Sunday, 21 October 2018

Fairy Tales

Fairytale toadstool
(Amanita Muscaria,
Fly Agaric - highly toxic)
I have a story published in the November edition of Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special. It’s the tale of Ashley, a lowly gardener who finally wins the heart of the college girl who he had thought was too good for him.

It is based on the classic Cinderella tale. With a change of gender Cinders became Ash, a change of occupation kitchen skivvy became gardener, the good fairy became his best mate who thinks of a way for Ash to gatecrash the masked ball, the midnight chimes became a call on Ashley’s mobile and the glass slipper became a scrap of card dropped from his pocket as he ran away. 

(Photograph by Readly)
Last Wednesday on the Twitter #writingchat discussion (8pm every week, all writers welcome) we talked about rewriting stories. Tweaking our own stories is something that many short story writers do, adapting a rejected story to meet the guidelines of a different publication. 

Rewriting someone else’s story is another matter entirely. There is of course no copyright to a storyline and on the basis that there are only a limited number of plots some similarities are inevitable. But how much has to be changed before it becomes a different story - names, gender, setting, era? 

I would hesitate to rewrite someone else’s story. But fairy tales are fair game. 


  1. Congratulations on the story Bea.

    Lots of fairy tales have been retold in new ways; it shows the creativity of the writer being able to come up with a new slant.

    I wasn't seeing all the tweets on that #writingchat session so found a few of the tweets difficult to follow due to missing comments in-between. A lot turned up the next day!

    1. Thank you, Carol.
      Yes, there was definitely something interfering with the Twitter feed on Wednesday evening. I often end up reading through the tweets later in any event as on a busy night it can be difficult to keep up with all the conversations.

  2. Congratulations on the sale!

    I wouldn't be comfortable with rewriting anyone's story no matter how many little details I changed – and wouldn't be happy for it to happen to one of mine. Using one as inspiration is a different matter. We can't help being inspired by things we experience, see or read and that can even happen without us realising where the idea originated.

    1. Thank you, Patsy. In fact it’s the second story I sold to WW (and was paid for) in 2014 but it had slipped through the net and was never published. At least now I can claim ALCS.
      And yes, inspiration is a totally different issue to plagiarism, no matter how cleverly disguised.