Monday, August 2, 2021

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall--a Look into Gothic Fiction by Connie Vines #BWLAuthor, #MFRWAuthor, #GothicFiction, #RandomThoughtsScatteredAbout

A weekly feature:

Random Thoughts, Scattered About...

In the past, I served on the board,  and as president, of Romance Writers of America's  GothRom Chapter (authors of traditional Gothic Fiction).

Even though we wrote/featured traditional Gothic stories, we did allow for supernational elements in our stores.

Characteristics of the Gothic include death and decay, haunted homes/castles, family curses, madness, powerful love/romance, ghosts, and vampires. The genre is said to have become popular in the late 18th century with the publication of Horace Walpole's novel The Castle of Otranto in 1764.

Other classics of Gothic Fiction: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (1818), Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897), The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890), The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde – Robert Louis Stevenson, (1886),  Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (1847),  Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier (1938), 

Hello, My Lovelies,

Every little girl wants to be Cinderella, Belle, Snow White, or Ariel. Every Romantic loves the idea of being swept away by Prince Charming or riding in a glass carriage pulled by white horses. While the princesses of the fiction have the promise of ‘happily-ever-after, castles, and room service.

The Evil Queen is dominating the Snow-White story. Why does the Evil Queen dominate the story? Because she has ‘magic at her disposal, and she owns the best toys’.

When I was a young girl, I watched Universal Studio Monster Classic movies and always had the latest print magazine in my bookcase.  The “Mummy’s Curse” was my favorite horror movie (tame by today’s standards). I even wrote a fan letter to MoonaLisa, the host of a weekly television show (pre-Elvira) in San Diego, CA. Explaining why I liked the movie and would appreciate watching it on her show.

Several weeks later, MoonaLisa read my letter on television. I was unbelievably excited. She also featured my favorite movie that day.

I was hooked.

I was validated.

I was forevermore a girl who followed her own instincts. 

It was  like Wednesday of Addams Family fame—A girl who never wore bows, ribbons, nor Maryjane shoes, or ringlets in her long dark hair. I was an introvert. An observer of human behavior, And, like little Wednesday, perhaps, too intense for a child.

While the villainess in “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” wanted so badly to be the fairest of them all, so much so that she went as far as to have Snow White killed and have her heart placed in a box. After the Evil Queen discovers that the Huntsman, she hired to kill Snow White is unsuccessful, she uses magic to concoct a poison to deal with the situation herself. She changed her shape, she’d maime, she’d kill. She understood desire, and embraced it, too. The Evil Queen’s determination becomes her obsession, and it gives off the implicit message that, no matter what you want or desire, if you work hard and get creative, you will find whatever means to achieve your goal.

While Snow White received top billing in the Disney 1930s version of the animated feature, the movie was really all about the Evil Queen.

Don’t get me wrong. I like Cinderella and all the other heroines starring in fairy tales. I am happy they are living happily-ever-after in storybook land.

These heroines were goodness and songs—these heroines did not own toys. Cinderella wore hand-me-down dresses, borrowed horses, and carriage; Snow White was a housekeeper and short-order cook for seven strangers.

But the dark side is where the action and the conflict rule.

The Evil Queen had magic at her fingertips. Magic is so unearthly. And oh-so-much fun to add you’re a plot-line. The twists, the turns, the intensity.

Most importantly, The Evil Queen owned a Magic Mirror.

Aside from a Magic Wand, the Magic Mirror is the best special effect in the old movies and in Paranormal or Gothic Novels (my opinion.)

If you ever get a chance to watch “The Mummy” with Boris Karloff, 1931 (only a few years after silent movies reigned supreme), His scene where he looks into the pool of water and Ancient Egypt unfolds before the viewers' eyes, is so magical, so unexpectedly amazing for that time in the Hollywood. Decades after it was released, I watched the movie and was transfixed.

The entire movie  The Mirror Scene is amazing.

I attribute this one moment in my life to my understanding: showmanship, emotion, and the importance of awaking of the ‘soul’ of a story.

Always, I strive to bring the unexpected into my Paranormal novellas, my female leads have an edgy and quirky side. They aren’t the girl-next-door, they don’t quite fit in, and they aren’t princesses.

I was, and still am, fascinated by the Magic Mirror.

While I do not recommend featuring an Evil Queen as the heroine of a romantic novel. I like to give my heroines a touch of her determination, the strength to overcome obstacles and self-reliance.

Will I ever own a magic mirror of my very own?

I was watching television a few months ago, and a commercial flickered across the screen. I won’t name the manufacturer of the product, but you guess it –this is the stuff of fairy tales—a Magic Mirror!

This mirror mounts in the bathroom and is voice-activated (connected to your WiFi network). LED lights, music. A digital assistant looks up salon hours, edits your shopping list, and even controls other bathroom amenities, like turning on the shower.

Toss in a soundtrack for wind, rain, thunder, and lightning and I’ve found my bliss!

A Magic Mirror is finally, finally within my reach!

Check out the Disney Magic Mirror HERE 


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