When I was writing the novellas in the Once Upon A Princess Trio, there were many reasons I wanted to write fairy tale retellings. Here are my top ten.
1. There are lessons to be learned – Fairy tales can warn us about the perils of being self-centered or cruel to others. Or they can be stories showing us how good can triumph and bad things can be overcome. They teach lessons about getting along in the world.
2. They have magic – That’s one of the best parts! There’s usually an enchantment, a curse, or some sort of spell at the center of the story. This adds an element of uncertainty and imagination – what will happen when the normal, everyday rules no longer apply?
3. Royalty – Not to say that every fairy tale has a royal family, but they are part of many of the favorite ones. And of course, that means that a Prince (or Princess) Charming will enter into the events at some point.
4. Imperfect characters – In fairy tales it’s okay if the characters make mistakes or aren’t perfect people when they start out. Maybe Sleeping Beauty’s parents should’ve invited all the fairies to the castle after their daughter’s birth. And maybe Jack could’ve behaved a bit better after climbing the beanstalk. But without those conflicts there would be no story.
5. They’re for children and adults – Fairy tales are popular books to read to children, but adults love them too – which is why retellings are so popular. They are timeless stories that you can read at any age and still enjoy the experience.
6. They describe journeys – Often the main character is invited to take some sort of journey – whether it’s into the forest or to a world much different than their own. Journeys are key for characters to learn and grow, which is essential for the character arc.
7. Transformation – Usually characters will have a transformation of some kind. Like when the beast becomes a man, or the heroine transforms from mermaid to human – they move from one form to another. And in their new form they may have a chance for the life they’ve always desired.
8. They can have different meanings for different people – When I was researching fairy tales for my novellas, I was surprised to learn the origins of Beauty and the Beast. One version was written in France in the 1700’s and was said to reflect the anxieties of young women who might not know what to expect in marriage. Would their betrothed be a beast or a charming hero? These stories can be interpreted in many ways depending on the reader.
9. They’re popular all over the world – Another good thing about writing a fairy tale retelling is that the basis of the story is known to most people. No matter the culture or the country, there probably is a similar story that the reader knows. You don’t have to do a lot of explaining because the characters are like old friends (even the not-so-nice characters) and readers enjoy meeting them again and again.
10. The HEA – True, not all fairy tales end with a “happy ever after,” but it’s nice when it happens. For me that is the best part – knowing that whatever the characters have endured, they will have their deepest desires come true. In the Once Upon A Princess novellas, the characters find true love and can finally be happy.
That’s why fairy tales are tales worth telling. We can be certain that things will work out in the end and we can share in the happy ever after.
Read more about the Once Upon A Princess Trio
This post originally appeared on Andi’s Book Reviews