Monday, October 12, 2015

Today the countdown begins!

Today is the first official day of our Teen Read Week writing contest! We hope that some of you found out about it earlier and have been working on writing your retold fairy tale, but if this is the first you've heard of the contest, you still have a month to get 'er done: The final due date is Thursday, November 12, at 5:00 p.m.

The details are: Write four to six pages (double-spaced, typed, 12 point), and turn in your story by emailing it to, or printing it out and turning in a hard copy at any reference desk (attention Melissa or Anarda).

Your story can be dark and dramatic, or light and quirky. It can be humorous or deadly serious. Think of some recent retold fairy tales: Cinder, by Marissa Meyer, a sci fi mash-up in which Cinderella is a cyborg and her main rival for the prince is the Queen of Luna; Red Rider's Hood, by Neal Shusterman, in which Red, a boy famous for cruising around in a blood-colored Mustang, takes on a gang called the Wolves after they rob his grandmother; or Enchanted, by Alethea Kontis, in which Sunday, the youngest of the Woodcutter siblings, is supposed to be blithe and bonny but instead suffers from writer's block and can't find anyone but a frog who will listen to her stories!

We have heard some rumblings (among the book club guys) that a retold fairy tale is too "girly" a subject for boys to be interested in writing. Really, guys? Who are the most famous writers of fairy tales you know? Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (otherwise known as the Brothers Grimm). Charles Perrault. Hans Christian Andersen. What do all these people have in common? Gender...and fairy tales.

Also...have you ever read any fairy tales? Despite their later dumbing down and prettying up, many of them aren't exactly bed-time tales for tots! Think about it: Hansel and Gretel? Their parents take them out and dump them in the forest, the witch tries to bake them, they end up killing her? And some of the original details of other stories--like the stepsisters cutting off their toes and heels with a sharp knife to try to fit into the glass slipper in Cinderella? or all those inconvenient dead wives of Bluebeard? So let's quit the stereotyping and get with the writing! We look forward to reading your stories!

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