I’m doing a bit of research for the story I’ll be working on for NaNoWrite (writing 50,000 words in the month of November!). The idea for this story has been stewing a long time. I’m finally going to release it. This will be one of the first times I haven’t totally plotted out the whole story. I don’t know the ending. I don’t know what my characters look like. I don’t know how their character arc will turn out . . . Basically, I’ve got an idea, the opening paragraph, names, and the genre (YA Steampunk!). This will be a new experience for me, but I’m REALLY looking forward to it. JUST WRITE! (and NO editing!!)
All that to say, I picked up Grimm’s Fairy Tales. My NaNo WIP involves Cinderella. Disclaimer: This is not a remake of Cinderella… Not gonna say any more, but Cinderella is involved. I picked up Grimm’s version hoping that, by reading the original Cinderella, it would spark something, give me some nugget that I can use . . . and it sure did.
Grimm’s version of Cinderella is . . . well, grim.
1. Cinderella’s mother dies, but not her father–and he is alive through the entire story. (Which is only 8 pages in my Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales book.) It really bugged me that he was alive. He saw how his daughter was being treated, but chose to ignore it. MEANIE!
2. Step sisters are BEAUTIFUL…but ugly at heart.
3. Cinderella plants a hazel twig, and it grows into a tree. This is where the magic birds live.
4. Ball announced . . . In Disney, Cinderella had to clean and re-clean (mean cat) the house before she could go to the ball. In Grimm, she had to pick peas and lentils out of the ashes…The magic birds did it for her, but still, kinda an odd chore… Neither version, even after her tasks were all done, was she allowed to go to the ball.
5. There was no fairy godmother…the magic birds gave Cinderella her dresses and shoes. (Noticed that Cinderella cried A LOT in this version. Her tears grew the tree and gave her whatever she wanted…)
6. Shoes were made of silk and silver, the last pair was gold. (no glass involved, which seems safer and more logical to me…)
7. There were 3 balls . . .and Cinderella ran away from ALL of them because she didn’t want the prince to see where she lived.
Ball #1: She runs away and hides in a pigeon-house.
Ball #2: She runs away and climbs up a pear tree to hide.
Ball #3: She runs, but the prince lays a trap! Pour pitch over the stairs so she can’t run away! But CInderella still runs away…Leaving a shoe behind…
8. Each time Cinderella runs away, her father is called for. Each time he says, “It surely cannot be Cinderella.” And then he proceeds to use axes and hatchets to cut down the pigeon-house and the pear tree . . . The third time, the prince just tells him that his wife MUST be the girl who’s foot fits in the shoe. (Why Cinderella’s father was always called for, and why the prince didn’t know where she already lived . . . hmmm….whatever Grimm)
9. Shoe fitting ending:
Ugly Stepsister #1: Cuts off her toes so that her foot will fit in the shoe.
Ugly Stepsister #2: Cuts off her heel so that her foot will fit in the shoe.
(There is a lot of blood seepage involved…and then Cinderella has to try it on…GROSS!! But of course it fits, and OOOH, she has the matching gold shoe in her pocket!)
10. Unlike Disney, there are consequences for the step sisters…They get their eyes pecked out by the magic birds…
**Just so you know: I LOVE the movie version of Cinderella, Ever After. The writers were far closer to Grimm than Disney ever was.