Whose stories get told

I’ve been brainstorming for a novel for a few weeks now. I’ve never successfully written a novel before, but I have brainstormed for one! I am not the type to sit down and write ‘Chapter 1’ and then fill the blank page with whatever comes to my head. Absolutely not. I develop fiction in my head for weeks before writing anything down.

I know I am writing a fantasy novel with a princess/castle theme. I have been daydreaming about my main characters and now I’m starting to think about a third character. It will take place before the 20th century which means that there is no such thing as ‘lesbian’ identity yet. Of course there were women who loved women then, but the identity of the homosexual was not a thing yet. So I have to figure out how my main character will start noticing her feelings for other women and how she will come to understand what they mean in the context of there being no language or information about what she is feeling. How will she explain her feelings for other women when the words ‘lesbian’ or ‘homosexual’ don’t exist?

I have to get this all figured out, her inner thoughts and feelings and her growth process, as well as the general plot of the book, before I can sit down and start writing chapter one. I may be ‘pre-writing’ for a year before I’m writing. That’s the way I work!

I had a small setback recently when I saw that there are other lesbian fairy tales already written. A few other women have also written about lesbians with a princess or fairy tale theme. I thought, with chagrin, that my idea is not original, this has already been done, and there’s no need for me to do this now. Luckily a few friends responded to me and said that there’s always more room for lesbian stories. Thank you, ladies. ♥

But you know what else? I just watched a silly kids’ movie the other day because I was trying to relax (my day job has been crazy lately) and I realized that the story of this film is the same story told in every other film I’ve ever seen. Humans just keep telling the same story over and over!

I’m going to tell you the plot of this kids’ movie without even telling you the title. This will be an interesting experiment. Let’s see how many guesses there are about what film this is, because this is the plot of every damn film. It could be anything!

Film Plot

1. Introduction

Sweet little white boy is smart and special and misunderstood. He is super special and will do great things some day, but the other kids just don’t get him. His mother knows that he is super special and will do great things someday. His father is very muscly and doesn’t show emotion because masculinity.

2. Development

As Special White Boy grows up, his specialness begins to show. He becomes more special and more misunderstood over time. He grows into a fantastic, special amazing young man. If only other people could just understand how special he is.

Special White Boy meets a girl who is smart. She gets how special he is. She is the only person to get how special he is, therefore he likes her. He appreciates her intelligence not for its own sake but because of what it brings to him. Instead of encouraging her to follow her hopes and dreams because the world needs her intelligence, he tells her that she is beautiful even with glasses on. Smart girls can be pretty, too! (But they can’t ever be the star of the story, and they can’t escape from being judged based on their appearance).

Smart Girl helps Special Boy follow his dreams because he is important. Even though she is also very smart, and she is more responsible than he is, her abilities are only important when they can help him.

Special Boy likes Smart Girl so he shows off how smart he is and tries to hide his flaws around her. Smart Girl also likes Special Boy and she pretends not to be smart around him for half the film because she’s learned to hide her intelligence. Special Boy assumes that the way to “win” a girl is to show off a lot and impress her. At no point is it ever implied that a girl should ever expect to “win” a boy by showing off how Special she is. Girls are prizes for boys to win if they are Special enough, but girls are not people who deserve to win prizes.

3. Climax

Special Boy is now an adult and he has demonstrated how great he is, but there are forces of evil trying to bring him down. He has to decide which male role model to follow. Which man in his life is steering him down the right path, and which one is leading him astray? He must save the whole world from certain destruction.

Smart Girl is capable of saving the world from certain destruction too, but she just has a helping role, and Special Boy is the one who does the important stuff. While Special Boy is doing important stuff, Smart Girl gets a health issue and must be rescued. Even though Special Boy is doing way more dangerous stuff than Smart Girl is, he never gets hurt at all. He is indestructible!

He finally saves the world, of course, because Special Boys always save the world, and of course his prize at the end of the movie is that the Smart Girl finally lets him kiss her.

*End of Film Plot

This film was heterosexual propaganda. Have you noticed that kids’ movies always preach heterosexuality? Kids in movies can’t just hang out and be kids, or save the world in cool ways just with their platonic friends. They have to always have a love interest. And boys have to always act like boys in order to impress girls. I don’t know why heterosexuality needs to be taught to kids. I am tolerant of heterosexuals, but I don’t think they should shove it in my face like that or teach their ideology to children all the time. Just let kids be kids!

So here’s the thing. I was worried about being approximately the 4th or 5th lesbian ever to write lesbian fairy tales, as if that makes the genre overdone. However, there are gazillions of kazillions of stories with the exact same plot of Special White Boy Goes Through Period of Personal Growth and Then Gets to Kiss the Pretty Girl. If people aren’t sick of that story after seeing it every damn day throughout their entire lives, then I can write the 5th or 6th lesbian fairy tale.

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19 thoughts on “Whose stories get told

  1. … and, lo and behold, one day the magical writer finished her wonderful story and all the other women in her village were so proud of her, not just because she had written a wonderful story, (which they all knew she would, even though they didn’t mention it too often to her in case she felt too pressured) but because she believed in herself and followed her heart.

    Liked by 7 people

    • Point being, good themes get reused endlessly. A unique usage of a theme is ultimately a failed experiment.

      This is a big theme, reworking fairy tales for lesbians. There is a lot of room here to play in.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. If you haven’t yet, be sure to read Kissing the Witch by Emma Donoghue, and not only because it’s wonderful, which it is, but also because she may give you some ways to think about solving your dilemmas. And did I mention, it’s absolutely glorious?

    Liked by 3 people

  3. And also, the problem is not telling the same story, it’s telling the same story in the same way, with the same insights, or lack of same. There was a big move in the late sixties to rewrite fairy tales to make them feminist and a whole lot of women basically changed the boy hero to a girl hero and nothing else. Not very interesting the first time, and considerably less for each subsequent retelling. Emma Donoghue is also rewriting fairy tales in Kissing The Witch, but there is nothing ordinary or repetitive about what she’s doing because she actually has a lot to say. Reusing plots is as old as Greek tragedy, and great artists are revealed by what they bring to the story we’ve all heard before. Write the story you are compelled to write, and we will be too busy marveling to care what the plot looks like. Excelsior!

    Liked by 4 people

    • Harry Potter can’t be it, he’s an orphan, and his father was more wiry than muscly. Also, his girlfriend doesn’t wear glasses. Admittedly, I can’t recall any film that was exactly like this. Just lots that had some of the elements mentioned.

      Like

  4. Forrest Gump? I also considered Harry Potter.

    I agree with Miep that there’s a lot to play with when you rework a fairytale or classic fable. Have fun with it! Can’t wait to read whatever you come up with. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’ve published a children’s dinosaur play and a novel about a Soviet figure skater (who is also a babydyke, in case anyone’s interested). But so far, no fairy tales. I suppose if I were to write one, I’d spend a lot of time on the villain. Every fairy tale needs a unique, memorable villain! (Or, in the case of Cinderella, a family of villains.)

    Best of luck to you, Purplesagefem! Please keep us posted as your story progresses.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. “I thought, with chagrin, that my idea is not original, this has already been done, and there’s no need for me to do this now.”

    Noooo!

    That would be like aiming to be the first female in an all-male group and, upon discovering they already had one female member, deciding that you need not join the group as feminism has already succeeded by getting one woman in there.

    There being one story that is “the” lesbian fairytale, that all fairytale-loving lesbians who want themselves represented in a story have to read … would be like only having one book on your bookshelf.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. It would be so awesome if you wrote a novel! I read your Beauty and the Butch story you posted last year, and it was great! The world could definitely use more positive stories about lesbians!

    Your idea of exploring same sex attraction without the concept of lesbianism sounds so very cool! There are all sorts of great things you could do with this. I think you’d be really good at figuring out the intricacies of this idea and integrating them into the story.

    I’m excited to see what you come up with!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. If you give me your email, i’ll send you back an attachment with fairytales/myths. You can distribute it to anyone interested

    Like

  9. A collection of fairytale books from various cultures- british, celtic, french, geman, arabian, Grimm bro’s. Also a collection of myths- greek, roman, celtic, norse, teutonic, egyptian, chinese, etc.

    Like

  10. This is a great entry, and yes, the same boy hero story with the same woman as accessory story has been done over and over. Isn’t it funny that we women worry about such things? Men do things and think they’re so original and awesome.

    So go ahead and write your fairy tales. They may not be the first ones or the only ones but they will be the only ones that yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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