"Dear Beauty, try not to regret all you have left behind you, for you are destined to a better fate. Only do not let yourself be deceived by appearances."
As many of you are aware, I’ve been at work on a Beauty and the Beast re-telling. There are a lot of things about it that have been difficult: researching Scottish history, trying to write a Scottish accent, even figuring out the personality of my main character. One thing I’ve been worried about is the magic of the fairytale.
I’ve known from the beginning that I was going to do a fairly straightforward retelling, the beast being an actual, physical beast. And that, of course, involves magic. (Well, now that I think about it, I could have done a sci-fi one with an experiment gone wrong. Oooh…that’s a good idea. Filed away for future use)
But back to the subject at hand: as a Christian, I’m pretty wary of any story involving magic. I don’t mind it in certain settings/situations, but I always thought I’d personally never write a story involving it because 1) I have waaaayy to many other stories I need to work on and none of them really advertised themselves for magical fantasy and 2) I know some Christians don’t do that sort of thing at all, and I never wanted someone to have a moral problem reading any of my stories. In fact, I’m working on quite a few fairy-tale retellings specifically without magic.
However, it was pretty clear from the beginning that this story was going to be an exception. After all, as my main character even mentions, the Bible commands us not to practice witchcraft which means, of course, witchcraft does exist and does have power. Of course, that power comes from demons and I knew I needed to make it very clear that all magic being practiced in my story (which does, technically, take place in the “real world”) would be seen as such.
So melding together faith and fantasy has been nothing short of a challenge, especially because I want the Christian elements in this work to be rather understated; the basic worldview and message of the story rather than explicitly spoken of. I only have 20,000 words.
Ugh. That horrid limit. Of course, even if I had all the words in the world this story would still be pretty short, I think. But that doesn’t change the fact that I feel like my characters don’t have enough development, that my plot is moving too fast, and that the more descriptive passages might eventually have to go. I've never actually written a novella before, so this is a totally new experience for me. I rather wish I did have a magic wand to wave. Poof! The story's all done. Considering that I'm at 19,397 words at the moment...well, I am pretty close. But I haven't even done a real edit yet, no ones besides myself has read it, and time is running out.
My story -which I might share the title of sometime soon- also follows the original tale pretty closely. Though I adore "clever" retellings, mine is rather straightforward and it can be very easy to wonder if my story is really all that good because it's not totally original and different. A lot of the story hangs on good character development, which is definitely intimidating!
Any others out there working on a B&B retelling for the Five Enchanted Roses contest? How are you coming along? And are any of you working on a retelling without magic?
*oh, and major bonus points if you know what musical the blog post title quote is from*