Thursday, 30 May 2013

Your life as a fairy tale (Part 1)

It's hard to say who the heroes
and villains were in my life; they
never took their masks off.
When I trained to be a creative writing therapist I had a lot of fun trauma moments of insight when therapising myself. For obvious reasons, I am not going to bear my shocking revelations on this blog, but The Fairy Tale exercise is one I remember as being both enjoyable and enlightening, and I thought you might like to have a go yourself.

It is based on Valdimir Propp’s Morphology of the Folktale – a theory about the characters and format of folk tales, in which he identified 7 broad character types and a sequence of 31 functions which make up the structure of story. When you place yourself in this scenario, it makes you think about the people and situations in your life and how they have been both helpful and detrimental to your happiness; how you succeeded and failed and became the person you are today.

For the first part of this exercise, you need to examine the characters that have played a part in your life and assign them a role in your fairy tale. You might find it easier to focus on one period or even a single episode in your life.

The characters in your story are

  • The hero - this character is you - also known as the seeker or victim
  • The villain - opposes the hero or blocks his/her quest
  • The donor - the fairy godmother archetype - gives the hero a magical object
  • The dispatcher - sends the hero on their way
  • The false hero - perceived as good character in beginning but emerges as evil
  • The helper - helps the hero in the quest
  • The prince/princess - acts as a reward for the hero - and/or the object of the villain’s scheming.

Primarily it is a bit of fun, but if you do the exercise, I defy you not to go away and think a little deeper about the people who have helped you become who you are today.

The second part of this exercise is coming soon! 

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