I guess that it's serendipitous that MJ mentioned he'd bought the Brothers Grimm collection (which one, I don't know) whilst I was already in possession of the Hans Christian Anderson collection (slightly less violent me thinks, and yet, so very... violent!). I felt the need to go out in search of the Brothers Grimm also - If I'm to write a semi-pastiche then I need to understand the machinations and standard themes (note, I've decided not to pursue a pastiche, but a completely new idea).
My initial idea was sparked whilst at the Police concert, listening to Wrapped Around Your Finger and the wonderful lyrics that I'd always associated with a magician and his apprentice and the powerplay between them - suddenly I felt the urge to write about it (nope, I've not written a thing yet). Over the course of the past month (has it been a month already?) I've toyed with that same idea - trying to make it work in a fictional novel context without it being entirely Sting's idea - it's not, I can assure you.
So, over the month I've stretched it out, drawing on previous story ideas and reworking the mythology of Sting's song to a secondary level that I'm not prepared to discuss here.
So it was that I bought a copy of the Grimms, and with it came a free copy of Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber (short story collection based upon fairytales), which includes the original version of the film Company of Wolves. Why is this suddenly important?
Well, having read the title story I realise that it's the kind of style I want my novel-fairytale to include. Admittedly it's bleak, and I'd want to include some humour in my story, but her choice of words are as sublime as any Solvejg has ever used in his narratives:
His wedding gift, clasped round my throat. A choker of rubies, two inches wide, like an extraordinarily precious slit throat.
After the Terror, in the early days of the Directory, the aristos who'd escaped the guillotine had an ironic fad of tying a red ribbon round their necks at just the point where the blade would have sliced it through, a red ribbon like the memory of a wound. And his grandmother, taken with the notion, had her ribbon made up in rubies; such a gesture of luxurious defiance! That night at the opera comes back to me even now... the white dress; the frail child within it; and the flashing crimson jewels round her throat, bright as arterial blood.
And that singular item, the ruby choker, wreaths the entire first story of the Bloody Chamber like a soiled bandage, such is Carter's well-planned imagery.
Now then, how might I copy?