A short story fairytale that I've been thinking about writing and plotting out has recently given me pause. It focuses on a witch and a princess who both cross faeries, but it isn't by any means for kids, and I don't want to make the mistake of simplifying it or dumbing it down, because it's very dark and complex. How can I keep my fairytale mature and make it clear that the subject matter isn't for little kids?

  • 3
    Write it for adults. Double check the marketing when it's published. :-)
    – Cyn
    Feb 2, 2019 at 23:25
  • I would recommend watching a TV series called Happy Tree Friends. It makes it pretty clear that the subject isn't for little kids despite the art style.
    – Shadowzee
    Feb 4, 2019 at 3:45
  • Are you trying to write a story that uses familiar aspects of fairy-tales (kinds of characters, etc), but in a more adult style (greater depth and complexity of the conflict, less black-and-white morality, etc)? Or are you trying to write something that is stylistically a fairy tale (black-and-white morality, relatively simple conflict, etc) that is for adult consumption? That is, are you writing AU fairy-tale DarkFic, or fairy-tale stories for adults? Feb 4, 2019 at 4:59

1 Answer 1


Stories for adults, based on, or including elements of fairy tales, are quite common. For example, Neil Gaiman's Snow, Glass, Apples is a retelling of Snow White, with an evil vampire Snow White and a necrophiliac prince. "Not for children" doesn't begin to cover how dark and creepy that story is.

I would say, this trope is so common, there's no reason why your readers would expect the story to be for children, unless some weird decision by the publisher makes them think otherwise.

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