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Tales of the Big Bad Wolf-Red Riding Hood » Member Reviews, page 2

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Fairy Tales with a Twist

By destinare, author of Caeruleus Aether: Blackbird

Jul 2, 2012: If you love to read stories about an old subject with a new twist, look no further! This story breathes new life into characters and looks at them in a way that few have. There are hints along the way and keep you guessing as to which fairy tale or myth that they came from. It definitely keeps you wanting to read more and waiting in anticipation for the next installment.

3 of 3 members found this review helpful.
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A Convoluted Twist on an old Fairy Tale

By G.S. Williams, author of No Man An Island

Feb 12, 2013: "Tales of the Big Bad Wolf" was begun in 2010, from what I can garner based on the site and its listing here on WFG. So it predates the 2011 "Red Riding Hood" film starring Amanda Seyfried and 2012’s "Snow White and the Huntsman" and "Mirror Mirror." But, it’s part of a recent trend towards retelling fairy tales, like the television show "Once Upon a Time."

I find it interesting to note the current cultural rise of "adult" fairy tales, as adults were also their original audience as often as children. Short folktales with fantastic elements, they succinctly developed archetypal characters to make social commentary or illuminate a moral theme. Deceptively simple on the surface, there was always more to traditional fairy tales than a first glance could reveal.

Traditional fairy tales also had darker edges than the Disneyfied children’s versions—the original Little Mermaid committed suicide because she couldn’t marry her prince, for example. They reflected both the dreams and nightmares of their age—reality’s cruelties mingled with hope.

The late 20th century was dominated by science, and so culture followed a lot of science fiction, as the outgrowth of technical progression. However, the early 21st century has seen darker edges again, such as terrorism and global recession. So it comes as little surprise that fantasy and fairy tales would make a resurgence, as our culture looks to learn the harsh lessons of our current reality so we might turn find new hope.

So I give the writer, SGL, some credit for being in tune with the times and tapping into the zeitgeist, especially before it started to have a lot of momentum. Based on other reviews and comments on the story itself there is an audience for what’s being offered.

However, I myself struggled while reading it. I found the pace extremely slow. This is primarily because of a lot of "telling" description, the narration informing the reader of details that aren’t in the scene, the character’s dialogue or their actions.

It’s been said on this site more than a few times that good writing will reveal character or move the plot forward, anything else is usually extraneous. I’ve read it in "how to write" books, and heard it from creative writing teachers as well. If it’s not creating forward momentum then it’s slowing things down.

There’s a strong tendency towards clunky multiple-clause sentences when cleaner structure would suffice. Here’s an example from the very first sentences of the story:

"In the northern lands, the first fall of snow came early. In those woods, a woman walked the empty road."

Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with those sentences. However, my creative writing teacher would have looked to make them more elegant, something like:

"The first fall of snow came early in the north. A woman walked the empty road through the woods."

Every sentence has a subject and an object. Subjects are the doers, the verb-activators. In the first sentence it’s the snow, arriving. In the second sentence it’s the woman, walking. In both of the original sentences the subject comes in the second clause, removing them a step from the action. It’s very passive, and very slow.

Unfortunately, most of the text reads that way to me. Conversations don’t really illustrate relationships so much as dump exposition. Description fills you in on events you haven’t seen, instead of bringing the scenery to life. At the socio-linguistic level, in the psychology of language, it tells me that there’s no vital emotional resonance, and the text is a step back from its own heart. The words distance me as a reader from the experience of the story.

That’s the exact opposite of the subtle elegance of a fairy tale, where the originals thrust you directly into its archetypal meaning without much preamble or extraneous trappings. It had an immediacy, and that’s why fairy tales still fascinate us today.

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No title

By unrecognizable, member

Mar 23, 2011: A very interesting story to read, the characters are well developed and the story line draws you in from the beginning. There are little tidbits all throughout the story that, when recognized, make you even more excited about reading it. Once a week updates are not enough for this!

The website itself is clean and easy to navigate. You can’t get lost, and you don’t have to start at the beginning each time you go to read – every Sunday the author posts a link to the newest page for those of us who have already read through everything.

2 of 2 members found this review helpful.
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