marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,
marycatelli
marycatelli

telling a tale

Sometimes characters have to tell stories.

Not, mind you, tales of their own adventures.  Those can usually be tossed off in a line of summary, if not omitted entirely (presumed to be off-stage), and even when needed -- as J. R. R. Tolkien needed Legolas and Gimli to tell of the Paths of the Dead, because the alternative was remove surprise or go backwards in time -- it's all part of the plot.  Sometimes, on the other hand, they have to tell other tales.

In my stories, it tends to be fairy tales.

Reading a lot of them does give you the advantage that you don't have to grab one of the handful of well-known ones.  Both for the novelty factor and to actually have something that resonates with the theme, and keeps the story from falling into parts.  You could invent your own, but there's always the danger of circling 'round the same motifs -- and besides, many are unconvincing as fairy tales -- at least to me after reading so many. . .

But even after reading hundreds, it can be interesting to track down the exact one that reflects father-and-son animosity, or that features something being turned into a man from the inanimate.

And then you have to decide whether the character will be allowed to tell it all, and how much goes in summary, and how well the character tells it -- the Grimms, and most other collections offered to the general reading population, clean up the tales quite a bit if only to make the story better structured.

Stuff to wrestle with.
Tags: dialog, fairy tales in stories, story structure, theme, unity of theme
Subscribe

  • tale of a child

    There are fairy tales with child protagonists, of course. If you read up on them, there are even tales that start with child protagonists who are…

  • dealing with the witch

    ding-dong the witch is dead -- The first one at any rate. I comment on her body first, but then I elaborate on the breaking of her spells.…

  • telling the tale

    The hero and his sister arrive at the witch's doorstep. A cat assures them they can wait. So they, without warning to me, start to tell each other…

  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 4 comments