Monday, August 29, 2016

Cinderella to her Fairy Godmother – “Thanks for the dress, lady, but where were you ten years ago when I was enslave by my stepmother?”

Why fiction has to make sense but real live doesn’t.

Don’t you sometimes wish in our writing we could just toss in completely illogical things?

I use the Cinderella quote to show you an example of a time fiction did NOT make any sense.
Cinderella is being watched over by her Fairy Godmother who is...not that observant, apparently. Why oh why did she stand by invisibly all those years when Cinderella was being mistreated? Why did she finally snap to when there was a pretty dress needed?

Maybe she’s not all that powerful. After all the coach turned back into a pumpkin after a few hours. (I wonder why the shoe didn’t vanish. Hmmm….)

Maybe the Fairy Godmother is all knowing and bides her time and steps in  when there was a prince to lasso?

Maybe that cat driving vermin (I HATE MICE) out of the castle is somehow the bad guy. I’m sure he’s just cranky because Cinderella is protecting the stupid mice. It is perfectly reasonable for the cat to kill them. This is NOT villainous behavior, people! (hard not to root for the cat here!)

Whatever it is, it makes no sense. And, other than classic fairy tales, our books need to make sense.

Examples I think of where fiction did NOT make sense…I remember this scene. I think it was from live action George of the Jungle. There was a narrator talking now and then and once he says, “All movies need a really big coincidence and here’s ours.”

We do that, we have coincidences…and we have LEAPS, a crime solver makes some connection between a clue and the criminal and I arch my brow and wonder how he got THERE?

And also, as it pertains to Christian fiction, we can’t have miracles. I’ve worked for seven or eight different publishers mow and did you know they don’t like you to put miracles in your books?

That’s frustrating because a miracle can get you out of a tight spot, but I understand and respect why it's a no no. Mostly we don’t get flat out miracles in our daily lives. Mostly fire goes ahead and burns you. Lions go ahead and eat you. Poisonous snakes bite you and you go ahead and die.

To solve your problems with miracles disrespects their true power and also it weakens your own plot because working through the problems is the point of fiction, creating a mess and then cleaning it up, usually with the maximum amount of pain is the whole point of the exercise.

I’ve had a few miracles in my books but my main miracle is the still small voice of God. No finger carving words into a stone, no voice like thunder coming out of a boiling cloud, no burning bush. It’s people who pray and actually listen to that quiet voice and is open to the Lord enough to act on it, even when it’s as quiet as an idea.

And we all know there IS NO GREATER MIRACLE than God forgiving and saving the eternal soul of a sinner.

What about you? Do you have miracles in your books. I love intervention from God in a book in those quiet voices, but what about miracles? What about ‘convenient’ things that fall right into place at the right time.

Do you like that? Or do you wish you’d get a Fairy Godmother who’d be a little more pro-active?

Leave a comment to get your name in the drawing for a signed copy of No Way Up.
I got nuthin' on Sleeping Beauty. Do you realize she pretty much SLEPT through the whole movie? The scenes, the little clips of her singing, that's it. She's not on anymore than that.

And NO I’m not starting a series on Disney Princesses. I’ve just had a couple of ideas.


Iola Goulton said...

You've RUINED Cinderella for me. I never thought of it that way, but now I can't unknow it.

Great post. Thanks for the reminder of the ultimate miracle - and one we can include in our Christian fiction!

Melissa Jagears said...

I think my miracles are more along the lines of "right time, right place" of course, "wrong time, wrong place" work for the get them through with the most pain possible motif.

I don't think the fairy godmother had much going on upstairs.

Dawn Ford said...

No more Disney Princesses? But this is good stuff, Mary. Let's take on Ariel next. You know, guys say we women should talk less. Well, she did, A LOT less. And you know in real life that just wouldn't fly. The man always wants our opinion on where to eat, and then he chooses the other.

Marianne Barkman said...

How true, Dawn! Another great miracle is conception., but I'm not sure how that would work in fiction. But God's saving grace, and His answer to prayer is perhaps more powerful than any other miracle you can think up! Thanks, Mary!

Cindy W. said...

Great post Mary! I have thought about why the shoe didn't disappear for Cinderella too, but then the Prince wouldn't have found her.

I think a series of Disney Princesses in Boots go West would be great! :)

Have a blessed day!

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

Cate Nolan said...

Princesses in Boots! I love it, Cindy. Got that, Mary?

I'm feeling really stupid about now that I never wondered about Cinderella's shoes. I was always too busy wondering why they had to kill off all the mothers. It's because no mother worth her salt would ever let her daughter get into the messes these girls do on their ways to Disney's version of Happily-Ever-After.

My daughter used to tell everyone that her goal in life was to become a Disney Princess. Where does that leave me?????

Happy Monday, Seekerville.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Thanks for a thought-provoking topic this morning, Mary. Now, I've got to think about the fact that the dress, the carriage, the mice, etc all turned back into their original form, but the shoes didn't disappear. It's too early to think this hard! I was sound asleep by nine last night and got my full eight hours, but I'm still exhausted from the exciting weekend at ACFW.

Off to an early morning meeting with the principal to find out what I missed at the faculty meeting while I was gone. Wishing everyone a Marvelous Monday!

Rose said...


Maybe Cinderella's fairy godmother was the a cousin to the three fairy godmothers in Sleeping Beauty who did nothing but BICKER, and got caught up in their family drama during the time Cinderella was enslaved?

I do like miracle themes in books/movies, but I want them to be subtle like the book Mrs. Miracle. I wouldn't want to read a book where God comes down at the pivotal point and gives everyone a happy ending.

Did I answer any of your questions? It IS Monday morning after all.

Janet Dean said...

MARY, I have a semi-miracle in a story that is yet unpublished. Maybe that's why. :-) But mainly my characters must work through their conflicts and issues without divine intervention.

I love Cinderella. I've accepted the glass slipper doesn't disappear because that's the Fairy Godmother's plan. :-) And think about it, what would Cinderella be like if her stepmother had raised her as she had her own daughters? She'd be a brat.


kaybee said...

MARY, this is brilliant.
I have been guilty of the "deus ex machine" trap in the past and my crit partner has called me on it. Now my characters solve their problems with their own brains and brawn -- and dependence on their God. For example, in the big showdown at the end of "Trail," Caroline's hands are bound -- but she finds a jagged edge on the rock where she's sitting, and saws away on "the edge of rock that her God thought to provide her, of all the rocks in these mountains." She gets loose, and saves herself and Michael. But an angel didn't come down and cut the ropes for her. That would have been, well, weird.
In "Town," the sequel, Pace is chained to a flat rock, on his back, and left by the men who have been seeking his life. He's hungry and thirsty. After an experience with God, it begins to rain -- but rain is an occurrence in the natural world, I didn't have an angel come down and pour him a glass of Perrier.
And sometimes it's better if we don't have a "miracle," because the real miracle happens in our hearts. I think back to Terri Blackstock's epic Restoration series, where the young girl Beth dies despite the effectual fervent prayer of many righteous people. But Beth dies, and it's one more hurdle to help the other characters grow.
I agree with Melissa. "Right time, right place" is more like it.

kaybee said...

I like that the Disney heroines have evolved. They are getting smarter, braver and more complex. "Pocahontas" was kind of a downer, I think it's time for another Native American character with a HAPPY ending, but nobody asked me.
I have no problem with fairy tales because they are, well, fairy tales. I have a huge problem with television, in particular "Gilligan's Island." I have no issue with the fact that Mrs. Howells brought all those clothes for a three-hour tour, but what were the Howells doing on a commercial tour boat in the first place? Why didn't they have their own yacht, or a wealthy friend with a yacht? Ditto Ginger. Why wasn't she on her rich boyfriend's boat? I have no problem with the Professor or Mary Anne, but the Howells and Ginger always baffled me. Interestingly enough, I have no problem with the Harlem Globetrotters, Don Rickles and other people showing up on the island and then not rescuing the castaways, but that's just me.
JANET is right about Cinderella. She had to go through what she went to in order to grow.
Off to work, back later.

Wilani Wahl said...

Wonderful post Mary. Please enter me for a copy of your book. A new way to look at Cinderella.

In the stories I have written, I use circumstances and ways God would provide and care as He does in real life.

I wish I could have gone to conference so I could meet all of you great Seekers and villagers in person.

Have a great week everyone.

Vince said...

Hi Mary:

You're playing the philosopher this morning! Wonderful!
So fun!

I asked the Oracle for some wisdom on this topic and here is what she pronounced:

"Life doesn't have to make sense because it doesn't have a next book to sell."

"Life only makes the sense we give it. So too it is with fiction. A people who can rejoice when a baby is miraculously pulled alive from the rubble of an earthquake, in which thousands have already died, is well prepared to accept a capricious Fairy Godmother."

From the Pythia's comments I conclude that the best fictional miracles always have both a spiritual and a natural explanation. This is a major theme in the 'Houdini & Doyle' tv show. Each 'miracle' always had both a natural explanation, which Houdini provided, and a spiritual possibility, which Doyle favored. It was left up to the viewer to decide which to believe. I believe that this represents a fictional 'Golden Mean'. : )


P.S. Question:
If there is 'no way up', can you even get there from here? Inquiring mimes want to know. Please put my name in the cat dish well safe from the mice!

Mary Connealy said...

That will always live among the greatest regrets of my life!!!!
But I ruined it get my point, right?

Mary Connealy said...

Melissa, we missed you at conference. We had a meeting, Karen Witemeyer, Regina Jennings and I and we NEEDED YOU THEIR.

We named you the Designated Thinker for the group.

Connie Queen said...

To build Cinderella's character of course! If Fairy God Mother would've stepped in too early, Cinderella would've turned out to self-centered and lazy. FGM was only doing what was best...

I think it depends how an author uses miracles if I mind or not. Don't want any, "well, that's convenient" solving of problems.

It is funny that Christian books don't allow miracles...

Mary Connealy said...

Dawn, Well, as for Ariel, all that power the sea witch had, did you notice at the end, she dies because the prince stabs her with his boat?

Now why didn't someone else just stab her. She doesn't seem that tough.

PS Dawn I got such a THRILL hearing your name announced for the Genesis. I still am just so delighted, and you worked HARD. You've earned this!

Mary Connealy said...

Dawn LOL that is so true. My Cowboy said, "Anywhere is fine."

But I KNOW there's a right answer and now I need to set off to guess it right.

Mary Connealy said...

OH MY GOSH CINDY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You mean a series of BOOKS don't you? Not a series of blog posts.

I'm going to think about this. Cinderella set as a western. That wouldn't be hard.

Ariel...what's a frontier substitute for fins?

Mary Connealy said...

CATE LOL, "Sweetie, you KNOW why Snow White had that wicked queen stepmother right?"


Mary Connealy said...

Rhonda I had about the best night's sleep of my life last night.
I'd say 10:30 PM to 8 a.m.

I must'a been TARD. (In Nebraska Tired can rhyme with Hard, did you know that?)

It was fun to meet you at ACFW, Rhonda. I found an early morning wanderer-Rhonda, with Ruthy, in the hotel one morning.

Mary Connealy said...

ROSE!!! Sleeping Beauty...I always remembered that movie so fondly. When my kids were little it was IMPOSSIBLE to find.

All Disney movies would suddenly for a very short time, be available as videos, for sale, very pricey, then they'd vanish again. Disney doled them out carefully to keep the price and demand high.

I wanted to see Sleeping Beauty for a long time before I got my chance and....when I finally did....I wasn't impressed. Sleeping Beauty SLEPT through that whole movie.

I'm dead series, her character was dull in the extreme.

Mary Connealy said...

Okay, Janet, true that.

Stepmom wasn't much of a mother, was she. Better Cinderella be nurtured and raised by the castle MICE.

Yes, that's the answer. The shoes (remember the prince had his half of the pair, too) didn't vanish because the shoe NEEDED to not vanish. Okay....hmmmmmmm

Myra Johnson said...

LOL, Mary, you have given me a whole new perspective on the fairy godmother thing!!!

Still too mushy-brained after getting home from ACFW, and too many piles of laundry to sort through. Will have to ponder these words of wisdom . . .

But I think you are being a wee bit too hard on the mice.

Megan Brummer said...

First, I think you really need to take that Disney Princesses in the West idea and run with it. I'd be first in line to buy those books!

Second, if it weren't for the Fairy Godmother, then we wouldn't have perfectly good nonsense words like "bippity boppity boo!" Haha... but I see your point. And I'm kind of with Iola... it's ruined Cinderella for me! But before you panic with regret, not ALL of Cinderella - just Disney's. I've always loved the Cinderella story, and my favorite version is "Ever After." I never thought about why, but I think you put a finger on it - there's not unexplained miraculous dress or convenient non-disappearing shoe. It's natural and organic, even if it is still whimsical and daydreamish.

Third, I write a lot of speculative fiction which tends to allow more miraculous and magical elements. BUT. It still doesn't allow for convenient plot holes! Even the miraculous and magical in fantasy need to be logical and organic to the story world.

Nicky Chapelway said...

Well, I don't have any miracles in my story because my books aren't necessarily in the Christian genre (even if I may be a Christian myself). Though now thinking back it was a little convenient for some monster hunters/killers to arrive just in time to kill a monster before he could kill my characters. I hang my head in shame... got to be more careful about those coincidences.

Interesting post, and I totally agree about the Sleeping Beauty part. When I was a little girl she was my favorite Disney Princess because I just LOVED her dress. Oh my word, if I could have killed for that dress I probably would have (even if my young mind didn't even know what killing was at the time) but watching the movie again when I got older, I realized that Aurora didn't actually do a whole lot other than disobey her "aunt's" express orders not to talk to people, have a musical number with a guy she just met, fall in "love" with him, and then become heartbroken when she finds out that she will have to leave this guy she just met and had only known for a few hours in order to meet the man and woman who brought her into the world. Not to mention the part where she gets HYPNOTIZED pricks her finger and is out of commission for the whole rest of the movie.

Laura Conner Kestner said...

MARY, I sure like the way you think - and write! Great post!

I also like CINDY W's idea about Disney Princesses in Boots go West - I think you'd do a great job with that!

KAYBEE, I had issues with Gilligan's Island, too :-)

Nicky Chapelway said...

I've often wondered why the slipper didn't disappear. It was one of those questions that kept me up at night as a child. I finally had to settle on the explanation of, the slipper couldn't disappear because it was separated from the other shoe. Think about it. What if the pumpkin had lost a wheel? Would it still turn into a pumpkin only this time with a chunk missing out of it?

As for why the fairy godmother only just appeared when she did instead of earlier... well I'm not entirely sure, but she DID seem a little absentminded. She kept misplacing her wand. What if she had accidentally lost Cinderella (perhaps when her father moved Cinderella to her stepmother's house?) sometime during Cinderella's childhood and had only just found her again in time to send her off to the ball?

Either that or the fairy godmother was a mastermind who deviously waited for the opportune moment to appear in Cinderella's life so as to give her the best HEA possible?

Nicky Chapelway said...

Hey, Megan, fun fact about Ever After. The Cinderella's name is Danielle and her mom's (not stepmom, mind you) name is Nicole. Those are my first and middle names! I always thought that was just the weirdest thing in the world.

Jan Drexler said...

You're skirting some deep subjects today, Mary! I agree with Vince - your closet philosopher is trying to get out. :)

No, I don't put miracles in my books, although God is definitely working in and through them.

But we need to define miracles - I define them as supernatural occurrences that reveal God's power and validates His representative. So everyone that Jesus healed, brought back to life, fed, etc. - every one of those miracles was revealing His divinity. Think of the miracles that the prophets did - each one of those happened to help convince people that they were representing God...speaking for Him. Think of Moses. What did God want him to do? Convince the Egyptians that they weren't dealing with some lesser god, but the only God.

I've gone off on a rabbit trail. Sorry.

So miracles usually don't have a place in our stories, and not only because they make a poor resolution to the problem.

Besides, what are our trials for? To teach us, mold us, make us more like Christ. Don't we want our characters to experience that, too?

Switching gears...I'm all for the princesses in boots idea. Kind of a Melanie Dickerson-esque series. :)

Now I'm off to get my life reorganized after a week away. I loved seeing everyone who was at Conference!!!

Josee Telfer said...

Thought-provoking post, Mary!

We draw from our lives when we write and in my life, I see God's little gifts all around me. Recently, I drove past my neighbor's house who had a gorgeous container overflowing with coral and pale yellow petunias. (Backstory here, every single year, I struggle with which flowers to plant in my containers and which color combinations. I inevitably end up going with pinks and purples.)

This color combination was so pretty to me, I parked my car for a minute and just stared at it, thinking "This is it! This is definitely what I'll plant next year - I'll just need to remember!" I stopped short of taking a photo, so as not to scare my neighbor.

The following day, my husband came home and unloaded flowers from the car. He explained that he took several summer school students strawberry picking but they were out of strawberries. As a consolation, the farm gave everyone annuals to take home. They gave my husband coral and yellow petunias.

My eyes watered because no one except me and God knew about the flowers. Our GREAT God showed little 'ol me, that he sees my heart and wanted to remind me of that. It's not a big huge miracle, per se, but he shows us these little gifts all the time, if we're open to seeing them. I have many more occurrences like this one, for which I'm so grateful.

Your post has given me food for thought and I think I'll add an instance or two of these "gifts". Thanks, Mary!

Josee Telfer said...

Please don't enter me for "No Way Up" - I've already got it and it's next on my reading list!

Megan Brummer said...

Aww Nicky, you're the real Cinderella! Most girls just dream about being a princess... you actually get to BE one! :)

And Jan, I agree! Miracles had a very specific purpose and that purpose often doesn't fit in with the stories we write - unless you're doing Biblical fiction or something.

Missy Tippens said...

Mary, your title cracked me up! :) But you're so right. We can't have coincidences. I love how you said we need our characters to have to work their way out of trouble. That's a good reminder for me--who hates conflict and has trouble writing it. :)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Mary! I sooooo should be working on my MAJOR edits that are due in four days! But I couldn't resist this post. I LOVE miracles! There's some miraculous /slash/ spiritual warfare stuff in my very first book, which my editor never said a word about! I was so glad she didn't try to make me change it. But with my second book, The Merchant's Daughter, I had an angel miraculously appear to protect the heroine from a bloodthirsty mob, but my editor made me change it. Miracles and Medieval times just seem to go together, you know? But I decided I was okay with changing it, because critics (I say critics instead of readers because I don't think the average reader cares) don't like it when you have a God intervention in your novels. They insist on the characters saving themselves, which is so not realistic. LOL! I couldn't save myself out of a wet paper bag without God's help, but you know, this is fiction. :-)

I have had a few semi-miraculous things happen in my novels, like when my heroine's wooden cross saved her from the villain who tried to stab her with a knife. My editor tried to make me change that because it wasn't realistic that the cross was thick enough to stop a knife, but I insisted on keeping it, so she let me. I've had readers tell me that was the best part of the novel, and the most meaningful to them. :-)

Yeah, Mary, fairy tales aren't that realistic. I guess that's why I like the challenge of trying to make them realistic. But some people still consider my books to be "fantasy." Oh well. Some people think romance is "fantasy" but I happen to believe in it. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Dawn! My Little Mermaid story comes out in about two months! :D You're right. It's really hard having a heroine who can't talk at all! I kind of got around that, where I had her pretending to be mute for part of the story, but I couldn't sustain that for very long. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, and the way I got around Sleeping Beauty sleeping through the whole story, I only had her "fall into a deep sleep" for two or three hours. :-)

Sandy Smith said...

Fun post, Mary! I never thought that about Cinderella. To be honest, I have never thought as in depth about the Disney princesses as you have! :) But I definitely agree you should put these stories in the wild west. You would do them justice for sure! I would read them.

I would love to be entered for your book.

Sandra Leesmith said...

I never understood why publishers don't like miracles. I LOVES reading stories that have miracles. I love miracles. I don't see anything wrong with putting them in books unless they are poorly written or unbelievable. I think showing miracles in stories help all of us to believe and have hope. Sure we know they don't always happen, but they do when the time is right.

Og Mandino writes angels in his stories. Their whole presence is a miracle.

I loved our Christmas stories with angels and miracles. smile

So that's my humble opinion. LOL

Sandra Leesmith said...

What about HEAVEN IS FOR REAL????? That book of miracles sold like crazy.

Publishers saying they don't want miracles is like children's publishers who say they dont want rhyme. Good rhyme sells.

Still laughing.

Barbara Scott said...

Yeah, where was that fairy godmother when Cinderella was sitting in all those ashes? Laying down on the job that's what. A dress and coach was the least the woman could do after letting the poor girl suffer all those years. I give all the credit to the Prince who knew a good thing when he saw it. And a relentless hero who never gave up.

I'm with you about the mice. I would have trucked in a cattle car of cats if it would have wiped out the vermin. Or we could always make Cinderella a sharpshooter and she could wear boots and a cowboy hat! Yeeah, I'm on to somethin'. Love brainstorming with you!!

Ooooo, and put my name in the drawing for No Way Up. I was so stoked I got to meet you at ACFW!

Caryl Kane said...

MARY, I enjoyed your post! I can see both sides of the "miracle" coin. I agree there is IS NO GREATER MIRACLE than God forgiving and saving the eternal soul of a sinner. I LOVE reading stories with miracles.


Please enter me in the drawing for copy of No Way Up.

Janet Dean said...

MARY, I don't think the slippers are a big deal. If the Fairy Godmother can turn mice into horses, she can opt the slippers out of the destruction at midnight. That's one of those twists in the plot. :-)

I'm scared of rodents but love Cinderella's mice friends. Seriously love them!


Janet Dean said...

RHONDA, hope school goes great today! If you're sporting Converse today, what color?


Janet Dean said...

Kathy B thinks I'm right!! Basking in the moment. :-)


Melissa Jagears said...

Mary, I'd wondered if you had a meeting. After the email to Dave, I'd wondered if you had decided to forgo it. Hope you got along all right without your designated thinker. :P

Jill Weatherholt said...

Great post, Mary! I'd love to see you send these Disney characters out into the Wild West.
LAURA - CONGRATULATIONS, GIRL! I'm so happy for you!

Tina Radcliffe said...

I think often miracles can come off as kitchen sink random plot devices and not end up being very believable.

But a Fairy Godmother is a story. Now that's a great idea.

And really isn't that what we all need and want?

Why is it as kids we are so willing to overlook plot holes in books. Obviously, I should be writing for a younger audience. 4-year-olds. They'd smile and not at my sagging middle.

Janet Dean said...

JAN D, I had a blast hanging with Villagers and Seekers at the ACFW conference. So great to see you! Wish everyone here could listen to the beautiful song you and the choir sang at the Gala.


Mary Connealy said...

kaybee, remember the episode where Mary Ann bumped her head and though she was Ginger and shortened all of Ginger's dresses so they'd fit her? Cut them off?

And yet Ginger STILL had plenty of clothes.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Wilani, I wish you could've come too.
Although I have been gone from Seekerville for at least two hours because I had to run to town to fetch the mail, which was being held last week by the post office and I sat in a comfy chair to sort through it and FELL ASLEEP.
That's after a two hour nap yesterday and the best night's sleep I've had in years. 9 hours, mostly straight through. (woke up once at the six hour point and went right back to sleep.)
Sorry for my absence.
I loved seeing everyone but apparently I'm tired.

Mary Connealy said...

Vince it turns out there must be a way up because SOMEONE IS UP THERE...MAYBE WITH A RIFLE TRAINED ON OUR HEROINE!!!
But how did he get up there?

An adventure in the making.

Mary Connealy said...

Got it, Connie, those abused children are ALWAYS better for the experience.
And was she really enslaved? Or just forced to clean. And we all know how handy knowing how to clean can be.
If the prince is smart, he'll give her a mop and let her at his castle.

Mary Connealy said...

I don't think it is possible to be too hard on mice!


Mary Connealy said...

Megan I think writing fantasy and speculative fiction is so fascinating. I can't imagine how you do it and I respect so much that you can.

Love the vision and the originality of it all.

Mary Connealy said...

Nicky, sorry to make you have second thoughts.

I'm pretty sure I do a little too much 'in the nick of time' stuff, too. LOL

Mary Connealy said...

Laura it is an intriguing idea. I think I'll play around with it.

Anyone else can do it, too. I'm not claiming it or nuthin'.

Megan Brummer said...

Mary, the grass is always greener on the other side! I love spec fic because you literally just make it all up as you go. Haha... I have a hard time imagining writing historical fiction because of ALL the research that goes into it. I love the idea of historical fiction - and I read it voraciously, but it's very intimidating to me!

DebH said...

Hi Mary
Love this post and the comments it is generating. The reason the slippers didn't disappear is because they were the only objects that the Fairy Godmother created, instead of morphing (changing) into something else (ie. mice into horses, dog into coachman, etc...).

Most fairy-tale stories kill off a parent or both. I guess that's the catalyst for growth (or inciting incident) for the main characters. Kind of a bummer that it takes an extreme pain to help us learn or grow. *sigh*

I love the idea of Disney Princess type stories as westerns. Still thinking about the western equivalent for fins re: Ariel. Hmmm...

CATE - so laughing at the comment of "where does that leave me???" in order for your daughter to gain Disney Princess status.

I like the "miracles" of the still small voice or inspired thoughts for the rescue of heroes and heroines. MARY, you and RUTHY do those very well (off the top of my head thinking...)

Mary Connealy said...

Nicky I think you are wonderful and gracious to give that much leeway to the Fairy God Mother.

I am clearly intolerant!

Mary Connealy said...

Jan I have said many times, When Jesus performs a great miracle in the Bible...that is the moment to LISTEN TO WHAT HE SAYS!

He did those miracles to focus attention on Himself and then he spoke and although all his words are precious and important, some of his greatest lessons come right after he performs a miracle.

Mary Connealy said...


Yes, little everyday miracles, finding peace in the middle of worry. Finding CAR KEYS in the middle of a long, frustrating search.

Finding thoughts that ease the way.

I am an insomniac and I've learned to just accept it. Also writing late at night is something I try to avoid because I find it....caffeine like in that it wakes me WIDE up.

So sometimes I wrangle around in my head, 'complaining' about whatever.
I know it's pure insomnia when I find myself furious about something My Cowboy said or did sixteen years ago!

But I've realized, and this was a thought I believe came straight from God, that there is no better example of a living Satan, then when my thoughts are stirring and fuming and angry. This is the devil doing harm to you, working up bad feelings.

I recognize that, now and can shut it down. But I used to let myself get really angry as I lie awake longing for sleep.

Mary Connealy said...

Missy, me too. I hate killing off good people, in my books, too. Ruthy and I discussed that a bit, how she just kills ANYONE AND EVERYONE!

I won't say willy nilly (though I'm tempted)

Carnage in Ruthy's books.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie I think you do a wonderful job of bringing fairy tales to life without the magic most contain. Then I start thinking...that could have really happened. Maybe it DID happen. Maybe the fairy tale grew out of a real experience!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Sandy!
That would be fun. I'm not due to pitch a proposal for a while, but I am saving this idea.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Sandra, I had an angel in one book and it was nixed, I foresaw an entire series with Charlie the Angel coming into the book at the right time.

No angels.
Okay, so I had Charlie be the naughtiest little boy imaginable but yet....he came through at the right moment in his own angelic way.

Mary Connealy said...

Barbara, seeing you last week and spending time with you was so fun.

I'm excited about your upcoming novella release for Gilead!!!!!!!!!!!

Cowgirl princesses, oh yeah.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Caryl, you like the miracles, huh?
You know I've gotten so far away from thinking of miracles that I never even consider it, but maybe I should. No one can say I OVER DO IT!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Janet, seriously, those mice had scissors and needles? Heaven help Cinderella if she makes the mad!

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Jill, I might do it.
I should go reread all Melanie Dickerson's books and, instead of reading them for fun, read them to figure out how to set fairy tale princesses in a real world!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Tina you know, to have a miracle descend to a random plot device...well I think that's why editors don't like them.

It devalues the whole idea of a miracle, maybe.

I think I've had some in my books but right now I can't think of a single one.

Mary Connealy said...

Janet (and Jan Drexler) wasn't the choir wonderful. I just loved listening to that beautiful harmony.
You did a wonderful job, Jan.

Mary Connealy said...

Megan that is the SWEETEST THING!!!
I never thought of spec fiction that way. You make it all, yeah, but then you have to remember it and be true to the world you created.

Me? I just need to watch True Grit again and read a couple Louis L'Amour books and I'm deeply rooted in the west.

Mary Connealy said...

I'm really excited to read Melanie's take on Arial. This oughta be good.

MELANIE how does she morph out of the fin?????

Mary Connealy said...

I know, I know, Melanie will be wiser than that.

Still, it'll be fun to read.

Tina Radcliffe said...


She's sleeping now..time difference.

Congrats again, IOLA!

Janet Dean said...

MARY, remember how large those scissors were for the mice's tiny paws? I'm amazed they didn't chop off their own tails.


Kav said...

First off -- I'm on the bandwagon for a Princess in Boots series...There are tons of princesses to choose from -- you can totally skip Sleeping Beauty if you so desire though I've read some fascinating fairy tale remakes that create intriguing angles to the sleeping aspect.

I'm on the fairy godmother's side as well. That lady knows that timing is everything in a story and making a grand entrance is just as important. And maybe Cinderella wasn't ready to receive her fairy godmother. Cinders had her own inner work to do -- she had to come to a point in her life where she could wholeheartedly believe before the fairy godmother could appear. That's the power of the magic. Great parallels to faith there.

And the glass slipper? Well, of course it didn't disappear since the fairy godmother willed it to be so. That lady totally knew what she was doing and y'all aren't giving her enough credit. It's all about believing, people. And following a divine plan.

And can I just say that the kid lit student in me kinda cringes over the fact that the world's view of fairy tales is courtesy of Disney rather than the masters who wrote the originals?

No need to enter me in the draw because I have No Way Up, read, loved it and have it cuddled on my Mary Connealy keeper shelf. Yes, there are so many books in my MC collection that they muscled out the A - Ci's and pushed the Cu - E down a shelf which resulted in a major book shuffling of numerous bookcases that took the better half of an afternoon.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Haha, Mary! There's no fin, alas, on my Ariel (whose name is Evangeline, BTW). She is the ward of the King of England--Richard the Second--and instead of having pain in her feet, as she did in the original fairy tale, in mine it's blisters on her hands, as she has become a servant as part of her disguise to keep her from getting caught after she runs away from an arranged marriage. Remember how Ariel rescues the prince in the shipwreck in the Disney movie? I totally kept that scene, don't you know! :) Water plays a part in the story a couple of times, but there are no fins. Sorry. :-)

Valri said...

Always a fun day when you are posting, Mary! Please enter me to win your book! Anything about the princesses and I'm in! I enjoyed your take on it!!

Debby Giusti said...

Waving to everyone! Loved seeing so many of you at ACFW!!! The week was delightful in so many ways.

I was playing catch up this, laundry, a bit of cleaning. BUT only a bit!!!

So good to finally get to Seekerville. Fun post, Mary. Cinderella is a favorite of mine. My heart breaks for her when the stepsisters are so rude and exclude her from the ball. Love that sweet Godmother!

Early on, I included a hint of a miracle in a story, but my editor quickly ixnayed the idea. Had to rewrite the scene and learned a valuable lesson!

Melanie Dickerson said...

You could TOTALLY do fairy tale princess stories set in the old west! That would be awesome! :D Do it do it do it!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Tina I remember them announcing Iola. They said her name funny. (Probably correctly)
I want to say like.... Yola. Iola come back and correct us when you wake up!!!!

I known an Iona. Do you suppose I've been saying her name wrong for YEARS????

Mary Connealy said...

I hope they only use their scissor wielding hands for good, like sewing, otherwise murderous, HEAVILY ARMED mice and TERRIFYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

KAV I know what you mean.
The story of Frozen is pretty brutal imho.
The Ice Queen was the embodiment of evil.

Lots of doctoring when into that plot.

Heidi Robbins said...

I think I'm going to go with the fairy godmother waiting for the marriage opportunity. I wonder what your take on Rapunzel would be... :)

I like books that work through the difficulties. Small miracles and blessings woven in are nice, but a big crazy miracle would take away the fun of the characters' journey.

Please enter me in your book drawing!

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie, I knew you were too wise to be caught in the 'fin' trap.
Can't wait to read this!

Mary Connealy said...

Valri I don't know if I dare to do any more princesses. I think I'm breaking some hearts here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Mary Connealy said...

I just might do it, Melanie.

Lots of heroics and excitement in those old stories. As You Well KNOW!

Mary Connealy said... it's not just ME???

It was so wonderful to see you at ACFW, Debby. I always love seeing all of you I only talk to online. It's a blessing.

Jan Drexler said...

BARB SCOTT wrote: "I'm with you about the mice. I would have trucked in a cattle car of cats if it would have wiped out the vermin."

And someone did that! Back in Old Deadwood there was such a vermin problem that Phatty Thompson (after a suggestion from a dance hall girl) hauled in a freight wagon full of cats and sold them for a minimum of ten dollars each. There were stories about how he trained six of the cats to yodel in harmony, and other fun things...but those were just stories. Badger Clark wrote a poem about the incident called "The Cat Pioneers." (

Mary, you SO need to use this story in one of your books! I can just see one of your princesses in boots hating mice so much that she buys a cat...or arranges for someone to send her one. :)

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Oh, I'm late to this party, but I'm laughing at this!

Wouldn't the convenience of a miracle be WONDERFUL??? And yet a most unwelcome plot point in most editors' eyes!!!

Mary, this is delightful.... and insightful.

I think it's good for us to have to think, but um, yeah.... where the heck was the FG when the fireplace needed cleaning?

Was she drinking on the job?

Was she busy elsewhere?

And Flora, Fauna and Meriweather were cute as could be, but Aurora (that was her name, wasn't it?) still pricked her finger! WHAT?????

I'm laughing at this, and thinking these princesses need a dose of Ruthy.

They'd straighten up and become independent right quick!

Mary Connealy said...

Heidi have you read The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson? That's Rapunzel.

I saw two people in Nashville with Crystal Gayle Hair so that wouldn't be outlandish to have long hair. But long enough to climb???

As I recall Rapunzel was a heartbreaker too, in the original tale.
And The Little Mermaid
And Frozen

Mary Connealy said...

Jan, do you remember in Little House on the Prairie Pa bought a tiny kitten whose eyes weren't even open yet because they needed a mouser?
Cats were rare.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Melanie, I'm glad there are no fins! I love that story, but I was never a fan of the mermaid morph... but I love the story and the lost voice, and the sacrificial love angles!

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Hey, I roomed with Jan Drexler in Nashville, and I love her even more now! SHE PUT UP WITH THE RUTHINATOR FOR DAYS!!!!

Well done, Drex! :)

And I agree, quick solves are rare in real life, but I do love accidents of timing now and again just to throw a new wrinkle... or rescue!!!... into the mix.

Mary Connealy said...

Aurora! That's it. The prophecy that she's prick her finger and DIE came at her birth, but did anyone ever WARN HER!?
Hey Chicky, prophecy of death, don't touch any spindles.
She seemed like a bright girl, she could've been careful-er
The Prince fighting the Dragon in that movie was pretty fantastic animation for the time!

Mary Connealy said...

And poor Snow White, I believe that is like the POSTER CHILD for don't accept gifts from strangers.

Sure, I'll take that apple and munch it, haggish, ugly old lady stranger. What could possibly go wrong.

Mary Connealy said...

You didn't like the fin morph, Ruthy?
I trust Melanie to find away out of the fin, but it's pretty fundamental.

Although on a bigger picture kinda way, in a Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus way, we could probably figure out a morph for Fish Girl that is darned near a species change.

Myra Johnson said...

This is so fun!!! After spending 3-4 days in Nashville with our little band of Seekers and Seekervillagers, I can now--even more clearly--hear your voices in my head as I read your comments!!! That is precious!!!!

Sandy Smith said...

Mary, we will have to wait for Iola to tell us for sure, but I believe when Keli Gwyn was here last week talking about names that Iola came on and said her name is pronounced Yola. I would not have pronounced it that way myself. Anyway, Congratulations Iola!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Thank you, JILL! Especially for all your encouragement! I'm still a little overwhelmed, but I finally got some sleep (too excited to rest). If I was this undone by winning an award I may not live through publication :-) And thank you to everyone who sent congratulation messages - Seekers and Villagers are an incredible group of people, and truly an answer to prayer! Going in search of late afternoon coffee...hope I can find the kitchen.

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Congratulations IOLA, DAWN and ERICA!! So happy for you!

Jana Vanderslice said...

Yall have all forgotten the DRESS!! She kept the shoe & the dress! (And that's a good thing for a rated G Disney movie!)
That never bothered me as a little girl. I was just enchanted by the entire story! Cinderella was my favorite!

*Please enter me in the drawing & WELCOME HOME Ladies!

Mary Connealy said...

Myra it's always that way for me, too. Patti Jo and that sweet Southern accent, comes to mind.

Rhonda Starnes said...

Mary, we're generally not tard in Alabama instead we're usually "plum tuckered out!"

Janet, I wore my light blue (kind of Robin's egg blue) Converse today. My students want to know when I'll be wearing my silver Converse to school, but I told them those shoes were only for special occasions. ;)

Myra Johnson said...

Loved those shoes, RHONDA!!! No glass slippers for you, just sparkly silver sneakers!

Debby Giusti said...

Silver Converse slippers for today's Cinderella! You rock, Rhonda!!!

BTW, Patti Jo brought fresh Georgia peaches to the ACFW Conference. They were so good...and she was so generous!

Waving to Laura! We were thrilled when you won! Thrilled for Dawn and Iola too! Thrilled for Erica, although when you are a three-time finalist in a category with three novellas, the excitement about who will win wanes a bit, but not the enthusiasm.

We're so proud of all of you!!!

Laura Conner Kestner said...

Thank you, DEBBY! And thank you so much for the book! Thanks also for the journal and the sign - what a wonderful surprise! I'm enjoying Plain Truth so much! No surprise there :-)

Mary Connealy said...

Rhonda, so the silver tennies are your DRESS shoes???

Mary Connealy said...

Laura said: If I was this undone by winning an award I may not live through publication :-)

Trust me girl YOU WILL LIVE!!!! LOL

Mary Connealy said...

Jana, GREAT POINT! They definitely left her with a dress, though a ragged one as I recall. But anything to avoid that R rating on a Disney cartoon, am I right?????

Mary Connealy said...

Rhonda I always remember the Loretta Lynn Classic 'Coal Miner's Daughter'
The line

All day we worked hard.
We sleep well at night cuz we was tired

The way Loretta sang it they rhymed perfectly. When I heard it I though, "Only country music can pull that off."

Mary Connealy said...

I don't know if I've every had a true, tree ripened peach.
I do know I've had a tree ripened orange though, a completely different fruit than what you get in a store.

The peach was stunning.
Thank you, Patti Jo and I'm sorry you scared that poor housekeeper when you offered her a tip and a peach.

Boo Smelser said...

I don't know if I'd say there are any full-out miracles in my stories, per say. I mean, souls get saved, which, as you said, is the greatest miracle of all time. And sometimes it takes some extra special miracles where the bad guys' souls are involved. There are moments when prayer is answered in small ways that feel like big ways (like the bad guy not coming toward their hiding place) and of course, there is 'unanswered' prayer too, but that turns out for the best (they weren't meant to end up with that person). Then there are the special things that helped them get through something that were always there, but now you know they were there for a reason (like one of my heroine's OCD. Also, if you've ever watched M. Night Shyamalan's Signs, there's a lot of that in there too). There was one particular moment in the first book of my WIP in which it might seem like a veritable miracle, even though everything was properly foreshadowed (the fact that there was going to be a miracle was itself foreshadowed), but it was absolutely essential to the story and to go against it would go against a certain character's personality and backstory. It was necessary.

As for the slipper, it always bugged me. I like how Disney's live action Cinderella answered that question. Finally put that to peace in my mind.

Also, no need to put my name in a drawing because I already have your book.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Boo, I just love it that you're writing. Way to go getting on with your dreams, girl.

And all of us, I think, have quiet little interventions from God, and that to me is a miracle, but not a big showy one, but instead it's the kind of miracle we all have in our lives everyday.

Thanks for the wise and interesting comment.
And thanks for having my book.

Trixi said...

I got nuttin.........

I didn't know how to answer this last night so I thought I'd wait a while to read through the comments today. I still don't have any idea what you are talking about Mary :-\

I like reading when things work out for the hero & heroine in stories...miracles or not! Especially when you see God in it all :-)

Please add my name for No Way Up, thanks!

Mary Connealy said...

Trixi You're on to me!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)

Debby Giusti said...

Laura, you sweet we say in the South!!! Glad everything arrived!


Mary Connealy said...

I also have some problems with Jasmine hopping on that magic carpet with 'the prince' and being whisked across the world.

It that was today there'd be a nationwide AMBER ALERT out for her.

Mary Connealy said...

you wll never guess what I found when I got home...............

A box half full of my business cards....I didn't bring them because I was OUT, but I knew I wasn't out, but they were no where to be found so I must be out.


White tipped cane and guide dog coming up.

Kathryn Barker said...

A bit late, I know, but Mary, great post, and wonderful discussion!!

Miracles...are they not about impossibilities? Unbelief and Faith? Divine revelation and the Kingdom of God invading our world? Fairy Godmother's and princes and princesses...and oh, just so much imaginative FUN!! Like seeing the world through the eyes of a child...hmmm...

Thanks for a dose of reality...and I'd love to be entered in the drawing! Thanks!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, my next retelling is probably going to be an Aladdin story--poor boy makes good and wins the princess. I'll be sure and not have him wisk her off on a magic carpet, though. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

And I have to say, I like the way Kav defends our fairy tales. Way to go, Kav!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

And the reason the glass slipper didn't disappear was because it was already there. She didn't use something to make the glass slippers like she did the other things. The dress was created from the old dress, the horses were made from the mice, etc. But the glass slippers just appeared because she was barefoot. Isn't that right? That makes sense. Sort of.

Connie Brown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Connie Brown said...

I never liked the deux received machina explanation. I prefer my people to solve their own problems. I often wondered about the shoes too. I guess all of the extra power the fairy godmother put into the shoes left only a little for the dress,pumpkin, and mice. Good topic.

Rebecca McLafferty said...

Hi Mary, this was so interesting! Fairy godmothers are great, but they would take so much from the wonderful suspense and mystery in our stories. When I reflect on some of the miracles that I know God worked throughout my life, I see a string of chain reactions that eventually came to pass. It's such fun to write a plot, wondering how God might use our characters to help others, etc. I'm so glad that God's story for each of us is the most grand of all--miracles and all. :) Blessings and thanks to you. (P.S. I'm in the middle of reading "No Way Up" it, love it, love it!!)

Chris Bailey said...

Oh, yes, in the end, the still, small voice is the miracle. The rest of the story is getting us to listen. Hate to be so late to the party, but that's how my Seekerville gets delivered. Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

Barbara Scott said...

Mary, I was so busy lazing around and playing on my phone yesterday that I forgot to stop by the Village again. Drat! I so loved meeting you all at ACFW! Let's not wait a whole year to do this again. I'll hit my fairy godmother up for a loan and fly us all to Hawaii for a luau.

Jan Drexler, the story about the imported cats is priceless! That's such a Mary story. :-)

See y'all on today's post later!

Heather Marsten said...

LOL - Hadn't thought about Cinderella, but you are right. It's funny, but in my memoir I'm covering a similar question. As an eight year old being abused I wondered where God was and gave up on God for forty years - I called Him the Great Abandoner. I couldn't understand how He could let the abuse I was receiving continue if He really was the "Jesus loves me this I know" sort of God that people said He was. It took a long time to realize that God was there in the abuse and that He did protect me - not the way I asked, but rather in the NOTS - what did not happen - did not get pregnant by my father, did not catch a disease, did not go insane, did not get killed. Until I formed a relationship with God and saw Him as a loving Father, I could not have accepted the NOTS without building a bigger wall between God and me. As I write my memoir I'm seeing other remarkable ways, unusual ways, God was present in my healing journey. He is remarkable and I am grateful now for Him, but for a long time I too wanted a pro-active God.

Your post caught my attention because in a dialogue with a campus ministry priest I told him I wanted a pro-active God. He was, just not the way I expected. Thank you for this post

Heather Marsten said...

PS> Shared your post on my Facebook page.


Kirsten Rinehart said...

I sometimes wish I had a fairy godmother who is more proactive, but then I look back at the small miracles and wonder "what would have happened if I got my way?" I praise God that His timing is perfect and praise Him for the blessings He gives.

Julie Lessman said...

MARY, this was a hoot!! Sorry I'm so late in commenting, but Monday was a blur for me, so no blog would have made sense anyway yesterday. :)

YOU SAID: I’ve had a few miracles in my books but my main miracle is the still small voice of God. No finger carving words into a stone, no voice like thunder coming out of a boiling cloud, no burning bush. It’s people who pray and actually listen to that quiet voice and is open to the Lord enough to act on it, even when it’s as quiet as an idea."

BEAUTIFULLY said, my friend, and soooooo true!!

YOU ALSO ASKED: "What about you? Do you have miracles in your books. What about ‘convenient’ things that fall right into place at the right time."

No miracles (except the fact that I get the book written, I guess), but I have on occasion wrestled with putting "convenient" things in my books, but not because they're convenient, but because they really happened to me, so I see them as real life. But you're right that "fiction has to make sense but real live doesn’t." And, YES, I DO "wish in our writing we could just toss in completely illogical things" and be okay, but our readers aren't that easy to convince, are they?

Great post, Mare, and LOVED spending time with you at ACFW!!


Mary Connealy said...

Hi Kathryn, I'm glad you stopped in.
I'm glad I stopped back, too, and saw all these extra comments!

So fun when the discussion gets lively.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie you must fight to protect your fairy tales.

They are all morality tales, right? Good overcomes evil.

A fairy tale is a beautiful thing. And I tease them at my own risk!!!

Mary Connealy said...

Connie then you are a lucky woman, because editors WANT you to have to solve everything the hard way. :)

Mary Connealy said...

Rebecca, I'm so glad you're enjoying No Way Up, thanks so much for reading it!

And I love your take on Cinderella and miracles that come quietly over time, guiding us, and doing the hard work on our own.

Mary Connealy said...

Chris, thanks for stopping in, even a bit later than others. It's great to see so many comments here today.

Mary Connealy said...

Hi Barbara!!!!!!!! It was fun seeing you and getting to know you better at ACFW.

And as for the Luau thing, I love pork and pineapple and grass skirts.

I am sooooooooooooooooooooo in.

Mary Connealy said...

Heather, this shows such courage to talk about all you've been through and all you've overcome to find your way to God.
Thank you so much for sharing so honestly with us.

God bless you.

Mary Connealy said...

And thank you for sharing my post, Heather!

Mary Connealy said...

Kirsten isn't it a Garth Brooks song that says, "Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers."?

Mary Connealy said...

Julie, do you remember once Janet Dean telling a story of salvation, someone had told her, and she put a similar situation in a book and the editors nixed it?

So funny really. Real life is OUT!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Mary Connealy ~ Queen of Provocative Titles

And thought-provoking content.

NEVER had thought about the Cinderella "issues" before.
Guess I let the storyteller take me where they want me to go, but I *do* come up for air from time to time and say, "Uh. No. That just wouldn't happen."

That's usually about the time I toss the book across the floor. /sigh/

Hopefully that doesn't happen with any of OUR books, right?! :)

That's something about the editors nixing the real life miracles that happen. Huh.

I don't use them in my books but hopefully readers can see the Creator (as May references Him) working behind the scenes occasionally.

Good post. Thank you!

Loved seeing all the ACFW photos by the way. Hope to join y'all one fine day.