After the ‘Fairy Tale Quiz’ illumination, and now I know you know so much about the world’s most meaningful yet strange traditional tales, how about having a go at penning and showcasing your own?!
Everyone can take part. Parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends, neighbours and if you’re one for talking to animals, even your pets could help out.
- You could recreate and put your own stamp on a classic tale, a famous fable or folklore story, with a modern-day twist.
- Or you could create your very own original fairy tale following the fairy tale rules (which I will explain shortly).
- Maybe you could write yourself into the story, use local or familiar locations, or twist the tale to relay a personal interest in a unique way.
- You could even mix-up characters from different fairy tales, to bring them together in a new story, like they did in the musical ‘Into the Woods’ – wonderful film and show if you ever get to see it.
- Again… there will be prizes.
- The winning story and three runners up will be announced and published on July 17th July 2020.
From ‘kissing a few frogs’, to simply ‘finding our happily ever after’ all of us, including grownups, delight in reading, watching and singing these fantastical tales. Modern and grownup rom-coms mirror these stories, which we all fell asleep to as children, not to mention them highlighting the real-life excitement we all feel when it comes to any kind of royal wedding, especially here in England! We are all clearly still hooked. We can all relate to them. Especially when the stories gets down to the more troll and ogre-packed realities of daily life.
So, what do we need to do to create our own fairy tale? Well, all fairy tales include certain basic elements or, for the purpose of this competition, ‘RULES!’ There are certain rules that you should try hard to follow to gain extra marks from the judges.
Rule 1: Begin with ‘Once upon a time,’ ‘Long ago,’ or ‘Once there was a’ – so no real ‘time’ or ‘era’ is fixed.
Rule 2: The story takes place in a faraway land.
Rule 3: Things tend to happen in threes and sevens in fairy tales (three bears in Goldilocks, three wishes in Aladdin, seven dwarfs in Snow White)
Rule 4: Wishes are often granted.
Rule 5: There are often otherworldly characters such as dragons, fairies, elves, giants or talking animals.
Rule 6: There are magical elements such as magic beans, fairy dust and rings, harps, a wardrobe, or even surviving being swallowed whole by a ‘big bad wolf’!
Rule 7: A difficult problem is solved at the end of the story – as with most stories.
Rule 8: There is a wedding and often royal characters such as kings and princesses.
Rule 9: Good triumphs over evil.
Rule 10: The story ends ‘happily ever after‘.
Extra support on how to write a fairy tale
1. The hero
The hero is usually someone humble, innocent, or kind-hearted. As you talk about familiar fairy tales, point out how the ‘good’ character is someone the reader cares about—the hero of the story!
Examples: Aladdin, Snow White, Rapunzel, the Three Little Pigs
2. The villain
There is always someone who has wicked intentions in a fairy tale. This is the villain and the villain teaches the reader one of life’s most important lessons – that there are wicked people in the world. I believe it’s not always helpful to let children believe the world will always go their way and be easy or that every person has good intentions. The villain will usually want to control or harm the main character because they either want something they have, or need to get rid of them to gain power. They usually have magic powers to do this.
Examples: Jafar in Aladdin wanted the princess and power, Ursula in the little Mermaid wanted the mermaid’s voice, Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty wanted revenge for being banished.
3. The magical element
Most fairy tales include a magical ingredient. Choose a character to befriend or guide your hero, or add a magic element that helps your hero and enchants your story. This could be including those magic numbers of three or seven.
Examples: Fairy godmothers, genie in a magic lamp, three wishes or enchanted objects.
4. The faraway land
Where your story is set is very important. A forest could be a tranquil setting with woodland creatures and patches of sunlight in a grassy clearing, or it could be sinister and dark forest with nocturnal carnivores lurking about.
Examples: under the sea, a forest, castle, tower, cottage, garden, caves or deep in a mine. It’s your world – so you choose.
5. The lesson
A fairy tale usually teaches us a lesson about good conduct or good character.
Examples: loyalty, bravery, kindness, integrity, hard work, sacrifice
6. The challenge
Your hero will need to face a challenge. They might be on a quest where they have to overcome obstacles to get to a destination. There may be a character to rescue or a curse to break, or the main character may need to find true love.
Examples: Snow White must stay safe from the evil queen, the giant wants to eat Jack, true love will break the Beast’s spell
7. The happy ending
It isn’t a fairy tale without a happy ending! How is the challenge resolved? What leads to happily ever after? How does the villain get what is coming to him?
Examples: The glass slipper fits Cinderella’s foot, the Beast turns back into a prince, the Ugly Duckling turns into a lovely swan
Fairy tales make it clear to the reader that this isn’t the real world. The characters are unfamiliar and otherworldly just as the far away land is… but the problems and feelings the characters face are often very real. Fairy tales are a bit like ‘social stories’, which help to reiterate important life lessons such as, those around behaviour, and basic morality, giving children a way to imaginatively and safely live and experience certain real-life problems. It helps them to understand some really confusing and difficult feelings that they may struggle to articulate. And yet, these happily-ever-after stories are so reassuring and ever so hopeful, showing us that somehow, no matter how dire the situation or problem is, everything will be alright in the end.
I’m not interested in spelling or grammar – handwriting or sentence structure. What I am interested in is creativity and imagination, plot and story. I want you to make me feel part of your tale, to grip me and teach me. So, doodle and google, write-freely and most importantly have fun, be playful and light. For all storytelling is communication and good communication is the fuel for life.
Happy Writing and Good Luck!