Once upon a time... 

Well. There's an opening for you.

There are so many amazing tales - fairy-based or otherwise - that sometimes it's quite hard, when writing fiction, to work out whether you are having a glimmering of a new thought, or just rehashing a well-worn story you have hidden somewhere in your hindbrain. If you take the oft-professed theory that there are only seven basic plots within story-writing, there isn't a lot of room for manoeuvring, when it comes down to the wire, of 'what is this tale going to tell'?

War. Ambition. Betrayal. Lust. Vengeance. Hate. Greed. Loyalty. Trust. Magic. Friendship. Rivalry. Virtue. Redemption... they all have a part to play. But if we admit the truth to ourselves, in every 'once upon a time', two themes always carry the day.

Love - and Death. Whether it's the lovers dying, one lover dying, the good guys dying, everybody falling in love, nobody falling in love, everyone falling in love with the wrong someones, everybody coming a cropper, or (hurrah!) the bad guys getting the push - these two words carry power in every letter. 

Once upon a time, there was a young girl who wanted nothing more than to grow up and - 

But that would be spoiling the story.