• Shelly Powell

What I've been up to lately

This summer is going by too fast! The good news? I've just wrapped up some work responsibilities that will free up my time until school starts again, and I've got big plans for more playing and more writing, which are often the same thing :)


My regency romance book is still in those in between stages where I'm figuring out who will publish it. Me or the publishers. I have some ideas and photos for book cover inspiration that I'm excited about, and I'm learning a ton about marketing.


So while that's all underway, I've been working on a fairy tale retelling of Beauty and the Beast that I'm especially excited about. I've been researching the old versions and greek roots (think Psyche and Cupid) and watching old movies that give a different experience than Disney.


One of my favorites so far is a Russian version that you can find on YouTube called The Scarlet Flower. The version I looked at was a 1952 animated film about 40 minutes long that follows the traditional story of Beauty and the Beast pretty closely. One difference is that the flower is not a rose. It is a scarlet flower, hence the name, that reminds me of a poppy. Another difference, is when Beauty, named Nastenka, arrives at the Beast's palace, the Beast keeps himself hidden from her at first, and she calls him her invisible friend. By the time she sees him, she is scared but has already learned to care for him. I also really liked that when she comes back to him after visiting her family and finds him dying, it's her tears that fall on the scarlet flower and revive it, which is the beginning of the magical transformation that happens when the curse is broken. She declares her love too, but those tears seemed to seal the deal. I also thought that the animation was just really beautiful. The backgrounds and scenery are detailed and captivating, just right for a fairy tale.


I think versions like this are fun because just when I'm thinking that Beauty and the Beast is a French fairy tale, I come across a version like this and remember that fairy tales are deeply rooted in the human experience, regardless of culture. It gives me a lot to think about as I write my version.


What is your favorite version of Beauty and the Beast?

 

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