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June 15, 2010

Fairy Tale Retelling

This Extra Ink was written by Betsy C.

Twilight, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, Fallen, and Ash. I'm guessing most of you have read at least one, if not all, of these blockbuster titles. But what do they have in common, besides the tons of buzz they've generated in the middle-grade/young adult reading worlds?

They all share the same roots in folklore and mythology. The stories we call "fairy tales" today, tossing them aside as silly kids' stories or animated-movie fodder, actually have influenced literature for hundreds of years, and continues to do so today---probably in more ways than you even realize. You likely recognize the vampires in Twilight and the magic in Harry Potter as having roots in folklore, and you might know that Ash is a retelling of Cinderella. But author Kurt Vonnegut argued that the Cinderella model is one of only a few true plot archetypes. Fairy tales have shaped the world of storytelling as we know it, from your favorite books to comics to the next movie opening at your local Cineplex.

Teen Ink has published plenty of fairy tale retellings, too--just head to our Fiction section to check them out. Other great places to find new versions of old stories online include Fickle Muses (featuring my own retelling of an old Scottish fairy tale) and Weird Tales. You can find great lists of folktale-inspired novels at GoodReads too.

Don't judge the fairy tale retelling genre based on only the books I've mentioned. Check out those websites and lists, too--there truly is a story out there for everyone.

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