Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Upcoming publication

String her up on the Pomegranate Tree will be published in the upcoming issue of Volume magazine. 

There will be a launch party on Thursday, 15 March in London, with free entry (click the link under the picture to view the Facebook event.)

This is very exciting for me, as it is my second published short story. It was in the final round of consideration for publication in another magazine but didn't quite make the cut, so to have it accepted by Volume has reassured me that my 'never give up!' attitude can pay off! Knowing it is being distributed in the UK also feels wonderful, because it means I'm building my platform on my home turf as well as in the vast universe that is the Internet.

I will post again with download links when the issue is released, but for now here is a sneak preview...

String her up on the Pomegranate Tree - Extract
What is there in a look? What can cause an allure so strong that all carnal thoughts escape a man as he betrays his wife? Is it her mascara? Can she buy designer brands with the money she makes from her deviant escapades?

Parvaneh and Shadi consider these things as they push their trolleys through the towering aisles at Tesco. They weave between the shoppers in a dream-like state, trusting that their young children are following in their squeaky-wheeled wake.

Out of the corner of their eyes they see a flash of light. They turn to see a woman head to toe in black, bending down to observe the flour. Their stomachs knot and their eyes widen.

Is that her?   
©2011-2012 A.L. Loveday
Volume magazine

Sunday, 19 February 2012

The stereotypical fairy tale woman

Question:  How do you write a fairy tale in a traditional style without resorting to sexist female stereotypes?

by arventur @ dA
I have been trying my hand at writing a fairy story. In truth I suppose it has more folk elements as there are no fairy tale stock characters like a soldier, witch, king or princess; but I have got a girl, and a girl who has agency. But is it possible, when writing in a traditional style, to evoke the mood or atmosphere without resorting to gender stereotypes?

The Tinder Box is a good example of a story containing female stereotypes - the two main women in this are the witch and the princess. The witch is slain at the beginning because she refuses to tell the soldier her secret. The princess is repeatedly transported, asleep, to the soldier's home. Neither has agency, and the witch's death reminds us how women were expected to stay in their place. 

My character does conform to some expectations - she wants to marry the man of her dreams, and she wants to create a happy home for her family. But she is active in bringing about the positive changes she wants in her life, showing she is able to think and make decisions for herself. Is this enough? Different people will always have different interpretations from their readings, and I've come to realise you'll never be able to please everybody.

What I do believe is that in this day and age, traditional writing style will not, for the most part, capture the attention it used to, particularly for adults. The old writing mantra, 'show, don't tell' doesn't appear to have been of as much importance in the days of Grimm or Anderson, but now readers want to hear the creak of the trees, the crunch of the snow, and the hawkers at the market. 

So if the style is changed, should the content stay the same? If the content is changed, should the style be left as it has been for hundreds of years? Do either need to be sacrificed? Does it matter? Does anyone really care?

I'd be interested to hear other people's thoughts on this - what is important in a modern day fairy tale?