Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Great 'Sleeping Beauty' Rewrite (II of IV)

If you missed yesterday's post on Diamonds & Toads, I suggest you go check it out so you'll know more about where these short story retellings have come from.

As promised, here are a half of the stories (and their authors) that entered the Diamonds & Toads contest. They all have their stories published on a special page for all to read them. I'll profile the rest tomorrow. Please note, these are in no particular order, though I will be making a special mention of a story today and tomorrow. The winner of the contest will have a special post all to herself at the end of the week. :)

A sincere thank you to Kate Wolford of Diamonds & Toads for helping me put these next couple of posts together!

“Sleeping Beauty,” by Sandra Urias, is an intergalactic adventure featuring suspended animation, twists and turns in the plot, and an unusually kind and generous heroine.

Diamonds & Toads comment: Please make a special effort to read this extraordinary entry.

“Aurora Speaks,” by Lisa Fu features a first-person narrative by Sleeping Beauty (Aurora) herself and a non-perfect hero, which makes the story a bit more realistic, in a good way. Aurora’s plight also results from an interesting twist in family relations.

Diamonds & Toads comment: I love that we see some point of view from the princess. I also love that the hero is not perfect.

“Lonely Beauty,” by Elena Valeriote, is unusual because Oriana, our heroine, is “protected” from her fate by being raised in a dungeon. What makes this story fun is that she has seven brothers, and is the much-hoped-for girl. All ends happily, and Oriana ends up with lots of company.

Diamonds & Toads comment: A princess protected in a dungeon? Now that was some creative thinking! I also love the seven brothers angle.

“Sleeping Cutie,” by Hugh Neeld has a funny, Hollywood excess feel to it that makes the story just plain fun. After all, it is set in the land of “Gotitmade.”

Diamonds & Toads comment: What do I have to say about this story? Just this: It is very, very good! And fun!

“Sleeping Beauty and the God of Death,” By Emily Debenham, uses mythic characters and mythic story structures to give the story a grand sweep.

Diamonds & Toads comment: This writer took the story into the realm of gods and myth, making it stand out.

“Sleeping Beauty,” by Juliette Bowers features family jealousy, as many fairy tales do! What is intriguing about the tale is that Philip, our hero, is the son of the family’s housekeeper, and knows the heroine before she falls into her sleep, making the happy ending seem more probable.

Diamonds & Toads comment: This story had some intriguingly written sisters and an excellent hero, both qualities draw the reader in.

Today's special mention is:

“Keeping Beauty,” by Barbara Knight. It stands out because it highlights some of the troubling, complicated relationships we all have with beauty, as the story is set in the “Land of Vanity,” where homeliness of any kind is not permitted.

Diamonds & Toads comment: Note: Barbara Knight should keep on writing! This is highly entertaining and provides some very smart commentary on beauty standards.

And here's a brief excerpt from the beginning of "Keeping Beauty":

Once upon a time, King Handsome and Queen Charisma ruled in the lovely Land of Vanity. All those who lived in Vanity were pleasing to the eye. There was beauty everywhere. Rows of pastel colored houses were perfectly landscaped and immaculately maintained. Organic gardens grew only unblemished fruit and vegetables. Long necked swans graced the clear ponds as feathery finned angelfish swam below the surfaces. And melodic birds filled the flowering trees.

Each time there was a birth within the kingdom, the baby was presented to the King and Queen. If he or she was worthy, they would be allowed to stay. But if the child was not up to standards, he or she would be banished from the land forever, forced to live amongst the plain. This happened rarely, as beauty usually begets beauty...

To keep reading click HERE.

Stay tuned for the other stories - coming in a couple of days on August 19th.

NOTE: All images and close-ups are from Errol Le Cain's "Thorn Rose" (ie. Sleeping Beauty) picture book. click on the book cover at the head to find out more about this amazing animator and illustrator. He's illustrated many fairy tales! The other pictures you can click on for a closer view - highly recommended. The man was amazing! More of these gorgeous illustrations coming from "Thorn Rose" in a couple of days too.

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