Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Copying Classics

CAMP LIFE, the novel I’m currently querying, is a loose adaptation of ROMEO & JULIET set at a high school summer camp. Copying Shakespeare has more advantages than just making it easy to describe my novel in one sentance. I probably read R&J a dozen times while I was writing CAMP LIFE. Every time I got caught up on a plot point, I just went back to the bard.

When I finished CAMP LIFE, I thought about doing a sort of series. I didn’t want to reuse any of my characters in future novels. But I thought about adapting more of Shakespeare’s plays. So each book in the series would be another classic retold. My question was which play to remake next. SHE’S THE MAN and TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU are teen movies adaptations of TWELTH NIGHT and TAMING OF THE SHREW respecively, so I didn’t really want to do either of those. HAMLET and MCBETH are both seriously bloody and seemed a bit grusem for a YA novel, so I voted them out as well.

I thought about trying to remake OTHELLO. Then I reread OTHELLO and remembered how depressing it is. I thought about doing a comedy and looked into A COMEDY OF ERRORS and AS YOU LIKE IT. Either of those stories could be adapted to modorn teens, but I wasn’t in the mood to write about mistaken identity or cross dressing. MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING is probably the easiest story to retell, cause kids these days are great at gossiping. But my heart just wasn’t in it. None of the stories floating around in my head mirrored Shakespeare. So I desided to write my own story and forget about copying the classics.

THE SECRETS OF SMITH HALL is my current work in progress. In it one of my main chracters gets mono and ends up sleeping through about six chapters. The other characters begin to refer to her as Sleeping Beauty, and the nickname sticks even after she recovers. So that’s got me thinking again. Maybe this book wants to be a remake of SLEEPING BEAUTY. CAMP LIFE may have been Shakespeare, but now I’ve moved onto the Brothers Grimm.

I need to read up on my fairy tales. Haley is only asleep for six chapters, and the only plague spreading over the land is teen angst and immature behavior. So a lot of rewriting would be needed to force this story into the adaptation catigory. I don’t have any current plans of completely recreating a Grimm fairytale, but I hope to tie a few more fairytale themes into Smith Hall.

I’m not sure if I’m unoriginal, or just to well read. But there’s really no such thing as a new idea. So for now, I guess I’ll keep copying the classics.

Joke of the Day
There was once a young man who, in his youth, professed his desire to become a great writer.
When asked to define great, he said, "I want to write stuff that the whole world will read, stuff that people will react to on a truly emotional level, stuff that will make them scream, cry, howl in pain and anger!"

He now works for Microsoft writing error messages.


Tina Laurel Lee said...

I like to use classics as structure as well. As they say(whoever they are) there are no new stories only new ways to tell them. And probably there aren't even that many new ways to tell things, just new conventions to learn.

Meriwether Falk said...

There is a YA book called "Hamlet" by John Marsden. I haven't read it yet. There's also "Ophelia" by Lisa Klein. I think the tragedies are more interesting, but a YA version of "Much Ado About Nothing" could be fun.

Veronica Barton-Dean said...

The classics continue on through us and the way we as writers retell them to match the situations of today. I love playing with the old as well.