It’s no surprise, we all know how popular fairy-tales are, even more popular are these classics reworked. Maybe it’s Disney’s fault for planting them in our heads when we were young. After all, pretty much all stories have been told in some way, so as writers our job is to make the story our own. Give the classic a brand that no one else can. Adventures, slow burn romances, love triangles- all recipes that we just add our own ingredients too.
But today, I’m talking exclusively about fairy-tales. Mostly because the novel I’m working on intermittently is me reworking a classic, yet mildly obscure, fairy-tale. I’ve always loved original Grimm tales. But the bar set by some of the more popular ones, like Hanzel and Gretel or Cinderella, was just too high for a novice like me. What fresh face could I give these stories?
I decided instead of trying to find a fresh take on these stories, it would be better to bring the world a story they hadn’t heard a dozen times. That’s when I found the story that would be mine, The Girl Without Hands.
When it started, it was a short story that I was having fun with. It’s of the dark humor coin, which I think suits most Grimm tales. I posted it on Scribophile, almost as a goof. But what happened after people red lined the shit out of it is that, I realized people liked it as much as I did. They wanted more.
I’m on my third expansion now, so it will be a bit before I get it on Scrib again. (I have a side project). But during this reworking I’ve changed more, and it has me thinking about fairy-tales in general. When you are retelling a story, what is the most important thing to keep? When you watch the newest versions of your favorites, what sells it to you?
Now, some Grimm morals, might be a tad outdated, but is only keeping the core of the story important? If your ingredients change the cookie from oatmeal to chocolate chip, does it matter? As long as it’s your own and your moral?
I know that sounds like a silly question. But people have their preconceived notions about fairy-tales, and they aren’t always crazy about us coming along and changing things.
It might not help that not everyone gets dark humor, but that’s for next post… The Satire Wrtier Who Didn’t Understand Satire 😉
Emily is a novice writer, she doesn’t have fancy mailing lists yet. But you can connect with her here for now =)