Less than 12 hours after the paintings by Astor Alexander started making the rounds, a call hit the usual suspects, for an anthology of pulp retellings of faery tales.
The only rule: not the ninbe princesses portrayed in the original paintings.
Which is a pity, because I love Pocahontas – Private Eye.
Anyway, that’s what writing to a call means – you go with the publisher’s requests.
And so I did some research, dug out Giambattista Basile, and sent a pitch straight away (and this makes three submissions to three different publishers this week).
Giambattista Basile was a poet and courtyer in the King of Naples’ retinue in the 17th century. His most famous work is known as Lo Cunto de li Cunti (The Tale of Tales, or The Telling of Tales), but English speakers, for some mysterious reason, prefer the other title of the book – Pentamerone.
You might have caught the 2015 movie adaptation, Tale of Tales, featuring Salma Hayek.
In the book, Basile collected 49+1 popular and folk tales, creating a priceless archive of Italian folklore. The stories are arranged in five days, ten stories per day including an overarching story acting as framing device.
I based my pitch on the tenth story from the third day.
Called The Three Fairies, this is a variation on the Cinderella theme, with some pretty dark overtones.
I just changed a few bits, and set it in an unnamed town in the US, in the 1940s, and I re-imagined it as a noir movie featuring Gloria Grahame in the Cinderella-like role.
I hope my pitch will be accepted – obviously – but should it be rejected, I think I’ll write this story anyway. It feels like the sort of thing that writes fast, and cool.