Spin Offs: Re-imagining something that’s already out there

Sometimes I pick up a book and wonder, was this author inspired by Title X?  Did she love that book when she was growing up?  Or are the similarities just coincidental?

I don’t believe that the similarities are always intentional.  But sometimes they are and the authors will tell you all about it.  That’s why I’m eager to get my hands on Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne.  Her book is an sf, space journey inspired by Jane Eyre.  Yep.  Jane Eyre in space.  Say that without a smile on your face.  I dare you.

In her interview with Roger Sutton at The Horn Book, Donne admits that she was reluctant to take the project on and put it off for two years.  She wasn’t sure she could do justice to a book as amazing as Jane Eyre.  There was so much she wanted to be sure to retain but changes that would have to be made for it to work in an contemporary YA. Obviously, locking the mentally ill wife in the attic wasn’t going to work today.  Read the entire interview here.

Like I said, I haven’t read the book yet, but I’m looking forward to it.  So happy my library has a copy and I’m now waiting patiently in line. But now I’m thinking – how could you “update” other classics?

Obviously, one way to go is to change the setting although I’m thinking that Tom Sawyer or Huck Finn in space would simply look like I was copying Donne.  What about changing the time period?  What would happen if Huck Finn or Tom Sawyer took place today?

You could also change the gender of the main character.  Huck Finn as a girl in modern Missouri?   Or trans Huck Finn in modern Missouri.  I don’t think that that would be my story to tell but I have a writer friend I could invite to co-author.

I don’t know.  I’ll have to noodle this over and see if anything comes of it.


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