Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Retellings

Here we go! Promised post. I told you I'd do it.

I don't want to talk about how long it took me to learn how to do that.
So, retellings.
First of all, I'll tell you exactly what I mean by 'retelling'. I mean taking a story that's been around for a while, such as Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella or even the stories of King Arthur, and re-writing it. Typically there'll be a twist on it, but not always.
You'll have seen these around. Disney films are retellings, even though they're films. BBC's Merlin was a retelling.
People have been retelling stories since stories were first invented. It's why there's no such thing as a full 'original' idea. Because everyone is inspired by something and they'll often include bits from their favourite stories in their own.
So why do these exist? Why do we retell stories over and over again?
Well, partly because it is really fun.

And partly because those stories resonate with us. We retell stories because they meant something to us and we want to share that with others.
We also do it because it gives us the opportunity to change some things that we may not have liked in the original story, as well as allow us to dive in deeper with the characters.
A good example of a retelling would be one of my own personal favourites 'The Goose Girl', by Shannon Hale. It retells the story of, well, the Goose Girl as the title implies. Originally, 'The Goose Girl' was a German fairy tale written by the Brothers Grimm.
It tells the story of a princess who on a journey to another kingdom, through the treachery of her maid-servant, is brought low and becomes a goose girl. Eventually, as in a lot of fairy tales, she meets and falls in love with the prince of the other kingdom and eventually marries him.
Hale retells this perfectly, keeping in the characters' personalities, but giving them more depth and adding in new ones. She also manages to communicate the same tone and themes with her novel as were in the original fairy tale.
When it comes to writing your own retellings, I recommend rereading the original (or as close to the original as you can get) and keeping it in mind. Even if you change some of it a lot, you should still attempt to keep the same themes as the original. Particularly the characters should always remain recognizably themselves.
An example of this is Cinderella. She has been retold recently in two different manners. One was in the live-action Disney film, where she was very similar to the original. She was kind, she was sweet and all that jazz.
Shush, I needed this in here somewhere, okay? *drools* That dress is so pretty...
Anyway, the other was in 'The Lunar Chronicles' by Marissa Meyer, specifically 'Cinder'. Cinder is a very different Cinderella. She's tough, snarky, a cyborg and an engineer (I think) among other things. But when you actually look at her personality and beliefs, she's still Cinderella even if Marissa Meyer changed a few things. She's still kind and compassionate. She still has love for others. She's still very self-sacrificing and caring.
My point here is that 'Cinder' and 'Cinderella' are two different adaptions of the same material. They just handled it in different ways. But no matter the differences, the character at the heart is still the Cinderella from the fairy tale. And that is always important in a retelling.

And now onto the recommendations.
I highly recommend all of the above books, so I'll include them in this list. Bear in mind, this is in no particular order. Also, I'm going to rate them out of a hundred because this is my blog and I do what I want.


1)
 'The Lunar Chronicles' Series by Marissa Meyer.
I'd give it ninety-five stars out of a hundred, excellent and well-worth the read. The other books are 'Scarlet', 'Cress' and 'Fairest' (though I've yet to finish Cress or read Fairest). The next book comes out...sometime.

2)

'The Goose Girl' by Shannon Hale.
I'd give this one ninety-seven stars out of a hundred. Well-written, moving and an awesome main character. 

3) 

'Shadows on Snow: A Flipped Fairy Tale' by Starla Huchton.
In case you couldn't tell, this is a retelling of Snow White with the twist that Snow is a boy and the Prince is a girl. There are other differences as well, but I'm not going to summarize everything. I'd give it ninety stars out of a hundred. Loved it. 

4) 

'The Squire's Tale' Series by Gerald Morris.
All of them. Just...all of them. Terrance is an absolute legend. This series is a retelling of the legend of King Arthur and I'd give it a good ninety six stars out of a hundred. Just...go read it. Now. Do it.

5) 

'Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold' by C.S. Lewis.
I just...gah! I love this book so much. It's a retelling of the myth of Cupid and Psyche and you should all go and read it. Right now. A hundred out of a hundred stars. Brilliant. (Just like pretty much anything by C.S. Lewis of course, but I digress).

There are more retellings than these, but these are my top five. I love them all so much. 

What about you lot? What are some of your favourite retellings? Bear in mind, I only recommended books but you can all talk about your favourite TV shows or films. 

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