Why I Retell Stories


As a writer, I’ve been working to find my niche, the area where my writing falls. I work on fantasy and historical, but would also like to write contemporary and mystery stories. I’ve landed on the conclusion that I like to retell classic stories.

Now, as one of my professors is fond of reminding us, there are no new stories. Every story has elements of previous ones. What I’m talking about is retelling fairy tales and other classic legends like Robin Hood and King Arthur. I love taking an old, well-loved story and bringing it to life in a new way. The challenge is finding a unique angle, a new twist on the story. It’s a difficult but rewarding experience.

Let me walk you through my process. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m working on a book that is based on Cinderella. I was first inspired to write it when watching the musical version of the story when I was struck by a thought: What if Cinderella didn’t want to go to the ball?

It was such a different idea that I had to write it down. Over the next few months I mulled it over. Why wouldn’t she want to go to the ball? Is it because she doesn’t want to get the prince? Because she is happy with her situation in life?

So that’s how the idea formed. It grew over time. I had to figure out why my Cinderella didn’t want to attend the ball. In most stories, she was the orphaned daughter of a nobleman who was forced into servitude by her evil stepmother. In my story, her titled father tries to control her and her stepmother is quiet and gentle. She is independent and wary of other people.

I’ve heard story ideas described as ingredients rather than seeds, and it’s a comparison I like. A lot of people seem to think that ideas just need to be planted and watered in order to flourish, but in reality, you have to combine various ideas in new ways to get a creative dish. It’s more work than inspiration.

I hope you’ve enjoyed a peek into my creative process.

Until next time fellow wonderers!

3 thoughts on “Why I Retell Stories

  1. I like the idea of stories being made of ingredients rather than seeds. I’ve never heard it put that way before, but I think you hit the nail on the head!

  2. Nicely done! I love having a peek into your process. I wonder how many times I think of something (like your question about Cinderella not going to the ball), but I don’t think of it as an ingredient I could use for something more. I think I need to become more AWARE. Nice reminder!

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