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….