brain started.

Can't wait for your book!

bettie said...

::sigh:: I remember evenings when I was a child and my dear old grandmother used to sit us children down by the fire and tell the tale of The Greek Tycoon and the Virgin Mistress. Sometimes, if we were extra good, she'd tell us the story about the Billionaire Bad Boy's Secret Baby.

I was eighteen before I found out Mills & Boon weren't lesser-known cousins of the Brothers Grimm.

I adore fairy tale retellings--the McKinley books are two of my favorites. A SPELL FOR SUSANNAH sounds fun.

Jody W. and Meankitty said...

I haven't read the latest McK yet -- I hope I get it for Christmas!

Oh, I remember the fairy tale about the Billionare Bad Boy's Secret Baby. He lived in a forest cared for by his servant, Faithful John, who told him to never, ever put anything into the golden pool. But one day he did and...