So I’ve noticed a trend where I post to Twitter some crazy writing idea, and I end up running into someone who turns it around on me and really makes me think about it. I won’t reconstruct the chain of events, but the practical upshot is I am thinking again about public domain characters. Specifically, I’m thinking of ideas around doing a modern update of such characters, instead of new work set in the character’s original time period. This is a similar idea to the Sherlock TV series. In fact, that series is the reason why I’m not thinking about doing this with Holmes – Moffat already pretty much nailed that really well for me. So, I’m looking at other characters that might be interesting to me as a writer, and I’m noticing a few distinct categories of such characters that are attracting my interest. Continue reading
One of the things I’ve always had kicking around in the back of my head was doing a story or series of stories using characters in the public domain.
I think some of this comes from the incredible (the comics, not the movie), but it goes back further than that. I’ve been a fan of Sherlock Holmes since I was a kid, and I’ve always been interested in other people’s take on the character. Many are pretty bad, but some are interesting, and a few actually add new textures to the character that I didn’t realize before. I’ve always wanted to play around in someone else’s universe and add my own spin on an established character.
With the rise of the Internet, it’s all “open source” and “remixing,” and I’m surprised that it hasn’t happened more often with fiction and public domain characters. For example, the radio serial Box 13 is pretty obscure, but there’s been an iPhone comic of a complete rewrite of Box 13 that has been pretty entertaining (and certainly worth the free download if you have an iPhone). As opposed to League where the characters are decently close analogues to their original inspirations, though, the Box 13 comic only shares a few points of similarity, but otherwise goes in a completely different direction. To me, this is more of a remix of the original fiction (taking the original pieces and moving them around to make a new story), instead of a serious pastiche (keeping the original pieces in place and putting them in a different story).