On “The Hair Ladder”

by Diana Bastine

(appearing in Gaslight and Grimm: Steampunk Faerie Tales funding now:

When I first conceived the idea of a collection of steampunk faerie tales, I intended to write them all myself.

Fortunately, I came to my senses and shared the concept with Danielle Ackley-McPhail, who loved it and already had plenty of connections through her long-established editorial career….

Whew!!  The pressure was off!

The reason I chose “Rapunzel” for my story is that, as I was pondering all of the possibilities, it seemed like an obvious choice:

A young woman trapped in a tower could easily translate into a young woman confined to an airship.

The all-too-tempting vegetation could morph into … intricate clockwork “toys”!

I was off and running….

I originally tried it with the young man arriving to take advantage of “Rapunzel,” but that didn’t work.

But when I hit on the idea of bringing the greedy birth mother back into the story, I knew I was on to something!

The funny thing about it is that Danielle is such a rigorous editor (that’s a compliment!) that for a while I feared my story wouldn’t make the cut!

There were exchanges of notes, rewrites; work, work, work!!

But it made the story clearer, more concise – better.

I’m really proud of how it turned out:  I kept the important elements of the tale – “Rapunzel’s” isolation, her mother’s greed, her father’s weakness, the use of her long hair as the means of ingress and egress to her “prison.” 

But I was able to redeem the idea of a “witch” back to a “wise woman,” and come up with a logical “happily ever after” ending. 

And I got to work a blowtorch into the plot….

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