marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

re-telling a tale

was philosophically contemplating fairy tales recently. . . .

Retelling's always a trick because you have to pad it out to story length.   Given their sparse style, this can sometimes work for short stories only by developing them into full blown stories.  With characterization and settings and motives and stuff.  Why do the twelve princesses go dancing every night?  (Is it even voluntary on their part?)   What are the courtiers like at court?  When the hero of the story is ordered to bring all the wolves in the land together in a single night, who is watching, to get eaten?  How small are these kingdoms, that two princesses, whose parents were king and queen even before they married, can walk to a third kingdom when they set out to seek their fortunes?  (And why are princesses setting out to seek their fortunes, anyway?)

Then, of course, there's the plot holes.  Three princes set out to find the Water of Life.  On the way there, they meet a dwarf, and nothing else worthy of mention.  On the way back, they pass through three war-torn kingdoms, and have to cross the sea.  Put that together -- somehow.

And yet they still need invention to fill up the length of a novel, because the story is just not complex enough for it.
Tags: characterization, fairy tales (retelling), genre, motives and purposes, plotting, setting (whole story), story length, story structure

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