One day, on a whim, I put the HBO series Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child in my Netflix queue. I wasn’t expecting much, honestly. I mean, if you’ve seen one cartoon adaptation of fairy tales, you’ve seen them all, right? Wrong! This series is awesome. If I had a kid, this would be required viewing. As it is, all my friends’ kids can expect to receive copies for birthdays and Christmases.
I love the art, the clever dialog, and the diversity of colors and cultures portrayed. All the stories are good (witness: Cinderella, above). If you can find it, I particularly recommend “The Pied Piper.”
Robert McKee is as famous as a screenwriter/writing teacher can be. If you ever saw the film Adaptation, you’ve heard of McKee. In the following interview, he talks a little about what makes compelling characters and why unhappy endings can be great.
Okay, you guys. Despite the fact that my class focuses obsessively (some might say unhealthily) on plot (as opposed to character), I think every person who wants to write an engaging story should watch the following and pay close attention. Very close attention.
WARNING: Adult language and extremely tasteless jokes sprinkled throughout.
How do the Japanese do Christmas? The clever folks over at Isetan hired Finnish illustrator Klaus Haapaniemi to design a Christmas campaign. The result is “How to Make Wonder Christmas,” a collection of short, wonderfully illustrated vignettes that would do Lewis Carroll proud.
Please join local authors Anthony Flacco and Sharlene Martin at a spectacular Port Madison waterfront home for cocktails and dinner. Bainbridge Island cookbook author and cooking instructor Christine Quinn will prepare an Italian feast. Enjoy great cuisine, local wine, and good conversation, as well as a chance to win some fun door prizes. All proceeds will benefit the Kitsap Regional Library Foundation.
November 15, 5:30 pm. $50 donation.
To purchase tickets call Peter Raffa at KRL 360.475.9039.
Plucked directly from the glowing heart of BoingBoing’s Cory Doctorow:
“I’m a great fan of Bill Willingham’s Fables comics and its numerous spinoffs (nutshell description: all fictional characters, legends, and fables are actually alive, always have been, and are living in secret exile in New York, having been chased out of Fableland by “The Adversary,” a rapacious conqueror).
One of the most fun of these is the Jack books, which feature a set of parallel adventures of Jack — as in “Spratt” and “and the Beanstalk” and many other tales. Jack is handsome, womanizing, preternaturally lucky and cheerfully amoral doofus of a fable who is forever incurring the wrath of the Fable establishment by violating their rules by, say, pursuing a career as a Hollywood executive (he fits right in in Tinseltown, naturally).”
What do we read them for, and how do we read them? We read for the telling, for the “and then he … and then she … and so it turned out …” as far as “they lived happily ever after”, which takes the story out of the time of the telling. Aristotle said you could have tragedy without character; he was right – and we can also have stories without character or feeling. Maria Tatar, the Harvard expert on children’s literature, feels that children read such tales typically by siting themselves in the world of the tales as fascinated onlookers or audiences, not as part of the closed world of the story. Reading in this way is a particular and necessary pleasure, quite different from reading for instruction, or identification with feeling.
Kate Wolford over at Diamonds and Toads is launching a journal devoted to original fairy tales. It’s called Enchanted Conversation and you may remember I posted a link to her call for submissions a few months ago.
Awesomely, Ariel Woodruff, graduate of the summer 2009 Intro to Writing Fairy Tales class, now has a piece in the inaugural issue! The theme is Sleeping Beauty, and I have every confidence that Ariel’s story will surprise and delight us all.
Congratulations, Ariel! I’m super proud of you. xo!