I can’t post it here, so I will give this link… The Lady of Shalott - Alfred Tennyson
I was wondering, what story would you have, if based on this? I imagined a farmer marrying a princess, after merchants came about with a hero, looking for her hand.
It’s a romantic ballad, or maybe a tragic romantic ballad - so I would take those themes and create something that harks back to the romantic era.
It’s also about isolation, so I’d probably keep that aspect, that can be a powerful subject to work with in contemporary terms too.
It might be seen as a little bit outdated in terms of what people want to read about today, so maybe I’d take the female protag and make it so she breaks her curse using her own cunning and intelligence. Maybe she uses the tapestries she’s woven to decipher a break.
It's odd, but the version you linked left off the last stanza which has always been my favorite. After the knights of Camelot have seen her in the boat, they are filled with fear, all except for Lancelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, "She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace,
The Lady of Shalott.
I think the real story would have to focus on the of the curse, and the reason for it. A weaving contest with some supernatural creature which The Lady won and thus was punished? I sense the tapestry she was working on had some magical significance beyond a mere work of the weaver's art. Perhaps the original weaving before the curse was more of a creation of a world rather than a reflection of it. Imagine if the contest was between two such creators, who wove the reality of two created worlds and the loser was condemned to copy the winner's world endlessly...
And then there's another angle, which occurred to me while walking the dog this morning (always a fruitful time).
Suppose you had a young woman computer tech who designs games. Say she's built up this whole medieval world with an avatar of herself who lives in a tower and creates the world on her magic loom (nudge nudge). Then in the RW she espies this gorgeous male, long curly dark hair, the works...and she puts an avatar of him in the game world. Gets to mooning about him, jealous of other women who have real boyfriends, decides to approach the RW male and is rejected. Big time. What is left but suicide? Unless there is a way for her to actually enter the Game World...in any case, her avatar in the game world cannot exist without her RW presence, or she herself cannot live in the GW as a real person, so in the end she dies and the curse is fulfilled.
If i was to write something I on this, I would want to keep the sadness and longing that comes from being able to see a world, and never be in it.
I might expand it past her tower, that she was just invisible among people. It might be cool if Lancelot is able to see her, but has a different kind of indifference...he's pining after Guinivere after all. I'd also end it tragically.