Writing Prompt

Cinderella Stories

Prompts for Modern Fairy Tales


Modern fairy tales come in all shapes and sizes. I’ve been thinking about Cinderella recently and thought I’d put together some writing prompts!

Firstly, if you’re looking for Queer Retellings of Fairy Tales, then this post on Pride.com recommends some amazing reads.

Secondly, if you’re interested in Cinderella stories in particular, here’s a post on the variants of the tale found around the world, and here is a post on the story as featured in multicultural children’s books.

Basic Plot of Cinderella

  1. Protagonist loses their parents, lives with their step-parent and 2 step-siblings. Protagonist is treated like the skivvy of the house and otherwise feels hard-done-by.
  2. Big Event is announced but Protagonist is not permitted to attend.
  3. Protagonist has help from Surprise Visitor to attend the Big Event. Protagonist attends Big Event and meets Love Interest who falls in love with them.
  4. Protagonist runs away and Love Interest goes on personal quest to find them and win them. Step-family are an obstacle to Protagonist and Love Interest, but overcomes.

Rags-to-Riches | Happy Ever After | Love Interest represents the life the Protagonist deserves, usually the complete opposite of the life the Protagonist is living. 

Writing Prompts

CINDERELLA, but the Protagonist’s father owned a gym. The ‘Ella’ character works at the gym cleaning machines etc. She falls for a gym-goer training for a Big [Sporting] Event. She isn’t allowed to go, but little does anyone know a Mysterious Person connected to ‘Ella”s family past is training her in secret, enabling her to not just show up, but compete and win.

[The above could also become a Phantom of the Opera twist, involving a triangle between her trainer and her Love Interest]

~::Bonus Themes::~

Sorority/Solidarity | Healthy Competition | Body Positivity | F/F/non-binary/LGBTQ+


CINDERELLA, but the Protagonist is the step-mother who believes her new home is haunted. The mysterious force in the house is fixated on her new step-child, who claims it’s a ‘fairy godmother’.

~:: Bonus Tropes::~

Cassandra Syndrome | Psychological Horror | Cursed Object


CINDERELLA, but the Protagonist is a young medium, haunted by her late parents and smothered by their over-protective step-mother who is always at loggerheads with the Godmother Figure about the Protagonist’s gift. The Protagonist goes to a Psychic Convention with the Godmother Figure against the step-mother’s wishes and meets Love Interest: a world-famous medium with their own TV Show.

~::Bonus Themes::~

Romeo & Juliet | Family Secrets | Self-Discovery | Living under the Spotlight


SPEC-FIC CINDERELLA, but the step-mother is trying to protect her children and step-daughter from the cruel, abusive, gaslighting prince by hiding them from Society in their rustic retreat. Unfortunately, ‘Ella’ is just his type, and he’s throwing a ball for all the eligible maidens in the kingdom…

~::Bonus Themes::~

Grimdark Adult| Motherhood | Sacrifice | Set it in Space


SPEC-FIC CINDERELLA, but the Fairy Godmother Character(s) takes the hard-done-by Protagonist into a magical realm of dangerous adventures to thwart the real-life plans of their nefarious step-parent.

[Examples of this plot done brilliantly well: Pan’s Labyrinth, arguably also Sucker Punch]

~::Bonus Themes/Genres::~

Magical Realism | Psychological Thriller | Classic KidLit mashup


CINDERELLA, which begins as an amazing modern romance with a Happy Ever After but the whole hard-done-by backstory and all obstacles in the path of True Love are part of an elaborate, cunning plot cooked up to dupe the filthy rich Love Interest in order to pull off the heist of the century. The step-family are expert cat-burglars with ‘Ella’ as the brains of the operation and the inside woman.


~::Bonus Mashups::~

Maid in Manhattan meets Ocean’s Eleven| The Princess Diaries meets From Dusk Til Dawn [everything is better with SURPRISE VAMPIRES]| Rags meets The Italian Job


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