WFMAD Day 17 – Classical borrowings

Welcome to a blast from my past.

Fractured Fairy Tales was a feature on The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show, a cartoon that ran in the early 1960’s (and is now available on Hulu).


Aside from being stupid-funny and guaranteeing that your children will regard you as ancient if you go all nostalgic as soon as you hear the theme song, they offer a wonderful structural device for writers.


Ready… If character comes easy to you, but devising plot is a problem, look to the classics of storytelling for a little help. One of the reasons that classics endure is because they resonate so deeply with readers they survive the tests of age. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the structure of a known tale as you are trying to figure out your own plot. Adapt the elements to the needs of the character, instead of stealing and reproducing the story. It will be much more satisfying to put your own spin on the story.


Set… “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.” Agatha Christie


Today’s prompt: Choose a fairy tale from this list. (Reread the tale quickly if you don’t remember the story clearly.)


Now fracture the fairy tale. Insert a new main character; you, a character from your work in progress, a new character you just dreamed up, or a friend, neighbor, child or dog you know. Rewrite the tale quickly, but make the reactions of the main character true to who he is instead of making him simply be a puppet to voice the original text. Allow your story to drive off the map and head for destinations unknown. Have fun with this!!


Scribble… Scribble… Scribble…

5 Replies to “WFMAD Day 17 – Classical borrowings”

  1. “Write even when you don’t want to, don’t much like what you are writing, and aren’t writing particularly well.”

    I’m going to pin this on my bedroom wall. I swear your prompts this year are perfectly timed and relevant as a cinnamon bun in winter – perhaps I am just more open minded about writing in spire of myself than I was this time last summer. Thanks again, Laurie!

  2. Okay, before I go write…just have to say love love love Fractured Fairy Tales. Watching it as an adult I catch the innuendo I missed as a kid with such lines like, “There’s a little bit of witch in all us girls,” said by Gretel. Hansel turns down Gretel’s offer of a shingle and says something along the lines of, “He’s a door and window man.” 🙂 Where else can you hear one child call another stupid??? Love it. Ok, writing now.

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