The Retelling of a Fairy Tale (Dorlana Style)
I’ve been using fairy tales to inspire my paranormal short stories and novels for many years. Instead of a straight retelling of the classic tales, I love using them as a stimulus by borrowing elements, capturing the mood, or using them as a backstory, etc., to write contemporary interpretations. Sometimes I even use a formula: classic fairy tale + paranormal element = supernatural fairy tale. I also often add a fun challenge.
Here is a list of my favorite methods that I have used over the years for you to try:
- Have someone list all the words which they associate with a fairy tale and then write a story, using the fairy tale as your muse, but without using any of the words on the list.
- Add another element: I usually use something supernatural, like werewolves, mermaids, vampires, etc.
- Pick a genre (mystery, romance, sci-fi) before you read or reread the fairy tale you are going to use.
- Interpret the moral, and only use that for your story.
- Pick one of the supporting characters from the fairy tale and put that character in a predetermined setting or time.
- Use a picture/snapshot plus a fairy tale to write the story.
- Use one of the motifs ( love conquers all, jealous sisters, good vs. evil)
A while back, I received a comment on my short story, Forbidden Beach:
“I really enjoyed this tale but can see no relation to Thumbelina at all.”
These are actually the stories I’m most proud of. I love when the inspiration get absorbed into the rewrites. Sure, you can see the fairy tale in some of my stories more than others, but my goal is to write an original paranormal short story. Then, when I go to write a novel using my short story as a starting point, I have an unique plot-line.
And most of all, it can be a really fun challenge.
In my collection, supernatural fairy tales: fairy tale inspired paranormal short stories, I have 18 short stories and 13 poems using some of the methods described above.
If You Feed a Wolf – Inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. This is one of my favorites because it was experimental. I just let myself be free to write without a real plan. As far as what I took from the original story: it reminded me of how I feel in dreams – so some of the things that happen in this story are taken from my actual dream journal.
The Emperor’s New Clothes + vampires = The Vampire’s New Suit
Blueberry Eyes – I used method #6 and used a picture of steps leading to a bridge to boost my imagination.
The Gift – Inspired by The Ghost of Christmas Past from “A Christmas Carol.” This one was one of my favorites because I wrote the entire story backwards – line by line – It was my daughter’s idea to write it that way because I was stuck. I also like it because it is my first and only western – and it has a touch of steampunk and ghosts.
If it weren’t for Bad Luck – You see, I have this theory about luck, which I combined with Rumpelstilzchen.
Muse – This was an exercise we did in my writer’s group years ago. We gave each other letters they were supposed to be from someone in history and use that as inspiration. I added that to the fairy tale, Prince Ariel from, “The Fairy Tales of Madame D’Aulnoy.”
His Soul Inspiration – Inspired by The Little Mermaid, this tale is more of a mood piece and uses lines from the original story.
Jorinda and Joringel + mind reading = Quiet on the Nightingale
That’s a few of my stories and how they were inspired. The Supernatural Fairy Tales collection is in eBook and paperback on Amazon. Here are a couple of links.
Thanks for visiting my blog. If you write a story that has been inspired by a fairy tale, I would be happy to link to it from this page.
Love, Laughter and fairy tales,
- Posted in: Dorlana's Supernatural Fairy Tales ♦ writing
- Tagged: blueberry eyes, dorlana vann, fairy tale inspirations, fairy tale motifs, fairy tale short story ideas, how to retell a fairy tale, how to write a fairy tale, retelling of the fairy tale, supernatural fairy tales. retelling of fairy tales, writing life, writing prompts