Val Rigodon spoke with us about her piece “Little Red” in Issue Seven!
How did you come about thinking about rewriting a story that has been told what feels like for eternity?
I used to be obsessed with romantic fairy tale retellings, I was always reading and writing them. They were my comfort zone. I mainly stuck with the princess tales like Cinderella and Rapunzel. However, recently I’ve staying away from romance and starting to explore other genres and styles. I was never really interested in any of the fable stories like Little Red Riding Hood or Hansel and Gretel, so I wanted to test myself and do something totally new (to me). Could I rewrite this fairy tale in a way I liked without making Red or the wolf or grandma or the huntsman kiss in the end? Could I rewrite this story that is totally barren of romance?
What steps did you take in making sure that your work stayed true to the tale but also made it something entirely new?
The first thing I did was decide what I wanted from the story. I like forests, so I was keeping that. I like talking wolves, I like bedridden grandmas, I like delivering food. Once I had those, I just put them all together in a way I liked. The hardest part was not constraining myself to the original story. I had to remember to write what I wanted and not try to fit it to the source material. There was a point where I was like ‘Ok, now how do I get this wolf into grandma’s bed?’ I almost put the story away because I couldn’t figure out a good way to do that. Once I reminded myself that this was my story now and I could write whatever I want, the story went along smoothly.
Fiction sometimes comes from a single moment in time that sticks with us, is this the case when you sit down to write? Or do you plan each step? Is it formulaic for you?
That is the case with me. I usually get an image or a phrase in my mind that I want to expand on. Sometimes it randomly appears, sometimes it’s from music or a scenes from a book. I’ll write what I’m thinking and then see what else I want to add. Most of the time it ends there. I have dozens of 1 page documents in my folder that have one paragraph or one page. It’s cool, though, because sometimes I’ll stumble across something months or years later and I’ll get inspired and write a whole story off of it. That was the case with ‘Little Red.’ I found the first page of it in my documents, and I was so confused because I barely recall writing it.
Do you have any previously published pieces you’re particularly proud of?
Yes! I have a bizarre story at Anti-Heroin Chic about secrets and incest: http://heroinchic.weebly.com/blog/she-had-been-clean-for-eight-months-by-val-rigodon