“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner
Thursday, November 10, 2016
Overview Character Development: Classic Literature
Workshop: An Introduction to Writing for Children and Young Adults
“So the tale as it is retold on the page should still be pleasing to
the ear.” Jane Yolen
What to you makes a classic? What is your
favorite classic? What favorite stories did you hunger to read as a child, as a
teenager, as an adult? What do they have in common? What is different?
There are many variations of genre and style
that are listed as classics but they all have some common features. Our books
may never become a classic but if we can study and integrate some of their
characteristics then our stories can carry a stamp of credibility.
Classics attract readers from generation to
generation. Many once began as oral tales such as Tales of King Arthur, One
Thousand and One Nights, Aesop’s Fables and Cinderella. The delivery style
might change but not the core heart of the story.
For example, Cinderella is the most familiar
folktale worldwide with over five hundred variations listed in Europe alone.
According to Wikipedia there are over a thousand known versions. Picture books,
poems, novels, operas and films explore this age-old blueprint, originally told
in the traditional form of an anonymous storyteller.
And we still keep adding to the collection
in both novels and movies.
Classics continue to be read across the centuries
and across cultures. They cross genres as well showing up in historicals,
fantasy, sci-fi, regional and mysteries. How do they engage such a diverse
audience of readers?
One point is the credibility of the
characters. Each of the classics taps into the emotional core of feelings even
when their circumstances are beyond our reality.
Another is the reality of conflict. The
conflict the heroes and heroines experience isn’t manufactured but true to
their own emotional and physical events.
The themes underlying their struggles are
significant and not superficial.
Then the storytellers engage their readers
with their quality of style. They use language and metaphors and pacing that
resonates with their listeners.
Most of the classics have their roots in the
categories of traditional literature such as legends, fairy tales, tall tales
and folklore. Also included are religious stories, songs, fables, myths and
which category listed above one of your favorite classics has roots in and read
some modern adaptations.
for any movies that may be based on your childhood choice.
a list of what has remained the same and what is different?
I am an author, a freelance content editor, a writing workshop instructor, and a writing coach. I write fiction novels and short stories, and nonfiction reflective journals, workshops and poetry. I am an avid reader, an occasional knitter and love to watch the ocean or see a good movie.
Albert Einstein said, “When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than my talent for absorbing knowledge.” Einstein called his imagination “a holy curiosity.
As readers and movie buffs we enjoy the drama and universal feelings of love, revenge, greed, hope. “When the shoe fits”, we can tap into these versions, add our own imagination, and enrich our own stories. We begin to identify metaphors for ourselves, our characters and our readers and become more attuned to feelings and beliefs. We often find emotional heritage—our touchstones—in our personal history, literature, scripture, folk-tales, songs and culture.
Jane Yolen says, “Folklore reflects the society that creates it. Modern art tales…. take on this mirroring quality, too.” According to Roland Hein, G.K. Chesterton believed that everyday life is permeated with mythic qualities. “One must have the eyes and the ears to see.”
So in Mythic Impact we will open our ears and eyes to a holy curiosity, building bridges through chaos and confusion, to search out illuminations.