The Doors | We Could Be So Good Together
Actually, the original-original pre-Grimm Brothers’ stories that were passed around Europe via oral tradition are nowhere near as violent as the Grimm’s made them. Cinderella’s stepsisters were never ugly and kept their eyes, Snow White’s mother was not even a villain (instead a group of bandits were), and instead of spending the whole story napping Sleeping Beauty outwitted a dangerous bandit leader, wouldn’t let him sleep with her, and saved herself.
The original oral stories were radically changed by the Brothers Grimm to fit their personal and political beliefs. Most notably, they often added in female characters solely for the purpose of making them evil villains and took away most of the heroines’ agency and intelligence. Both brothers belonged to a small fanatical sect of Catholicism that vilified women because of the idea of Original Sin and Wilhelm in particular had a particularly deep hatred of women.
Those cannibalistic queens and ugly stepsisters and the mass amount of violence against women didn’t exist until the Grimms wanted them to. Their ideas stuck so soundly though that we now assume they were in the original tales and that these terrible characters and ideas come out of some perceived barbaric Old World culture. But in truth they’re really the Grimms’ weird obsession with hating women showing through.
The original oral folklore focused on the heroes’ and heroines’ good deeds and used them as ways to teach cultural norms and a society’s rules and encouraged girls to be quick-witted and street-savvy instead of passive princesses, and the Grimms promptly stripped that all away.
The more you know.
In case you weren’t already aware that Lily Allen is the best: Hard Out Here.
Wake up, you idiots! Whatever made you think that money was so valuable?
The moment that you feel that, just possibly, you’re walking down the street naked, exposing too much of your heart and your mind and what exists on the inside, showing too much of yourself. That’s the moment you may be starting to get it right.
I think “write what you know” is the single worst piece of writing advice. Instead, write what you’re really interested in. Write what is going to keep you awake at night; write what you don’t understand; write to figure something out. Good novels are journeys into the unknown, for their authors as well as their readers.