1. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    Childish stigma?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by cmshepard, Dec 11, 2012.

    This could have gone in more than one area, but I think this one suits it the best...

    I have a very specific character in mind - I have been attempting to RP her, slowly, to get into her mind and master her speech patters/gestures/etc... My problem is that she is a fairy. This would be fine in a children's book, or maybe even a young adult's tome, but I want this to be an adult-aimed story/short book (think Mary Shelly's Frankenstein - technically a novel but very short). When I think of the Fairy, I'm automatically in the mind of "Fern Gully" or "Land Before Time." Is everyone else the same?

    Here is my basic story... Forgive the Star Wars type referencing, I'm still coming up with/partially hiding my names for things.

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    Lily is the priestess-in-training of her land, presiding over the funeral of her grandfather. During his funeral, the "dark forces" open a hole in her world and her mother, the priestess, is killed. Nothing comes in from there, but it is killing the flora and fauna slowly from the "wormhole" out. The force of the hole also changes her people slowly from earth-loving, gentle people to evil, violent creatures.

    She must save her land by venturing to the "dark side" and confronting the "dark lord" on her own. She will kill him, but the damage is done, the hole is still there. She must take the priest of the dark world to a different, pure land. He will change to a fae, his previous form, and together they will fix the hole, fall in love, etc.

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    Is it possible to get past the children's' character by keeping her speech patterns that of an adult?

    Even when I read what I have, when I go back to the word fae I'm immediately reading something for a kid...

    Suggestions?
     
  2. Fivvle
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    Fivvle Contributing Member

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    It sounds to me like you don't want your character to be a fairy, but you can't think of anything else.
    For what reason are you keeping this story about faries? Is there some element to the whole fae thing that the story can't go on without?
     
  3. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    There is, and I probably should have said that in the beginning. As I stated it,it could exist as anyone or anything, really.

    The idea came from a fae religion I dreamed up... Based on nature with strange rituals (I don't want to give too much up, I will post the story on here one day) and an odd hierarchy.

    Also, I really do want it to be a fairy. I love the idea of fairies, I just am not sure how I can keep the whole thing from sounding childish. I suppose I could make a new fantasy creature all on its own, but I don't quite feel like my talents are there yet, if ever.
     
  4. GazingAbyss
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    GazingAbyss Member

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    Try reading up on some of the older legends about fairies. Traditionally, fairies were little bastards, who would, at best, mess with your life in inconvenient ways, or, at worst, steal your children if unappeased. You could mix in some of the older myths to get a darker edge to your character.
     
  5. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I dont think fairies are now the childish creatures they once were. A lot of different media uses them with a more adult background. Such as pans labyrinth etc. Even the winx club, which is aimed at YA would not be considered childish (tho mostly due to the way they are drawn and what they wear plus the topics, which for the most part i do not agree with, since it meant for a younger audience) . In folk law they were considered hateful creatures, overly mischievous and would provoke a baby to cry to get drunk on their tears. Little sods.

    Just stay away from the Tinkerbell/Disney ideal.

    :)
     
  6. Owen8
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    Owen8 Member

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    Tad Williams' book The War of the Flowers may be something you could look at. It is about fairies while being written for adults. The way he portrayed them was very well done, and it wasn't the typical way of thinking about them. So that could be something you could check out for some research.
     
  7. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I would also recommend James Thurber's "The White Deer", if you can find it.

    It's not specifically about fairies, but it is an adult book on children's books ideas. Also very amusing, as Thurber often was.
     
  8. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    I must have been getting traditional fairys mixed up with sprites and gnomes, unless they were all little devils. Either way, it does look like I'm going to have to study up on my traditional tales before I go into this... But I don't want mine to be mischievous, at least not on purpose. I'll have to find a way to work that in. My shorter book is quickly turning into a longer one with feedback. =-]


    That was the last thing I wanted - a Tinkerbell. She had to be my least favorite Disney character... I'm not sure if it was Disney or not, but the original Fern Gulley was my favorite movie as a kid. Even that sems a little more adult themed than it ought to now.

    Many thanks, and will do! I need a good read, anyway. Who says mixing business with pleasure is a bad thing? =-P


    I feel like I might've once read something by Thurber... For some reason, anyhow. But I'll add this to my Amazon order with the War of the Flowers, assuming it's there. I'll have something to do during my holiday home.

    You've all been super helpful... Thank you so much!
     
  9. afrodite7
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    afrodite7 Senior Member

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    -well,traditional all the fair folk were wicked to some degree.you should go read some urban fantasy stories about fey and you can see what people think of them now.you can write a fairy in a non childish way,but i suggest digging in more research...read merry gentry by laurel k. hamilton
     
  10. NigeTheHat
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    NigeTheHat Contributing Member Contributor

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    Childishness isn't inherent in anything - it's all about how you write and present your characters. If you have adult things happen to them, they deal with it in an adult way, and, most importantly, you write like it's an adult story, then it'll be an adult story.
     
  11. Mazzy Poppet
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    Mazzy Poppet New Member

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    It almost sounds to me like the seed of the story is the fae religion you came up with, and that in order for the fae religion to be practiced there had to be fairies. You mentioned you "love the idea of fairies", but you have two conflicting views of what a fairy is: the Disney fairy and the more traditional mischievous fairy. But what about your fairies? The ones with the fae religion and the odd heirarchy? Maybe they are something else altogether, but "fairy" was the immediate vision you had for that religion and it stuck?

    Anyway, I have the same issues myself; not with fairies in particular but with the details. Your idea is interesting, don't get frusterated. Sometimes taking a break for a while and coming back to it solves the mysteries.
     
  12. cmshepard
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    cmshepard Member

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    I suppose I find them childish because they are almost always written out for children - I've seen a few shows/read a few books that attempted to make them adult (TrueBlood immediately does come to mind), but even when Sookie was fount to be a fae I almost lost interest. I'm sot sure if I simply tie the word with something as a child or what... But, I am going to read all the books here (and more if I can find them) to see if maybe someone else will be able to make me think, "Oh, a fairy, it isn't a kid thing!"

    Yes, my religion inspired the whole thing. I could, in reality, make it work with a bunch of magical human hippes, but when I thought of it, I thought of it for a fae. Period.

    Also, no wings. I think that is one of the biggest parts of my misgivings.I will eventually figure it out. =-]

    Thanks for the feedback!
     
  13. tmrose
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    The Lord of the Rings trilogy also taps into faerie lore. As does Shakespeare (A Midsummer Night's Dream). I've always understood faeries to be quite tall, according to the lore, but also mischevious. You may also want to look into lore around offerings to faeries so they don't steal children.
     

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