The Basic Construction of a Fairytale
A fairytale is composed of three parts: beginning, middle, and end. The beginning has a character, and a problem (sometimes characterized as a villain). The middle has what every life is fashioned of; struggle. The end, oftentimes unlike real life, has a satisfying conclusion.
There are also three problems to constructing every fairytale.
- The beginning – Easily gets too complicated. Beginnings are not the place to philosophize, idealize, or complain. Beginnings are not about you, they are about your character.
- The middle – Is too simple. Life is a struggle, the only difference between an actual fairytale and a true story is how fast the struggle goes. If your character doesn’t suffer/struggle/grow, your story is flat.
- The ending – Very seldom provides emotional satisfaction. And before you disagree with me on this, go watch Batman V Superman. It’s not only important to end, it’s important to end well. And this part is, again, not about you, but it’s also not about your character. The ending has one job – to satisfy your audience.
So, sound impossible? Don’t worry. It’s actually pretty easy.
Here’s what you need (and in case you think you’ve missed something, here are links to the posts in this series – no link, not published yet!):
- Intention – Hey, you already know that!
- The Fine Art of Simplifying Matters so You Can Complicate Them
- The Magic of Sentence Structure
- How to End Well
- Content Control
Let’s Begin Together
Before we get started on how to write a fairytale, let’s take a second together and consider the number one ingredient to the success of your story. Hint: it’s not on my list because it has nothing to do with writing.
Before you start writing, shut off your inner critic. Writing is a creative endeavor, so by necessity it is an emotional experience; it is cathartic and peaceful, troubling and turbulent, and it is an externalization of your internal soul.
So take a breath, and forget about fulfilling the unreasonable expectations of others – or worse, yourself. Fairytales are told to children, and that’s who your audience is. Children don’t expect greatness, or eloquence, or complications. They don’t care about your self-esteem.
Children will only judge you if you don’t try. If you care enough, if you try enough, they will love you for it, no matter how silly the story.
You will never be able to write if you are judging yourself. That’s what editing is for. So what if your story is not, and never will be, good enough to show to others? I repeat, so what? Someday I’ll tell you about a novel I wrote on a typewriter at the age of 9…no, I won’t. It is bad.
So, we’re here to have fun, to create, experience and enjoy. Let’s begin again.
We start with a character. If this is your very first story ever, I recommend using either an animal or a child. Like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan, they only experience about one emotion at a time – and their thought structure is clear and goal oriented. They’re easy.
I’m going to do a fox. (In case you’re wondering about my picture choice, I don’t have any of foxes – I use all my own photos. I’m substituting with these super cute art buttons. Let me know what you think in the comments below!)
In case you’re stuck, here are some other ideas:
- A curious little girl
- A mischievous little boy
- A robin
- A turtle
- A polar bear
- A dragon
Now, at last, we come to the first ingredient. (Umm…Next week! Be sure to join me! )
If you would like to work on this fairytale with me and get some helpful reviews, you most certainly can post in the comments section below.
Either post your entire fairtyale – or post bits & pieces of it. I will review (positive critique, I promise, no cruel comments, only helpful suggestions) on any submissions. Or – if you would like some comments but aren’t ready to go public, try sending it to me via my Contact Page. I will respond as soon as I can in any case.