Exploring genre | How to write a fairy tale
Most kids are familiar with the fairy-tale stories of Rapunzel, Beauty and the Brute, Jack and the Beanstalk, Rumplestiltskin, and Cinderella. Usually written for children, fairy tales tell about the adventures of imaginary beings in faraway grounds.
This activity will help you instruct your kids how to write a fairy tale.
What Is a Fairy Tale?
The fairy tale genre needs to include certain basic elements. Otherwise, it may not be a fairy tale at all!
These characteristics mark a story as a fairy tale:
- It usually starts with «Once upon a time,» «Long ago,» or «Once there was a …»
- The story takes place in a distant or make-believe land.
- It features imaginary characters such as dragons, fairies, elves, and giants.
- Things happen in threes and sevens (three bears, three wishes, seven brothers).
- Wishes are often granted.
- A difficult problem is solved at the end of the story.
- Good triumphs over evil.
- The story has a glad ending.
In addition, a fairy tale will often include:
How to Write a Fairy Tale
1. Who is the hero or heroine?
Children naturally want to see the main character succeed against the odds! Help your child pick a likeable character for her story. Usually it is someone modest, harmless, or kind-hearted. As you talk about familiar fairy tales, point out how the «good» character is someone the reader cares about—the hero of the story!
Examples: Aladdin, Snow White, Rapunzel, the Three Little Pigs
Two. Who is the villain?
Every fairy tale has a villain, someone who has evil intentions toward the main character. This evil character wants to control or harm the main character, sometimes using magic powers to do so.
Examples: Big bad wolf, evil queen, Cinderella’s stepmother
Three. What is the magical element of the story?
Most fairy tales include a magical ingredient. Guide your child to choose a friend, guardian, or magic element that helps the hero and adds enchantment to the story. This is a good place to include those magic numbers of three or seven.
Examples: Fairy godmother, genie in a magic lamp, three gifts
Four. Where will the story take place?
The setting can affect the mood of the story. For example, a forest can be packed with friendly critters and patches of sunlight, or it can be dark, gloomy, and scary. Ask your child to choose a setting and determine what the mood will be.
Examples: forest, castle, tower, cottage, garden
Five. What lesson will the story train?
A fairy tale usually instructs a lesson about excellence in conduct or character. Help your child determine on the lesson her fairy tale will instruct .
Examples: loyalty, bravery, goodness, integrity, hard work, sacrifice
6. What is the story plot?
Our hero needs to face a challenge. The obstacle might be a destination the character must reach. There may be a person to rescue or a spell to break, or the main character may need to find true love.
Examples: Snow White must stay safe from the evil queen, the giant wants to eat Jack, true love will break the Animal’s spell
7. What is the glad ending?
It isn’t a fairy tale without a blessed ending! How is the challenge resolved? What leads to cheerfully ever after ? How does the villain get what is coming to him?
Examples: The glass slipper fits Cinderella’s foot, the Animal turns back into a prince, the Ugly Duckling turns into a lovely swan
If you’re just beginning to explore this genre with your child, and she’s not fairly ready to write a fairy tale on her own, encourage her to rewrite a dearest story instead. Switching some of the elements in a familiar story is a superb way to learn more about how to write a fairy tale!
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