Creative writing activity for group/workshop

Happily 25 years after


to imagine characters from popular tales or myths in their lives outside the popularly known story.

to retell a myth of folktale from an unusual angle


plenary brainstorming, then individual writing


Neil Gaiman’s Smoke and Mirrors, especially ‘Troll Bridge’


cards or pieces of paper, about two per participant


The genre here is entirely open and can be a narrative a poem or a monologue


On one of the pieces of paper being handed around write down the name of a character from a well-known folktale, a nursery rhyme or a myth. These are collected and redistributed.

Under the names of the character on the pieces of paper you’ve just been given, write down a situation the character finds her/himself in, e.g. the frog prince after 25 years of being married to the princess. These are collected and displayed.

Pick out one or two of the pieces of paper. Then make some notes about:
a) what kind of features the character would have. (Some of them may be different from the ones displayed in the well-known tale.)
b) what is specifc about the environment or situation in which the character appears
c) how would the character interact with others and with the environment
d) what possible consequences might this lead to

Write a text with these elements, possibly with a punch-line or a clincher at the end which plays on the way the character acts in the popular tale/myth.

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