Retelling Tales

Over the last few weeks I’ve been binge borrowing Children’s books from the Library in an attempt to keep the creative juices flowing and to keep me writing! Some of the books have sparked a memory for me, a familiarity in the story that I’ve heard before. I am picking up on this more and more, and it’s not just in children’s books I see stories re-told. It is clear which story inspired an author to write a modern piece of adult literature. For example:

Adult literature

On Beauty (my old time favourite!) by Zadie Smith

Smith’s  tale of the Belsey and Kipps families shares plenty with Forster’s original work, It’s about a pair of families with very different ideals that become irrevocably linked over the years.  A lot of similarities with slight adjustments in Smith’s tale.

Back to the topic at hand….

Children Literature

Angelica Sproket’s Pockets by Quentin Blake:

The lady with many pockets, that holds all kinds of items. Socks, furniture, umbrella’s! It is very reminiscent of Mary Poppins.

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

The toy rabbit scared that he will be replaced one day. A toy with feelings? Toy Story comes to mind.

Blue Chameleon by Emily Gravett

The blue chameleon looking for a mate, searches high and low. A similar story was written 40 years ago by Lionni

Is anything original anymore? As an aspiring author, how can I keep my story unique? I’ve been battling with this question, hence why this blog has taken me a while to publish. I’ve come to the conclusion that not one story is completely unique. It might be told slightly differently but generally, in my experience authors are basing their stories on old tales/experiences.

We generally have the same life experiences, upbringing, values and have read the same stories. In my opinion, this is what inspires us to write so of course we are going to read stories that sound familiar. So how can I, an aspiring author stand out from the crowd? After all, having read tons of books and poems, they have all to a certain extent inspired me to write and find a way of weaving themselves into my own storytelling.

My theory is that no story is completely unique but our voice is, only I (you) can produce that unique tone, style of writing that sets me apart from others. A tone I instantly recognise when reading a story is Julia Donaldson, she has a very distinctive style that I am striving to create for my own readers. That would be the ultimate achievement, being able to convey my snytax in such a way that reader’s would recognise my ‘voice’.

I’m practicing conveying my ‘voice’ by writing poems too, check them out on instagram @typeupjanique.



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