Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Story Starter #11 - Retelling a Classic

This post is inspired by one of the many contests posted on Figment*. If you need a little inspiration for a new picture book manuscript or just want to try out a really fun writing exercise, this is for you.

First, select a fairy tale or a classic children’s story.

Here are some examples:       
                       The Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe
                        Little Red Riding Hood
                        The Three Little Pigs
                        Hansel and Gretel
                        The Three Bears
                        The Little Red Hen
                        The Princess and the Pea
                        The Tortoise and the Hare
If you don’t like these choices, look up Mother Goose or Hans Christian Anderson and select another classic.

Think about the POV this story is usually told from and retell the story through the eyes of one of the other characters. Don't forget to use "What if" questions to drive the plot.

Example:         The Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe

This is told from 3rd person. Try telling it in 1st person from the Old Lady with all the children. Even better for a pb is to tell it from one of the children’s POV or in 3rd person sharing the story of one of those children who has to share a shoe with soo many brothers and sisters.

Example:         The Three Little Pigs

This story is told from 3rd person and makes the “Big Bad Wolf” out to be a really bad guy. Take his POV. Maybe he has a reason for blowing down their houses (other than eating them). Time for a “What if” question – What if he isn’t blowing down the houses but is sneezing instead?

You get the idea. Now write…

* If you are a student in HS or College, consider entering your story into the contest on


  1. I love the idea of doing this. I often think about it because I think it would be so much fun. Maybe one day I'll actually WRITE something along these lines. :)

  2. Love story starters. Thank you! BTW, you need to get a "follow me by email" link. That's how I like to follow and I would love to follow you and your journey as a debut author!

    1. Thank you, Romelle. I will have to figure out how to add that feature to my blog.

  3. Yes! I agree with Romelle! I love this story starter idea - i actually write five of these for a digital publishing company and funnily enough The Old Woman In The Shoe was among them :)

  4. This is a great story idea. Have never heard of figment. Thans for sharing.