I will keep brief notes on all published fiction I read, about how the story works, or doesn't work, how it achieves its effects, how it maintains reader interest, what rules it follows, what rules it breaks, and so on. I may or may not post some of these notes to LJ.
Lately the stuff I've been writing has strong fairytale-like qualities, and I've been reading the copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales that I bought at Schuler's Books & Music in East Lansing. Although many of these stories are well-known and frequently reprinted, many are new to me, because I never read the original Grimm's.
From the introduction by Padraic Colum:
...the tellers and hearers of these stories valued things, visible, tangible, usable things. They put a thing in the center of the story and it gave a pattern... Things remain real while mental states become doubtful to us...
The golden slipper on the stairway is what the incidents in "Cinderella" lead up to and lead away from. In "Snow White" there is the looking glass of the wicked queen which is doubled in the glass coffin in which Snow White is laid by the kindly dwarfs. In "Briar Rose" there is the spindle that is doubled in the thorns that hedge the castle in. In "The Goose Girl" the horse's head that speaks is doubled in the hat the wind blows away... These correspondences are like rhymes...
He's right that classical fairytales don't spend much time dissecting the nuances of the characters' interior lives. Character is evident mainly through action. Fairytales are very behaviorist in that way: you are what you do. Or existentialist. The importance of things in fairytales is also an interesting idea. Modern non-genre fiction has lost this quality to a great degree. Genre fiction has retained it more: consider the detective novel in which the protagonist has a few clues, a watch, a book, a bloodstain, which stick in his mind and won't let him rest until he has unraveled the mystery and discovered the culprit. Or LotR, in which the strange attractor is a Very Important ring.
The idea of echoes and correspondences within a story being like rhymes is also very interesting. I've noticed that meritahut does this.
== chokkei == diameter
|Left radical is 'go/road'. Right radical is 'lengthwise threads on a loom', acting phonetically to express 'small'. Henshall suggests taking the right radical as 'hand' and 'ground' (土), and as a mnemonic: 'Direct path entails moving with hands on ground.'|