Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How to Put Your Own Twist on a Classic Story with Guest Melanie Dickerson


Happy Birthday, Seekerville! I am so excited to celebrate your birthday month with you! I’m also happy to share my thoughts about making over an old classic, and I hope it will spark a few exciting ideas in some Seekervillians.


Over a million books were published last year in the United States, according to one source. That is a lot of stories, which might lead you to think it’s all been done before. But as long as there are unique people in the world, there will be unique stories—and unique twists on classic stories. 


And here is something else you may or may not already know. 


The Sales and Marketing teams at publishing houses have just as much control over what the publishers publish as the editors do. Maybe more. They have to be able to sell your book to book stores and to readers, and if they don’t think they can do that, they will vote against your book in a committee or pub board meeting.


How can you make your book more appealing to these people whose job it is to sell and market your book? 


This question brings me back to my previous assertion. 


Certain stories are considered classics. They are very well-known, and people all over the world get a certain image in their minds when they see or hear the story title. Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty. These “fairy tales” are well-known by millions, even billions of people. Other well-known and loved stories come from history: Joan of Arc leading an army, Antony and Cleopatra coming to tragic ends, Henry the Eighth bringing his wives to tragic ends. Then there are Bible stories everyone knows: David and Goliath, Daniel in the Lions’ Den, Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt. We even have classic literature stories that most people are familiar with: Pride and Prejudice, The Scarlet Letter, Jane Eyre, and Moby Dick. 


These are icons. If you mention them, people instantly know what you’re talking about. Even if they haven’t read them, there is instant recognition.


What would happen if you put your own spin on a classic story that everyone knows? Their interest will be piqued if, say, you have written a retelling of Les Miserables from the point of view of the young girl, Cosette, and you have set the story in Virginia during the Civil War. 


Did you immediately get a picture in your mind? If you like a story with lots of danger and drama, and you like Civil War stories, I hope you got a little excited. It’s much more vivid than saying, “I have written a Civil War epic set in Virginia from the point of view of a young girl.” 

Another example is a YA book called Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg. From the title, you already get the idea that it is a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It is set in a contemporary private school in the Northeast, with the Lizzie character a less-than-wealthy scholarship student and Will Darcy a very rich and popular fellow student. Is the plot exactly like Pride and Prejudice? No. The author puts her own twists on the story. I loved how she made the young hero so much like Mr. Darcy in the original story, and yet he was a completely modern young adult boy. 


But why did I pick up the book in the first place? What made me want to read it? It was the lure of getting a new take on my favorite novel. I was intrigued before I even read the back cover. I would think that marketing and sales people would be ecstatic to be handed a book like this. It will not be hard to sell this book because everyone can instantly see its appeal. And what an easy one-liner! “Pride and Prejudice in a New England prep school.” And lots of others come to mind, but you get the drift already.


This book will not appeal to people who don’t care for Jane Austen stories. But for people who DO love Pride and Prejudice, it’s almost irresistible.


Take fairy tale retellings. When someone tells you their story is a romantic retelling of
Cinderella set in Medieval Europe, you instantly know a lot about the story, and it will appeal to those who enjoyed the Cinderella fairy tale as a child (who didn’t?) and who like historical romance.

So how do you put your own twist on a well-known story? Nothing could be easier. Think of your favorite classic story. Your favorite Bible story. Your favorite fairy tale. Your favorite classic novel. Now imagine that story and those characters in your favorite historical time period, or in a modern U.S. city or state. Are you imagining it? Now, think of some new twist you could put on the story. Change up a plot point or one of the characters. Could you change the gender of the main character? Instead of Pinnochio being a wooden boy, maybe he is a girl cyborg. 


(Okay, that example is a bit outlandish, but someone recently wrote a very popular YA series based on Cinderella, in which the main character is a cyborg living on a colony on the moon. The first book is called Cinder, by Marissa Meyer.)


Usually your setting will suggest many of the twists you will need to make the story all your own.


Another example is Sixty Acres and a Bride by Regina Jennings, which is a retelling of the Bible story of Ruth and Boaz, set in the 1800’s in the wild Southwest. If you like romance, and if you know the story of Ruth and Boaz, this HAS to intrigue you, and I’ve only used a handful of words and a couple of seconds to tell you about it.


Another example is Mary Virginia Carmichael Munoz, writing as Mary Jane Hathaway, and her book, Pride and Prejudice and Cheese Grits. Instantly you can conjecture that this is a retelling of P&P set in the contemporary Deep South. And the book has done very well as a self-published book by an unknown author. How does that happen? Well, it’s a great book, I’m sure, but she intrigued people and told them a lot about the story just from associating the book with a well-known, classic story.


My newest fairy tale retelling, The Captive Maiden, is a Cinderella story. I wasn’t sure I would ever do a Cinderella story, since there have been so many. But I knew I wanted my next book to be about Valten, and as a hero, he seemed the perfect person to rescue his very own Cinderella. I mixed in some allusions to another of my favorite stories, Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott, and it wasn’t long before I felt I had a unique Cinderella story, with my motivated characters and my setting lending themselves to lots of plot twists.


There are all kinds of twists on classic stories out there. But now it is your turn. Think of your favorite story and put a new twist on it. I guarantee you can think of something no one else has come up with. So even though “there is nothing new under the sun,” you are the only “you” there is or ever has been, and therefore you can put an original spin on a classic story. I dare you to try it.


Today, Melanie is giving away a print copy of her November release, The Captive Maiden to one lucky commenter. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition. 




Gisela's life consists of cooking and cleaning for her stepmother and stepsisters, with little time for much else. But when she discovers that the duke's son, Valten---the man she's admired for years---is in search of a wife, she's determined to attend his ball. Will Gisela live happily ever after with her Prince Charming? Pre-order here.




Melanie Dickerson  grew up loving fairy tales and being fascinated with Medieval Europe, especially stories about knights and true love. Her first published novel, The Healer’s Apprentice, won the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book, and her first two novels were Christy Award finalists. Her fairy tale retellings are historical romances set in Medieval Europe. She has done Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, Snow White, and now Cinderella, and has plans for more in the near future. And when she’s not twisting her favorite fairy tales, she’s taking care of her husband and two daughters in north Alabama. She’s also a former teacher and missionary, and earned a degree in special education from The University of Alabama. She loves being social, so visit her on:

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/MelanieDickersonBooks
Twitter, https://twitter.com/melanieauthor 

Website, http://melaniedickerson.com/

For details on our 6th Birthday Giveaways check here.



194 comments:

Tina Radcliffe said...

I've brought tea and scones in honor of Melly's visit.

Welcome, Melanie!!

Abbi Hart said...

I love retellings so much! They are some of the best stories! I absolutely adore all of your books Melanie and I can't wait to read this newest one! My sisters and I have been anxiously awaiting it's release! I also love both Prom and Prejudice and Sixty Acres and a Bride-both are awesome retellings! Thanks for the great post and the chance to win!

Carol Moncado said...

MELLIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

YAY!!!!

You know I love your fairy tales!!!!

In fact, don't enter me, because I'm an influencer [and, um, as a first reader, I've already read a version of this ;). SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO good!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!]

I'll be thinking on a retelling...

Not sure I've got one off the top of my head...

Tina Radcliffe said...

Well I've been thinking about one, trust me.

Thinking, thinking, thinking.

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

LOL!

I actually blinked and leaned forward to peer at the screen when I saw my name on here.

I've read all your books and can't wait for this new one. I have also loved all the covers, but for some reason, I think this one is the prettiest. And it's coming out SO SOON!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Blogger is trying to kill me!!

Anyway, what I just deleted by accident (when I was trying to delete some weird multiple posting of the first comment) was about my debut Season of Joy.

It's a retelling of Disney's CARS. Someone gave my kids that movie in Sept 2012 and I watched it so much I started thinking, "What if..."

Lightning McQueen is a female CEO. Radiator Springs is a homeless mission. Mater is the old cook. Doc is the secretary. Sally, who holds the whole town together, is our hero, the mission director.

Now you know. But Love Inspired wouldn't let me title it Cars, Disney, and Homeless People. I don't know why....

karenk said...

a wonderful posting, Melanie :)

karenk
kmkuka at yahoo dot com

Cindy W. said...

Thank you for all the wonderful examples Melanie. It has made my mind start spinning off in a few directions too.

I love your books and one reason I'm drawn to them is I get the feeling they're about a story I am familiar with and want to see you spin on things. Thank you for the chance to win a copy of The Captive Maiden. I would love to win a copy.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Ruth Logan Herne said...

I always love seeing Melanie Dickerson's smiling face!!!!

Hey, Mel!!!!

So here's the thing, I must RUN AND ORDER your November book for Taylor Tydings, my sweet 12 year old (Yes, Lisa's daughter from "The Lawman's Second Chance", SHAMELESS PLUG, LOL!) because... she says....

Melanie's books are way better than J. K. Rowling's!!!!!!

(Sorry J.K., I'm not saying this to be mean. Really. I'm not. You + Harry = mega fame and bucks.)

She loves your books beyond compare, so I'll be grabbing that Captive Maiden beauty ASAP!

Mel, you've been given such a lovely talent and gift. I won't bore youse with how I first met Mel by judging her in a contest and loving her work... Oh, as that prince went by those two peasant girls!!!! Be still my heart!

Good for you, I love seeing your success grow and blossom just as it should. And as I knew it would, Mel!!!!

Hey, it's October and I'm needing coffee.... Macadamia Cookie, Starbuck's Blend of the Day, and Chocolate Raspberry are your choices today!

AND.... cookies. We need us some big ol' molasses cookies, the chewy kind that just taste like autumn!!!

Got plenty to share.

Ruth Logan Herne said...

Retelling....

Love it.

I'm working on a Cinderella type story right now, a war-torn refugee who comes into the land of a righteous man...

And can never be good enough for him.

And an upcoming Love Inspired book is based on that old song "Brandy" about the seaman who can't love land long enough to stay with the girl... she either needs to follow... or live alone, waiting.

I love the Ruth/Boaz story, and Mel, how cool to see the planets properly align when clever folks like Virginia use titles that link their books to the theme. You're right, that goes beyond "branding" to a wonderful form of tail-gating that helps the reader and the author's visibility.

Virginia, did you know you were being that smart when you named those delightful books or was it PURELY BY ACCIDENT????

:)

(Accidental genius is still genius, in my book!!!)

Jenny Blake said...

will read this in full tomorrow so exhausted today. back from the city with good news. The specialist said he thinks the wrist is healing well on its own. He did say if I have more troubles to go back in the new year and he will investigate but for now its healing (he knows I am on strong pain killers for my head and I told him that was helping the wrist and masking the pain he did take that into consideration but feels its doing well) to be honest I feel its healing too now. Just need to heal my head! but I am sleeping better and naps are my best friend.

Jackie said...

Good morning Seekerville and Melanie,

What a fun post this morning.

Your cover is beautiful! What a great story idea.

Thanks for sharing!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

RUTHY...

200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice
PLUS
150th anniversary of Gettysburg PLUS
(I heard through the down low grape vine 6 months before they started filming) Shannon Hale's Austenland would be made into a movie and released 2012-2013
PLUS
the 200th anniversary of Emma in 2014
PLUS
Super hot topics on Google (use the bar graph for percentage trending)are the American South and FOOD.

So there ya go.

And I think Prom and Prejudice is very clever, too, because you KNOW there is only one prom. It has to be a YA book.

Anyway, must get to bed.

Julie Hilton Steele said...

And that's why I've loved your books. BIG fairy tale fan. But I never considered writing a retelling. Huh.

My favorite fairy tale is Beauty and the Beast.

And I am starting to add the other pieces in WITHOUT COFFEE.

Thanks for the writing prompt. Put me in for the book but I know I'll be getting it anyway.

Peace, Julie



Sally said...

Loved this post! For one of my papers for class I wrote a short story about Jesus showing up at the woolly worm festival in KY, based on the Bible story of the loaves and fishes.
tscmshupe [at] pemtel [dot] net

Rose said...

Hi Melanie,

Great post.


Good luck with your current release!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Yay! I'm in Seekerville today! So exciting to be here at the wonderful Birthday Bash!!! Tina, thank you for letting me guest-host today!

Today I am making the apple tart that our own Mary Virginia Munoz posted on facebook last night, as well as my special pumpkin buckle. If you haven't had it, it's kind of a pumpkin cobbler with a nice cripy, sweet crust on the top, best eaten hot with a little whipped cream on top! (Are you hungry yet?)

Oh! I almost forgot! My previously released books are all $1.99 on Kindle! To celebrate my upcoming release, The Captive Maiden, Zondervan has made the first three books $1.99. Wasn't that an awesome thing to do? I think so. :-)

Now I can go read all my lovely comments. Yay! Thank you all for being here!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ooo! Scones! Tina! How did you know that I've been wanting scones! And they will go wonderfully with my green tea with coconut and passionfruit! (The passionfruit is in honor of Julie Lessman.)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Abbi!!! You sweet thing! Please tell your sisters I said hello. :-) Thanks for being here! You are well-read, and I like that in a commenter. In any person, really. ;-)

DebH said...

wow. i'm sure i've heard this retelling classic stories information before, but WHAP! a nice "lightbulb" moment today. i don't think i've ever really sat down and thought of my favorite classic tale and then considered tweaking things to make the classic "mine".

wonderful post! i would love to win a copy of your latest book (which reminds me to make sure the others i haven't read are on my wish list - which is way too long because seekerville keeps introducing so many great authors)

off to go ponder and see what my brain creates with this insightful and inspirational post.

thanks!!!!!!

(side note: my little guy turns four today. it seems like only yesterday i was cuddling a swaddling bundle of cute... now i'm chasing him around the house)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Carol!!! My sweet friend!!! Thank you for being a first reader and helping me in that way! I am so happy you are willing to read my pre-edited copy!

Come on, Carol and Tina! I know you creative girls will think of a possible retelling by the end of the day.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Oh, Virginia!!! CARS! That is so awesome!!! I never knew. ;-) But it makes sense. We watch these movies so many times with our kids that I guess it was inevitable that we would think of a way we could retell one of the stories. Besides, Cars and some of the other kid movies, The Incredibles comes to mind, are so incredibly written and have such great core stories. Love it, Virginia.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Karen, for coming by!

Cindy! I'm so glad I could make your head spin! Er, well, you know what I mean. ;-) Have some scones and tea while you're here!

Julie Lessman said...

HEY, MEL, SOOOOO GOOD TO SEE YOU HERE, MY FRIEND, AND THANK YOU FOR THE "PASSION FRUIT" ... ;)

I have 60 Acres and a Bride just burning a hole in my ereader because I've been dying to get to it, but I gotta tell you, you mentioning it's a remake of the story of Ruth & Boaz in the 1800s Southwest REALLLY piques my interest, so that proves your point right there for me!!

Three of my all-time favorite books (and series) are Liz Curtis Higgs Thorn in My Heart, Fair is the Rose, & Whence Comes a Prince, which are based on the story of Leah, Rachel & Jacob from the Bible -- SOOOO good!!

And, of course, it goes without saying that NOBODY retells a fairy-tale like Melanie Dickerson -- NOBODY!! Love your books, my friend!!

Put a twist on my favorite book? Well, believe it or not, I tried to do that in A Passion Most Pure. As a diehard lover of Gone With the Wind I knew I wanted to write about an Irish-Catholic family during a war with a love triangle and rivalry between sisters, so that's what I did. :) The original title for A Passion Most Pure was "Chasing After the Wind," which is also a reference to Gone With the Wind. :)

Uh ... only Margaret got a Nobel Peace Prize and a movie, not to mention millions and millions of dollars in royalty checks, so I'm not sure where I went wrong ... ;)

Hugs,
Julie

Melanie Dickerson said...

Ruthy!!! Yes, you must order The Captive Maiden for Taylor, my sweet little reader-girl who made me feel so good when you said she said that about J.K. Rowling! Haha!!! Made my day, week, month, year!

Oh, and you'll be happy to know that Zondervan has the paperback of The Captive Maiden on sale for $5.99! That's a huge discount from the normal price! It's some kind of pre-order sale, so take advantage of that, people! :-)

Yes, Ruthy, you have the honor of being the only judge in that contest who liked The Healer's Apprentice! But it was a VERY early version. Still, the first scene stayed the same, which is amazing in itself. I almost always change the first scene, cut it, move it, something.

Ruth is writing a Cinderella story! Awesome! I think everybody can relate to Cinderella. Cinderella stories are great, and there are so many possibilities there. I'm sure every romance author at some time has written a loose version of Cinderella at some point. Mistreated, poor heroine goes from rags to riches when she marries the wealthy, powerful "prince." So fun! I am in love with the whole reversal of fortunes story.

And I love the idea of creating a story based on an old song that everybody knows! That is awesome, Ruthy!!! You go, girl! Sounds like a good one, with lots of lovely angst and true love. :-)

Big hugs, Ruthy!!!

Cindy Regnier said...

I will have to find some more retellings to read or think of one to write. I can't think of the name of the story just now but Mary Connealy has a Christmas novella based on a retelling of The Gift of the Magi that I really liked. Thank you Melanie. Love your books and excited to read The Captive Maiden!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Jenny! So happy you got good news from the doctor! Thanks for coming by. Get some rest and come back to party with us! :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Jackie! They did another amazing job on this cover, didn't they? So thankful for those cover artists!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Virginia, you are amazingly clever, girl! I give you a ton of credit! :-)

Janet Dean said...

Welcome Melanie! I love the cover of The Captive Maiden! The story sounds wonderful! Knew the first time I read your contest submission that you'd sell. Smile every time you sell another.

Knew Marketing needs a hook that sells the story. You've gotten me excited about writing my version of one of the fairy tales or classics. Will think more on it once this book is finished.

I brought pancakes cause I'm doing flips over your success! ;-)

Janet

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you so much, Julie H.S.!!! :-) And Beauty and the Beast is my favorite too! I know I will write more Beauty and the Beast stories in the future, because it is a deliciously angsty and romantic story base. So many possibilities... :-)

Sally! The woolly worm festival in KY and Jesus and the fishes and loaves. Wow, girl! You are amazingly creative! You are destined to write retellings! :-)

Rose, thank you! Have some tea and scones while you're here!

Melanie Dickerson said...

DebH, I'm so happy to be able to WHAP you with a lightbulb moment! That's what this post is all about! :-)
Kids grow up so fast, don't they? It didn't seem like it when my kids were little, but now that they're as tall as I am, well, it seems fast! But the good thing about toddlers/preschoolers is that they are still a bundle of cute! They have to be, because they're so much work!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Julie!!! You sweet, passionate thing! :-) So happy to see you! Thanks for your encouraging words. And yes, you know a little something about retelling classic stories, don't you? :-) Gone With the Wind fanatic that you are! We all loved A Passion Most Pure. What a great way to twist Gone With the Wind! It was wonderful, of course. But does that make Mitch Ashley? No, I like Mitch the way he is. Ashley is just too mealy-mouthed and passive! And Mitch is so perfect for Charity! :-)

Got any other favorite stories, Julie?

Jeanne T said...

MELANIE, I LOVED this post! How fun to see the ways some people have tweaked fairy tales to make them original. I've got a story idea pinging around in my head. I'll have to see how to weave in some fairy tale elements.

My favorite tale of all time is Beauty and the Beast. But I love others as well. And as for Bible stories, Ruth and Boaz are my favorite. But what about a modern day tale of Rahab redeemed? That just came to mind. I'll have to play with that. :)

Your cover for your newest book is absolutely beautiful! I couldn't stop studying it!

Please do put me in for the drawing. :) Loved your thoughts today!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Cindy Regnier! Yes, I remember that Christmas novella of Mary's! That was great, wasn't it? I just always loved fairy tales, especially the romantic ones with a prince and/or princess. :-) I couldn't resist retelling them. It was kind of inevitable.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Janet! Aw, thank you! You are so sweet! This is why I love Seekerville. You guys are all so sweet. True Southerners at heart. ;-) And I bet you will come up with a great retelling! You have to tell me about it when you do!!!

Karen Kirst said...

Love the cover for Captive Beauty! It's gorgeous. Great title, too. I need to read this.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie I just wait and wait and wait for each new book.
I love your work!!!!!!!!!!!!

NOVEMBER!!!!

And Cinderella at LAST!!!!!!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Jeanne T, thank you! Fairy tale elements are always awesome! ;-) And I think a modern Rahab story sounds AMAZING! You should definitely explore that idea! And Ruth and Boaz definitely make a great love story. A perfect story to retell. And Beauty and the Beast is my favorite fairy tale. There are SO many possibilities, different things you could do with that core story.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Karen Kirst! Thank you! The creative team did a great job. The freelance guy they've been hiring to do my covers, Mike Heath, has gotten really popular with publishers! No surprise there! He's in great demand for trailers too, I've heard. He did the trailers for my first three books, which you can watch on my website.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Mary!!! :-) Everybody had to know that Cinderella was coming sooner or later! Haha! And Valten's story was the perfect opportunity to do Cinderella, since he is the perfect hero for rescuing a Cinderella, don't you think? :-)

Jo Huddleston said...

Melanie, what a great post. When you suggested retelling your favorite story, my wheels started turning! Thanks for the motivation and inspiration.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Awesome, Jo! I'm glad I got your wheels a'turnin'! It's fun to revisit our favorite stories, isn't it? And to make them new and slightly different is the whole point! Thanks for coming by!

kaybee said...

TINA, love the scones. I have some lemon curd in the fridge that I have to use up, so Out It Comes.
RUTHY, love the molasses cookies. My mother used to make them. Good with a tall glass of milk, or as the old New Englanders did, with a piece of cheddar cheese. I'm not kidding, they also ate cheese with apple pie. A New England tidbit for your day...
MELANIE, I will have to try retelling. Looking for my next project after the sequel to "Trail" and the sequel to "Lost and Found," neither of which are published, so I don't want to spend a lot of time on further sequels. I'm looking for a stand-alone, this just may be it. I am going to Brainstorm With Myself.
Yes, good luck with that...
Please put me in the drawing.
Kathy Bailey

kaybee said...

BEST EVER: "West Side Story," a classic retelling of the classic "Romeo and Juliet."

Tina Radcliffe said...

OMG VIRGINIA!!! A CLASSIC RETELLING OF CARS.

That makes it....A CLASSIC CAR!!!

Sherri Shackelford said...

I love a good retelling and Cinderella is a favorite!

Mary Hicks said...

Hi Melanie! Love the cover of THE CAPTIVE BRIDE. It's just ...well, so very pretty!

I love fairy tales—an addiction that can cause glitches in real life ya know? :-)

kaybee said...

I don't watch a lot of TV, except to make fun of it, but is anyone else into "Once Upon a Time"? Great retelling/reworking with a contemporary twist and a lot of plot twists.
KB

Melanie Dickerson said...

Kaybee/Kathy, my husband eats apple pie with cheddar cheese! I always thought it was so weird. But he is from Tennessee. And you should definitely try a retelling for your next story! Could be your "breakthrough" novel! Mine was!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Sherri, Cinderella is a great story, right? Who doesn't want to get that Cinderella ending?!

Mary Hicks, I know exactly what you mean! If you expect the fairy tale romance in real life, it can cause some major heart pain! That's why you should read Mary Connealy's books! Those heroes are seriously flawed! They make us appreciate our husbands! Haha! But we love them.

kaybee, I did watch Once Upon a Time for a while and really liked it, but we stopped watching it last season. It kind of got too soap opera-ish or something. My girls and I lost interest in it. But I liked the first season. It was fun seeing all those fairy tale characters!

Cynthia A. Lovely said...

Always love Cinderella tales!
cllyrics@gmail.com

Courtney Faith said...

I have your book The Healer's Apprentice, Melanie, so I'm happy you're here:)
This is a topic I've never really thought about. . .and I don't know why! I'd heard of Sixty Acres and a Bride, but I haven't read it yet. Your explanation of it being a retelling of Ruth and Boaz makes me want to dive into it! (That is one of the most romantic Books of the Bible, to me.)

And your new book captured (I had to say it) my interest, too!
My story is somewhat influenced by another one, but it is by no means a retelling. But this is a fun post that's got me thinking. . .

Mary Connealy said...

My book, The Sweetest Gift, contained in the novella Collection A Home for Christmas, which also contains a novella by Robin Lee Hatcher is a retelling of O Henry's The Gift of the Magi, only with cowboys and horses and pianos

I know, it's a REAL TWIST!!!!!

Still I think it works. Mine has a MUCH happier ending of course. My grandma's hair got to stay long at least.

Mary Connealy said...

Melanie I think you need to do a retelling of Scrooge. Except it needs to be a romance.
That's what's always been lacking in Scrooge. He's too old. He needs his epiphany when he's younger so he can still live a happy life.

Get right on that, 'k?

Cara Lynn James said...

Melanie, you do a fabulous job making fairy tales your own. Right now I'm adapting a movie (Nodding Hill) into a historical set in the U.S. It's a lot of fun!

Mary Connealy said...

I also have a REALLY good idea for a story involving the assassination of JFK. I mean my own theory of who did it.

OH MY GOSH.

At one point I thought it was almost a law that each and every human being was required to develop their own theory so I did.

Let's just say...the truth is out there!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Mary Connealy said...

That's not specifically a twist on a classic though is it. As always, I have gone off on a tangent.

I apologize.

Mary Connealy said...

My vampire/amish books don't exactly work. Not enough shooting in them.

I'm left with no handy devices to advance the plot.

Mary Connealy said...

And isn't the movie Ten Things I Hate About You a retelling of The Taming of the Shrew? They've done several updated retellings of Shakespeare lately haven't they?

And Big Business with Lily Tomlin and Bette Midler, was a retelling of 'A Comedy of Errors' by Shakespeare.

Marianne Barkman said...

So, Mary, why don't you do the Scrooge story? Just sayin. Love the post and would like to win the book. Thanks for the coffe which was better than mine this morning ( it attracted a moth)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Cynthia, I hope you will like my Cinderella story! :-)

Courtney, Ruth and Boaz is a very romantic story, isn't it? I always wondered, though, what it would have actually looked like. She going out and sleeping at this guy's feet in the middle of the night in a semi-public place? Never quite understood that. But it's fun to think about moving it to a different setting and putting different little twists on the story, enhancing the plot ... there I go, trying to write a Ruth and Boaz story in my head.
Courtney, glad I could get us BOTH thinking this morning! :-)

Mary Connealy said...

I should do the Scrooge story.

In fact I think we should ALL do the Scrooge story.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, I loved your novella, The Sweetest Gift! It was lovely! Perfect twist on a classic story. :-)

Scrooge with romance, Mary? I'm not really seeing it. I'm sure it could be done, though.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Cara, for your encouraging words! And see? You will be appealing to Notting Hill fans everywhere with your story!

Regina Jennings said...

Melanie!! What a great article. I hadn't heard of the Cheese Grits book but it sounds good...and delicious!

Thanks for the shout-out for Sixty Acres and a Bride. I appreciate it.

Walt Mussell said...

Hi, Melanie. I'm on my fourth cup of coffee, I think Hope you are well.

I started doing this exact thing this summer when I started referring to my stories as "Like Shogun, but the heroine survives." Even for those who've never read it or seen the movie, the name of the book conjures up images.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, I'm sure your theory on JFK's assassination would be really fascinating. Maybe Mary Nealy should write that one! And a couple of people HAVE written vampire/amish stories, amazingly. And you wouldn't need to shoot people (unless you used a silver bullet or a wooden stake-shooting gun). You could just have a vampire bite someone. Not only would that up the excitement factor the same way as shooting people, but you add another villain to the mix at the same time! Okay, sorry. I'm off on a tangent too with that! Don't worry. I'm not planning to write a vampire story. A zombie story, maybe. But no vampires.

Melanie Dickerson said...

I blame Mary. She brought it up.

Melanie Dickerson said...

I do love the idea of doing Shakespeare retellings. But my daughter thinks Shakespeare is lame, and since she's my first editor for my books, I better not write one of those.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Marianne and Mary, if we all wrote a Scrooge story, they would all be different. That's the way this crazy thing works. It's amazing, and it's all because God made each of us unique! Isn't He so creative? It's mind-boggling for us humans.

Myra Johnson said...

Fun post today, Melanie--thanks for being our guest! I'm a sucker for a happily-ever-after fairy tale.

Beautiful book cover, too!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Regina! I probably should have told you I was talking about your book today, shouldn't I? Ha! Thanks for coming by! :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Good job, Walt! Way to create an image in people's minds! This is what marketing is all about. And storytelling too!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Myra, thank you! I can't imagine writing a story that didn't end happily. I mean, if I can control the ending, why wouldn't I make it happy? The whole reason I write is to control the things I can't control in real life! :-)

Courtney Faith said...

Leslie Gould writes retellings, too. Hers are Amish stories all based on one of Shakespeare's plays. My favorite is Courting Cate, based on The Taming of the Shrew. Cate is one of my favorite heroines.

Tina Radcliffe said...

So I guess everyone heard the news. Mary Connealy entered the RITA with 47 books for 2013 and crashed the system.

SIGH.

Courtney Faith said...

I would buy the Scrooge story. Just sayin'.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Courtney, those retelling sound very interesting! Would love to see how she re-imagines the Shakespeare stories!

Haha, Tina! I believe it!

Courtney, that would be fun. We should all write a Scrooge story.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Actually, now that I think about it, my second Regency is a bit of a Scrooge story. My hero is a Scrooge-ish sort of guy whose life gets turned upside down by the unconventional heroine. He just can't believe he's falling in love with HER!

Heidi said...

I enjoyed Prom and Prejudice as well! Another one that is sweet is Enthusiasm by Polly Shulman. It's not a retelling but has aspects of several of Austen's stories in it :)

Mary Connealy said...

Why is it always MY FAULT.

ps can we enter indy pubbed books yet? Not that I have one, but The Rosetti Curse and Running on Empty and Try, Try Again should be entered.

Something new for RWA to worry about. :)

Lyndee H said...

Terrific post, Melanie! And your book jackets are always so beautiful. Icing on top of wonderful stories.

SO if the Rita opened today, I'm guessing the Golden Heart isn't far behind. Where has the year gone?

Cheryl St.John said...

Great observations and ideas. I have never retold a classic book, but I have changed up movies into my own stories. A few of them actually. At least one is recognizable, but the others aren't.

Tina Radcliffe said...

Yes. INDIE Books. Why do you think the system crashed. My Uncle Fred is trying to enter his INDIE book.

Callie Barrett said...

I've heard so much about you, Mrs. Dickerson, and never have gotten around to reading your books, but I really do want to! I'd love to win "The Captive Maiden".
Callie

Callie Barrett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Terri said...

Melanie - I love your cover and the book sounds wonderful! I can't wait to read it.

The concept of your post has really got me to thinking. I'm going to look at some of my favorite Bible stories. No place better to receive inspiration for every avenue of life. Even our writing life.

Loved that you mentioned Sixty Acres and a Bride. Regina Jennings did a phenomenal job with that story. I highly recommend it.

Terri said...

By the way, Im telling my sis about your book. Sounds just like one she will love!

ourmutualfriends said...

This post is very timely--I just watched Ever After last night! I'm looking forward to reading your spin on it!

Virginia Carmichael Munoz said...

Margaret Mitchell won a Nobel Peace Prize?

I really should read that book some day. Maybe she had a deep message there!!

Amy C said...

I love these stories retelling of fairy tales. So fascinating!

Connie Queen said...

I love fairy tales, Melanie. A Cinderella Story is probably my favorite.

LOOOOOOOVE your cover.

I'm so ready to be through w/the 3-4 books I'm working on now so I can start a new one, my own Cinderella story.

Mary Connealy said...

REMEMBER THE INSPIRATION CATEGORY OF THE GOLDEN HEART WAS DROPPED LAST YEAR FOR TOO FEW ENTRIES!!!
If you want to support that category as an unpubbed author consider entering the Golden Heart in the Inspy category.

Mary Connealy said...

I don't think I knew about the Indy books. I knew about the erotica category. I guess that got my FULL ATTENTION!!!!!

Salyna xD said...

I really want to read this book! I love re-tellings of fairy tales! I have read two books by Melanie and enjoyed her portrayal of Beauty and the Beast and Sleeping Beauty. Beauty and the Beast has always been my favorite Disney Princess movie so reading The Merchant's Daughter was a big deal for me.

Courtney Faith said...

Mary, I'm not a member of RWA, but your comment made me look up the Golden Heart contest. Now I'm thinking, "Should I sign up to be able to enter in the Inspirational category?" It's not cheap, but I AM determined to be published.
Goodness, this ain't the least bit easy.

Jamie Adams said...

I love the covers on all your books! I'll be adding your newest to my tbr list. Love to read your work.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Heidi, thanks for the book recommendation! I'll have to look for Enthusiasm!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, it isn't ALWAYS your fault. Just most of the time. ;-)

Thank you, Lyndee! This year has gone by slow for me! Haha! Waiting, always waiting ... this is the writer's life.

Cheryl, I change up movies when they don't turn out the way I want them to! But just in my head.

Melanie Dickerson said...

There has been a lot of debate about how to treat Indie books and Indie authors in RWA. Big controversy, lots of discussion. RWA will have to change with the times, like the rest of us.

DebH said...

Melanie
you mentioned your other titles were selling for 1.99 in honor of your new release. i've popped over and bought the ones i was missing. yay! hope you don't mind i jumped all over the discounts.

still pondering which story i want to retell. so many great classics i love...

Melanie Dickerson said...

Callie, thank you for stopping by! I hope you will get to read The Captive Maiden. You can always request it from your library. :-)

Terri, thank you! And I hope you and your sister will enjoy The Captive Maiden! It is fun to think about retelling Bible stories in different settings. The stories themselves are so interesting, and they're never fleshed out as much as I would like. Lots of opportunities for retellings! You all know Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers is a retelling of the story of Hosea and Gomer, right? One of the best books ever.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Ourmutualfriends! Ever After is quite a popular Cinderella retelling.

Virginia, I think Julie meant Gone With the Wind won a Pulitzer Prize for literature. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Amy! I hope you will be able to read them! :-)

Connie, Cinderella stories are so fun! The nice girl gets the prince and the evil girls get what's coming to them. Ha! Have fun with yours!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Mary, thanks for that reminder about the Golden Heart! I had forgotten about that. I think Inspy writers are so busy entering the Genesis and the other one ACFW does, I forget the name of it. It's just the first five pages, or something like that. Anyway, it seems a shame the Golden Heart can't get enough Christian entries! (Please don't say it's a sign of the times! That's too depressing, and I'm a fairy tale believing girl!!!)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Salyna, I hope you can read The Fairest Beauty before you read The Captive Maiden! If you have a Kindle, or some other device that downloads Kindle books, you can get it for $1.99 right now. :-) Thanks for your comment!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Courtney, you said, Goodness, this ain't the least bit easy.

Truer words were never spoken! Getting published is hard, on your emotions, hard mentally, and hard on your pocketbook. But the harder it is, the more triumph is involved when you make it! :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Jamie! I hope you will request them from your library if you don't win!

DebH, it makes me very happy that you took advantage of this promotion!!! I love it when my publisher discounts my books, because that means more people can afford to buy them, and more people will be reading them! :-)

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, welcome!! I love the idea of taking our favorite tales and making them our own. I've always wanted to do a Beauty and the Beast story! Maybe someday...

Missy Tippens said...

Virginia! I didn't know that about Season of Joy!! LOL! I love it! I really loved the book. Will have to go back and watch the movie again. :)

Missy Tippens said...

Jenny, glad about the news on your wrist!

Allison Travis said...

I love these covers! Gorgeous!!

Janet Dean said...

Melanie, of course I'll let you--my inspiration--know if I retell a fairy tale. My all-time favorite story is Cinderella. I know I'll love The Captive Maiden!

All my fairy tales are intertwined with the Disney version. Don't tell Mary, but I think it's the mice that makes the movie so adorable. Poor Cinderella may not get a break but God's creatures are on her side.

Janet

Melanie Dickerson said...

Missy, you should TOTALLY do a Beauty and the Beast story! Nothing could be easier. Just take a scarred, wounded hero and give him a beautiful heroine, the one person who can heal his scars, and make him think it is impossible for her to love him. Pick a setting, choose some details to your liking, and you have a lovely love story, a la Beauty and the Beast! Romance writers do it all the time, whether they call it a Beauty and the Beast story or not.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thank you, Allison! I can't take any credit for the covers, but I do love them too!

Janet, good point about the mice! They are adorable. (Even if Mary doesn't think so.) The Disney Cinderella had her pet mice and my Cinderella has her beloved horses. See what I did there? I just tweaked the details.

Debby Giusti said...

I'm late for today's party! Hope you saved me a slice of cake. :)

Love your newest release, Mel! Gorgeous cover. Be still my heart. And who doesn't love Cinderella!

You've got me thinking about reworking classic murder mysteries. Perhaps some Alfred Hitchcock favorites. Now wouldn't that be interesting?

Melissa Jagears said...

I've written a Scrooge story combined with Aladdin's genie...that's what I was working on when I sold my current series. :) Hope to sell it next, we'll see.

And Scrooge is the romantic hero! Yep, yep

Melissa Jagears said...

Do The Birds Debby! Had to watch that in 6th grade. :) Although I see retellings of that being more sci-fi than suspense....

Melissa Jagears said...

My second book, which has a title now! A Bride in Store, has a Gift of the Magi twist to it.

I evidently just need to stalk mary Connealy's ideas, I've done Gift of Magi now and already did Scrooge....what should I write next Mary??? :P

Tina Radcliffe said...

Back Window. Debby!

or Psycho!!!!!

Courtney Faith said...

Does anyone mind an off-topic question?

Okay, question: How did you find an agent to submit to? I've found all kinds of lists of names, but I don't have any idea who is GOOD, meaning who could possibly get me connected with my favorite publisher (Bethany House). The one I did find who I know represents Bethany House authors is not accepting submissions. Which leaves me at a dead end.
I don't like dead ends.
:-)

kaybee said...

MELANIE,
Why is getting published "hard on the pocketbook"? Because you have to do so much of your own PR? I'm just curious.
KB

Natalie Monk said...

I took a twist on the Prodigal Son story from the Bible for my first book. Book 2, I'm about to figure out the plot on that one. But book #3 is sort of a Seven Brides for Seven Brothers meets Ocean's Eleven inspired story. Sort of. Heehee.

Love your books, Melanie! Looking forward to The Captive Maiden! Don't enter me in the drawing, since I found out I won it last week off another blog. :) Excited to read it! I know it'll be great.

Debby Giusti said...

Isn't it Rear Window, Tina?

I believe it was redone as a movie...but it was so good.

I'm getting chill bumps!

Anyone remember "Marnie?"

Debby Giusti said...

The Birds!

I'm thinking.

Perhaps a mutant strain infected with West Nile. :)

Terri said...

I love old Hitchcock movies. Rear window would be great.

Terri said...

Love it!

Tina Radcliffe said...

LOL. Falling on the floor laughing, yes, Rear Window. hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

Terri said...

I'm working a contemporary Scrooge hero! Can I claim great minds think alike?

Terri said...

First Impressions

Lady DragonKeeper said...

I've read "Prom & Prejudice" and "60 Acres and a Bride" and Melanie Dickerson's books and there is something neat about reimagined tales. I never thought about the marketing angle though ...

Can't wait to read "The Captie Maiden" ... Just watched the Disney 1950s version of Cinderella (and the sequels) for the first time last month ... Wasn't a huge fan of the mice, but without the talking animals, it wouldn't be a Disney movie, right? ;)

Have any of you seen the trailer for their new movie, "Frozen"? It's based on the Snow Queen fairy tale (?) but I'm not familiar with the story.

Thanks for the chance to win! I love Melanie's books (and the online excerpt is way too short)! :D

Mary Connealy said...

NATALIE....Seven Brides for Seven Brothers meets Ocean's Eleven????

Well, if I was an editor, I'd definitely be paying attention at this point.

Vince said...

Hi Melanie:

As a marketing person, you speak my language. Marketing people just love to get books that are highly marketable. I try to tell authors all the time that they should ‘build the marketing into the book’ before they write the first word.

In addition to famous stories, people also like to read about places they’d love to visit or revisit. They like to read about events that many find interesting – like a hot air balloon festival. They also like to lean about career fields that they find intriguing. They would love to get into exclusive restaurants and resorts that they will probably never be able to visit in real life.

I ask authors to put these high attraction elements in their stories to give the marketing people a chance to create cover art that will appeal to the most readers. Usually I’m told, “That’s not the story I want to write.” Writers!

Now with Indie publishing I think authors who are in it for the business will begin to think ‘marketing’. For example, just think of the display windows in a big city department store. The merchandises will agonize over what to put in the display to attract the most buyers into the store. Writers need to do this with their cover art.

I love the idea of using a famous story variation. I did it with my “Characters in a Romance” which is based on the “Wizard of Oz.” It’s at 120.000 words and I think the revisions will only take sixty years. In this paranormal romance the universe blows up in a massive black moment. All the characters are knocked out of their novels and are mixed in with the real people. No one can prove who is real and who is fictional. One author wrote herself into a book and when she meets her fictional self – neither one can prove who is the real person. Everyone in the book is on a quest to get back to their right places. Each chapter is a new adventure like in OZ.

BTW: As you have already mentioned, I think the best version of this idea is Mary’s “The Sweetest Gift” which is a take on “The Gift of the Maji” and it is in the two novella collection called “A Home for Christmas”. The whole time I was reading “The Sweetest Gift”, I was thinking “as good as this is it is not going to work unless you can come up with a great twist on this most famous of endings” – and Mary did it! I just love this novella. I did not guess how she would end the story. I was ready to be disappointed. (I was also ready to be disappointed by Julie’s 5th book – but that ending, no one has ever seen coming!) “The Sweetest Gift”, is a paragon of what you are talking about in this post.

I have to get back to my revisions and the mail just brought my copies of “Romance-ology 101” a few minutes ago. I understand my name is in there somewhere so I bought four copies to give as Christmas presents to my favorite relatives. (Sibling rivalry : ))

Vince

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Debby! You should totally do some Hitchcock classics! That would be amazing!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Melissa, Scrooge and Aladdin's genie. That sounds really interesting. It's not a mail order bride story, is it? :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Courtney, are you a member of ACFW? Start with the agents who are listed as panelists and taking appointments at the ACFW conference. Keep your ears open as to reputable agencies, and even look at the acknowledgements page of your favorite novels to see who those authors' agents are. They will mention, usually. Getting a good agent is always a great step toward getting published!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Kaybee, I was referring to the contest entry fees, mainly. But also conferences are very expensive.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Natalie! :-) Yes, Natalie just won The Captive Maiden on another blog. The Prodigal Son would be a great story to retell, and it's great to get ideas from movies. I occasionally do that. ;-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Terri, you and I are writing Scrooge heroes. "Great minds think alike" definitely applies! I call my hero a curmudgeonly politician, but Scrooge fits him too.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Lady Dragonkeeper! How are you? Long time no see. :-) I am not familiar with the Snow Queen either, actually, but I know there have been some YA retellings done. I'd have to see if I could hunt them down. But I am really looking forward to seeing Frozen!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Haha! You are awesome, Vince! :-) Your novel sounds really intriguing. You definitely have something to offer the marketing people and the cover art people when it gets published! But even though it seems like the revisions will take 60 years, I know you will be able to get it done in a lot less time than that. ;-) But it does seem overwhelming sometimes. Plus, you have a pretty hefty novel there, at 120,000. But I recently saw some statistics that show that readers actually prefer longer novels. I found that very interesting. It's probably only the publishers who push for less than 100,000 words to decrease their expenses. But ... with e-books, I predict that will change and novels will start to get longer. ;-)

Cindy W. said...

I just thought I would mention that you can download a copy of Grimm's Fairy Tales for free on Amazon. Some of the titles I don't remember so I thought it would be fun to see if they offer up any retelling fodder.

Smiles & Blessings,
Cindy W.

countrybear52 AT yahoo DOT com

Courtney Faith said...

Melanie, I am a member (as of about an hour ago.) Thank you for that advice. I'd been wavering on whether or not to join, but I can see now that it can only help. Now I just have to figure out my way around the website.
Also, I'm a cover person, and I LOVE your new one!

Lady DragonKeeper said...

Hello Mrs. Dickerson! Yes, it's been awhile. :) School finally slowed down a bit, so I've been catching up with some of my favorite book blogs!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Good idea, Cindy! I have downloaded books of fairy tales too. But I find that I mostly like the ones Disney has made into movies. And I like the Disney versions, because they're not as ... grim. And the endings are happier. The Little Mermaid does not end well. Except the Disney version. And have you ever read the original version of Sleeping Beauty? It's totally weird and makes no sense. Just sayin'. :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Courtney, you have done a very good thing!!! :-) If you have the time, there are a lot of things you can get involved in, like critique groups and monthly writing courses. I just went to see if I could find the list of agents that were at the conference, but it has been taken down. Bummer! But some reputable agencies are:
Natasha Kern Literary Agency
Chip MacGregor Agency
Steve Laube Agency
Books & Such Agency
Alive Communications
And there are others that I can't remember at the moment. But go to each one of their sites and look to see who is accepting new clients, and look up their submission guidelines.
Hope that helps!

Clari Dees said...

It's been a long work day, but I'm loving this post and have grinned my way through all the comments that have accrued since I first read it last night. I love new twists on old classics and can't wait to read stories based on the ideas generated here!

I remember Marnie, Debby. It's my favorite Hitchcock film right after To Catch a Thief. (Now that'd be a fun story to retell. ;-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Lady Dragonkeeper, I'm glad school has slowed down for the moment. :-) I just looked up Snow Queen retellings and found Cameron Dokey's version, Winter's Child. That was the only one I found.

Chill N said...

Melanie, that's a wonderful post, full of ideas that thump other ideas. I thought my favorite of your covers was The Fairest Beauty but this one (The Captive Maiden) is gorgeous.

Oh, and don't enter me in the drawing :-)

Nancy C

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Clari! I'm happy you came back by! Any movie with Cary Grant has to be good. He was in To Catch a Thief, right? With Grace Kelly? For some reason I can't really remember the story, just the actors.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hi, Nancy! It won't be long before we'll all get our copies of The Captive Maiden! Yay! I can hardly wait!!! :-)

Clari Dees said...

You got it in one, Melanie. Grace and Cary. She's the daughter of a rich widow, he's a former jewel thief out to catch the cat burgler using Cary's former M.O. to implicate him in the robberies.

Eva Maria Hamilton said...

Melanie, that was an awesome post! My head is spinning with ideas!

Melanie Dickerson said...

Clari, that's right! Grace Kelly was afraid to trust him. But who could hold out long against Cary Grant?

Eva Maria, thanks so much! I'm glad you liked the post! :-)

Naomi Rawlings said...

Love that cover, Melanie!

kaybee said...

Thank you, Melanie.
KB

Melanie Dickerson said...

Thanks, Naomi! ME too!!!

You're welcome, KB!

Audra Harders said...

Melanie! I've been trying to comment all day and circumstances at work kept me from the computer all day!

Bummmmmer!!

I love this post and I love your fairy tales. Re-telling of the classics can't help but be successful. Oh how I love a dashing hero : )

Your next book has a gorgeous cover! I can't wait to get a hold of it. November is such a long way away!!!

You're a master at what you do, Mel. Keep giving us great stories!!

Missy Tippens said...

Melanie, you inspired me to try it! I may see if I can work it in to my next proposal! :)

Courtney Faith said...

You're awesome, Melanie. I really do appreciate it. I'm going to copy all of those agencies down. Thank you!

Natalie Monk said...

Lol, Mary. I hope so. I admit, it's a bit far-fetched, but I'm excited about it. Hope to get a firm sketch of the plot sometime next week.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Hey, Audra!!! Hope work was good, even though busy. :-) So which story would you retell?
I totally can't wait for you to read Valten's story. I think you will love him and Gisela! :-)

Melanie Dickerson said...

Missy! I'm excited! :-) you'll have to let me know how it goes!!!

Melanie Dickerson said...

You're welcome, Courtney!

Sherida Stewart said...

Great fun, Melanie! I'll read your Beauty and the Beast (my favorite fairy tale) and work on a new twist to that story. Interesting thoughts!

Christina Rich said...

I am sooooo late to this party. Great blog post, Melanie. One of the OT Biblicals I'm working on is based off the Prodigal Son's brother. He's tortured, tormented and completely redeemable.

The other series I'm working on is set in the Ashkelon and the Greek Isles. The story of my heroine is basically a Joseph story. The books to follow will be about her sisters who disliked her.

I love fairy tales and seeing the various twists authors spin.

Donna said...

Melanie, I have two of your books on my Kindle, waiting patiently.

Your post has me thinking!

I would love to win The Captive Maiden.

Melanie Dickerson said...

Sherida, Beauty and the Beast stories are awesome! All that great angst!

Wow, Christina! Those stories sound so interesting! This is what I'm talking about. Instant recognition, instant thoughts of "I wonder how she will expound on that story?"

Donna, don't think of my books as patiently waiting on your Kindle. Think of them as calling to you, jumping up and down and saying, "Read me now! You know you will love me!" :-)

Elizabeth said...

I usually don't like spin off since they often are not as good as the original but yours are really good. They have the structure of the fairy tale but the characters are unique. Which is much more fun.
I did like P. D. James's "Death Comes to Pemberly" which was a spin off of P&P.
I suppose that my next book is a little bit of a Jane Eyre story with a bit of Hitchcock thrown in. And a bit of philosophy to make everything properly thought provoking lol.

Anita Mae Draper said...

Hey Melanie, I really enjoyed your post. Thanks!

Actually, I'm working on 2 fairytale twists... Both are set in the Old West although only one has a gender switch from the original version.

And yes, I'm having fun with both of them. :)

Congrats on your newest release.

Mary Preston said...

I do enjoy reading favorite classic tales that have been re-told with a twist.

Janet Ferguson said...

Love your books. I purchased them for our high school library last year!

Leigh said...

OK, I'm a day -- and about 200 comments -- behind, but thought I'd jump in.

I've never thought about trying a story retelling, Melanie, but you got my brain moving in a different direction. If I ever wrote a Biblical retelling, it would be based on Esther. Love that story! Great heroine, great villain, lots of layers. :-) And if I wrote it now, it would probably be a YA/dystopian tale because I'm hooked on those.

Thanks for the great post and conversation. I'm looking forward to reading Captive Maiden!

Susan Codone said...

I loved this post -- I had never thought of retelling a story, thinking instead everything needed to be completely original. But I see potential here. Thanks for a great post!

Julie Lessman said...

Hey, Mel, can't think of any other fairy-tale conversions off hand, but I do truly think yours are in a class all their own, my friend!!

And, whoops ... you're right, Mel ... I get the Nobel Peace Prize for Literature mixed up with the Pulitzer every time!!

Hugs,
Julie

Julie Lessman said...

VINCE, you sweetheart you!! I need to put you on the payroll, my friend -- thanks for buying ROMANCE-ology 101 X 4!!

Hugs,
Julie

Jeanette Hill said...

This is great! I have been tossing around the idea of doing a series (plays or short stories) based on Bible stories-with a contemporary spin. Love the ideas!

May the K9 Spy (and KC Frantzen) said...

Melanie!
So good to see you here. I'm very late but stopping by...

This makes so much sense. Thank you for explaining your process and getting us to think! YIKES! ;)

Yes please enter me. I have enjoyed all your stories but Christmas is coming and I can gift your latest to a friend who WILL enjoy also!

may at maythek9spy.com

Sara Ella said...

Hi Melanie! I loved your book The Fairest Beauty and would love a chance to read your newest release. I am a sucker for Fairy Tales and have always felt that Christ can be seen in many fairy tales in the sense that he is our Savior and true hero. I am currently working on my first novel/series in which I am weaving in several aspects of classic fairy tales. The twist is that a modern day girl discovers that the tales are true and that she is a part of them. I won't say much more than that but wanted to let you know your post today inspired and encouraged me. Here I was doubting my idea, thinking it would be viewed as overdone or old news. Thanks for giving me a different perspective!

Jennifer said...

Love your books! I'd like to win...

Bookishqueen said...

I love reading retellings, and have in fact written one. However, I have to agree with my sister when she said that there were getting to be too many of them. And sometimes they're really not original.

Though I love your books (and Cinder)!

Bethany said...

I love retellings. I write them somewhat... yes, I'm writing a Cinderella retelling, but it's for a competition. :)

Emily Rachelle said...

Now I want to read that Pinocchio story... man.

Barbara Thompson said...

I love your books. This book sounds wonderful. Thank you for the chance of a giveaway.
Barbara
barbmaci61(at)yahoo(dot)com

Hilleary Peterson said...

I really like the old tale with a new twist. As women we have grown up with these classic fairytales and when they are rewritten with a twist they tend to identify with you as you get older. I have a 3 year little girl who I get to experience the little girl versions with so it is nice to have similar stories that I can get into, not the Disney versions

A.J. Cattapan said...

Love that cover on The Captive Maiden!

Debra E. Marvin said...

Sorry to have missed Melanie's day. This really made me think about how I can give my stories -- at least the pitch -- the umph you've described! I'd love to be in the drawing for The Fair Maiden!

It was such a treat to see you again at ACFW!

CatMom said...

SO sorry I'm a day late, Melanie...BUT I went to your post last night, and my computer FROZE!! AAAUGH!!!! And I was so looking forward to reading it then...So, am back tonight, and want to say thanks for the great post - - and even though I haven't been able to read your books YET, I DO plan on reading them all!
Hugs from Georgia, Patti Jo (who wants everyone to live happily ever after) :)

Anna R. Weaver said...

Thank you for sharing, Melanie. I love fairy tale twists. :)

Wanda Barefoot said...

Hi Miss Mary! I love it when an older story gets a revision and a different take by other authors. I just ordered your new book and I can't wait to read it!

Blessings,
Wanda Barefoot
flghtlss1(AT)yahoo(DOT)com

travelingstacey said...

Hi Melanie! I'm not sure if I'm too late to comment, but I wanted to read your article and put in my name (hopefully) for the drawing of your new book! I can't wait to read it. Cinderella is one of my family's favorite fairy tales.

So my take on a favorite story. That's tough. I think one of my top favorite stories...may be #1, really...is Jane Eyre. So maybe I could say that Jane is a young, new fashion designer and Rochester is the head honcho designer at the company. She comes in, brilliant but meek, with some unique ideas in fashion. He is the master, but finds her intriguing. That's off the top of my head. I haven't read the other comments so there might be something else someone has thought of! It's hard to outdo one of the best story lines ever! : )

Hope you're doing well! God bless~Stacey

Linda Finn said...

Well vince I guess you and I will be working together as Jules keeps threatening to put me on payroll too. I think she just loves us for our dedication and preservance.
Melanie I loved your post and Can't wait to read your books. Julies are burning holes in my ereader too so its only fair yours burns hers up ! lol
Blessings
Linda Finn
Faithful Acres Books
faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

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