Writing a Fairy Tale Retelling

Who doesn’t love a good old fashion fairy tale woven into a story plot? This genre has stood against the test of time and spread across the globe by sharing culturally inspired tales. Writing a fairy tale retelling is another way for our stories to be shared.

Writing a fairy tale retelling is popular in publishing and film industries, but each story holds a unique aspect that connects it with the original roots of the fairy tale. Here is how you can make your version of a fairy tale memorable to readers!

Do Your Research
Start your writing journey by preparing for it. Brush up on reading original fairy tales. Most of them are a lot darker than the Disney versions that many of us have come to know.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t watch and learn from the Disney films. It’s a good idea to see and read the latest fairy tale interpretations by filmmakers and other authors. Examine what you think worked well and what didn’t in each fairy tale retelling, but be sure to add your own flair to the story.

A few helpful starting points in your search for information can include:

1. Read the original fairy tales: (Many fairy tales will be sold in a one book as a collection) One famous original fairy tale author is Charles Perrault. Doing a fairy tale retelling of one of his classics you know would be a great start.
2. Watch fairy tale movies: (Live action and animated movies are fair game!)
3. Watch fairy tales in their original language: (Don’t be afraid to watch a film in another language with English subtitles. It provides diversity to see it from another country’s portrayal.)
4. Delve into academic papers: (Many researchers have written countless papers about varying fairy tales. Need to know more about representing your characters accurately based on the culture they’re from? Or need a critical analysis of a fairy tale? A quick search on the Internet can lead you on the right path.)

Spin Your Retelling
The possibilities are endless when it comes down to ideas. Here are few different options when it comes down to writing the story.

1. Have a villain’s perspective: So many fairy tales are often told through the eyes of a hero, but what about the villain? The antagonist should be as complex as a protagonist and not be the simple mustache twirling bad guy. Imagine Disney’s Maleficent or Catherine in Heartless by Marissa Myer.

2. Change the setting: Swap the location of a traditional European tale and place it in places such as Africa, Asia, the Americas and other continents. Writing a fairy tale retelling in another country may require some research, but your work will only be better for it.

3. Alter the time period: Modern and futuristic retellings are sure to catch the eye! Beastly by Alex Flinn is a good example of modernizing the well-known classic fairytale of Beauty and the Beast while also diverting slightly from the original story line.

4. Add a genre: Mix-up your retelling by adding another aspect to your plot. Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter morphs Alice in Wonderland with horror in a story that resembles The Walking Dead.

5. Make a crossover: What would happen if Cinderella had a genie instead of a godmother? That’s up to you to decide how they would interact! Once Upon a Time and Marissa Myer’s Lunar Chronicles series does a great job in weaving in multiple fairy tales into a plot.

4 Responses

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