Setting the Stage
Everyone wants to live happily ever after. But what does that even mean? What really happens when the story ends?
In the real world there are no happy endings. Not really. A story is simply a snapshot in time – an overview of a specific event. As soon as the conflict is resolved (for good or for ill), the story is at an end.
But of course, that’s not how the real world works. Life goes on. Any ending is really just a new beginning. The start of another story. The only real conclusion comes with the end of life itself – and even then, we leave a legacy behind.
What happens when the fairy tale is over? When the princess and handsome prince have danced the night away? When the hero has outsmarted the evil witch? When all the dragons and demons have been slain? What are the characters supposed to do with the rest of their lives?
What do writers have to say about fairy tales?
“Fairy tales are more than true; not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
“Life itself is the most wonderful fairytale of all.”
Hans Christian Andersen
“When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty, I read them openly. When I became a man, I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up.”
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
“Every fairy tale had a bloody lining. Every one had teeth and claws.”
How to use this prompt
What comes to mind when you think about fairy tale endings? Do you think of your own potential “happily ever after” – or the disappointments that have come instead? What do you imagine was the real outcome of your favorite folktale?
I’ll post my response to this challenge a little later in the week. In the meantime, go where your inspiration takes you – write a poem, a piece of fiction, or a chapter of a novel. And then when you’re done, post it in the comments…or submit it to be considered for publication!