Thursday, May 2, 2013

Kate Wolford on Writing Fairy Tales

My guest today is Kate Wolford, best known to many of you as the editor of Enchanted Conversation. In Kate's eyes, her new book of fairy tales is as much education as it is entertainment. She explains:

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For Writers and Others

Beyond the Glass Slipper  (BTGS) was written for fairy tale fans and students and book clubs and teachers—all kinds of readers. But it was also written for writers. As editor of Enchanted Conversation: A Fairy Tale Magazine, I receive numerous entries for each monthly writing contest.

I enjoy reading the submissions, but I included a set of questions that writers could use in each of the fairy tale comments in the book, because I tend to see the same kind of entries month after month. There are 10 stories in BTGS, and each has some questions about front stories, back stories, and lesser character stories. Wanting to give would-be fairy-tale rewriters some encouragement and ideas was a major impetus behind BTGS.

In other words, I am often looking for fresh ways of writing fairy tales--and writing fairy tales does not always mean rewriting them. I often publish fairy tale stories and poems that are inspired by classic tales but are new otherwise.

Also, one of the many reasons I chose to publish a collection of lesser-known fairy tales is that as great as “Snow White” and “Beauty and the Beast” and all the other usual suspects are, they are but a fraction of the tales that are out there. After five years of publishing fairy tales and fairy-tale poems, I am looking for writers to go beyond the obvious.

That’s one of the reasons why you’ll find a vampire story in BTGS, and a ghost story. There’s a pig who marries a woman in this book, but he doesn’t become a human prince for awhile afterward. There’s a story about two toys that have a kind of(?) romance, but the tale is clearly about social class.

I suppose I want writers to get beyond the Disney stranglehold that still seems to immobilize us culturally when it comes to fairy tales. Of course, I like “Sleeping Beauty” and “The Little Mermaid,” both as stories (in the original) and as movies. But the world of inspiration to be found in fairy tales contains multitudes. I want writers to be thrilled by and moved to write by something that is not widely known.

BTGS is at least as much for writers as it is for any other group. And not just writers who would like to be published in Enchanted Conversation. The ideas throughout the book, in every section, are meant to fire the imagination, and who know what might result?

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Beyond the Glass Slipper can be purchased at or The paperback and Kindle edition are both available at Amazon.

Enchanted Conversation can be found at


  1. A great post! Thanks for sharing, Kate.

  2. I'll be flipping for the ghost story in the collection. And the one about a pig who marries a woman but doesn't become a prince (sounds frighteningly realistic)! Thanks for sharing Beyond the Glass Slipper.

  3. What an interesting way to present stories AS education AND entertainment. Lovely idea.