This is one of my favorite prompts of all time!
Re-write a fairytale
- TYou can find source material in Grimm’s fairytales, in collections of folktales, Aesops Fables, collections of regional tales, all kinds of places… Your own culture has fairytales. Your own family has “fables” that they tell. Steal without remorse. (Just remember if it’s not in the public domain you get into the messy territory of derivative rights and copyright law…)
- You can retell the story from the perspective of a side character.
- You can modernize the story.
- You can twist the fairytale and give it a completely different ending.
- Use any genre for this. A Cinderella story with a happy ending featuring a trans-woman? Go for it! Rumpelstiltskin, as Nick Sparks-style uplifting tale where the goblin is really a good-hearted social worker who saves the kids from a grim fate with their terrible parent? Sure! Want to turn the story of Beauty and The Beast into a modern-day slasher-pic? Be our guest!
Leave a comment telling us what source material you picked, what you did with it, and how it went. Or just post and let us cheer you on, if you’re flagging; celebrate with you if you’re still writing; applaud you if you’re getting back on the horse!
The theme of a story doesn’t always become clear to a writer until the story is written and revised (and often, ready by others and discussed).
Today, however, we’re going to turn that on its head.
The theme can be summed up as ‘the moral of the tale’, or a proverb, or the overarching lesson in a fable. Let’s take a well-worn proverb and construct a new story to illustrate it.
Choose A Theme And Write A Story That Illustrates It
- The danger with starting theme-first is that stories can get preachy. Remember to base your story firmly in the character (unless you’re being intentionally experimental).
- There’s no need to explicitly quote the moral or proverb you based your story on.
- Try to go wa-ay beyond the first idea suggested by the theme/proverb you pick (no frogs carrying scorpions across rivers, please). Dig deep for a different idea. Try lots before you settle on one.
- Use the theme less as a lesson for the reader and more as a guidepost to keep you on the right track as you write.
- Don’t think I’m telling you to start theme-first with every story you write. Use this as an experiment to see what happens, what changes, when you start writing with a fixed theme in place.
- If the theme is constraining your story too much, throw it out and follow the story where it wants to go (post about this in the comments or the community, if it happens. I’d be interested.)