Retelling a Classic Tale? Be Sure to Follow These Six Rules

Retelling a Classic Tale? Be Sure to Follow These Six Rules

Following These Six Rules With Make Your Retelling of a Classic Tale Better

Are you considering retelling a classic tale? Many authors find great success by respinning the stories of famous authors such as Bram Stoker, Jane Austin, Shakespeare, or famous Greek legends.

Readers and authors love the retelling of a classic tale. There is a familiarity in the story that brings back memories from the first time we encountered the story or another creative account.

How popular are retellings of classic tales? Try searching Amazon for Beauty and the Beast or Cinderella? You’ll discover a multitude of results. Recastings of these famous stories exist with thousands of twists. And therein lies the challenge. Many of these reworks have been done poorly or are entirely missing critical elements. It’s as if the author snagged a character name or setting and is trying to leverage the popularity of the original.

Of course, many beautiful works exist that appropriately pay homage to the original while adding to the narrative.

Bethany Henry, writing in Jane Hardy’s Fiction University, offer these six rules for retelling a classic tale:

  1. Know Your Source
  2. Know What’s Been Done
  3. Pick Your Pieces
  4. Identify Your Story Twist
  5. Deepen Your World
  6. Don’t Be Afraid to be Different.


You can read her full article at

Best Book Monkey’s Insights

Whether you’re talking about books, movies, or television, someone is bound to bring up the idea that all the good stories have been told and everything else is just a remake. That’s such a short-sighted way of looking at the world. While there are assuredly stereotypes, tropes, archetypes, and well-used plots, human beings’ creativity never ends.

Creators of all types produce new stories in every form of media, and new media is creating more ways to tell stories, new and old.

We believe there is a certain elegance to a well-crafted retelling of a classic tale. The original stories conjure up images, feelings, and memories. A skilled writer can capitalize on historical works and subsequent retellings, taking the reader deeper than before.

Bethany is spot on in her suggestions. By following them, authors can add to the original story’s rich legacy and create something of unique value on its own.

Stuck while working on your recasting of a classic? Check out this blog post: 10 Methods to Get Your Story Moving When It Gets Stuck.

Let Us Know Your Thoughts

Have you ever respun a classic tale or read one that entirely captured your imagination? Please share it in the Comments Box below.



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