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The Transformation Tale

Transformation tales have their roots in ancient myths and have been preserved in our most sacred cultural texts. As a result, they are embedded in our collective psyches. There are numerous stories of transformations in Greek mythology. Ovid’s Metamorphosis is a collection of mythological stories of human beings undergoing changes into trees or statues or animals. Classical literature made use of this model in works like The Golden Ass by Aupelius, in which a man is changed into a donkey . . . . Fairy tales also make rampant use of this device . . . the frog prince, the prince under a spell, etc. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, such as Snow White, as well as French Fairy Tales, most notably in “Cinderella” and “Beauty and the Beast” . . . Pinocchio in Italy . . . Shakespeare in England with A Midsummer Night’s Dream . . . Kafka plays with this concept in his famous story of existential despair, “The Metamorphosis.”  The movies Memoirs of a Geisha, Sabrina and Pretty Woman are obvious examples of the Cinderella story, which is an archetype that exists in almost every culture around the world.

-- from my book, THE FICTION WRITER'S HANDBOOK, available in a Kindle edition from Amazon