A Modern Day Fairy Tale, by Graham Joyce

Some Kind Of Fairy Tale has been optioned by a Hollywood studio so we asked Graham what it was like to sell to the film industry. This is what he told us.

Once upon a timely time a fine young fellow sat upon a large toadstool and wrote himself a story, he did. And no sooner had he written those holy words The End than did the Feather-giver appear in a puff of smoke from nowhere and handed him a feather.
And what a feather it was! Luminous and beautiful, so he stuck it in his cap. Then the next day a creature neither man nor beast crept out of the dark, muddy Holly Wood and gave him a gold coin in return for his story and upon seeing this the Feather-giver came and handed him another glorious feather. “If they make a film from your story,’ promised the Feather-giver, I’ll give you a third feather.’
‘And what does it mean to have a third feather?’ asked the young fellow, somewhat nonplussed.
‘What does it mean?’ cried the Feather giver. ‘What does it mean? Why, you wait and see what it means!’
So the young fellow stuck the second feather in his cap and sat on his toadstool and tucked his legs under him and waited until the creatures of the Holly Wood made a film of his story.
The rain came. The fellow sat in his spot. The rain went away and still the fellow sat in his spot. The sun rose and fell in the sky and still he sat there.
Then the wind came and the tumbleweed blew across the landscape.
Still the fellow sat there, waiting for his third feather.
More tumbleweed.
Still he sat there.
After many days the young fellow’s friends came by and asked him what he was waiting for.
“I’m waiting for my third feather,’ he said.
‘You don’t want to bother about no feathers!’ they mocked. ‘Come with us and have some fun! Drink goblin beer! Eat unicorn offal! And all that!’
But the young fellow, being stubborn and determined in every wise, would not be shaken from his toadstool. And so his friends went on their way.
More tumbleweed.
At last they young fellow began to get impatient. He scratched his chin and was surprised to find he’d grown a long beard in the time he’d been waiting. ‘Here’s a fine thing,’ he said, ‘for I never wanted a beard, no, I wanted a feather! The next tumbleweed that comes by, I shall grab it with both hands and ride it to the Holly Wood.’
So the very next ball of tumbleweed he saw, he leapt off his toadstool and he grabbed the tumbleweed with both hands and he rode it. And what a ride it was! The tumbleweed shrieked and turned and bucked and dipped, and the wind it roared behind him, but he hung on with both hands until somewhat shaken he arrived in the Holly Wood. There he proceeded to ask about his film. But no-one had heard of his story, nor of his film and no-one even so much as knew his name. And they all didn’t much care for his long beard, either.
Finally a silicone-breasted princess, who was really a hag in disguise, took pity on him and asked him what did he want?
‘I want another feather!’ he cried.
‘Is that all?’ said the silicone-confabulation. ‘Well, this is where we make the feathers, to give to the feather giver. Here, we’ll give you one. What colour would you like?’
So he accepted a third fine feather and he stuck it in his cap.
‘Are you happy now?’ said the malodorous princess.
‘No.’ wailed the young fellow miserably. ‘I don’t like it here, and I want to go home and be with my friends. But I can’t find a way to get back! I got here by riding tumbleweed, and they only blow one way.’
‘Well,’ said the princess, ‘You’ve got your bleedin’ feathers. Fly home.’

Simon

I find myself the Associate Publisher of Gollancz with no clear idea of how I got here but fairly sure I enjoyed the journey. There was some college, a lot of bookselling and a bit of marketing along the way but that was a long time ago. I’ve been editing since 1991. I’ve always read SF, Fantasy and Horror but I’ve always enjoyed reading other stuff as well. I’ve published other stuff too but never had as much fun doing it as I have publishing genre books. I’m very happy doing what I’m doing; to the extent that I’ve been comprehensively ruined for doing anything else. Anything else may have got off lightly. I’m definitely more Arthur Dent than I am Takeshi Kovacs. But then if anyone in publishing tells you they’re like Takeshi Kovacs they are LYING.
  • Having once upon a time dwelt in the Holly Wood, and chanced upon a fair few such protuberant princesses (and princes), I can vouch for the veracity of the young fellow’s account.