Nancy's Books

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Retelling Folktales

Authentic folktales are popular with young readers and their gatekeepers—teachers, librarians, parents, and publishers. Most of these stories have been retold over centuries. If the story is protected by copyright, you must get approval from the copyright holder to retell.

Many literary gatekeepers want the folktale to be retold by a person who represents the culture that is depicted. I retold a Cherokee folktale, First Fire. For years, I had been searching for such a story to pay tribute to my great-great grandmother, who was of Cherokee heritage. 

Editors want the retelling vetted by an authority in the subject. With First Fire, the publisher asked a representative of the Cherokee Nation to vet the story. 

My goal was to stay true to the original story, but retelling is a balancing act. The folklorist in me wanted to retain the flavor of the culture and accurately represent it. At the same time, the author in me wanted to add my voice to the rhythm of the words. Together, the folklorist and author sides partnered to retell a story that is customized to today’s reader. Folktales are meant to be retold and recreated by the next storyteller who passes it along and keeps the story alive. 

Call for submissions for Adult Writers

Flash Fiction Online. We publish stories from 500 to 1,000 words in length. They’re very short, but they are still stories. That means the best ones have strong, interesting characters, plots, and (to some extent, at least) settings.

We welcome submissions from writers of every race, religion, nationality, gender, and sexual orientation.

Regarding Content

We’re not that concerned about genre. Many of us have a fondness for science fiction and fantasy, but we also like literary fiction; and in any case, great flash stories aren’t always easily classified. If you wrote it, and you love it, then submit it.

Submission guidelines at



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