Friday, March 30, 2007

Bug Guy & Spider Gal: Sexy or Spooky?

Still vacillating between what to talk about in this post, I got a clear and present (though not so dangerous) sign. (I am a big believe in signs, in case you couldn’t tell ). A spider was calling down the inside of my sneaker. As if that wasn’t concrete enough, when I got home I found two hoppy-bugs (mix between a spider and cricket) dead in my bedroom floor.

So with those hints still fresh in my mind, I ask do you think bugs are conceivably sexy?

I had an idea to do a modern day spin on Arachne’s mythological tale. In case you don’t know the fable it goes something like this:

Arachne of Lydia boasted that she was a better weaver than Athena, the goddess of weaving (among other things). Athena appeared as an old crone and asked Arachne to repent her claim. Instead Arachne chose to challenge the old woman to a contest of skill. Athena shrugged off her disguise and wove a portrayal of her defeat of Poseidon, while Arachne’s depiction poked fun at Zeus’ leachery. Enraged by Arachne’s subject, Athena destroyed her competitor’s work and smot her on the head. Realizing the blasphemous way she’d behaved and remorseful for her actions, Arachne hung herself. Sorry for her part in the girl’s death, Athena changed Athena into the first spider, which forever weaves a web to catch its food.

In my version Henath, the mythological being, curses Penelope to find someone who finds her as beautiful as the masterpieces she weaves. Only when a man loves her for herself, will she be released from the curse.

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Enter my "bug-man", Alick Ziven, entomologist and video game addict. Who else could love such a bug? As I sit here watching CSI, with Gil Grissom sitting in front of his wall of bugs, I’m thinking good-looking, super smart, but is an Entomologist too analytical? And by the same token, is a spider heroine likeable? Admittedly I have no idea why I chose a spider for the heroine, since I’m afraid of them. (Perhaps a need to overcome my phobia by doing research?) But they do have a certain elegance that appeals to my artistic nature and convey a mysteriousness that relates to females' secretiveness.

Which of course means there’s a twist. By the curse, Penelope must give Alick a “little death” to keep her human form before the next full moon. The kicker is, if she kills him will she survive alone in a strange, modern world? And if she doesn’t, can Penelope settle for being loved as only a beautifully, rare arachnid?

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What if she’d learned Alick had fallen in love with spiders after watching Charlotte’s Web and that ever since he’d pictured spiders as people? Last weekend, I treated myself to the newly remade children’s movie and found myself touched by Charlotte’s plight (with only a creepy shudder or two). But imagine having Penelope convert from an eight-legged “bug” into human form in front of his eyes. That would be unforgettable, especially since she’d embody the object of Alick’s life-long love…an arachnid come to life. Linked together with a magical web of love, how can he keep from sacrificing himself to save her the pain of losing a normal life?

Is their love merely fanciful imaginings that need to be squashed by the realism of being able to sell the book? Or could readers warm up to this Cinderella, “fish out of water” type tale co-starring a nerdy prince among men?
Talking of princes, check out TIES OF VALOR’s excerpt, which gives you a glimpse of Prince Awyn Shandar. To get an eyeful of how the cover Gods portrayed him, stop by


Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Hmmm...of all the bugs I don't like, I'd have to put spiders at the top, but the concept is very cool. It might actually make people see spiders in a different light.

MK Mancos/Kathleen Scott said...

Puts a whole new spin on the "Black Widow" tale doesn't it?


Cassandra Kane said...

I'm a big fan of Charlotte's Web, even though spiders scare me silly. Really interesting concept! :-)

Skylar Masey said...

Thanks for your feedback ladies! Looks like I might have a green light to go ahead with WEB OF LOVE. Yeah, it's a kinda blah title, but maybe something fabulous will flit into my mind by the time I finish the ms (sometime down the road).

Cassandra, I love your pic. Is that you? Or from one of your covers?

Xandra Gregory said...

I like the idea! We've spent the last four days tracking a little house spider's adventures on my kitchen ceiling as he stalks a ladybug who keeps eluding him (he gets within a foot of her and she flies to the window).

But I hated Charlotte's Web. Still do. However, I love Spiderman.

And Grissom+beard=meh. Grissom-beard=teh_hawt

Skylar Masey said...

Here's the other picture I was toying with putting up in my article. But since the bearded Gil pic was almost exactly the shot I'd seen when I was writing the post, I opted for that one.

Lynda K. Scott said...

Wow, Skylar! What a concept! I have to admit, I think having the heroine as the spider would work--for me--better than having the hero as spider. (Spiderman notwithstanding; he never actually turns into a spider, right? Just leaps around in that gorgeous skinsuit :D)

Definitely go for it!

Skylar Masey said...

Thanks Lynda! Way back when I was a teenager and addicted to comics, Spider-man was one of my favorite heroes. So of course I was thrilled when they came out with the movies, and elated that they were good. (And my friend still gushes about how yummy Tobey Maquire is after being bitten by the radioactive spider even before he dons the skin-tight suit!)

And of course I must add, for all you true believers...Stan Lee is the man!! My bf gave me the "have you gone crazy" look when I screeched because Stan made a guest appearance on Heroes.