According to Jack London: “You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.”
While I agree that finding inspiration feels like a fight a lot of the time, we can also find it in places that are staring us right in the face. For this blog post, I’m referring to fairy tales. They’ve become so familiar to us that we may overlook them as sources of inspiration.
Take, for example, the story of Cinderella. Out of curiosity, I wanted to know how many versions of the story have been written. Wikipedia listed too many to count. The one we’ve come to recognize as the classic tale with a pumpkin and fairy godmother came from Charles Perrault in 1697 under the name of Cendrillon.
The amazing thing about writers and our creativity is that if you gave 50 authors the Cinderella story, or any other fairy tale, and asked them to write their version of it, you could end up with a hundred different stories (at least if some of them were like me and had more than one way to make it different).
When my blogging friend February Grace used it for inspiration, she came up with a version I had never imagined myself but now treasure as one of my favorites. To summarize the plot:
A blacksmith’s apprentice who would be a knight. The heir to the throne, at death’s door. One woman who would save them both, if she could…
Charlotte was number sixty-four in the second group of young, hopeful maidens intended to meet the Prince at a grand ball in his honor.
That introduction was not to be.
She returned home to her tiny village—and her visions of a future limited by it—without any warning of the drastic turn her life was about to take.
Soon she would be fighting against the odds to help keep a gravely wounded stranger alive; and waging war with her own heart, as he stirred feelings in her she’d never known.
When the stranger’s royal identity is revealed, Charlotte is faced with an entirely different battle: one to keep her family, village, and the injured Prince in her care all safe from a madman set on taking the throne by any means necessary.
When I asked February what had inspired her to write this particular version, she said, “I have always wondered in the back of my mind what happened to the girls who weren't picked at the ball. So that turned into the idea of Charlotte, which turned into UPON A TIME but somewhere in it all it became so much more than her story. It became that of Thomas (the blacksmith’s apprentice), and the Prince, and the trials and physical challenges they would have to overcome.
“The characters became dear to me (as someone who faces physical challenges every day myself) and I can only hope it makes those out there facing all kinds of physical struggles to feel understood, inspired, and less alone.”
To read a brief exerpt, go here. To see where you can find this beautiful story in e-format and paperback, read my last post. To find inspiration, maybe you can look for it in stories you already know. If you need more encouragement, check out the other posts for The Insecure Writers’ Support Group (posts available March 4th).