Parents of Faerieland Runaways

January 22, 2012By jayart, Faerie-tales, story, Writing

When reading about faerieland (fairyland), we often get so wrapped up in the stories that we can’t (or choose not to) even think about the parents of faerieland runaways. The parents are baggage that has been thrown off so that we can soar the heights with Pan, swim the depths of tears with Alice, or conquer witches with the Pevensies.

What about the poor parents of wandering children? What keeps them from loss of mind and facilities? What keeps the parents from entering into the tale of their children to rescue them? In the story (with a lengthy title), The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making the author, Catherynne M. Valente, tells us that parents of Fairyland runaways are not cross with their children when the children return, because they know they have been to fairyland. [paraphrased]

Okay, but in the meantime what about the parents? What happens to them? What of their hearts? What loving parent wouldn’t be out of their mind trying to find their child?

When creating tales, as authors, we shouldn’t just think about the action within the tale. What of the action without the tale? It is our job to understand our tale’s affect on those not directly involved. I like the Wizard of Oz in this case, Dorothy was absent; she was missed. Her absence created a hole in the lives of her aunt and uncle, it wasn’t filled until she returned.

Unlike Oz, the Pevensies’ were not missed. There was no stir from their disappearance. Their outside world is virtually gone from mind and reality. Sadly, this is sort of a copout. It makes the real world disappear, in order to create a fairyland that works. It shouldn’t have to be so. An author should be able to hold both existences in tandem. The author should be able to show the effects of a runaway’s disappearance and still communicate the tale without destroying the main point. While it isn’t perfect Oz does do an adequate job of handling this tension between the Faerie and the Real.

What we do with those outside of the tale is as important as those inside, because it brings a bit of reality into Faerie. That reality only grounds the tale and thus allows the reader to not break out of the tale with questions like: what are the parent’s feeling, do the parents/guardians even know, or do they even care. By bringing in the feelings or actions of those the runaway has left behind we can answer some important questions while allowing the tale to move forward and placing the runaway’s real life in a reality.

If you’re interested in my own fairytales check out: The Adventures of Tomy and Jon. It is only the beginning, but every tale has to have one.

Villainizing the Innocent

January 20, 2012By jayart, Faerie-tales, story, Writing

A coyote barks viciously.
The villain’s role of helping to define the hero is an essential element of every tale. In many stories, the villain is a witch, dragon, ogre, etc. In some stories, it is a toy, child, animal, or other “non-evil” character. But, villains are a necessary evil. They help the reader understand good by contrast. They add a touch of reality to a tale. And, they give the hero something to battle in order to win our hearts.

In the children’s story series, The Adventures of Tomy and Jon, I have villainized the coyote. Coyotes are not evil creatures. From a reality perspective, they are actually very helpful in controlling vermin and thereby help controlling disease. They are a much needed “villain”. Coyotes have gotten a bad wrap from writers, farmers, governments, (some) myths, and regular folk that listen to the aforementioned.

At one time, in native legend, the coyote held a place of honor. In many native myths, they are equated with the creator, they assist humans, and bring wisdom. In many myths, they are an intermediary between creator and man.

So, why villainize such an honorable creature as that? Because every tale needs an respectable villain, one that isn’t just one dimension, and because there are myths that allow for it. In The Adventures of Tomy and Jon, the coyote will feature heavily and will help me to define goodness in the world of Tomy and Jon—but they won’t be the only villains. I will also villainize: men, the government, helpless dragons, and any others that I see fit—so as to show the goodness in Tomy and Jon’s family, the wolves, indians, and any others that are needed. But, the coyote will be the primary antihero of my tale.

To accomplish this I will make use of native tales smather them together with my own concepts to, hopefully, build a character that is not evil in its purest form—but is evil in contrast to the hero. In this tale, Tomy and Jon have just entered into a struggle that is older than themselves. They have entered into a battle to save the world—and they will find that they have unlikely heroes who will join them in the fight.

Click here to begin the story of the Adventures of Tomy and Jon.