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Old 10-01-2013, 04:09 PM   #1
BeccaPrice
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a couple of questions about children's stories and reality

first: I've just written a story called "Pussy Willow" - on another forum, people immediately thought it was erotica (or at least made erotica jokes) - I'm talking about the actual type of willow, and yes, that specific type of willow is crucial to the story. Is this going to be an issue in a collection of fairy tales?'

Also, I'm thinking of writing a fable about salmon. I know that salmon that actually do make it to the spawning grounds don't always survive the journey, and that most don't survive the spawning itself (although apparently some varieties of salmon do return back to the ocean once they've spawned.)

Is it too dark to talk about the fish (who will be the main characters in the story, although not really a personified main character) dying? This story actually has a moral to it: that it's ok to die in pursuit of a dream, that it's ok to try and to fail - where it's not ok is to not try, or to die embittered by the attempts.

I know the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson wrote some pretty dark stuff - most classical fairy tales are pretty dark - but is this too dark for a collection to be titled Fables and Fireflies?

(also: I came up with the title; now I need to come up with a story about fireflies... any ideas?)
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Old 10-01-2013, 05:47 PM   #2
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How about a story about a little firefly whose light doesn't work right, and how it's ok to be different from others.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #3
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I don't have a problem with Pussy Willow, and it's in the dictionary. I'd probably avoid using "pussy" in the book title, but as the title of one of the stories inside a book that is obviously for children, I think it should be fine.

As for the death thing ... I can imagine some people might have trouble with it, but as you say, there are plenty of examples in classic fairy tales. I don't think there is a general rule here, it's really going to come down to whether you get it right in the story (no pressure ). I think you will probably have to write it first and decide later whether it works.
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Old 10-01-2013, 09:24 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
Is it too dark to talk about the fish (who will be the main characters in the story, although not really a personified main character) dying? This story actually has a moral to it: that it's ok to die in pursuit of a dream, that it's ok to try and to fail - where it's not ok is to not try, or to die embittered by the attempts.
Children, in general, have no problem with stories about characters dying. It's parents and worse, non-parents who think children are made of spun glass, who think they need to be sheltered from "dark ideas," who object to stories with deaths in them.

"He finished what he wanted to, and then he died" is a fine summation for a children's story. So is "he tried his very hardest, and even though he didn't succeed, he got to be his own hero."
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Old 10-02-2013, 01:07 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by BeccaPrice View Post
first: I've just written a story called "Pussy Willow" - on another forum, people immediately thought it was erotica (or at least made erotica jokes) - I'm talking about the actual type of willow, and yes, that specific type of willow is crucial to the story. Is this going to be an issue in a collection of fairy tales?'
Not necessarily, especially if the cover image (or a subtitle) makes it clear that it's a children's story.



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Also, I'm thinking of writing a fable about salmon. I know that salmon that actually do make it to the spawning grounds don't always survive the journey, and that most don't survive the spawning itself (although apparently some varieties of salmon do return back to the ocean once they've spawned.)

Is it too dark to talk about the fish (who will be the main characters in the story, although not really a personified main character) dying? This story actually has a moral to it: that it's ok to die in pursuit of a dream, that it's ok to try and to fail - where it's not ok is to not try, or to die embittered by the attempts.

I know the Grimm brothers and Hans Christian Anderson wrote some pretty dark stuff - most classical fairy tales are pretty dark - but is this too dark for a collection to be titled Fables and Fireflies?
Not if you handle it right. Or, you could change "salmon" to "shad" -- which return to the ocean after spawning. But that might limit you to the northeast US, where we have seasonal shad festivals. Maybe Europe, too, but I don't know.



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(also: I came up with the title; now I need to come up with a story about fireflies... any ideas?)
Sorry, can't help you there!
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:37 AM   #6
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I was going to title the story "salmon" and maybe describe the fish, but just call them "fish" in the story. If I change the title to something more fairy-tale-ish and the description so to be shad description rather than salmon, I think I can get away with it. I've never heard of shad before, and I'm not sure how many of my readers have either, but yeah, if I don't mention the specific type of fish, that will be a good thing.

I've also pretty much decided to make this a stand-alone story rather than include it in my collection - that will give parents more of an option.

Thanks for the idea!
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Old 10-02-2013, 11:47 AM   #7
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(also: I came up with the title; now I need to come up with a story about fireflies... any ideas?)
My mind immediately goes to a freighter captain traveling through the black with a crew of rogues and fugitives, just trying to keep flying and stay one step ahead of the Alliance.

I would so read that.

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I've never heard of shad before, and I'm not sure how many of my readers have eithe
I live on the northeastern US coast, and I hadn't heard of it either.

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Old 10-02-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Apparently shad are being introduced into western waters with some degree of success, according to Wikipedia.

Shad do seem to exhibit the behavior that I want - but I can't title the story "Shad" - didn't want to title the story "salmon" either - any suggestions for a better title?

(PS: ApK - how did Cassie like Pussy Willow?)
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:05 PM   #9
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Apparently shad are being introduced into western waters with some degree of success, according to Wikipedia.

Shad do seem to exhibit the behavior that I want - but I can't title the story "Shad" - didn't want to title the story "salmon" either - any suggestions for a better title?
Shad is a herring. I guess Herring wouldn't work either.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:08 PM   #10
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It doesn't have to be the name of a fish - that was just my working title.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:22 PM   #11
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Maybe a rhyming title? Chad the shad?
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:41 PM   #12
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Shad is a herring.
Heard of herring?

"No, my ears work just fine, sonny." <ba-dum-bum>

Becca, I didn't even get to tell them about it yet. Their mom distracted us all night with a Minecraft paper-crafting project, so I hope to do the story tonight.
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:57 PM   #13
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It doesn't have to be the name of a fish - that was just my working title.
I guess I misunderstood you at first. I thought you wanted the title to be the kind of fish you were writing about.

The title might come more easily once the story is written. As in "One Fish's Struggle," or "Shad Conquers His Fears" or whatever descriptive title that embodies the lesson or result you're going for in the story.
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:15 PM   #14
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...
I live on the northeastern US coast, and I hadn't heard of it either.

ApK
You've got to get out to Lambertville (or New Hope) for Shadfest next spring!

http://www.shadfest.com/


(And read The Founding Fish, by John McPhee -- a good book!)
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Old 10-02-2013, 02:33 PM   #15
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You've got to get out to Lambertville (or New Hope) for Shadfest next spring!

http://www.shadfest.com/


(And read The Founding Fish, by John McPhee -- a good book!)
Mmm...shad and shrimp fritters....I'm there!
I don't even know what shad taste like, and that still sounds good!

Becca, would it send the wrong message if your hero fish ended up in a REALLY GOOD fritter?
"Confident, Courageous, Delicious"

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