modern retelling

YA Fairy Tale Retellings

I’ve had several people ask for some YA retelling book recommendations, so here are a few of each! I marked my favorites with an asterisk:


Snow White

Beauty & the Beast

Sleeping Beauty


The Twelve Dancing Princesses

Peter Pan

Aladdin/1,001 Nights

Red Riding Hood

Hansel & Gretel: Sweetly by Jackson Pearce

The Little Mermaid: Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon

The Frog Prince: 

Rumpelstiltskin: A Curse Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce

The Snow Queen

remember when 4chan was mad that other websites were posting that emotional frog and wanted to take their frog back? i just realised that that was basically the modern retelling of the iliad we’ve been waiting for, with a meme amphibian as helen

Literary Web Series Master List

Ever since The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, literary web series have EXPLODED. What’s not to like? You get a modernized retelling of some of your favorite stories in bite-sized weekly (or semiweekly, in some cases) installments. They’re fantastic! I’ve gotten really frustrated at how many have popped up without me knowing, though. I WANT TO KNOW THEM ALL! I even asked my feed for a master list, but no one could deliver.

So I made one myself. Below is a list of every literature-related retelling web series I could find, organized by author’s last name (if applicable). If I’ve missed any, PLEASE add on to the list and keep it going. Enjoy!


The Jo March Vlog - Little Women

The March Family Letters - Little Women

Lil Women - Little Women


Emma Approved - Emma

The Emma Project - Emma

Emma’s Journal - Emma

From Mansfield With Love - Mansfield Park

Northbound - Northanger Abbey

The Cate Moreland Chronicles - Northanger Abbey

The Lizzie Bennet Diaries - Pride and Prejudice

Welcome To Sanditon - Sanditon (unfinished Austen MS)

Dashwood Days - Sense and Sensibility

The Dashwood Diaries - Sense and Sensibility

Elinor and Marianne Take Barton - Sense and Sensibility

Mars & Elly - Sense and Sensibility

Project DashwoodSense and Sensibility (in production)

The Jane Games - All


The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy - Peter Pan

Or So the Story Goes - Peter Pan


The Grey Tarmac Road - The Wizard of Oz


The Autobiography of Jane Eyre - Jane Eyre


W.H. Academy - Wuthering Heights


A Little Princess - A Little Princess

The Misselthwaite Archives - The Secret Garden


Dona Moça - Senhora


The New Hardy Boys - The Hardy Boys (and Nancy Drew!)


221B - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

The Adventures of Jamie Watson (And Sherlock Holmes) - The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

My Dear WatsonThe Adventures of Sherlock Holmes


All For One - The Three Musketeers


Project Carraway - The Great Gatsby

The Nick Carraway Chronicles - The Great Gatsby


East & West - North & South


Friends of the ABC - Les Miserables


Carmilla - Carmilla (novella)


Notes By Christine - The Phantom of the Opera

The Private Letters of Christine Daae - The Phantom of the Opera


School of Thrones - Game of Thrones


Green Gables Fables - Anne of Green Gables

Project AoGG - Anne of Green Gables

Project Green Gables - Anne of Green Gables


Masked - The Scarlet Pimpernel


A Tell-Tale Vlog - Edgar Allen Poe


Like, As It Is - As You Like It

A Document of Madness - Hamlet

Hashtag Hamet - Hamlet

Titus and Dronicus - Hamlet

A Labor of Love - Love’s Labors Lost

Lovely Little Losers - Love’s Labours Lost

Mac & Beth - Macbeth

Weird Sisters - Macbeth

A Midsemester’s Night’s Dream - A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Bright Summer Night - A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Love In Idleness - A Midsummer’s Night’s Dream

Nothing Much To Do - Much Ado About Nothing

A Bit Much - Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About A Web Series - Much Ado About Nothing

The Soliloquies of Santiago - Othello

Shakes - Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Much Ado About Nothing

Any Other Vlog - Romeo and Juliet

Jules and Monty - Romeo and Juliet

Call Me Katie - The Taming of the Shrew

Kate the Cursed The Taming of the Shrew

Twelfth Grade Or Whatever - The Twelfth Night

All’s Fair Play - Various Shakespeare Plays


Frankenstein, MD - Frankenstein


To Run and Hyde - Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde


Mina Murray’s Journal - Dracula


Charlotte’s Web Series - Charlotte’s Web


In Earnest - The Importance of Being Earnest


Rex - Arthurian legend

Cindy - Cinderella (no videos yet)

The Further Adventures of Cupid and Eros - Cupid myth

University Ever After - Disney tales

Grimm Reflections - Grimms’ Fairy Tales

My Name Is Mulan - Mulan


Classic Alice - Various

Kissing in the Rain - Various

Or So The Story Goes - Various

I Didn’t Write This - Various (insp. by literary quotes)


Writing Majors - Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Oscar Wilde

Words from Wilde - Oscar Wilde

Blankverse - William Shakespeare (and others)


1. I haven’t watched all of these, so I can’t vouch for their quality.

2. Given the above, I also can’t vouch for their content. (Most seem to be PG, though.)

3. Some are in progress and/or on hiatus and therefore incomplete.

4. Some have not yet started. (They’re marked.)

5. In my searching, I found a lot of people with partial lists that were very helpful, in particular: this list, this list, this list, this list, this list, and especially this list. Please give them love!


Urban Gods: 

↳ Artemis

Artemis isn’t really big on hunting in the green jungles anymore. She hangs out in crowded cities where men think every thing belongs to them. While her eyes aren’t as all seeing as her older brother, she still sees every woman that gets harassed on the street. The suspects usually end up pumped with lead and left to bleed out while one of her nymphs is watching over the victim. The goddess of the hunt is always on the prowl.

MASTERPIECE and PBS Announce New “Sherlock” Special to Premiere on January 1

MASTERPIECE “Sherlock: The Abonminable Bride” Picture Shows: John Watson (MARTIN FREEMAN), Sherlock Holmes (BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH) © Robert Viglasky/Hartswood Films and BBC Wales for BBC One and MASTERPIECE.

– Event Marks the First Time for a “Sherlock” US-UK Same Day Premiere –

October 24, 2015 - MASTERPIECE and PBS today announced that “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride,” a 90-minute special, will premiere Friday, January 1, 2016 on MASTERPIECE Mystery! on PBS at 9:00 p.m. ET, and simultaneously online at The special will have an encore broadcast on Sunday, January 10 at 10:00 p.m. ET. This is the first time that “Sherlock” has premiered in the US and the UK on the same day.

Benedict Cumberbatch (The Imitation Game) and Martin Freeman (The Hobbit) return as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson in the acclaimed modern retelling of Arthur Conan Doyle’s classic stories. But now our heroes find themselves in 1890s London. Beloved characters Mary Morstan (played by Amanda Abbington), Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves) and Mrs. Hudson (Una Stubbs) also turn up at 221b Baker Street. “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” is a 90-minute “Sherlock” special.

“Sherlock”, Season 4, will go into production in Spring 2016. Airdate TBD.

“Sherlock” is produced by Hartswood Films for BBC One and co-produced by MASTERPIECE. It was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss, and inspired by the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride” was co-written by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. The executive producers are Beryl Vertue, Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat, Sue Vertue and Rebecca Eaton for MASTERPIECE.



Urban Gods:

↳ Apollo

A home for almost lovers, Apollo isn’t the type to stay in one place at a time. He still makes the sun rise, but he prefers to do it from his apartment in Chicago where the rooms are filled with empty canvases. Apollo has become used to his visions now, prophecy of the end of the world. Of course, most of them get turned into song lyrics for karaoke at bars or stuck in his throat when a girl named Daphne and a boy named Hyancinthus glance his way. People who can’t take no for an answer and try to steal his attention, often end up going mad and screaming about a burning light.


Are you a fan of contemporary YA? We’ve got some suggestions of old favorites and brand new titles for you!

Like I’ll Give You the Sun, Graffiti Moon is a story of artists and first love told from multiple perspectives and bursting with lyrical prose.

Both How to Save a Life and Fingerprints of You deal with teenage pregnancy and mother-daughter relationships in a compelling and realistic way.

Great is a modern retelling of The Great Gatsby, and Solitaire has a modern Holden Caulfield as its protagonist. Both present a smart and edgy story about how social media effects modern teens.

Speak and Every Last Word both examine why sexual assault is underreported and stigmatized. 

Like All the Bright Places, Wild Awake is about a teen girl coping with the loss of a sister and falling in love with someone unstable. 

Both This Song Will Save Your Life and Beautiful Music for Ugly Children are moving examinations of identity and the power of music, but are balanced by touches of humor. 

Find all of these books in the catalog at Lawrence Public Library

Legit Tip #164

You may have heard me or other folks in the writing biz say there’s no such thing as an original idea. But that’s not a bad thing. In fact, once you realize this, you can better use existing myths and story structures and tropes to create better, stronger story ideas. 

That’s not to say that every single story you tell should be a retelling of an existing story, of course. Rather, you should learn to take those existing elements and morph and twist them into something new. This is something that can be particularly useful if you do have an interest in doing modern retellings of old myths. 

For example, let’s look at the story of Hades and Persephone. The gist of it is this - Hades sees Persephone and thinks, hey, this girl is pretty cute. But Persephone’s mom, Demeter, is like - oh hell no. But Hades isn’t backing down. (And honestly, as far as gods go, Hades doesn’t really ask for much. He’s a pretty chill dude.) So he hops on his chariot and abducts Persephone, taking her to the underworld to be his new bride. 

But Demeter is so not chill. She flips when she sees her daughter is gone. And finally, after basically sending the world into an endless winter (being the goddess of life and earth and all that shizz) she finds out Hades took her daughter and goes into a full-on rage in the way that only a pissed off mom can. 

But Hades and Persephone - well, by this point they have a pretty good thing going. So, Hades agrees to let Persephone go back with her mom for a while, but first he’s like, “Bae, why don’t you eat this pomegranate seed?” And she does, and in doing so ties herself to the underworld. So, with that done, everybody comes to an agreement - Persephone will live half her life in the world above, with her mother, and half her life in the underworld, with her husband. 

A retelling of that myth doesn’t have to be as strict as a god of earth abducting the daughter of the goddess of life. It doesn’t have to feature Hades and Persephone - or even feature any gods at all. Break the story down into its component elements, and use those to structure a new story idea -

Elements of the Hades/Persephone Myth:

  1. Two powerful forces warring for the affections of one individual
  2. An entity from one world who falls in love with an entity from another
  3. A resolution in which a character moves between two separate worlds.
  4. The concept of life and death

Now, let’s say we want to want to take this myth and translate it into a, say, vampire romance. I hear you groaning. Shh. 

The Vampire King ends up falling in love with the daughter of his mortal enemy, the leader of a group of vampire hunters. He brings the hunters daughter into his world and changes her, which sends the hunter into a fury and ignites a war. It’s up to the daughter to negotiate an understanding between these two different worlds, which leads to a resolution to the war that has raged on between the hunters and the vampires for centuries. However, as a part of the deal they make, the newfound Vampire Queen makes a commitment to the hunters to work with them to hunt down and kill wayward vampires, effectively making her a part of both worlds.

It’s a very different story, but one that has its roots in mythology. Consider these kinds of loose connections and this manner of “borrowing” story structures to come up with new and surprisingly unique concepts as you generate your own story ideas.

Honestly, the more I think about it, the more I’d be interested in seeing a remake of Buffy, provided that whoever’s at the helm of it (and this someone NOT being Joss Whedon, given that his view of feminism is still stuck in the early nineties, and we’re in need of new and more diverse and intersectional voices at the helm of something like this) is genuinely interested in addressing the flaws of the show and fixing them - increased racial diversity (how about Buffy being Latina, considering that California’s population is heavily Latinx), Willow being a lesbian from day one, clean off Joss’s mud from Xander (since he’s pretty obviously a Joss Whedon mouthpiece at many times, and, like I said above, that’s not the place we’re in now, and his character would need to reflect that), and focus on modern metaphors, not just retell the old stories twenty years later. And those are just some of the obvious flaws to be fixed (which, speaking of, another obvious thing - NO USE OF BURY YOUR GAYS).

I think if handled correctly, updated for the twenty years of the passage of time, it could work. It’d just need the right hand at the wheel, someone willing to do those updates, recognize that the original is foundation, but if there are pieces of that foundation that have rotted, then they need to be removed and replaced, not simply given a new coat of paint (to stretch my metaphor).

But, you know, if someone wants to remake Buffy without trying to update it in all matters, not just ‘oh, now they text each other and use the term ‘lawl’ in conversation‘, yeah, don’t bother. If you’re going to tell a new iteration of a story that’s already been told, you need to address the flaws of the previous incarnation.

matt & karen au - the little mermaid

karen was wearing a pink dress, i couldn’t help myself (oh and i think there’s a fic about a modern day retelling of this, so check that out too if you fancy it. umm…here it is)

This is an illustration and practise piece for my planned webcomic project about the modern retelling of the Phantom of the Opera, featuring the title character and a siren. Older depictions of sirens show them as birds with the heads of women, and a siren plays a role in the original novel. 

I have made a timelapse recording of the process of drawing the illustration, featuring a lot of errors and confused layers. :D

My website

My Tumblr

My society6-Shop with the artwork

I saw this post about how She’s The Man is transphobic and it’s like…. this story is literally hundred of years old…. Twelfth Night is a cornerstone of theatre… it’s literally a modern retelling of a Shakespeare play about a girl who is shipwrecked and knows she has a better chance of being respected in the 17th century by disguising herself as a man…. like I don’t know what to tell you

ADDENDUM: please see this and this for further commentary.