Like many, my love of stories began with fairy tales. By the time I was four, I’d memorized Cinderella from my collection of Disney books so thoroughly, I would correct any adult who missed a word when reading it to me. As I grew older, fairy tales remained one of my favorite forms of literature.
I supposed that explains why, as a writer, I was drawn to the fantasy genre.
Often, though, “fairy tale” takes on a negative meaning. When asking a friend about a movie I haven’t yet seen, I’ll sometimes received the disappointed response “Oh, it was, you know, a fairy tale.” Meaning: “It was the same old sappy story with a happy ending too predictable to be satisfying.”
Such movies or stories can leave an audience feeling bored or cheated. The conflict is either solved too easily or feels contrived. The characters lack depth, or there is no element of surprise. “Who wants to read or watch that?” we ask. After all, real life is no fairy tale.
Or is it?
I believe, if we take an honest look at the elements common to fairy tales, we’ll see parallels with our own lives. Fairy tales are not merely the fluffy, sweetness-and-light stories often associated with the term. Continue reading