I hope everyone enjoyed the special April Fools edition of Authors Answer last week. It wasn’t true at all. We aren’t writing those stories.
This week, we move on to some more creativity. Fairy tales are popular stories, many have been made into Disney movies (and changed so kids can actually watch them). But are we satisfied with how they’re written?
Puss-in-boots, with a neopanther.
In all seriousness, I think I already have. I was strongly influenced by Rudyard Kipling’s Mowgli stories. Rikki-tikki-tavi has some bearing on the last book of my current series. Does Kipling count as fairy tales?
Maybe a twisted version of Sleeping Beauty, with a vampire?
Who knows, not really my thing.
I think it would be interesting to cross Cinderella with The Count of Monte Cristo in a sci-fi setting. I might be in the middle of trying my hand at that, as a matter of fact!
On one hand, I don’t think I know enough fairy tales to comment intelligently. I will share that one my children once told me when she was about six that all stories are about coming home. I’ve never forgotten that. I think she is pretty damn close to being right if not in an absolute, literal sense, then certainly in science. Aren’t most characters really just trying to find a safe place where they are loved and can live in peace? When I think back to the fairy tales I remember, isn’t that what they are all about?
Hmmm… that’s a tough one. I’ve never been compelled to re-write a fairy tale before and I can’t think of a single one that could be improved upon. I think to change one just to suit my style would ruin it.
I’d probably just put all of Hans Christian Andersen’s glurge in a blender and make the recurring “death as happy ending” motif not actually happy, but instead the result of the troll mirror shards from “The Snow Queen”. (For anyone who doesn’t remember, the mirror splinters make people see only the bad and ugly.)
I’ve always loved The Little Mermaid. I wrote a short story, published in the Theian Journal, about just this very question. Expanding into a novel would be a challenge, but it could be done. Like Taking A Breather, it would be dark and violent, because that’s how I roll.
This is a hard question because I love fairy tales and would probably have fun rewriting any of them, to be honest. But I think that if I had to choose one I would go with Beauty and the Beast. I always loved the Disney movie as a child, but as an adult I’ve read the original version of the story and I think it would make an excellent novel, with perhaps just a few modifications. I would make it darker, for instance, by making the cruel sisters even more evil and the brothers violent brutes. I would also try to make the overall feel of the story more frightening, more horror-story-ish. What can I say? I love the pain and misery bits. Maybe I should consider talking to someone about that. 😝
I think I would rewrite “Sleeping Beauty”. Instead of Prince Charming waking her with a kiss, an average Joe wakes while hunting. She thanks him and goes to live with him but then a Prince finds out that she woke up so he goes to try to win her over Joe. From there it turns into a romantic comedy. In the end she leaves them both and goes off to be a queen on her own. But that’s not the end because this is a series. Now Joe disguises himself as a jester and Sleeping Beauty falls for this new jester but Prince Charming won’t let her. She is angry at Charming so she elopes with the jester only to find out his disguise. Since she’s the queen she can order both their heads be removed from their shoulders. But will she? (cheesy, I know. But it’s impromptu).
I’ve recently become interested in various firebird/phoenix stories, particularly the ones where people covet it but it brings nothing but bad luck. I like to anthropomorphize animals and natural forces as my world’s spirits and gods, so I would probably rewrite it as a firebird trickster luring the greedy and covetous to their demise, before being ensnared by someone who doesn’t covet it but whom the firebird itself wants to stay with. …Wait, why has this suddenly become a romance?
There are so many fairy tales to choose from, but I love the idea of Pinocchio being remade as a robot. Sounds like something else to add to my idea bank.
There are plenty I would love to re-vamp, and there are plenty I don’t even know about, but, off the top of my head, I would say Aladdin. Of course, I would mix some elements of fantasy with an urban or even sci-fi background/setting, and all my main characters would represent marginalized demographics in whatever intersection would be appropriate for them. Actually, if I wrote a fairy tale, odds are no one would even recognize it as such haha!
I’d like to change one to speculative fiction. I’m not very experienced with reading fairy tales, though. I don’t have much of an idea about what they’re really like, except that they’re usually darker and far more morbid than the Disney-fied versions. But how about a Japanese fairy tale? I’d like to change Momotaro, which I have read in Japanese. It’s a simple tale about a boy who was discovered floating down the river in a peach, and he grew up to be a strong warrior who fought against some demons. It’s a pretty short story, but if changed into a full-length novel, I’d make it a more traditional fantasy story, and he wouldn’t be accompanied by a dog, monkey, and pheasant, but different people based on those characters.
How about you?
If you could change a fairy tale and write a full-length novel, what would you change and how would you change it? Let us know in the comments below.