Spring Break & Re-Telling Stories

10 Apr

Spring is blowing in, and the wind is bringing me fresh ideas, motivation, and inspiration. Along with a much needed “break” from school and TRACK!

**totally spazzes for a minute**

So that leaves all this week to writing “hypothetically…” But sadly (or well… not so sadly) I’m going on Vacation! Atlanta here I come! So, I won’t be blogging for a few days. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and maybe Friday (depending on when I get in) So to make up for my coming absence I will be double posting tomorrow (and of course doing a post today)!

So today I wanted to talk about re-writes/re-makes, or whatever you want to call them. For example “Beastly” by Alex Flinn is a remake of “Beauty & the Beast”. “Tangled” (hit Disney movie if you were wondering) is a remake of “Rapunzel”.  

Some people think “remakes are unoriginal” or show “a lack of  imagination.” But do they?

According to Why We Tell Stories by Christopher Booker there are only 7 basic plots. Now you can argue that there’s 3 or 37 but in Ally’s world there area 7. Feel free to disagree in the comments, but anyway there are only seven plots. You can read them or move on but here you go:

1. Overcoming the monster — defeating some force which threatens… e.g. most Hollywood movies; Star Wars, James Bond.

2. The Quest — typically a group setoff in search of something and (usually) find it. e.g. Watership Down, Pilgrim’s Progress.

3. Journey and Return — the hero journeys away from home to somewhere different and finally comes back having experienced something and maybe changed for the better. e.g. Wizard of Oz, Gullivers Travels.

4. Comedy – not necessarily a funny plot. Some kind of misunderstanding or ignorance is created that keeps parties apart which is resolved towards the end bringing them back together. e.g. Bridget Jones Diary, War and Peace.

5. Tragedy – Someone is tempted in some way, vanity, greed etc and becomes increasingly desperate or trapped by their actions until at a climax they usually die. Unless it’s a Hollywood movie, when they escape to a happy ending. e.g. Devils’ Advocate, Hamlet.

6. Rebirth – hero is captured or oppressed and seems to be in a state of living death until it seems all is lost when miraculously they are

freed. e.g. Snow White.

7. Rags to Riches

Anyway, the point is that if there are only so many plots then technically everything is a re-make right?

I think the problem with “remakes” is that you have to find a balance between changing too much (and thus not staying true to the story) and changing too little (telling the exact same story with different words.

Personally, I don’t mind a good retelling I thought Beastly, for instance, was an excellent and refreshing, modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast. It stayed true to the original idea, and moral, but the author kept it hers by adding in her own personal twists (if you’ve read it you’ll know what I’m talking about with the ending! Totally didn’t see it coming!)

Classics are classics for a reason. I don’t think there is any reason not to draw on these to support our own stories! What do you all think? Have you ever read a really good retelling or a really bad one? Would you ever consider writing a retelling?


4 Responses to “Spring Break & Re-Telling Stories”

  1. wovenstrands April 11, 2011 at 1:19 pm #

    Hav a fun trip!!!! Thanks for the informative post 😀

    • nkeda14 April 11, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

      Your welcome! I’ll sure try to have some fun 😀

  2. Michael Cunningham September 13, 2011 at 7:07 am #

    You should really read ‘Hero With a Thousand Faces’ by Joseph Campbell.

    • nkeda14 September 13, 2011 at 10:21 pm #

      Hmmm… haven’t heard of that one will have to look it up on goodreads.com! Thanks for the recommendation, and thank you for commenting!

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