Fairy Tale as MFA Antidote – by Lincoln Michel

February 6, 2023

Fairy Tale as MFA Antidote – by Lincoln Michel:

I often start my MFA courses with a discussion of fairy tales. It seems an obvious place to start, since fairy tales are some of humanity’s oldest stories and likely the first stories that my students remember reading as children. But I also love starting with fairy tales because they violate more or less every single rule of fiction writing that is drilled into us in creative writing classes.

Instead of “show don’t tell,” fairy tales prioritize telling over showing. Instead of demanding “round characters,” fairy tales embrace flat ones. Instead of logical “worldbuilding,” fairy tales operate with a surreal dream logic in abstract settings. Instead of starting “in media res,” they start “once upon a time.” Instead of “telling the story only you can tell,” fairy tales ask you to retell stories that have been told for centuries. So on and so forth.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: