Ancient Tales/Modern Spin: How to Rewrite Your Version of Old Stories


There are ancient folk tales, fables, myths and legends that still resonate strongly with audiences today. As modern writers, we can sometimes draw inspiration from these old stories, instead of trying in vain to devise new plotlines and themes to embody what we want to say. Using various Aesop’s fables as examples, Verena Tay will share with you ways and means on how you can rework structural elements to develop a fresh piece of writing before you reinterpret a traditional myth/legend/folktale of your choice.

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants


  • bring pen/pencil and paper or laptop/tablet for the writing exercises
  • have 2 fables/myths/legends/folktales in mind that you would like to adapt.

For Organisers

Please provide:

  • a quiet, fair-sized room that allows all participants to sit (with writing surfaces), preferably in a large circle or U-shape formation
  • pens/pencils & paper for participants (if they require)
  • a large whiteboard/flipchart and pens
  • copies of handouts that will be emailed prior to the workshop.


Participants' Feedback


What aspects of this workshop benefitted you the most?


“Using fables to create new interesting stories for children.”


“The hands-on approach to story writing. The analysis of drafts. The explanation, with examples, of the principles (importance of character, interaction, etc.).”

Akimay Rao

“Key points on how stories capture the audience interest based on the age group. Basically cutting down on all the unimportant parts and going straight into details which makes the story easy to comprehend. It was a great experience & loved the individual attention in a small group setting.”


"The group session — working to reinvent stories relevant to the audience."


"The framework! It will help me to kick start even in different languages.
Thank you for sharing!!"

Jumaini Arifff

"Sharing of framework & different perspectives to approach in story writing."


"Structure of thought."

Eu Jin

"The examples of how to turn stories into relevant tales."


"The writing practice."

Chrystelle Lee

"New ways of developing old tales into stories."


"I like the framework for idea generation, & really enjoyed the stories told."

Shirlynne Lim

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.