Twisting a Tale

Thursday’s Bite

a paranormal blog

I grew up on fairy tales. I should say I ate them for breakfast lunch and dinner. It could almost be true. I read every book our small school library had, as well as our four collections at home, over and over and over. Why? Because most young children’s literature of the time was based in reality, not fantasy.

As I came of age there were new fairy tales to discover. Science fiction and fantasy authors twisted tales in weird ways and published them in eclectic anthologies. The wide world of romance expanded to include time travel, witches and monsters. And finally the two combined to make the twisted fairy tale romance.

My novella, Little Red Riding Wolf, is just that. And it’s not just a twisted fairy tale romance, it’s also a modern day fairy tale. Set in today’s Colorado Rocky Mountains, Red is a girl for the modern age who deals with cell phones and internet as well as the complications of a Romeo and Juliet love affair with a human. Oh, did I mention Red is the wolf?

Taking an old cautionary tale of “beware of strangers” and twisting it into a modern day tale of “strangers can be fascinating fun” is what modern day authors are doing all over. If you haven’t watched ABC’s Once Upon a Time, you should. ABC is doing what paranormal romance authors love to do, taking an old dog and teaching it new tricks.

That’s what authors do anyway, we’ve all heard that there are only so many plots in the world and they were all discovered by the Greeks. Everything we do today is a twist on something someone else has already done. Taking a cautionary tale, like Little Red Riding Hood and morphing it with Romeo and Juliet in a modern setting is one way. What are some others? What are your favorites?

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15 Comments

Filed under fairy tales, Thursdays Bite

15 responses to “Twisting a Tale

  1. I’ve had a Red Riding Hood twist in my head since before I admitted I wanted to write, then thought I couldn’t possibly write it because someone beat me to the punch. Then someone else, then someone else, then someone else, and now the great Jessica Aspen! But if I learned anything from the Campaign Challenge, it is this: one line or idea in the hands of many writers leads to very different stories.
    I’m enjoying Once Upon A Time, too, but tho I like the concept of Grimm, I gave the series 2 episodes to catch my attention and couldn’t get into it. Pan Am, on the other hand…

    • We’re still watching Grimm, and Pan Am. Although I’m wondering if the spy thing will wear thin very quickly. Loving Once Upon a Time though! Hope it sticks around.

      I would love to see Little Red Riding Hood a la Sherry Isaac. That would be very cool! Maybe in your next anthology?

  2. I haven’t watched Once Upon a Time, but it sounds like a good one. I just had a rather twisted thought at your question. Maybe Anita Blake’s story (Laurell K Hamilton) is a variation on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Snow lives with several men at one time who are all very different and in love with her. Okay…that was really random and kind of icky. I’m a big fan of Anita Blake- esp. the first books in that series.

    • I too am an Anita Blake fan. Never thought of Anita as Snow White though. 🙂 And I agree, the first few books are my favorites. They focused more on the mysteries and the suspense, than the interpersonal relationships and the umm “other stuff”. Still, I love Laurell K. Hamilton and her Meredith Gentry series really caught my attention. Love the new way she presented the Fae (they are burning hot on the hot scale too!).

      • I’ve only read the first book in the Meredith Gentry series. So. you like those better than vampire/shapeshifter/whatever other evil Laurell could think up ones? I told you the thought above was RANDOM. Anita’s really not Snow White. Snow was very innocent and Anita was…well…not. Yes, I loved the mystery and action in the first books. I also loved the sarcasm and comedy of the first ones. And then there was the Jean-Claude thing. *sigh* .

      • Better? Maybe different. I think she really got very creative at a time when the Anita series was becoming a little more predictable. You have to be prepared when you read them though, they really are erotic fiction with much less plot, but she is such a visual writer. And she let her imagination just go.
        And as for Jean-Claude. Much more my style of vampire than Edward. Now that’s how to do an alpha male, who is alpha because he has a powerful female, not because he squishes out all her independence!

  3. I agree, a mix of fairy tales with something else is always an interesting idea, especially if there is a twist to it.
    During this year’s NaNoWriMo I’m working on a crossover between “Pride & Prejudice” and “King Thrushbeard”, because both are favourite stories of mine and I truly believe there are sufficient parallels.

    • OOOH! I’ve never read King Thrushbeard. Or maybe that was one of the many fairy tales I read and I just don’t remember it. Sounds like a fascinating interplay of plots. Very cool idea Nicole!

  4. Oo, it sounds so edgy! And I love the picture you found to illustrate your post!

  5. I’m definitely a sucker for fairy tales. One of my favorites has always been Rapunzel, and I love Disney’s Tangled. I watch it over and over again. Fairy tales allow us to go to another time and place when life isn’t fun, even the scary ones. The Queen in Snow White is terrifying and I still remember her tumbling down the cliff as a little girl. I’m anxious to read your Riding Hood story!

    • Thanks ML! I haven’t seen Tangled, but I’ve heard its done very well. I love the idea of promoting women’s individuality and independence. In fact that is starting to be a theme in my work, the idea that true romance is a couple who encourages personal growth. Hmm, I feel another blog theme coming on. Think I’ll have to work on that one!

  6. I will have to look for Once Upon a Time, Jessica, although we may not get it in this timezone. I’m glad you’ve given some details of your novel, it sounds like a great read. One of the Toronto romance writers, Lila DiPasqua has also written novels based on fairy tales. I think it’s a great idea. I read the traditional fairy tales to my kids and I imagine they’ll be around forever and forever changing.

  7. I believe you receive it in your timezone, because Sherry can watch it. Unless its a matter of satellite vs cable vs how many channels you receive. I think fairy tales will always be around for children, not just for nostalgia, but because they are the original teaching tools. Beware of strangers, be kind to old ladies, hard work is always rewarded over laziness. Their appeal is endless.

  8. Pingback: Will Grimm Survive? | JessicaAspenWrites

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