Fairy-Tale Retellings: Original, or Just Plain Lazy?

18 Nov

By Sarah J. Maas

~

Odds are, when you see the words “Fairy-tale retellings,” you’ll have one of two reactions: 1) Roll your eyes and groan or 2) Clap your hands and jump for joy. Okay, maybe No. 2 is a bit extreme, but as someone whose “To Be Read” list is overflowing with fairy-tale retellings, I get pretty excited about them.

In fact, I love fairy-tale retellings so much that most of my novels and short stories are retellings. QUEEN OF GLASS is a Cinderella re-imagining on an epic fantasy level. A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, another YA fantasy trilogy, is a retelling mash-up of “Beauty and the Beast,” “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” and “Tam-Lin.” A FARAWAY LAND, my adult fantasy novel, has an original plotline, but half a dozen fairy-tales make a cameo appearance. My short stories include “Chaperon” (a “Little Red Riding Hood” retelling), “Humbert” (a “Frog Prince” retelling), and “Why Not Me?” (a retelling of “Hansel and Gretel” from the witch’s POV).

So, obviously, I have a thing for fairy-tales. But a writer-friend of mine once remarked that people who do fairy-tale retellings are just being lazy. To phrase it lightly, I got really pissed off. I got pissed off for the same reason I get pissed off when people say fantasy novels aren’t “real” books. Writing both fantasy and fairy-tale retellings requires a huge amount of imagination and creativity. Huge.

Because, even though you’re retelling a story that wasn’t your idea to begin with, you have to make it original. You’ve got to make people believe in it, give people something they haven’t seen before. I’m initially drawn to stories with unanswered questions—stories with gaps in them, stories where the characters are pretty 2-D, so I can easily insert my own characters into their place.

Imagining the fairy-tale from a different angle is another way I’m called to write. Neil Gaiman’s short story, “Snow, Glass, Apples,” is a perfect example. A retelling of “Snow White,” the story follows the POV of the wicked queen, who is trying to rid the world of Snow White, who happens to be a vampire. This might seem TOTALLY out of left field, but think about it: haven’t you ever wondered why the wicked queen wanted to kill Snow White so badly? Fine—she was vain and jealous, but seriously: she destroys herself attempting to bring down this young woman! Casting Snow White as a vampire suddenly clarifies the story—it’s a creative answer to a question lingering between the lines. I bought it—and frankly, it made me unable to look at “Snow White” the same way again.

That’s what a good fairy-tale retelling should do: it should make you reconsider your preconceived notions of the story. But it can also go the other way: retellings can be a viewpoint for how we perceive our world. In Jane Yolen’s BRIAR ROSE, Yolen uses the story of “The Sleeping Beauty” as a lens for viewing a young woman’s Holocaust experience in a concentration camp.

Regardless of whether your retelling takes place in this world, or an imagined one, it’s your characters that ultimately make or break the retelling. Give us an awesome plot, yes, but give us human characters—give us the people we don’t get to see in the legends, give us a Fairy Godmother who is little more than a slave, give us a gay Cinderella (see Malinda Lo’s ASH). It’s the characters that will carry your retelling, the characters that will answer the unasked questions—the characters that can even make us believe that your version is the true one, and the original tale is just a watered-down version of your narrative.

But before you begin writing your retelling, do your research. For a good chunk of popular fairy-tales, Wikipedia offers a list of retellings/references/uses, and will often list novels that feature your fairy-tale. Read up on them; see what the author has done. There are certain retellings that are untouchable. “Swan Lake” is one of my favorite fairy-tales, but I know I can never trump the mind-blowing awesomeness that Mercedes Lackey did with her novel, THE BLACK SWAN. Nor will I ever be able to touch Arthurian myth, having read THE MISTS OF AVALON. But that’s just me: I don’t want to write anything unless I know it will be original and fresh, unless I have complete confidence that I’m bringing something killer to the table.

That being said, don’t be afraid when you see that other authors have done a retelling of your chosen story. If the story calls to you, write it. I’d wager it’ll be pretty different from that other author’s vision. That’s part of the reason why fairy-tales have survived: they’re eternal; they offer us a wealth of potential stories and unanswered questions. Fairy-tales speak to us; they touch upon our primal fears and hopes, our nightmares and joys. Don’t be afraid when a fairy-tale speaks to you.

And do me a favor: if someone tells you that you’re being lazy by writing a fairy-tale retelling, please hit them.

~~~

Sarah J. Maas is the author of several novels, including QUEEN OF GLASS, a high fantasy retelling of Cinderella. Her agent currently has her novel on submissions to editors. Sarah resides with her fiancé in Los Angeles. You can visit her blog here.

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53 Responses to “Fairy-Tale Retellings: Original, or Just Plain Lazy?”

  1. Cassandra Jade November 18, 2009 at 12:32 AM #

    Retellings are every bit as hard to write and write well as any other story. I don’t mind retellings as long as there is a point. There needs to be a significant reason for the retelling, either adding more depth to the story, updating certain elements, emphasising an undeveloped theme, it can’t just be the same story with a coat of paint. The same is true for remakes of movies really.
    And anyone who says fantasy novels aren’t real books has clearly never read one.
    Thanks for some interesting thoughts on writing.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 12:37 AM #

      Thanks! I completely agree–you’ve got to bring something to the table when you retell a fairy-tale…something that people haven’t seen before, or have never considered (like Snow White being a vampire). One of the great things about doing a retelling is that there are SO many incredible stories worth telling, and stories left untold between the lines.

      For instance, Shannon Hale was inspired to write THE GOOSE GIRL because she was curious about the random talking horse (who never speaks in the legend) that’s mentioned in the original story. Looking at a fairy-tale from an analytical perspective before you before writing about it is definitely a good thing to do–as is reading some critical work/studies on fairy-tales and legends. I love that kind of stuff. 🙂

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Rosie Gamble November 18, 2009 at 7:01 AM #

    Hey,

    I love fairy tale re-tellings, i will have to check out the Gaiman snow white it sounds awesome, he is a genius! What i wanted to know though was what is it in a a fairy tale draws you to re-write it, i know you mentioned seeing what others have done and i know about your feelings of cinderella being portrayed as a weak character, but for example why cinderella? Is it just because of her portrayal as being a weak character or was there something else that drew you towards re-writing cinderella in particular??
    Rosie
    xx

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:35 AM #

      That’s a really great question….It’s hard to explain what draws me to a fairy-tale–sometimes it’s just the sheer awesomeness of the story (like “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”), sometimes, it’s the unanswered questions lingering between the lines.

      With Cinderella, I was drawn towards retelling the story FIRST by listening to the Disney soundtrack/score–the music that plays when CInderella flees the ball is SO intense and scary, it felt pretty ridiculous. Like, why the HELL would these mounted guards with SWORDS DRAWN be chasing after this girl in a carriage? That question led me to imagine that Cinderella MUST have done something REALLY bad–like… assassinate the royal family. From there, I wanted to know WHO this Cinderella-Assassin was, who had sent her, how she’d gotten to the castle, etc. And thus QUEEN OF GLASS was born.

      Once I realized I wanted to write a Cinderella retelling, I understood that I had to do my research. So I spent close to four months reading, watching, listening to every version I could get my hands on. I learned about the history of Cinderella, learned about what had been done, or not done, with her before. The more I learned, the more I wanted to write, the more I wanted to answer the questions that I STILL had about her.

  3. Savannah J. Foley November 18, 2009 at 7:20 AM #

    Sarah, that was an excellent article! I’m all awash in excitement now to go read Snow, Glass, Apples! I always liked the Queen…

  4. svonnah November 18, 2009 at 7:40 AM #

    Okay, I just bought Smoke and Mirrors by Neil Gaiman off of Barnes and Noble (I had a gift card, thankfully). So excited to receive it!

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:38 AM #

      Hahaha YAY!!! It is SUCH an amazing retelling–seriously…I was SO horrified and delighted when I read it (which is one of the best combos you can be while reading)! Let me know what you think about it!!!

  5. rachelsimon November 18, 2009 at 7:45 AM #

    First off, great article, Sarah! You bring up some awesome points (and I’m writing this a bit too excitedly at 9:40 AM). Someone actually said fantasy books weren’t real books? Now as much as I open to other genres, WTH? …

    I think that’s also important to look at the fairy-tale (is it fairy-tale or fairy tale?) as a whole. Like you gave an example in the comments about Shannon Hale, she thought about the horse that never really plays a part in the fairy tale and decided to write based on that decision. I mean also Gregory M…I forget his name looks also at the different characters, just like Hale and Gaiman, and chooses less favorable characters and writes about them (i.e. Wicked, Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister, that new one about the Cowardly Lion, etc.).

    And nice add-in about BRIAR ROSE! 😛 I hope you get a chance to read it and let me know what you think. 🙂

    Again, great article and congratulations on it being your first!

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:42 AM #

      Awww, thank you!! I actually had a creative writing teacher in high school go on a 15-minute tirade to the entire class about how fantasy books weren’t REAL books…and this was in the MIDDLE of discussing my FANTASY short story! I was so angry that I STILL get angry just thinking about it. Ugh.

      WICKED was a brilliant, brilliant retelling (is TWoZ considered a fairy-tale by now?). It’s a great example of looking at unanswered questions and underdeveloped characters, and twisting them to create something that redefines the story, and makes you unable to look at the original the same way again.

  6. N.L. Mars November 18, 2009 at 9:20 AM #

    Hi, I want to tell you how amazing this article is. Every word of it is so true. I love fairytale retellings, and you have always been one of my favourite authors who have done this. Another is Gregory Maguire, as the person above said. I’m sure you’ve heard of Wicked, which has been turned into an internationally spread musical (I went to see it earlier in the year, and it blew my mind!). It’s about the Wicked Witch of the West, and how she’s not so wicked after all, just misunderstood because of her skin colour.

    Another writer that I absolutely love who retells fairytales is Lani Lenore on FictionPress. She adds a gothic/horror element to her stories, but makes it work wonderfully. She’s currently reposting her Nutcracker series, and it is amazing. I bid you to check her out.

    Anyways, thanks for the article, it has been a great motivator. 🙂

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:44 AM #

      Thank you so much!!! WICKED is a really great example of what I meant about looking for the gaps/holes/questions in an original story, and using them to create your own story.

      I’ve heard that Lani Lenore’s Nutcracker series was really awesome! I’ll have to check it out!

      Thanks again for the comment!

      • Nise November 18, 2009 at 12:24 PM #

        I would like to read about this nutcracker series.. Does anyone have the link?

    • N.L. Mars November 18, 2009 at 12:27 PM #

      http://www.fictionpress.com/u/142868/Lani_Lenore

      Just go down and find the story.
      It’s quite a thrilling read; so dark and frightening and WOW

  7. junebugger November 18, 2009 at 9:47 AM #

    This was a great article. I don’t think any writer of any genre should be called lazy because every story is original in its own way. In another perspective, NO story is purely original. We all get our ideas from somewhere.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:45 AM #

      Aww, thanks! Yeah, I get annoyed when people put down ANY kind of writing/genre, because no matter what you write, it requires SO MUCH hard work and effort. True–maybe writing a 1,000 page historical epic is a lot harder than writing about a young woman shopping her way through NYC, BUT I think every genre has its own difficulties, and people are sometimes all-too quick to insult them for it.

  8. Simon L. November 18, 2009 at 9:58 AM #

    Gregory Maguire’s made a tidy living out of doing exactly that, hasn’t he? Fairy tales are still read today because there’s something in them that people gravitate toward, something universal.

    Since there are no new stories anyway, and only new ways of telling the same story, why not retell fairy tales your own way? You’re just retelling a story everyone happens to know, as opposed to one that’s more obscure. I’d say you’ve a built-in audience at that point.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:49 AM #

      Haha, he’s made a VERY tidy living out of retelling fairy-tales! You’re 100% right about the no new stories thing–if you’ve ever read Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES, he explains about how most stories just boil down to one archetype myth…

      I’d written about 3/4 of the QUEEN OF GLASS trilogy when someone pointed me in Campbell’s direction, and it BLEW MY MIND when I read the book and saw that I’d unknowingly been following the exact formula of The Hero’s Journey. After that, I become obsessed with Campbell’s work, and learning to look at stories that cross over, and contain the same elements.

      Part of the reason I wanted to write A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, was because I was fascinated by how many similar elements “Beauty and the Beast,” “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” and “Tam-Lin,” had–and even more interested in where they diverged (or continued on, in some cases).

      Thanks for the comment!

  9. Sandy Shin November 18, 2009 at 10:18 AM #

    Thank you for such a wonderful post! As a fairy-tale addict, I have to say it irks me when people consider fairy-tale retellings ‘lazy.’ Writing a good fairy-tale retelling is just as difficult as, if not even more so than, writing any other form of fiction. Also, nothing is wholly original, and a good fairy-tale retelling is no more cliche than any good fiction novel out there, imo.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 11:53 AM #

      Thank YOU for the comment! 🙂 There are so many things to consider when doing a retelling–especially if it’s been “done” before, and how original YOUR retelling is by comparison. There’s also the worry that you might diverge TOO greatly from the original story, and make a retelling that people can’t even recognize.

      I personally love to layer my retellings with certain levels of knowledge–meaning, I like to have my overall/obvious retelling on one level, then I like to pepper the narrative with obscure references/retelling-ish mentions to the original story that only super-fans of the fairytale would recognize. It adds a little surprise for readers when they notice them (“Cinderella” is a story that is chock FULL of random-ass references that add up to nothing).

      Thanks again for the comment!

  10. Nise Tucker November 18, 2009 at 12:37 PM #

    Queen of Glass was the first re-telling id read. Actually, reading QoG is what made me seriously consider writing. I love how the whole world was so real. I reallywas lost in the serious for about two weeks. More so even then when I was on my Harry Potter kick.

    Any way, Im totally into this whole Fantasy genre and I say anyone who dislike retellings must dislike stories in general. I mean a book is a a story retold from an authors mind, with it’s twist turns and everything.

    Also as long as the retelling is different and orginal in a sense it becomes its’ own story.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 12:46 PM #

      Awww! Thank you! That is high praise indeed! And wow–more than Harry Potter?! You just made my LIFE!!! 😀

      Haha, yeah–I think people who dislike retellings, or who insult the fantasy genre–are just totally insane, and don’t know a thing about writing. 😛

  11. written November 18, 2009 at 1:01 PM #

    I think retelling fairy tales is really natural… I mean, that’s why it’s such an oral tradition, right? Because storytellers love working with the archetypes and making it their own.

    I feel like fairy tales and folk tales say a lot about where we come from and who we are, so it’s always really interesting to see how different people interpret them, like “mists of avalon” vs “the once and future king”, which are both wonderful retellings but written by very different people with different concerns.

    I loved reading this article, because I totally agree, and fairy tale retellings are the bomb.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 1:46 PM #

      I love the idea that I’m retelling a story that has been told generation through generation, across eras and nations. At the risk of sounding cheesy, when I’m doing a retelling, I feel intimately connected to the past–especially to the storytellers that have come before me.

      So glad you liked reading this! 🙂 Thanks for the comment!

  12. Gabby K. November 18, 2009 at 1:34 PM #

    I myself tend to enjoy retellings. I’ve only recently gotten into them, but I’ve found I really like them. I’m actually thinking of doing a retelling of the Pied Piper legend.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 1:47 PM #

      Ooh! The Pied Piper is SUCH an interesting legend–definitely one that I haven’t seen very many authors explore!! Fantastic idea!

  13. Em November 18, 2009 at 2:51 PM #

    It makes me so mad when people claim that retelling a fairy tale is unoriginal and lazy. It’s not. You take the bare bones of the story and you flesh it out further, and that can be very difficult. You have to add something new to it–otherwise, what’s the point of rewriting it? You don’t want to retell the same thing chapter-by-chapter.

    Another thing that people argue that is maddening is when they say that if the novel is deviating from the fairy tale canon, it’s no longer a retelling. Take, for example, retellings of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. This person I was talking about it with said this novel (I forget the name) was better than East by Edith Pattou because it adhered faithfully to the canon… I pointed out that if I want to read the story completely unchanged, I won’t go to a novel, I will go to the original storybook (complete with pictures, because the little kid in me adores the lovely illustrations.)

    I totally agree on some writers’ versions of the fairy tales being so awesome and epic I wouldn’t rewrite it. East of the Sun, West of the Moon has an amazing retelling, and I don’t think I could ever top them. Cinderella is another one that comes to mind.

    And oh my god, I love Neil Gaiman. He’s seriously amazing. I need to check that out as soon as I can.

  14. sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 3:09 PM #

    Yeah–I’m not usually a fan when people just give you a novel-length version of the fairytale. Though I DO admit that Shannon Hale’s THE GOOSE GIRL sort of did that, but I still loved it..she expanded on some pretty interesting aspects of the original fairy-tale, and her prose is so lovely that I enjoyed it from start to finish.

    And YES for illustrations! I recently read and adored Scott Westerfeld’s LEVIATHAN, and one of the reasons I loved it so much was because it had the most AWESOME illustrations every chapter.

  15. Acantha November 18, 2009 at 4:35 PM #

    Fairytale retellings are ❤ but it's true that sometimes, a person does get lazy with the retellings/doesn't do a good job writing it (*coughCindyEllacough*).

    And GAH, A Court of Thorns and Roses, I can’t wait until you get that one published. 🙂 Three of my favourite fairy tales retold by one really talented author. (:

    Just wondering, besides the ones you’ve listed in this post, what are some other fantasy retellings that you would recommend? *totally not needing something to read*

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 4:43 PM #

      Haha, I think the people who say that the authors who do fairy-tale retellings are lazy has CLEARLY read crappy retellings, and never any decent ones.

      I actually just finished editing Book 1 of ACoTaR, and not brag, but I really loved it, and was pretty pleased at how I ultimately wound up braiding all 3 fairy-tales together.

      As for recommended retellings…Check out anything by Robin McKinley–her DEERSKIN is a pretty decent retelling of “Donkeyskin,” and I love her retelling of Robin Hood myths (THE OUTLAWS OF SHERWOOD). Shannon Hale’s THE GOOSE GIRL is absolutely lovely…

      Thanks for commenting!

  16. flabuttandsing November 18, 2009 at 6:27 PM #

    You put those people in their place! I love how the retellings do exactly what you said–make me reconsider my preconceived notions about it!

    Fairy tales that make the jump from culture to culture often include different reasons, details, or POVs… in essence, a retelling 🙂 An author’s mind is just another world with another culture!

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 6:29 PM #

      Hahaha, thanks! 🙂 I love that: “An author’s mind is just another world with another culture!” <–awesome!!!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  17. mylasia November 18, 2009 at 8:49 PM #

    Ahhh, retellings are a notsoguilty pleasure of mine. Like you said, it has to be interesting and fresh enough though to really merit a read, otherwise I’d just go reread the original.
    Ever read the frog prince retelling where the girl gets turned into a frog too?
    I think its called…
    Okay, both the name and author’s escaping me now, since I think the last time I read it was in…sixth grade? xD I remember liking it a lot though. xP The cover’s plain pink with a frog on one of those little ring pillows. gah.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 10:07 PM #

      Isn’t disney doing the same thing with their Princess & the Frog film? They’re advertising it as a new twist, but it seems like that book already beat them to it! 😛

  18. mylasia November 18, 2009 at 8:50 PM #

    LOL. I found it. xD
    Thank goodness for amazon.
    http://www.amazon.com/Frog-Princess-Tales/dp/1582349231/ref=tag_stp_st_edpp_url

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 10:06 PM #

      Oooh! Thank you!!

  19. S Chou November 18, 2009 at 9:18 PM #

    Wow, you mentioned The Black Swan! It’s one of my favorite books ever and no one ever seems to know it exists. It’s probably one of the better retellings Mercedes Lackey has written since her other ones (the Elemental series) simply just flesh out the original stories a bit more instead of a different point of view.

    That being said, I think writing a good re-telling is probably harder than coming up with a completely original story. A re-telling has to conform to some expected plot twists, and you don’t really want the reader to notice it right off the bat, taking the suspense away.

    • sarahjmaas November 18, 2009 at 10:09 PM #

      Omg!! You know THE BLACK SWAN!!! YES! NO ONE i know has EVER read it!!! Siegfried is one of the hottest male characters ever, and Odile is a PHENOMENAL heroine! I adore that book, and it’s cover (and the dress Odile is wearing) is to DIE for!!!

      You’re so right about having to conform to the expected plot twists, and how difficult it is to maintain the suspense…a good retelling will keep you doubting if the author is actually gonna go the traditional route, or completely overturn the original ending.

  20. Vee November 18, 2009 at 11:58 PM #

    Haha, fairy tale retellings are NOT easy. I attempted to do the story of Troy as a YA novel a while back. It crashed and burned.

    Often, I find I just don’t have enough ingenuity to pull off fairy-tale retellings, though I like to have themes that are reminiscent of myths running through my story. My novel I’m currently querying, for instance, has this whole Orpheus and Eurydice plotline, though it’s very understated.

    Also, oooh, it sounds like there are some great books recommended in this post. Must read them. Great post 😀

    • sarahjmaas November 19, 2009 at 12:39 AM #

      Ooh–an understated Orpheus plotline!! I LOVE IT!!! 🙂 Your project sounds fantastic (from what I’ve heard/gathered about it from reading your LJ)! I hope that querying is treating you well!

      Thanks for commenting!

  21. Chantal Mason November 19, 2009 at 12:33 AM #

    Great article! To be honest, I’ve always found fairy-tale retelling one of the hardest genre’s to write in. When you’re writing your own original story, your reader has a completely clean slate on your world and will automatically buy into whatever you tell them about the world and the characters; with a retelling, however, you have to take a piece that is well known, and loved, and make it completely unique while retaining the essence of the story and characters people have grown to love: change too much, people won’t relate to it, change too little and it’s boring. It’s a very fine line, that as you’ve stated, DOES require a lot of reading, research, and creativity to pull off well.

    I loves me some fairytale retelling, boourns to whoever said they were products of laziness!

    • sarahjmaas November 19, 2009 at 12:41 AM #

      “With a retelling, however, you have to take a piece that is well known, and loved, and make it completely unique while retaining the essence of the story and characters people have grown to love: change too much, people won’t relate to it, change too little and it’s boring.”

      THAT is so true! There are a lot of pressures when doing a retelling–you’re always wondering if you’re diverging too greatly from the original, or not diverging enough!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting! 🙂

  22. priscillashay November 19, 2009 at 3:19 PM #

    This might seem a little cynical, but if you think about stories at their most basic level they are all pretty much the same. It’s the author’s take on the situation, the characters and how the character deals within the story that makes it original.

    And this post is really ironic because last week I stumbled onto a website that has a few nursery rhymes listed and their connection to history and how they were created. I was thinking about using a few of them in a story or making my own story on how they came about. o.o creepy.

    Oh! And last semester in my Intro to Creative Writing course, the professor told us to choose a fairy tale and rewrite the ending, continue the story after the happily ever after, OR write what may have led to the beginning of the fairytale. Fairy tales are being used in many places; retellings and creative writing exercises.

    • sarahjmaas November 19, 2009 at 5:32 PM #

      You’re totally right–and if you’re at all interested in story origins and stuff, you should read Joseph Campbell’s THE HERO WITH A THOUSAND FACES. He pretty much explains that all stories can be linked back to a single monomyth. His work pretty much helped/inspired George Lucas to create Star Wars.

      That sounds like a really cool CW assignment! I wish I’d had a CW class where we did cool stuff like that. 😛

  23. Lynn Heitkamp November 20, 2009 at 1:37 PM #

    And then there are people like me, who read “fantabulous” books like The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Marie Pope, without realizing until years later that the book they love has been based on a much older tale. (I’d never heard of Tam-Lin. I just knew I really liked Kate’s story.)

    • Sarah J. Maas November 23, 2009 at 1:13 PM #

      Oooh–I’ll have to check that out! I only recently became familiar with Tam-Lin, when I was looking for fairy-tales to weave into A COURT OF THORNS AND ROSES, and realized that it fit PERFECTLY into the novel.

  24. Schneider November 22, 2009 at 3:45 PM #

    This post is SPOT on. Retellings can honestly be some of the most thrilling stories told–or retold, maybe. :p That’s why I’m so excited for Jackson Pearce’s SISTERS RED.

    And QUEEN OF GLASS, of course. 🙂

    • Sarah J. Maas November 23, 2009 at 1:14 PM #

      Haha, thanks!! 🙂 So glad you liked it! I’m really excited for SISTERS RED, too!!!

      Though I’m a little more excited for QUEEN OF GLASS. 😉

  25. dismantledchildhoods November 26, 2009 at 6:59 PM #

    I concur! Have you read “Zel” or “Sirena” by Donna Jo Napoli? They are YA novels but they are pretty fantastic 🙂

  26. Cassandra December 11, 2009 at 10:14 AM #

    I have always been a fan of fairy-tale rewritings. Just about any out there. Since high school they have been some of my favorite types of books because you look at a simple story with an entirely different lenses. I’m sad that I missed your story when it was on fp, but I do look forward to reading it once it gets published, because it def. sounds incredibly interesting! I am currently attempting to do a modern adaption of Cinderella . . . which isn’t quite as awesome as looking at a classic fairy tale though different lenses or perspectives, but I’m still excited about the outcome of the story so far!

  27. Armith-Greenleaf August 19, 2010 at 6:42 PM #

    Keys: Filling in the gaps (because fairy tales always have humongous gaps) and give it a twist.

    This was very simple but effective, most of my apprehension over re-writing a fairy tale has gone up in smoke. It made me remember what I did when I wrote FanFcition: the cannon-universe was already established, but I could still work around or with it. All I needed was to address certain points the original didn’t, and give it my own version.

    By the way, the fairy tale I want to write about isn’t actually a fairy tale, it’s a ballet composition: the Swan Lake. (I should probably read the book you listed about it!)

    So all I have to do now is (besides the actual plot and characters, heh): research. I’m not setting my “Swan Lake” in the expected setting, and I’m hoping to give it a spin from there! Thank you. 😀

  28. Minaimo May 22, 2011 at 9:25 PM #

    Is there anywhere I can read Humbert? Or are you not posting that online?

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