In my prior blog post, I talked about Politically Correct Bedtime Stories, and how I took the bait. But then on second thought, I got to wondering: Is there anything that a writer can learn from this? (Besides how to write satire. That’s an obvious lesson.)
The answer is yes, actually. I rip a lot on fanfiction, usually for good reason, and while this is social satire, not fanfiction, it helps one realize that there’s a line between fanfiction, and reusing source material. Bill Willingham’s Fables is a good example. It uses fairy tales, but nothing about it is either soft, or could be considered fanfiction. I personally wouldn’t even call it a retelling. Instead, it’s using both famous and non-famous fairy tale characters, each with an established background, to build a new story. It creates a mixture between our world and the world of fairy tales, where they have to exist in our world undetected. The fact that these characters are established creates an endearing and interesting background, especially when it comes time for them to interact. The stories are very heavily influenced by noir, with tastes of slice-of-life, and war.
The story isn’t about their pasts, it’s about their shift from the pleasant past to coping with exile in a different land. This isn’t fanfiction, despite it using the intellectual property of others.
Similar to this is the book Fool by Christopher Moore. It acts as a parody of King Lear by Shakespeare, but it’s not a fanfiction by any means. In this case, it was more of a parody, turning a drama into a dark comedy, and shifting the attention to the true hero of any story, the comedian, in this case the fool. (Okay, well that’s bias on my part.)
Politically Correct Bedtime Stories is similar in that it’s using familiarity as a tool to get its message across. While it’s not out world-building and making noir stories about murder and politics, it’s making fun of a trend in society. By taking the fairy tales that we all know so well (which have been softened already in the past,) Garner is showing us the absurdity of said trend. No one would pick this book up and call it a two-bit fanfiction, because there was actually a purpose to retelling these stories.
If a person wants to, for example, use gods from a pantheon to write a story, are they particularly original? Well, not really. Are they writing fanfiction? Not really. It’s actually possible to avoid being your average Wattpad user when the source material isn’t yours.
So this is the product of me pulling a lesson out of my ass. You’re all welcome.
As I put my head down to sleep, I realized probably the most fampis retellings, Disney movies.
These add a new flavor tonthe discussion, and made me realize that they’re similar in a way to music covers. You could cover a song in a note-for-note manner like the Disney movies did with their source material (again with the nore family friendly versions,) you could make ot similar woth your own flavors, like Garner did, or you could use key elements as inspiration like Peter Green did for the song Albatross, inspired by Sleepwalk by Santo and Johnny; Fables is closest to this style.