Writer’s Reveal – Writing Fractured Fairy Tales

Writing fractured fairy tales

It’s that time again, Writers Reveal. I’m a bit more organised this time around, scheduling this post before I go on holiday at the start of October!

This time, Ashley from Ghostnapped has set the topic for me: blog about what it takes to write a fractured fairy tale.

Here goes…

Most of the fractured fairy tales I’ve written lately have been flash fiction. This means they are generally around 500 or so words, so not really long enough to tell the whole story.

Here are the steps I generally take when writing a fractured fairy tale:

  1. Choose a fairy tale and read a traditional version – I hit the library quite a bit for anthologies and stand alone stories. Even if I know the story, it helps to refresh my memory about it. Generally I pick a kids version of the story as I just need a general outline.
  2. Ask “What If…” – I pick one area of the fairy tale and ask what would happen if something else happened. For example, in The Princess and the Pea that is in Teapot Tales, I asked “What if the princess decided that she really wanted a good night sleep instead of tossing and turning all night?”
  3. Write the story – Sometimes I get an idea after asking What If and the story doesn’t work. I don’t know that it doesn’t work until I start writing. Sometimes the story works out great.
  4. Edit and tweak – Once it’s written, wait a bit and then edit and tweak. Little things are important – like making sure the name you’ve given the princess is the same the whole way through!

I have the most fun with point 2. Recently I’ve asked:

  • What if the Wolf in the Three Little Pigs has hayfever?
  • What if the handsome prince in Cinderella is a clutz?
  • What if Snow White has fructose malabsorption and can’t eat apples?
  • What if the prince in The Frog Prince is actually a frog prince and not a prince that’s been cursed by a witch?
  • And more…

The fun thing about fracturing a fairy tale is the bones of the story already exist and the story has been retold many times and in many different ways, and this is my chance to tell it in a new way.


For more Writer’s Reveal Posts, check out the blogs of some of the other writers involved:

Writers Reveal


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  1. Josefa @always Josefa says:

    What a great way to dissect a fractured fairy tale. I love fairy tales, I think the message they share and the beauty in which they do so, is unrivaled in many modern day stories. Hope you enjoy your holiday xx

    • Thanks Josefa. We had a wonderful time away – been back for 2 weeks now!

      I’m enjoying rediscovering fairy tales, great fun to read 🙂

  2. Oh I’d love a clutzy handsome prince, would make him so much more human.

  3. Oh man, I can’t stop thinking about it now. What if The Bears had wanted to adopt a curly-headed girl before happening upon Goldilocks? What if Cinderella had just turned up to the ball in her rags? Great post, and great prompt.

  4. Fracturing fairy tales sounds like fun! I could probably spend hours just on Point 2. “What if” opens up so many possibilities for a story! I love getting lost in all the ideas! 🙂

  5. I think it’s so much fun to rethink well loved tales. And I love to read them. Your Teapot Tales were fantastic, and they’ve inspired me to try out something similar. There’s so much fodder in these old tales.

  6. Thanks for sharing this process, I might give it a go next time I am stumped for something to write when I have writing time

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