Monday, February 6, 2017

A Sleeping Beauty History

Once upon a time, I knew one version of Sleeping Beauty, and it wasn't the Disney movie.

When I was little, I loved My Big Book of Bedtime Stories. It contained a fairly accurate retelling of Sleeping Beauty, and, while it wasn't my favorite story in the book (that was The Little Match Girl), it defined my idea of Sleeping Beauty. It was obviously a kid-friendly retelling--no child-eating grandmothers involved. The angry eighth fairy curses the baby to die, the last fairy modifies her to sleep, she pricks her finger on the spindle of a spinning wheel, and falls asleep for one hundred years until the prince wakes her with a kiss.

♫I know you, I've danced with you once upon a dream.♫

When Disney's Sleeping Beauty came out of the vault for the 50th anniversary, my sister bought the DVD and I was finally able to watch it. To be perfectly honest, I wasn't a big fan. She didn't sleep for one hundred years, and the pacing drives me nuts. It feels like the first half of the story is a prologue. That's just my opinion, and I probably would really like it if I'd managed to get ahold of it when I was little, but as it is, it wasn't my favorite version of the story, and certainly not my favorite Disney movie. I do like the incorporation of Tchaikovsky's music, though. And if you want to know more about the Disney vault, watch this video. XD

I was pleased (and shouldn't have been at all surprised about it, either) with Kendra E. Ardnek's treatment of Sleeping Beauty in The Bookania Quests. Kendra is a connoisseur of fairy tales, managing to overcome the pacing issues and the whole prince-kisses-a-girl-he's-never-met thing while still remaining very true to the original. That delighted me as far as Sleeping Beauty retellings go. Yes, I was far more interested in Robin and Eric's story than Rosamund's, but it still stood out to me as a good Sleeping Beauty.

I liked Maleficent better than the animated Sleeping Beauty, but, well, I still didn't like the structure. To be honest, the fairy tale probably just doesn't lend itself well to a well-structured movie. I enjoyed the added depth to the Maleficent's character and the theme of family true love. But she still didn't sleep for one hundred years.

You may be wondering where I'm going with all this. Well, I wrote a Sleeping Beauty retelling. 

Why would Sleeping Beauty be my first fairy tale retelling when I have such a hard time with Sleeping Beauty retellings? Enter Five Magic Spindles. I wanted to enter the contest, so I started brainstorming for ideas, and came to one I really liked:
What if, when Sleeping Beauty fell asleep, she woke up in another world?
I connected it with another unwritten story, and the pieces started falling into place. (No, I'm not telling which story it connects to...that would give away the twists. And if you already know, don't mention it.) I pulled inspiration from Doctor Who, specifically "Amy's Choice,"  from Merlin, from Michael Vey, and, as always, my spaceships drew on my knowledge of Star Wars. And of course the original fairy tale. Just...with a lot of twists. It didn't ultimately win Five Magic Spindles, but now I can do with it what I like.

Is Liesel from the fairy tale world or the sci-fi world? Is she in a tower or in a cell? And does she have a chance at being rescued either way?

So Twisted Dreams joins the ranks of Sleeping Beauty stories I like. I would hope so, since I wrote it. ;) I plan to let you all read it sometime this summer, so you can judge for yourselves.

And in closing, let's see what Prince Charming might have been feeling during the true love's kiss. After all, it's hard when the first girl you kiss is unconscious.

How do you feel about these different versions of Sleeping Beauty? What's your favorite fairy tale retelling?


  1. Oh, I'm excited to read Twisted Dreams! I really like Melanie Dickerson's fairytale retellings. I don't know HOW accurate they are, though. 😉

    1. I hope you'll enjoy it! I haven't read any of Melanie Dickerson's books. I want to, but my library only had one (though I just looked, and it looks like they have more now, so I should get started on them :) ).

  2. I think 'Sew, It's a Quest' is the most unique retelling I've read, but my favorite.... I don't know.


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