Fairy tales don’t really have fandoms (do they?), but the shows and stories they spawn do. Recently Grimm is the most obvious example, followed by Once Upon a Time and Beauty and the Beast, but how many times have TV shows such as Supernatural and Buffy the Vampire Slayer dipped into fairy tales for episode story lines ? And do these shows have fandoms? Oh my yes. Let’s just do a little search of Dean Winchester on Pinterest.
Fellow Strumpet Nara recently did an awesome post on the Geeked Out Fairy Tale build we were working on for the Opensimulator Community Conference. Believe me, she did all the heavy lifting. My job was simple. Take a fairy tale, give it a different spin, and use one of the building devices we planned to teach about to tell the story. Mine was a holodeck.
First let’s give a nod to the massive Star Trek fandom and thank Star Trek: Next Generation for coining the term holodeck. In virtual reality, a holodeck allows multiple builds to be stored and taken out one at a time as needed. I was using it for a sequential story—scene 1 then scene 2—but I’d been working with one before the conference to create scenes from my various novels. I can’t have all the scenes in place at once or things lag and crash, so in a sense I’m creating little suitcases for my builds.
Anyway, back to the fairy tale aspect. I wanted a fairy tale that relied on setting rather than character because it would work best for the holodeck aspect. I played around with the idea of the Princess and the Pea—would’ve been fun to create a massive bed of multi-colored mattresses, but I wasn’t sure how I would use the holodeck. Cinderella had possibilities, but building a whole castle in the amount of time we had did not. Then I thought of the photo I had of my sister and I sitting on my mother’s lap with the book Hansel & Gretel open. We were engrossed in the story, and since I suck at making real life gingerbread houses, creating a virtual one seemed more along my line.
But as you’ll note with Grimm, Once Upon a Time, Beauty and the Beast, there’s always a modern twist, something unique that pulls the tale away from Disney or the original Grimm stories. So, I wanted breadcrumbs and a gingerbread house, the cage and the oven or fireplace, but I didn’t want a literal witch. (Creating “unmanned” characters to live in the scene when I’m not logged on is something I haven’t tackled yet.)
So…where do writers get their ideas? In this case, my unraveling marriage provided fodder. The story became about Gretel’s journey to the colorful, sugary house of marriage, where she became locked in a cage. The breadcrumbs were pieces of her authentic self lost along the way.
I’ve always known fairy tales have their own power to endure through the centuries as they do, to resonate with us in the TV shows we watch and the books we read, to come to us in our nightmares. But this time it really clicked in me, that aha moment, where Hansel & Gretel became real for me, both in the metaverse and in my soul.
Celebrate 10 years of Enlightened Love, Shara’s 1st published novel.