Fairy tale tropes found in The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I was reading the Holocaust book about a tiny kid of a Nazi who befriends a tiny imprisoned Jewish kid a few days ago, and was struck with the fairy-tale style it was written in. Apparently, it’s marketed as a fairy tale, too. I whipped up a few pointers on aspects of the writing that influenced the general feel, in case I ever feel like stealing it for my own fairy tales. All examples are from chapters ten and eleven, for those following along at home.

1. Capitalizing important phrases. “My sister is a Hopeless Case.”

2. Simple emotions starkly stated.

3. Confusingly simple and possibly lengthy chapter titles. “The Dot that became a Speck that became aBlob that became a Figure that became a Boy.” “Shmuel thinks of an Answer to Bruno’s Question.”

4. Clear connections reasonably stated, with both flaws and flawlessness obvious.

5. Blatant centrism: “my experiences are the right ones.” Tiny kids and Nazis have this in common.

Summation: be both confusing and simple at the same time. The resulting insta-childish feel makes for a great fairy tale style.


Movie Poster Taglines

Poetic Justice is the title of an comedy action movie that I’m writing, directing, and acting in. It’s slated for a December 2012 release. It details the adventures of a crack team of famous poets — Will Shakespeare, the team leader; Robert Frost, his second-in-command and the heavy hitter; Edgar Allen Poe, the cloak-and-dagger emo; and Emily Dickinson, who punctuates poetry with dashes and the battlefield with bullets. They must reconcil with the Bronte sisters in order to take down the rising Grammar Nazi threat.

The concept came to me in the form of one joke that I realized would look funny as a movie poster: a picture of a snarling, burly Robert Frost, wielding an axe with the tagline “He makes all the difference” superimposed above him. I eventually composed almost four pages of jokes related to famous poets and action movie tropes, and wrote a script that crammed in practically all of them. This blog will function as a production diary as we work on turning the script into a reality. Here’s the first preview of what’s in store: a list of proposed taglines for a series of 7 character posters. With luck, this blog can also give you the real posters in another few months.




Robert Frost: “He makes all the difference.”


William Shakespeare: “He has a lean and hungry look.” Alt. version: “The Unkindest Cut of All.”
Edgar Allen Poe: “Friend… or Poe?”


Emily Dickinson: “Don’t correct her punctuation.”


Lewis Carroll: “Injuriouser and injuriouser.” “Off with your head.”


Full Cast: “In 2012, all the world’s a stage.” Alt. version: “They’ve got a poetic license… to kill.”


Grammar Nazis: “You Make Them Sic.”
Possible bit to put in tiny print at the bottom of the poster: Coming in Winter 2012. Warning: May Contain Elements of Style.