H. C. Andersen is valued as the best fairy tale writer of all times. Originality is definitely the major reason for such a title. But we'll see he often only rewrote already existing stories. So where is the secret of his success?
Andersen's fairy tales are still very popular even a century and a half after his death. There are several reasons for that. Andersen used simple everyday language which really never fell out of fashion.
He also included a lot of emotions, what was a novelty in the field of fairy tales, primarily considered as educational tales for children.
Humor is another of his trademarks. Sometimes it can be pretty dark and sarcastic, but still.
Writing on several layers (at least one for kids and at least one for adults who wrote them, as he explained) counts too.
Yet originality of the plots is clearly not on this list of H. C. Andersen's attributes. As will see, he often used stories written by others, old fables and tales with unknown authorship, or other material, just to have a solid backbone for his 'original' work.
This is especially true for his earlier fairy tales which himself described as much better than later work, the fairy tales which were written when he was already famous.
If you are ready to peek in the backstage of some of the finest Andersen's creations, let's start a list of 10 not so original fairy tales by H. C. Andersen:
What are your thoughts on Andersen's work and originality in general?
Thanks, Mira, for your kind words. I hope my articles can help to more critical reading and a bit higher lever of writing / publishing. Sorry for my late responses, I am in the middle of something right now ... Enjoy!
Wow, you're good!:) I like how you connected the elements of the story and how enthralling that leaf and the associated story was! :):)
Thank you, Mira, for your kind words. I have to note, these stories are not only written but they are all published, mostly on the national radio, but they found their way to CDs, magazines, books and picture books as well. Unfortunately I had almost zero success in English (lack of invested energy maybe). Here is one of more recent projects (and most popular ones): https://www.lahkonocnice.si/sodelovan...
I hope your projects in English panned out better:)
Thank you, Tolovaj! You certainly have more to recommend you for children's literature than I do -- and I'm still surprised you wrote hundreds of stories! Congrats, that's a wonderful achievement! And given how steeped you are in all these traditional stories, writing your own must have felt wonderful. Are any of your stories in English? :)
First of all, sorry for my late response, Mira. I was on holidays. About your questions:
- if you feel you have anything to tell to the world, just do it, no matter the form (contemporary story, airy tale, novel, everything can work);
- I wrote my first two or three hundred stories for kids (only a few dozens qualify as fairy tales by definition) before I made any analysis, so don't bother with analysing, just do it (I never analysed any of my stories, there are literary billions of people who should do it before me);
- whatever you do, try to enjoy it, with thinking abut monetizing close second;).
Your articles are very inspiring. Maybe I should consider reading contemporary kids' literature and attempting my own book of fairy tales. I do know, however, how complicated this field is, with complex analyses of various motifs and such. It seems truly daunting. And yet you have written your own fairy tales. How on earth did you do it?:)
Thanks, DerdriuMarriner, for your comment. Copyright laws were already applied in all these countries but there was a lot of infringements as well. Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter, for instance, was stolen by American publishing house because British publisher failed to fill right papers in the right time in the right place.
In case of Andersen it was a bit different - he mostly used stories from folklore without copyright restrictions. If he used stuff, written by known authors (in case of Undine (I can add Undine is actually based on a folktale too.) or Christmas Carol), he used only ideas which were not considered as stolen content. He developed and twisted them in his own way after all. He charmed audience by the way of telling the stories not as much as with the content of the stories.
Tolovaj, Thank you for the fairy tale by fairy tale look. The only tale that I do not know is number 8. What would the people of Denmark and of the affected countries, such as England, Norway and Sweden, have thought of the borrowing?