[Discussion Sunday] RETELLINGS: popularity? creative? boring?

(edit: I just found this in my drafts folder when I was cleaning it out and it is from over four months ago… oops)

A retelling is when an author will take an old story and recreate it to make a new one. Some of them twist the stories so they have a different ending, tell the story from a different character’s point of view, or have it set in a different time period.

Retellings have become popular lately. I think it is a nice way to experience classic fairy tales or otherwise in new exciting ways, but it leaves me wondering


Some people argue that there are only a few types of stories to be told and everything else is just a variation of those stories.

Christopher Booker’s book says there are seven basic plots:

  1. Overcoming the monster

  2. Rags to Riches

  3. The Quest

  4. Voyage and Return

  5. Comedy

  6. Tragedy

  7. Rebirth

I don’t know if you agree with this, but the real question is:

are retellings just a way for authors to piggyback off of other successful ideas, or are they truly creative masterpieces?

I believe that there are certainly authors on both sides of this spectrum and it depends on how the readers take it.

How many times can a story be recreated before it gets boring?

I think there are many more retellings I would like to see, and I really enjoy the genre, but I think it will be interesting to see if it is still as popular in ten years.


TALK TO ME: this is a DISCUSSION after all 🙂

What do you think? Do you like retellings? Do you think they will be around for a long time? Do you think they are boring? Cheap knock offs? Creative twists of the story? Let me know EVERYTHING in comments. (I haven’t done a discussion in a while and I miss it.)

Love, Aubrey


23 thoughts on “[Discussion Sunday] RETELLINGS: popularity? creative? boring?

  1. I like retellings well enough as long as there is some original element to it. However, I do think that a lot of staleness with retellings in YA stem from the fact that they’re just a rotation of the same like two fairytales. TBH, if I never get another Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, or Cinderella retelling for as long as I live, I’ll be the happiest clam.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha so true. I feel like there are so many Peter Pan retellings out there right now, but I loved Tiger Lily since it is all told from Tiger Lily’s POV so I don’t mind it. Also, the Lunar Chronicles was a really good take on recreating fairy tales in an entirely different world together. Thanks for stopping by, Morgan!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Aubrey, I have to say I believe that retellings that use the same characters as well as similar plot lines, are absolutely just authors piggybacking.

    However, if for example you are inspired by a certain story and create your own world of characters, regardless of whether or not it’s in the same world as the original author. Then that may as well be a completely new story.

    I’ve never believed that original stories have run dry, as most people who believe that just lack the imagination to think outside of the box. There are plenty of writers who think outside of the box and have great ideas that they either publish into fame or let fall into a shelf, never to be pursued.

    Well that’s just my opinion anyway!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I actually like retellings, mainly Alice in Wonderland retellings. I think some authors are really good at rewriting the classics, but sometimes a retelling could be an excuse for the author to not put as much creativity or thought into the writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • What’s your favorite Alice in Wonderland retelling? I don’t think I have read any of those! I think it certainly has to be done well, but I really enjoy retellings. I think they make it to where the author already has the world created for them and doesn’t have to worry about that part, but in the same sense that is how the real world is. Everyone writes based on their personal experiences and the people around them. There are certainly some authors that will just copy, but when it involves a completely different plot and maybe even different characters (or a different character focus) I really enjoy it. Thanks for stopping by, Melanie!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I agree with you they have become VERY popular, and I’ve read a few I like them, but I don’t know I don’t want to read them forever you know? I learned that in school actually that there are seven different topics, and I kind of believe it because when you think of what you’ve read, it’s a variation of one of those right? It’s all I can think of.
    This is a great discussion piece, as much as I would rather read an original work than a retelling, technically if we go by the seven topics, isn’t everything a retelling? So much thinking haha!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I often have a lot of the same kinds of thoughts. It’s a common criticism of any story creator, be it a writer, Hollywood, even video games, that they are just recycling stories and just inserting new characters. And while I can’t argue that most stories we get these days are simply variations on these old templates I can say that I can find the same enjoyment out of each one. Even a retelling of a popular story in which I already know the end of the journey it’s the fresh take on the journey itself which makes it worthwhile to me. Are they running out of ideas? Probably. But I can still appreciate what they do with the old ideas they have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes! Also, I feel like as long as it is done well and maybe explores a new topic of some sort I can appreciate it’s creativity for what it is. There is an argument to be made that every thought everyone has had has been thought before, but that doesn’t make each idea any less valuable (I think?) I fall into books and sometimes never want to come out, and I think that says a lot about the worlds authors are still creating or recreating. To a certain extent they are timeless. Thanks for stopping by, Josh!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love retellings. I believe it is almost harder to put a new and creative twist on something as already well known and timeless as the fairytales and stories we all know. To make them new and shiny all over again is a might big undertaking, but that’s just my opinion and not meant to knock original stories. I am planning on indulging my love of fairytales and will be reading quite a lot of retellings this year. It intrigues me that fairytales are still so prominent in life and literature to this day. I am hoping to one day delve into why society is so obsessed. I know I’m obsessed!

    Liked by 1 person

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