Hopefully everyone out there has had a great time over the silly season and that we all had the break we wanted.
This was a relaxing Christmas for me and Jo and I had a great time watching films and generally unwinding. One of the gifts she got me was a three book set of the original Star Wars stories but written in the style of William Shakespeare. It’s a wonderfully presented set and I’m looking forward to getting into them in the near future.
But they made me think.
As a piece of work, the amalgamation of styles and genres is good fun and just allows all kinds of cross overs to help introduce genres and topics to people who wouldn’t normally see them. A new telling of a story can bring something very familiar into a very new and interesting area.
But why just use someone else’s story in a new way when you can create your own?
It’s an issue we see playing out in cinema currently with the on-going changes and updating of the characters Batman and Spiderman.
Now I understand that rights ownership and all other kinds of legal red tape are having all kinds of pushing and pulling effects on them but the point is that the origin story for both was told very recently but has been ‘re-booted’ to appeal to a new generation. Films have regularly been re-made in a different way years after an original take on it but aren’t there enough new stories out there?
Many people have written that there are only going to be a finite number of plots which can be used and every story is then going to be a version of one of them. Granted the number of possible plot lines which fit into these descriptions varies depending on who you read but ultimately, there are only ever going to be one of a small number of plots.
So why bother?
If whatever we write is just going to be our take on something that has already been done, why pour the energy and effort into it if it’s already been done? The challenge becomes that we have to manipulate what we have to create something that is compelling despite being familiar. I regularly flick through my notes and see that the basic pattern I’m working on is similar to so many others but I don’t feel disheartened. I’m telling my story despite the structure being a ‘classic’.
That said, there are only 26 letters in the alphabet and we all manage to play quite well with them.