As I say in my website side-bar there, right under the picture of the Pillsbury Dough-Boy’s grandmother–er, I mean me–I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember. I loved having stories read to me and my grandfather used to make up cautionary tales about, say, a little squirrel who didn’t look both ways before he tried to cross the street. Tv and movies were participatory activities long before Rocky Horror. How well I remember the time my mother and grandmother took wee me to the movie theater to see THE TEN COMMANDMENTS; when the Egyptian army drove ominously toward the trapped refugees and the music rose in dramatic crescendo, I stood up and shouted, “Your rod, Moses! USE YOUR ROD!”
The point is, I can’t remember a time when stories were just stories. They were always templates, not documents, if you see what I mean. What if this happened instead of that? What if a character secretly had this other plan or motivation? What if the good guy were really a bad guy, or the bad guy had a soft spot for kids or….
Yes, I saved the day in a lot of those variations. I was the little girl who rode through the storm to bring the doctor to Mother’s sickbed. I was the little girl who, forbidden to go help put out the prairie fire, found and extinguished the wind-carried spark that could have burned down the house. I tamed the Big Bad Wolf with kindness when we first met on my way to Grandma’s and took him home as a pet.
Once my mother told me that creative writing was a career path, there was never anything else I wanted to do.
Now I do it.
Happily ever after.
Next week on Writerly Monday: passing notes out of class
WRITING PROMPT: How would your main character deal with a traditional fairy tale villain?