Mind Map – Fractured Tales and Random Inspiration

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A fractured fairy-tale is a  story that uses fairy tales as inspiration for the story and then changes things around. In the book The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, the author, Jon Scieszka, has changed the perspective in the story and the wolf tells his side of the story, By changing essential elements in familiar tales, children can not only enjoy a new tales but also enrich their understanding of story setting  and plot.

Writing your own fractured tale is a wonderful opportunity to use your imagination and being plain silly.

You can  change the following when you write a fractured tale:

  • Main characters
  • Setting
  • Time Period
  • Point of View
  • Main Problem
  • Beginning, Middle or Ending

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If Little Red Riding Hood went out into the woods today, what would she not go into the woods without?

  • Mobile phone
  • Games
  • A bag of crisp

You can write a story where the hero or heroine solves a tricky problem. Maybe there is a giant bully in the woods instead of a bad wolf. Or maybe a pop star or. . .

You can also rewrite a fable or a moral story. Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s collection of fables, Squids Will be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables,  have a crazy cast of  animal characters,  a sad squid, a duck billed platypus, and a horseshoe crab. Filled with nonsensical modern messages instead of the traditional bits of wisdom like “Just because you have a lot of stuff, don’t think you’re so special.”

But how do get ideas of changing a fairy tale.

Random is often not a very positive word so we have to teach children to embrace the idea of randomness. But is it not a bit of gamble to use randomness?

Randomness lies at the very heart of creative thinking. A random word or picture helps us to break patterns.We can think from a new and often unusual perspective.  A random word or picture can spark an idea that can be used to write a fractured tale. Sometimes the random word or picture does not give you the exact solution that you were looking for  but often it a great inspiration that forces you to think dive into something new and exciting.

X-ray, ice lollies, cellophane and super glue were all created through random accidents.

When you are writing a story you can use  story-stones or story cubes to get random inspiration but you can also use words and pictures.

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I wrote in a previous post about the importance of exploring a topic before starting to think about what do it. You can also read more about  the idea behind exploring feelings in that blog post.

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When writing a fractured tale it is important to give the creative muscles a work out. This can be done by combining the random words and pictures. A child also need to look back and think dive into familiar stories again to make sure that the ideas are suitable for writing or telling a fractured tale.

Older children can explore the characteristics of random words and pictures. For example, the concept  “marshmallow” contains  characteristics such as soft and fluffy and tasty. While the random word “mug” includes characteristics such as:

  • you can put things into a mug
  • you can drink something from a mug
  • you can put a mug on your head and pretend it is a hat

Using these ideas and insights can help to gain inspiration for story telling.

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Fractured Tales


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