What If Wednesday: Topsy-Turvy Tales

I have a confession to make. I’m a total geek for fairy tale adaptations. I absolutely adore the idea of topsy-turvy fairy tales in which an author re-imagines the lives of characters whom we all know and love. (My current favorite author who pens these sorts of tales is Gregory Maguire. You can read this post to learn more about his work.)

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Bizarre fairy tale adaptations from Litstack.com

I’m enamored by the seemingly simple idea of What If? I say simple because it’s probably something we’ve all done at least once, either as children or as adults—after finishing a fairy tale, we throw out that simple question. What if? Though a simple question, the answer can be as miniscule as morphing Snow White into the lead singer of a heavy metal band or as enormous as meshing Oz and Wonderland together. What if can lead to all sorts of quirky new worlds with characters who seem vaguely familiar, yet they are somehow brand new.

Of course, the What if is nothing new. Storytellers have been adapting this little trick of the trade for as far back as one can imagine, but the rising popularity of such tales within the last decade alone makes me smile. Take the Shrek movies, for example. These movies are based on re-imagined nursery rhymes and fairy tales alike. I love them because they’re like a big pot of childhood, mashed together and sprinkled with humor that the kids laugh at but don’t completely comprehend.


I love every aspect of the re-imagined fairy tales. I’m intrigued by an author’s vision when beginning to brainstorm the ideas for stories such as these. The very idea seems rogue and almost forbidden, yet it heightens the sense of creativity and imagination. Yes, anyone could dream up a genie stuck in a lamp, but what if…?

And so, I introduce What If Wednesday. I’d like to delve more deeply into the simple, yet complex idea of what if and how it plays into stories that we have known and loved forever. In fact, I’d love contributions to this category. Do you have ideas related to the What if scenario? Have you written a topsy-turvy fairy tale that you’d like to share? Email me at carvingoutaspace@gmail.com if you’re interested in contributing to What If Wednesday.

I can’t wait to see what we discover next.


**What if, instead of being a pirate, Captain Hook was a cowboy? How might that story evolve?

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