Posts Tagged ‘steampunk fairytales’

Ella Grey has always loved to write. As much as she loves being a mum and eating strawberry ice cream. She can’t picture her life without it. ‘Wings’ is her first story in the Steampunk genre and it isn’t going to be her last. Ella has tackled a lot of different genres and doesn’t plan on settling on any particular one. It makes life interesting and keeps it varied. The next project is still being decided but she’s leaning toward a YA trilogy that’s been bugging her to be written. Her family are used to seeing her bent over a computer and muttering conversations with the people in her head. It’s okay, since she’s perfectly happily with not being normal.

Fairy Tales and Steampunk: The Perfect Combination?

By Ella Grey

Clockwork_Tale-cvrI’ve always owned several fairy tale books as I was growing up. I still have a few on my bookshelf, both of them classics in their own way. The first in a collection by the Brothers Grimm, which has several brilliantly, told stories in it. The other is a collection by Angela Carter. I’ve always loved her collection of stories but neither collection is suitable to read to my son, he prefers dinosaur books anyway.

I started reading fairy tales from a young age and I even took a class in them during my short stay at University. It was my favourite class, showing the darker origins of fairy tales, originally used as morality tales to keep children in line.

Steampunk is a different story. I’ve always had some idea of it, H.G Wells and Jules Verne being the founding fathers so to speak but I’d never read it. I’m not sure why, I guess it had something to do with it being based in, some cases Victorian England, and I got flashbacks of trying to understand Charles Dickens. My first real introduction was a few years ago, right about the same time I got my first contract with Echelon. A friend of mine, Sean Hayden, wrote an eshort called Lady Dorn and after that first story I was hooked. From that moment I knew that I wanted to write a Steampunk story myself but what?

Last year I answered a submissions call from Echelon Press, after finding success with their pervious Steampunk anthology, a collection I loved, they wanted to do another one. This time Steampunk retellings of classic fairy tales. My brain nearly exploded with all the possible ideas I could use, thankfully my brain didn’t actually explode because that would have cut my writing career brutally short and brain matter probably isn’t that easy to clean up.

I believe that fairy tales are perfect for Steampunk retellings. The classics are constantly being retold in different genres, why not Steampunk? Fairy tales and Steampunk both have a fantasy element to them, in Steampunk it is the classic what if? So I believe that these two genres are a perfect fit and I definitely want to write more.

My story in the Once Upon a Clockwork Tale Anthology is based on The Wild Swans. I got the most vivid image of clockwork wings when I planned my story.



Once Upon a Clockwork Tale (Steampunk Anthology)

Wings by Ella Grey: Born into a world where the fairer sex hides coyly behind fans, Winifred is nowhere near the stereotype. She is fearless and passionate about her father’s scientific work. When the King summons him, Winifred is worried. The arrival of her six brothers and the mysterious Amelia and her silent brother offers distraction, but Winifred’s entire world is about to change beyond recognition and it’s up to her to save everyone she loves.

Hands and Grater by Robin Wyatt Dunn: Hands and Grater don’t understand their mother’s unique love for them. For how much love can a machine truly give? As Grimm originally intended, this is a bildungsroman, a tale of two young people coming of age in a time and place filled with danger and joy. The time has come for brother and sister to leave the nest, and learn their true nature, and the nature of their mother.

Bitter Cold by Katina French: Childhood friends, Kit and Greta, live in an extraordinary place powered by alchemical magic and mechanical wonders. Just when life might offer him favors, Kit is captured by the Snow Queen, a ruthless industrialist, bent on developing her Eternity Engine. Greta must risk everything to save Kit. Can a stubborn young lady best the most powerful woman in the world, with a little alchemy, a lot of luck, and a clockwork reindeer?

The Enchanted Bean by Matt Mitrovich: How do you reach a fabled land of giants without any magic beans? Build an airship, of course. A British adventurer takes to the skies seeking wealth and glory, instead he finds ancient gods ruling an oppressive flying kingdom. With the help of their allies, these former masters of men want to replant the World Tree and rebuild their war machines. To stop the sky from falling, our hero will have to do more than chop down a beanstalk.



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Today we welcome author Kaitlin Branch.

Kaitlin Branch is from Omaha, Nebraska. She enjoys things such as running, dancing, singing, writing, and Patrick Stewart pontificating about the letter ‘B’. Her first e-book,Valeria,comes out November 5th, 2012 from Lyrical Press. You can find her (and her husband) at http://www.kaitlinandmichaelbranch.com on facebook at “The Athele Series” or on twitter, @theatheleseries.

Steampunking Fairytales
by Kaitlin Branch

For every fairy tale there are hundreds of adaptions. Movies, book, spoken word stories, cartoons, costuming, even visual art. Fairy tales are woven into the very fabric of their respective culture and they show up again and again, in varying states of adaption.

Cinderella for instance, has all of these. To give you an idea, there’s more than fifty listed, including Opera, Ballet, Verse, Pantomime and an Ice Show. That’s not even looking at the other classics, just Cinderella.

But why all these adaptions? Why don’t we keep on writing original stuff? Why should you consider, even knowing that there arehundredsof competitors, adapting your own fairy tale?

#1 These stories are fundamentally easy to alter.

Here are the key important points of Cinderella:

  1. Girl is housekeeper under step-mother’s evil eye.
  2. Girl goes to huge party with chance to marry a powerful person with help of mystical power.
  3. Girl loses important and identifying item with which powerful person finds and marries her.

Notice how these things are really general. It doesn’thave to be a ball. It doesn’t haveto be a prince. It can be an airship soiree with a grand Admiral. It doesn’thaveto be a slipper. Heck, it can be a mechanical hand or fake eye! The point is that once you have these key ideas in place, you can go anywhere with the story. Side-trip at a slurpee-stand on the way to the ball? Sure, why not? Steam-powered talking robots? Disney had mice, you can certainly have robots.

#2 These stories are easy to understand.

This sort of stems from fairy tales being easy to adapt. Because the key points are so simple, they are also easy to understand. This is important because in Steampunk, the technology can sometimes boggle the mind. In order to have an good story, you need a good base theme. Fairy tales make a really great base theme, which allows you to spend a little more time on style. As an author, we need to make the story easily understandable and yet still exciting. An adapted Fairy tale allows us to go out on a limb with our telling of the tale. Throw in a complication! Add in an extra character. Because there’s that easy-to-understand base, we’ll catch on quicker but still have just as much fun!

#3 These stories are important to us.

Fairy tales express some extremely basic ideals no matter which form they are in. Romance, love, betrayal, honor, sadness, they’re all in there. Not only that, but their history in our culture (and their parallels with the stories of other cultures) make them incredibly important to us. So the fact that fairy tales are so endlessly adapted shouldn’t be surprising.

Don’t be afraid to capitalize on that. It’s a super cool tradition which you are completely welcome to take part in.

My first published novelette, Valeria,is a riff on the fairy tale of Rapunzel, one which most spectacularly was adapted by Disney lately in Tangled. Disney did an amazing job with it. I’m hoping you’ll like my Steampunk version as well!

~Kaitlin Branch

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