Tuesday, June 8, 2010


SO...once, Diana Gabaldon said, on her blog, that the difference between her first novel writing process and those of her colleagues was that while they researched and researched, she researched and wrote. Guess who got published first?

I try to follow the same principle. Current WIP is something I've never done before. It takes fairy tales, folklore and some elements of mythology and sets it up in a contemporary setting. Easier said than done, particularly when my graduate courses contained very little Folklore/Mythology courses and a plethora of 'The Romantic Period,' '17th Cent. Non-Dramatic Poetry' AND more tech writing courses than you could possibly imagine. Hence, my ardent need to read, read, read on the history of fairy tales, myths and folklore. And yes, I am most certainly writing during this process.

Currently, I'm reading "Clever Minds: The Secret History of The Grimm Fairy Tales" by Valerie Paradiz. It's a great read. Honestly. It has also opened my eyes and it has left me with a huge revelation: The Brothers Grimm were complete douchebags. I mean, really. According to Paradiz, the long purported ideal that the brothers went to great lengths, speaking to 'plain folk' all across Germany to collect and write down fairy tales and folk stories, is complete and utter fantasy. Never happened. The brothers, apparently, gathered much of the stories from WOMEN. Women who were educated. Women who did all the compiling, did all the gathering and organizing.

They did collaborate with scholars of the time--men-- and out of the women who told the stories and did the leg work and the 'scholars,' guess who got acknowledged by the brothers once the anthology was complete? I bet you know. Go ahead and be annoyed. I am.

What I'm discovering is that there was a direct correlation between the brother's life experiences and what tales made the final cut. My annoyance at their misogyny aside, I am happily absorbing all of this information. Characters are being drawn, yes, even the douchebaggy ones, and I find myself so very excited by the work I'm doing.

Next up is "The Hard Facts of The Grimms' Fairy Tales" by Maria Tatar. You noticing a trend here? I know, I know, but I feel it's high time we have a feminist interruption of certain aspects in these very patriarchal stories. Oh, yes, I know it's been done before, but I'm hoping that my very unique, original plot will be welcomed among those that have come before me.

Please, my lone, probably rarely active reader, if you have any further suggestions, I welcome them. Am off to spend some more time with the brothers. Can't make any promises that I won't curse their names further.


Jessica said...

I want to read those books now. I knew that they basically stole the work from other who compiled it but had no clue that it was from women who compiled it.

TS Tate said...

Oh, yes indeed. It's very annoying. I think wrote the title incorrectly in the blog though. It's 'Clever Maids' not 'Clever Minds.' ALSO when you come home VERY SOON I'll be happy to let you borrow them.

Hurry home!