Last week, Hubby and I spent a day in New York City.
It was cold but beautiful. Busy, loud and fun.
When I saw Cinderella was playing at the Broadway Theater, well, I couldn’t resist.
My friend Tanya and I dragged our hubbies to the classic theater and the classic of all classic fairytales.
As I watched the show unfold under the lights, I was enthralled.
Cinderella is a story of goodness. That if you do the right thing, good will win out in the end.
Every fairytale must have an element of goodness.
Of light in the midst of darkness.
We’ve talked a lot in this fairytale series about Cinderella. How she maintained a good heart in the midst of her trials.
The step-mother, though evil, just wants a better life for her daughters.
She’s just all twisted around the axel on how to get it.
The Prince merely wants true love.
So, how do we demonstrate hope and goodness in the midst of our protagonist’s trial?
Let’s go back to the movie The Proposal.
Margaret Tate is all about herself. She’s kind of the opposite of Cinderella.
But when she starts to see how she’s robbing Drew’s family of the truth, she has a change of heart.
She abandons the fake marriage plans.
But Drew knows what’s transpired between them. He’s determined not to let Margaret go. He chases her to the airport, then back to New York City.
Because he has hope for them.
Fairy tales showcase how good wins over evil. Love triumphs over hate and bitterness.
As Christian authors with the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead living in us, our stories are the perfect canvas to show the love and goodness of God.
But with the fairytale like quality.
So, how do we do that? Give our stories the fairy tale quality of love and goodness.
After all, isn’t tension supreme? Don’t we need that in all of our novels?
1. Set up your protagonist with a “good want.” Cinderella “wanted” true love. She “wanted” her prince to come. You can showcase goodness from the onslaught of the story by setting up a worthy goal.
2. Let your protagonist make good choices. Cinderella chose to go to the ball and abide by the rules of the night — home by midnight. Sure, there could’ve been lots of conflict, tension and drama if she decided to push the limits and remain dancing in the arms of her prince. But she chose to leave when she’d been commanded. We cheer for her. We love her all the more for choosing well even though it cost her a piece of her heart.
3. Demonstrate how they love others. This is tricky. We don’t want the story to be about external events and outside drama, but set up a small subplot that allows your heroine and hero to love others well.
In my book, Love Starts With Elle, our heroine is dealing with her own troubles as well as her younger sister’s. I used her love and aid to her sister to show Elle’s goodness in the midst of her own trials.
4. Give a hint of the victory. While the protagonist must go through a valley of obstacles, remember to keep a glimpse of the hope and truth throughout the story. She will get what she wants. He will win the day.
In Cinderella, there’s the constant hope that the Prince will find her. In the Roger’s and Hammerstein version, the Prince and Cindy meet right away as she’s helping an old beggar woman in town. Later at the ball he can’t help but think he’s meet her before.
“Yes, you have, you have,” we cheer as we go along with the story. “Just wait… you’ll figure it out.”
So, give the reader a glimpse of the hope and goodness shining through.
5. Deliver a bit of beauty. By that, I mean give us a sense of the beauty and worthiness of the protagonist goal. Is it worthy to want true love? Or justice? Absolutely!
You can also deliver beauty through the setting and the secondary characters.
In Cinderella, one of the step-sisters turns out to be sweet and nice. There’s beauty in the “animal friends,” and the fairy godmother.
So, show a hint of beauty.