- You want a complete, satisfying read. The ending has got to suit the story (and ideally be a positive one. This isn't necessarily the same as a happy ending. See The Little Mermaid. The ending in the original tale is not particularly happy but it seems appropriate for the mermaid's character).
- The fairytale/other short story tells you what you needs to know but leaves plenty of gaps for the readers to fill in with their own imaginations.
- Justice will out in practically all fairytales and is a phenomenally popular theme in other types of short fiction.
- The short story/fairytale should have a strong impact on your readers, There's nothing wishy washy or vague about a fairytale. There shouldn't be anything wishy washy about any other kind of short fiction.
- The fairytale/short story will have a strong beginning, middle and end and will stop the moment the story is over. There will be no wasted words.
I think fairytales lend themselves particularly well to the short story format. (Though to be fair, Hans Christen Andersen's The Snow Queen and The Little Mermaid are not particularly short tales. Let's just say he would have his work cut out editing these down to fit most short story competitions!). What you want from a fairytale is what you want from a short story. Time for another list! I love lists.
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I'm Allison Symes and I write novels, short stories as well as some scripts and poems. I love setting my work in my magical world, the Fairy Kingdom, and my favourite character is Eileen, who believes hypocrisy is something that happens to other people without caring that statement is hypocritical in itself! Eileen is huge fun to write for and about.