Our Masterpieces...Err, Our Novels

Thursday, April 7, 2011

What Agents Wants: The Fractured Fairy Tale

Querying Song of the Day: "Somewhere Out There" from An American Tale

What Agents Want is a new series in which we will research what trends/topics agents are looking for right now. We'll give you information on the trend/topic and the agent that is looking for this specific type of project. The better to query with, my dears.

This week we are looking to a land not so far, far away...that was horrible, but it will all make sense. We noticed that a few people are buzzing about fairy tales around the interwebs. And normal fairy tales are not what's being buzzed about--it's the FRACTURED fairy tale that's getting attention.

There are a few agents who are always looking for re-worked fairy tales. Among them is Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown LTD. (yes, Pam's super agent!). In fact, she recently blogged about the topic here.

So, what the heck is a fractured fairy tale?

A story that takes the fairy tales we know and love and literally "fractures" them. Some of the characters, settings, key plot points, and points of view are changed but the general story remains the same.

According to Marilyn Kinsella a fractured fairy tale is "...a fairy or other folk tale that has been modified in such a way as to make us laugh at an unexpected characterization, plot development or contrary point of view."

Of course, some fractured fairy tales are not humorous (what's so funny about a witch trying to eat two little German children??) but the point is the same as the description above--elements of the tale are changed to give a fresh spin to the material.

Go here to have fun making your own fractured fairy tale!!!

What books can I read for research? (Books that include a fractured fairy tale)

The True Story of The Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (illustrations by Lane Smith)

Ash by Malinda Lo

Finally, tell me about the agent who is seeking fractured fairy tales!

Sarah LaPolla began working with Curtis Brown LTD in 2008 after receiving her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School. She is seeking new clients (and took on Pam this past December!!!). To query her and learn more about what she is interested in, see her page on the Curtis Brown LTD website and Querytracker.net through the links below.

For more information on Sarah LaPolla check out the following links:

Curtis Brown LTD

Glass Cases (Sarah LaPolla's blog)


Agent Interview: Sarah LaPolla on our blog

Agent Interview: Sarah LaPolla on Janet Johnson's blog

Agent Wishlist: Sarah LaPolla

**DISCLAIMER** We are BY NO MEANS telling anyone to follow trends or try to hurry and write novels based on these features. This is for people who have written, or have been thinking about writing, on the topic presented.

Did you know about fractured fairy tales before reading this post? Or better yet, have you already started a WIP in this genre???


Amie Kaufman said...

I think the Sisters Grimm books by Michael Buckley fit into this category a little. I don't have a fractured fairy tale (or any other kind) up my sleeve, but if we were talking myths, I'd be your girl!

Holly Dodson said...

I love fairy tales. Love them. Love this trend. Want more fairy tales. *grin* Maybe it's because I wrote one though. ;) (Not exactly a fractured fairy tale, but my own twist on the concept anyway.)

Carrie said...

One of the ladies in my writing group is a retired teacher and she said her students could never get enough of fractured fairy tales.

Jamie Manning said...

Thanks so much for this post you guys! I knew that fairy tales being re-worked was a new thing, but I didn't know they had their own name (Fractured Fairy Tales...love it!). Sounds like it would be so much fun to try :)

Alex Mullarky said...

Very interesting :) I especially liked the disclaimer. I love folk and fairy tales and I'm considering specialising in them at some point in my degree because I LOVE fiction that incorporates their themes.

Tracey Neithercott said...

I love reading fractured fairy tales. I'd love to see more of these.

Stephanie Faris said...

I just attended a workshop this weekend where a Simon & Schuster editor mentioned liking these. I'd never even heard this term before the workshop and here it is, second time in one week!

Alicia Gregoire said...

Great info. As always, thanks ladies!

Marquita Hockaday said...

Stephanie- it's a sign! You destined to write a fractured fairy tale :D

Thanks for the comments, ladies! We're always glad to help.

Caroline Tung Richmond said...

This is so cool, guys! I really wish that I could have read this series when I was in the querying trenches. :)