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👠🐭👑 Inneresting #149 - It's a Cinderella story
Once upon a time, there was a newsletter with some things to say about fairy tales...
Why do we keep re-telling fairy tales?
Jack Heckel starts us off with a look at how repetition turned the original, more frightening stories into tales for children. He also looks at what motivates us to keep finding new ways to tell these same stories. Speaking of whether or not a genre is for children, River Clegg gives an eight-year-old’s perspective in McSweeneys, asking why Batman movies can’t be made for kids any more:
Here’s a bit of trivia you might not know: Batman was originally a character from comic books, and comic books have traditionally been aimed at—you might want to sit down for this—children. You know, those little people you’d have three of by now if you were born in any era besides this one? They’d read them after school while their parents were busy doing grown-up stuff, like listening to jazz or drinking that brown juice that makes Dad happy and then sleepy.
Linda Holmes asks what we can learn about storytelling choices from various versions of Cinderella, and how the reinterpretations add and edit around the standard beats of the story. The Take casts a wider net, looking at the tropes central to Disney Princess films, and the evolution of this sub-genre. The clip weighs the criticisms of these works against the positive elements, like sharing stories of resilience with kids and helping them navigate forming their identities.
Toni Fitzgerald also grabs on to this connection between fairy tales and identity, breaking down the way that children re-process fairy tales by inserting themselves into the story and taking on different roles. She also digs in to the ways that new variations on old stories can make space for other viewpoints and identities so more people can see themselves reflected in these familiar scenarios. This also ties in with how writers can learn about themselves by adapting fairy tales into their own voice:
Finally, you can’t overlook the value of retelling stories as a vehicle for learning craft. Cornwell retold fairy tales in many of their earliest writing exercises. “I could kind of use them as plot training wheels for myself, and that is still an assignment that I give to my students as a writing teacher is to retell a fairy tale because I do think it is very good training to look at how these very durable stories work,” they say.
Lincoln Mitchell also takes on fairy tales for writers, looking at the way that their general structure and tropes are the opposite of writing advice given to MFA students. Why have these stories that seem to go against so much advice on storytelling make for tales that endure for centuries?
Wait, can we still Write Sprint?
The WGA is on strike, and there are rules to follow for all Guild members. And if you’re pre-WGA, following these rules is a way to support the strike (and avoid jeopardizing potential future Guild membership for yourself).
But does that mean no writing whatsoever? Is the Write Sprint thread shutting down?
No. We’re still here. Writing is how writers explore ideas and understand the world. Just because you shouldn’t write material for any struck company doesn’t prevent you from writing for yourself.
So it’s time to blog. To work on a book or a short story. To develop that idea you haven’t told anybody about that just sings to you.
The fight to protect the viability of writing as a professional career also means upholding the idea that the written word and act of writing have value—Value generated by a human being putting words on the page.
Join your fellow humans this week—set aside time for a Write Sprint.
What’s a Write Sprint?
John wrote up an explanation, but here’s the short version: Set a timer for 60 minutes, close down all distractions, and do nothing but write until that timer goes off.
Shout out to last week’s Sprinters Ben Waller, Aimee Link, Brian Matusz, and John Harvey!
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WGA Strike Reading
Linda Holmesdiscusses why TV viewers should support the WGA Strike, making the case that writers are asking for their contract to include elements like training future showrunners and other priorities that will lead to better television programs in the future.
Previously on Inneresting…
In case you missed it, in last issue’s most clicked link Jürgen Henn captures on video when people ignore multiple warnings and try to drive tall trucks under an 11 foot 8 inch bridge clearance.
Other Inneresting Things…
Grant Snider shares a series of prompts to help you make poetry comics.
Ryan Fisher-Quann argues that isolated healing isn’t a way to sustainable happiness, and the current trends of self-actualizing lifestyle porn highlight solitude as a necessity.
The social standard this culture offers is one of controlled, placated solitude. Its narrative often insists that you’re surrounded by toxic people who are trying to hurt you, and the only way to ever become the person you’re meant to be is to cut them all off, retreat into a high-gloss cocoon of talk therapy and Notion templates, and emerge a non-emotive butterfly who will surely attract the relationships you’ve always deserved — relationships with other “healed” people, who don’t hurt you or depend on you or force you to feel difficult, taxing emotions.
Devika Rao connects the dots between global warming and what’s making allergy season longer and worse.
Reading the room
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And that’s what’s inneresting this week!
Inneresting is edited by Chris Csont, with contributions from readers like you and the entire Quote-Unquote team.
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Twice in one newsletter? Yeah, we stan Linda Holmes.