Day 3 – Naomi Kritzer Twists Fairy Tales

The Prompt

Think of a fairy tale you like. It can be a well-known one, or one that’s not well-known. (If it’s one you’re familiar with mostly from Disney movies, though, you should probably do a quick re-read of the original fairy tale, because those movies have been known to change a lot of stuff.) Now write a scene from that fairy tale, but reset in some way — you could move it to the present day, or the future. You could also move it to another culture (make sure it’s one you’re very familiar with) or find some other way to turn it upside down. Think about what the story is saying, and how that message changes when the story gets moved. 

The Author

Naomi Kritzer

 Naomi Kritzer’s novelette “The Thing About Ghost Stories” was a finalist for the 2019 Hugo Award; her short story “Cat Pictures Please” won the 2016 Hugo and Locus Awards and was nominated for the Nebula Award. Her YA novel CATFISHING ON CATNET came out from Tor Teen in November 2019.  naomikritzer.com).

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Leave a comment to let us know what you wrote about today, and how it went!

25 thoughts on “Day 3 – Naomi Kritzer Twists Fairy Tales”

  1. I wrote a little 50 word story today. Tomorrow should have room in it for a more expansive story, but I was happy to keep the storytelling gears turning.

  2. Love the twisted fairy tale. I always gravitate towards Hansel and Gretel so went with Little Red Riding hood this time. My little one runs into a tattooed man in the forest while she is trying to find something lost.

    It is always interesting for me to see what others have chosen.

    Amber Spark’s new collection of short stories has retells of her own versions. One from a French fairy tale called Donkey Skin.

  3. I chose Jack and The Beanstalk but I turned it into a story about Jack’s Tycoon father who owned several plastic manufacturing businesses that were collapsing due to the move away from using plastic. He challenged Jack to sell their assets to employ a scientist to produce a product to destroy unwanted plastic. In a bar in Germany Jack exchanged it for seeds which Dad threw away in temper. A vine grew from them which took Jack to another more advanced planet. He became educated and returned to earth with valuable knowledge.
    I can see this as a children’s illustrated book. Yay! I loved it!

  4. Twisty indeed! I just finished my piece for Day 3, so I know I am behind. I will be working on two prompts a day until I get caught up. That being said, I worked on this prompt yesterday and today. I wrote just under 2000 words about Red and her Granny. Granny can’t afford the rent on her apartment because the new property management company is raising the costs. So, Red moves Granny in with her. The problem is, Red is already living in a makeshift “apartment” she made in the shop she rents to run her contractor business out of. During the move, her friend Ramona the carpenter comments that everybody loves Granny’s cherry tarts. Red is inspired to find a new way to make more money to keep her debtor, Ms. Wolf from hunting her down. I feel like I could play more with the original story, but I’m pretty happy with my first draft

  5. I’m a little late, due to some IRL issues and the fact that this prompt for some reason was really difficult. I couldn’t figure out a fairy tale to choose, and I couldn’t figure out how I wanted the adaptation to go. It made me stuck for a couple of days.

    But I finally managed to write it (choosing Mulan), and I’ll try to write two prompts tomorrow and the day after tomorrow to catch up. Once I got to writing, it went really well, and I found it a pretty fun prompt to do.

    And mostly, I’m very happy that I managed to push through that bump. So thanks for the prompt!

  6. Catching up from yesterday, I wrote a flash fiction story based on my favorite fairy tale, Sleeping Beauty. In this version, Sleeping Beauty is awakened by a loud sneeze to find a masked prince who can’t kiss her because he has to stay 6 feet away. When she learns she’s been awakened during a pandemic, she has the three fairies put her back to sleep until it’s all over. Wishful thinking? 🙂

  7. Today was a difficult day. I’m on Facebook only on Sunday’s and even then, posts and articles tend to make me a bit wobbly. Usually a range of happiness hearing other’s news, and outrage at, well, other crap. So, it took a while for me to pull it together long enough to sit down and read the prompt.

    I’m glad I did! Got me out of my funk and into a fun scene from The Elves and the Shoemaker. Set in our time, Albert and Edna sit in their comfy chairs in front of the fireplace and come up with a plan. How to repay the elves. Since Christmas is a couple weeks away, Edna suggests buying clothing online from Patagonia because it’s well-made and ethically sourced, and they can have it shipped Express Post! Edna is a bit concerned though, because she doesn’t think Patagonia sell undergarments. Albert doesn’t like discussing undergarments, it’s a bit of a struggle for him. He suggests, perhaps, Amazon? Edna pulls over her laptop, fires up Firefox, and with a few clicks finds Patagonia’s website. She is a bit shocked at the total, and isn’t quite sure how to tell Albert. Grand total – $1,153.86. Poor Albert dropped his pipe and leapt to pick it up before it burned a hole in the carpet. Once he recovered from the shock, he agreed they owed it to the elves for their kindnesses. They did afterall, save Albert and Edna from bankruptcy.

    Well, that’s the gist of it. 612 words.

  8. I selected Snow White and then went back to read the original Grimm version (their stories are always more violent than the Disney versions). I chose the scene where the step-mother sends Snow white and the huntsman into the woods to kill Snow White. I updated the story to the current century and changed the name and culture to reflect the African American experience.
    I love fairy tales and it was difficult making changes to ones that I love so much. I managed to write a scene over 600 words, but it took lots of thinking to get it on paper. Good writing exercise.

  9. I was pleased with the slightly fleshed skeleton of a story based on Briar Rose I put together. It is set in a pandemic and the Briar Rose character is a lad who becomes infected with the virus and spends what feels like a hundred years in a medically induced coma.

  10. This is my favorite prompt so far. A few years ago, I wrote a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood and ever since have been playing with writing more retellings that intertwine with Red’s story. Today, I used this prompt to write a long scene (over 800 words) between Red and her friend Belle, to set up Belle’s retelling.
    Thank you for today’s prompt. I got to go back to a project I hadn’t worked on in a while, explore my characters more, write a keepable scene, and outline more of Belle’s story.

  11. I basically made a backstory to one of the characters I created for a Stardew Valley fanfic, using the Cinderella story. Cinderella already has multiple versions and twists as it was. I decided after the stepmother making life a living hell for her to have an arranged marriage in the works. The Prince Charming character would not appear here though. The mode of escape is where the Stardew Valley game begins.

  12. What fun! The prompt inspired me to crack open the collection of Grimm’s Fairy Tales that has been sitting on my shelves collecting dust. And it got me to revisit the Grimm version of both Sleeping Beauty and Snow White — neither of which remotely resembles the disney-fied versions I grew up with.

    I rewrote the scene in which “a king’s son” comes to awaken the sleeping princess — which was to happen whether or not he kissed her, according to the Grimm tale, because the curse was set to expire that very day anyway. Rather than be married and live happily ever after, the newly awakened and formerly sheltered-by-her-overprotective-dad princess convinces her father the King to let her go explore the world and seek true love on her own — an idea the prince fully endorses, as it’s not a princess he is looking for anyway…

    Something about writing in the modernized fairy tale genre was so much fun — the words just flowed. I may play around with some more fairy tale adaptations. Another day, another short story written — thanks!

  13. I wrote a story called The Three Little Cats a modified version of The Three Little Pigs story. It was fun.

  14. I am completing a 5,000 + word story entitled “The Frankenstein Effect” which expresses my fears of eugenics and tampering with human genetics whether for good or bad. Project Hera goes awry because this three month old child has developed into a full grown adult and is showing disturbing behavioral trends. The ending has a very “Flowers for Algernon” twist.

  15. Ms. Kritzer offered a prompt that got me thinking about favorite fairy tales and I realized I don’t really have one. But I liked tales that have geese in them, and eggs, and talismans, and pursuits. Through that lens I thought about my short story which is about long out of date salesman receipts that arrive at a corporation in 2020, that are water stained submitted by a salesman whose name one no remembers and are dated 1956. My protagonist will now pursue …. what might end up a wild goose chase (Shakespeare Romeo and Juliet) or produce a golden goose egg. Thank you for the prompt, Julie.

  16. I just finished writing 1,100 words divided among three scenes in my novel. Today’s prompt did not directly lead to the content of what I wrote, but indirectly, it sparked other ideas, so I am happy about that.

  17. This was fun. I chose Rapunzel and brought it up to date about modern slavery. Gosh fairy stories are brilliant. 500 words

  18. I have written an outline of a story based on Jack and the Beanstalk. Jack receives a visit from time travellers who give him ‘magic’ seeds in return for his old Ford Escort. Apparently they’re worth a fortune where they exist. The giant is the big bully of a man that has the girl that Jack is very fond of and the seeds grow into???? Ah, that would be telling. I had enormous fun with this. I can build on this for sure.

  19. 2,605 words, setting the backstory for a twist on Cinderella, based in India, with the main character being called Sunder-Ila. Sundar means beautiful and Ila means earth.
    We got to know the nastiness of the Stepmother, Rukhmani “call me Mummy”, and the twin stepsisters, Champa and Chameli!
    I quite like this… It may just develop into a whole retelling!

  20. Oh my, I really like reading fairytale retellings! Maybe this prompt will give me the push to actually write one!

    Thanks for the prompt!

    I’ve sat down to write a story on the May 2 prompt now, so I’ll get to this tomorrow 🙂

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