FABLES, FAIRY TALES, FOLKTALES, AND FIFTH GRADERS – How Much Truth Lies in Fiction?

Apr 3, 2012 | Spirit of Adventure, Writing

I believe that fiction sometimes reveals more of a writer’s true nature than nonfiction. In nonfiction we filter what we wish to reveal, but in fiction our hidden dreams and nightmares may sneak out without us even knowing. This is no less true of the young writers I’ve mentored this past year for Denver’s Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

Throughout March, a class of fifth graders and I explored Fables, Fairy Tales, and Folktales. We read examples, and then the kids wrote their own tales, making up characters, problems, obstacles, and new-fashioned happy endings. As they inflicted problems on their heroes and villains, I wondered if they were reflecting real life: a sister who doesn’t get along with her brother but needs him to rescue her, a girl who is bored by a world that doesn’t let her express herself, a princess who is good and happy and loved until another, unhappy girl tries to ruin it for her.

But maybe our truest natures as writers aren’t shown so much in the problems we invent, as the happy endings we imagine. After all, our problems sometimes stem from external events, but our dreams come from within. That’s not to say it means anything macabre if a fifth-grade writer decides to kill off her princess’s competition. So never fear, and enjoy a few of the imaginative, hilarious, charming stories written by the thirteen students from my Fables, Fairy Tales, and Folktales Workshop. You may find yourself wondering how it will all turn out…

About Cara

Cara Lopez LeeCara Lopez Lee is the author of They Only Eat Their Husbands. She’s a winner of The Moth StorySLAM and performs in many storytelling shows, including Unheard L.A., and Strong Words. Her writing appears in such publications as Los Angeles Times, Manifest-Station, and Writing for Peace. She’s a traveler, swing dancer, and baker of pies. Cara and her husband live in the beach-town of Ventura, California, where they enjoy tending their Certified Wildlife Habitat full of birds.
Cara Lopez Lee

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