Our Very Own Fairytale


Jamilah Phillip-Johnson

In Creative Writing, students wrote and created their own fairytale books. "I enjoyed the project because it let us express our individuality and allowed us to make a whole book," said senior Lauren Covely.

Fairytales are a building block. They help us learn to read, learn to write, and most importantly, they establish a common culture- fairytales and folktales are one and the same. Tales are retold over and over again- some dark, some whimsical. Twisted fairytales have become their own subgenre.

“I don’t ever cap on creativity,” said Miss Tracy James, English and Creative Writing teacher.

This is the often repeated mantra for her creative writing class. For the next forty or some minutes, juniors and seniors explored and used popular forms of creative writing, such as poetry and short fiction, to express themselves. They also write weekly journals, inspired by a prompt they’re assigned on Fridays.

The most major and thorough project happens in the second and final semester of the half year course: the fairytale project. The project is divided into two portions: researching and writing. First, the students research a fairytale they know, and a fairytale they’re unfamiliar. For example, a student can research a classic tale like The Little Mermaid, and then include something from European, Asian, or African culture, etc.

Then, the students will write their own, original fairytale. The only requirement is that the student’s story can’t be anything like the original. “You can make a good character, you can make a bad character, you can change the setting,” said Miss James. “You can make it your own.”

The student’s story goes through two editing process, then they move onto the next creative portion of the project: turning their story into a book, which can include artwork. “Once people start working on and see the books, that’s what makes it fun to students,” Miss James said.

“I definitely enjoyed the project,” said senior Lauren Covely, who took creative writing last semester and worked on the project. “I enjoyed it because the project expressed our individuality and allowed us to make a whole book.”

Another fun part of the project is that Miss James shows the books to other English teachers, and they pick a winner for “Best Book.”

“It was extremely fun for me, since I’ve always dreamed of being an illustrator,” junior Caitlyn Kline said about the project  and creative writing class in general. “I loved that there were no boundaries. It was more based on the fact that you could just express your creativity without having to worry about limits such as how much you should write.”

“I would take a class like this again,” said senior Christina Cook. “It really made me go outside my comfort zone and go outside the box.”