“There once was a man from Venus, that had a massive… ” No wait, that’s limericks!
Fairy Tales really are the ancestors of modern stories. They usually had a moral theme and were designed to teach valuable life lessons to kids.
Little Red Riding Hood – Don’t talk to strangers
The Emperor’s New Clothes – Even the rich are gullible.
Hansel & Gretel – Don’t trust strangers
Little Mermaid (original not Disney version!) – self-sacrifice earns you a spot in heaven
The Red Shoes – be careful what you wish for.
Little Match Girl – Keep warm or you’ll die?
Fairy Tales were written in a very special way as, not only were they passed along in book format, but also orally as folk tales by story tellers.
Through the years these old tales have been morphed into more ‘happy ever after’ versions where no one dies or gets eaten, so it could be debated whether or not they still serve a purpose other than for the entertainment value. After all, if there are no consequences is there still a teachable lesson?
Have a look a Wikipedia at the authors of some of the more famous Fairy Tales: Hans Christen Anderson, The Grimm Brothers, Madame d’Aulnoy and Charles Perrault and follow links to read some of the original texts. If you are going to write new Fairy Tales then starting at the source will stand you in better stead than watching the latest Pixar or Disney movie.
Most publisher call outs are either looking at horror twists or the romantic elements in Fairy Tales so I’d advise sticking to these genres for now – although if that creative wind blows you in a different direction, don’t fight it!
Try to avoid re-writing it blow for blow as that kind of falls into the lap of plagiarism. Instead read the tale, write down the major theme, characters and plot points – then mix it up a bit. Maybe Snow White was a vampire that the Queen was trying to save the kingdom from. Perhaps the glass slipper in Cinderella was code for a torture device. Or maybe Hansel & Gretel were robbing the poor witch’s house and, by new UK law, she was allowed to use deadly force on them to defend her property! The possibilities are endless! So dig in there and re-craft these classics to translate to modern times with twists and turns.
Let me know what you come up with and leave a comment here…
Now monsters and myth go hand in hand with Fairy Tales, so next blog will we talk about all those pesky common ones and also cover the ones that seem to have been forgotten about.