“Tale as old as time. Tune as old as song.” – Beauty and the Beast
Many of us grew up hearing fairy tales told the same way. There may have been some slight variation from one retelling to the other – for example, in the original Cinderella story the ball lasted for three nights instead of just one – but the essence and elements of the fairy tales always stayed the same.
More recently, I have noticed authors altering our beloved tales by deviating from the traditional outcome, moral, characters’ roles, etc.
Your writing challenge for the next two weeks is to choose a fairy tale and rewrite it in an original way.
Below are a few examples for how to “fracture” your fairy tale:
- Put it in a different time period.
- Switch the characters’ roles.
- Switch the characters’ genders.
- Cut or combine characters.
- Change the plot.
- Change the ending.
- Create a backstory explaining why the hero or villain is doing what he/she does.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Your imagination is the only limit to your fracturing abilities.
Below are a few picture book examples of fractured fairy tales:
Prince Cinders by Babette Cole
Falling for Rupunzel by Leah Wilcox; illustrated by Lydia Monks
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka; illustrated by Lane Smith
Little Red Writing by Joan Holub; illustrated by Melissa Sweet
This prompt was inspired by an acting project Brenda Eppley, one of my theater professors, assigned while I was earning my Associates in Performing Arts at Harrisburg Area Community College. My group’s story was Aladdin. We fractured the fairy tale by setting it in Chicago, making the Sultan the head of the Mafia, Jafar a dirty cop, and Aladdin a con artist. We further fractured it by making the Genie and Jasmine siblings. Jasmine wanted to take over the Mafia after her father, but he thought that his daughter should be innocent of the family’s illegal activity. The Genie, on the other hand, was the Don’s chosen successor, but he wanted to be free from his Mafia ties.