A few years ago, whilst I was sat on the sofa watching television, the name of a character came to me. She would be the perfect parody of a well known fairytale princess. I started to map out a storyline, but something didn’t feel right. The notes went into the cupboard and I focussed on another project for a while. The notes came out again. I wrote a prologue. I liked it…but not enough. Back in the cupboard, the notes went.
Last year, the writers in my writing group asked if I would plan a session on fairytales. Friend and fellow writer Anna Fairtlough, suggested that we write the fairytale from a different character’s point-of-view or that we set the tale in modern times. With these suggestions in mind, I began the preparations. For our first session I chose a well-known fairytale, the very one I had been working on retelling. I re-read the original tale, made notes and came up with a list of exercises which I put to the group. For our second session, I asked the writers to select their own fairytale. Each writer chose a different tale and once more I set about reading, making notes and creating exercises for each tale. The sessions were enjoyed by all and my fellow writers produced some brilliantly innovative scenes and story ideas.
As for my own fairytale retelling – out came my dust-covered notebook, new life was breathed into an old story, and what was once supposed to be a simple parody of a well-known tale has now become something entirely different. Something…more.
Below are links to exercises I have devised, to help you with your own fairytale retelling. These are separated out by fairytale, and I will continue to add more fairytales to the list as and when I’m able to. I hope you find them inspiring and enjoyable.
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