Monday, April 23, 2012

Second Time Around

According to Polti's list there are only thirty six dramatic situtations that might occur in a story. No matter how many ways you serve it, what it boils down to is everything that can be done, has been done. And a writer needs to be original. Because every editor out there is looking for something unique & fresh. Geesh, talk about pressure.

You can think yourself silly trying.... Or you can remake an old classic.

Remember Little Red Riding Hood?

The earliest known printed version published in 1687 by Charles Perrault.
The story in its day was quite unique. A little girl is sent to visit her ailing Grandmother who lives in the woods.

A delightful tale no denying that. And, as with any written
literarture, critics speculated about the theme, many were curious as to who the author may have been referring. And it’s said that the men Charles Perrault could have been referring to were his countrymen with loose morals who partied extravagantly and associated with a certain type of beautiful women. Perhaps his intent was to educate the innocent young ladies. The untried and prevent them from making such a mistake. He's been quoted to have said ‘One must learn that pretty young lasses do wrong to listen to strangers. And a wolf can present himself obliging and gentle, even following young maids through the streets, to their doors! These gentle wolves are the most dangerous!’

Next came the brothers Grimm; clever enough to add a sequel of kind to their version of the story which they simply called the second part. In that version Red did not leave the path. And Grandmother locked the door preventing the wolf's from gaining entrance that way. But you know that sneaky old wolf, he's determined if nothing, and he climbed upon the roof. Little did he know Granny had returned a trough to a roaring fire in the chimney, full of water she'd used earlier to cook sausages in. The smell alone was enough to lure the wolf down the chimney. And he drowned!

The Brothers Grimm had storytelling uniqueness down pat, developed the spark for spinning a tale so entertaining it kept readers on edge til the very end.

Another revised edition is this colorful A LadyBird easy reading book.

This is the account I best remember. In fact, I doubt I will ever forget my mother retelling how the woodcutter saved both Little Red Riding Hood and her grandmother. He opened the wolf's belly and out they jumped, whole and unharmed. I think they even had tea afterwards.

And get a peek at what’s in her basket.

"Little Red Riding hood," replied the wolf. "I have brought you a cake and some wine."

When I read this to my grandkids they burst out giggling every time imagining the little girl with a bottle of wine in her basket.

This later version is simply titled, RED, and is a movie starring Amanda Seyfreid and Gary Oldman. Blurb: Red falls for an ophaned woodcutter and when her sister is viciously attacked and killed, villagers suspect a werewolf. As the death toll rises, Red begins to wonder if the werewolf could be someone she loves.

My, Red, how you have changed!

I almost forgot the movie 'FreeWay' starring Kiefer Sutherland and Reese Witherspoon. Hang on 'cause this is one heck of a ride; and a total remake of Red Riding Hood's journery- or to quote the back dvd box- A Retrofit trip to see her grandmother.

There may only be 36 dramatic situtations but by adding your own special blend to the plot can make for endless possibilities.


  1. Interesting post Tere! I remember that same version well about the woodcutter cutting grandma and Little Red Riding hood from the wolf's belly and also the one where he turned into boiled dinner when he came down the chimney.

    Funny how the ones that I read or had read to me when I was the youngest are the ones that are my favs to this day!

  2. I know, my favorites are the old fables that tend to be a little bit on the scary side. Remember Hansel and Gretel? And there was one about a wolf draped in the mother sheep's wool. I think the kids weren't suppose to open the door to strangers. The tricky wolf powered his feet!
    : )

  3. Hey Teresa...sorry to post here...but I can't find an email address for you. You won my contest on Coffee and Chocolate. Can you email me at

    Thanks and congratulations!

    1. Yipie!! I really want to read this one! I feel lucky today!

  4. Great post, Tere. Loved your example variations for the same story, and the difference a few tweaks can make.

  5. Thanks Dawn. It's always fun to see if one can disect the movie and match it to what story. Like Pretty Woman vs Cinderella. Hubby hates it when I do that outloud at the theater. : )

  6. Hiya, Tere,

    Great post, a fab talking point. I enjoyed your selection. As a child, I always preferred the romance stories (Cinderella, The Princess and the Pea, Rapunzel) to these ones.

    I guess even then I was a bit of a romantic :)

    Hugs x

  7. Hi Monique,
    It's funny how our childhood influences our writing. Look how the snip from Rapunzel found its way into my last manuscript.

    “Hey, what’s this? You’d have done the same for me if some horny bastard tried to climb through my window, right?”
    Leslie nodded, unable to speak because of the large lump gathered in her throat.
    “On second thought, if you see anyone trying, give me a chance to explain. We just might be play acting, you know, ‘let down your hair’ and all that.”


Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts. You're awesome!