This is it—the final week about my thesis.
For those of you just joining me, I am enrolled in Seton Hill University’s MFA in Writing Popular Fiction program, and I have spent the last three Mondays (today included) discussing the three kids movies that inspired my thesis. As I like to put it, my thesis is not a kid's book, but kid's movies have a lot of adult themes.
And now, I present “The Swan Princess.”
Prince Derek and Princess Odette have been brought together every summer in the hopes that one day they would wed and join their parents’ kingdoms. Now, as adults, they have finally taken the first steps toward romance. However, said romance is ruined in a moment of dim wits from Derek. Odette and her father return home where Rothbart—an evil enchanter—lies in wait. He kills Odette’s father and takes Odette captive.
Derek discovers this and makes it his personal goal to find Odette and bring her home safely. When he does finally find her, he discovers that Rothbart has placed an enchantment on her that turns her into a swan each day and that to break said enchantment, Derek must “make a vow of everlasting love.”
With the help of Odette’s animal friends, Derek and Odette are brought together but too late. Rothbart’s enchantment has been broken, resulting in Odette’s death. Derek fights Rothbart for Odette’s life and wins only with the aid of his guard and best friend. Odette is revived by Rothbart’s death, and Derek and Odette are wed.
This movie is clearly a romance. My thesis, however, is not a romance novel (it’s an epic fantasy), but since “The Swan Princess” is where some of the romantic inspiration came from, I feel that now is a perfect time to mention the guest post that went up today on a fellow writer’s blog about working romantic elements into non-romance.
All right, back on track. As I said above, “The Swan Princess” provided some of the inspiration for the romantic subplot of “Saving Edalya” (working title). It can’t take all the credit, though. In fact, “Quest for Camelot” is probably equally responsible just in different ways. As I said last week, I loved the concept of romance in “Quest for Camelot” because it wasn’t about the romance. It was about the quest, and the romance was a bi-product.
As can be noted above, this is absolutely not the case in “The Swan Princess.” It is clear from the beginning that the movie is about Derek and Odette falling in love. And, everything that follows is clearly an obstacle bent on keeping the romantic couple apart.
I’m an only child. Thus, I spent a lot of my childhood hanging out with…well, me. I had a lot of time to make things up—which is probably where my creative mind came from—and a lot of what I made up involved twisting my favorite movies to include a new character. This character was always female, not a princess, and a life-long friend of the hero. In the case of “The Swan Princess,” she was also a guard in charge of protecting the royal family and in love with Derek. In my alternate version, Derek realized that Odette was a wimp and married me. Or, occasionally, he married Odette anyway, and my character was left heart broken. I think I may have been a disturbed child.
Anyway, the important thing I took from all of this was the idea of the prince not ending up with the princess. Thus, Jayleen (my protagonist) is not a princess. She is a girl from a strong military family who burns to be in the military herself. Prince Kylander (my other protagonist) is...well, a prince. (Duh) He has absolutely no interest in Jayleen for some time. And, yes, there is a princess involved but not in the way you might think. Jayleen and Kylander aren’t life-long friends either. As a matter of fact, it takes several chapters for them to even really like each other. No more about Jayleen and Kylander will be said. Read the book when it comes out. *maniacal laughter*
There is also an important element from the end of “The Swan Princess” that found its way into my thesis. I feel, though, that disclosing it would just be giving too much away. So, I will laugh maniacally again and say simply that I promise it will be good.
There you have it. Three weeks, three movies. And now, Friday…there will be a bit of actual text from the story. Stay tuned.
See you out of the box,
P.S. Please check out this blog post about a project to raise money for a fellow SHUer fighting cancer. I’m not directly involved—by the time I heard about it, it was too late—so I’m passing it along as my contribution. Many thanks!