marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,


The great trick in fairy tales, where you undo a movement twice so the character has to do it three times.

The heroine wins her way to an old witch -- who can't tell her where the prince is, and so sends her on to a second, who sends her on to a third, who can finally tell her.  The scullery maid goes to the ball two times without the prince figuring out how to find her again.  The youth breaks two swords until he finally gets one strong enough for him.  The  heroine bribes the villainess to let her get at the prince, but the villainess drugs him twice so only the third time does she succeed.

These are always interesting to write.  Some more so than others.  The characters have to have plausible reactions that allow it to reverse without causing them to call it quits.

The bribing is particularly so, because in the story, both the heroine and the villainess know how the story goes.  Both are out to sabotage it.  Still, what passes without notice in a tale needs more elaboration in the novel.
Tags: fairy tales (retelling), genre

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