Top 5 Tips for Fairy Tale Retellings

By Kayla King, editorial assistant for Harlequin Nocturne

I’ve always loved fairy tales, but it’s no secret that some of them haven’t exactly aged well. And while there are a lot of fairy tale retellings out there, some of them make the mistake of just running over the same old ground.  Here are my top five tips for refreshing your favorite stories and making what’s old new again!

1. Switch around the roles we all know so well. For instance, someone who was a hero before might now be a villain, and the villain just might be the hero or at least an unexpected ally.  This is an obvious switch, but depending on the story, the results can be surprising.

2. Consent! It doesn’t have to be done in a big way, but I breathe a sigh of relief when a fairy tale with some fairly dark implications suddenly has proper conversations about sex.  And protection.  Talking about sex is good!

3. Secondary characters neglected in original stories can be pulled out of the woodwork and made interesting. There’s a lot of sleeping potential there just waiting to be woken up.

4. Do a total setting overhaul. You don’t have to stick to any one time period or place.  How many fairy tales have been rewritten into modern day New York Cinderella stories?  Maybe too many.  See what’s out there and come up with something that really excites you.

5. Show the characters really falling in love. The war against insta-love is endless and this is your chance to rewrite history.  Have them learn things about each other and see them for what they are—complex people.

Which fairy tale would you love to retell? Let us know in the comments!