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View Full Version : Retelling - how close can you go?



LadyA
10-03-2011, 03:06 PM
I have had an idea for a YA retelling, set in modern times, of Northanger Abbey, but I'm a little/a lot worried about the fact that it has been done before, although mine would be a contemp YA, not a paranormal romance.
Am I allowed to use the same sequence of events/rough plot and character names? I want to put my own twist on it though, maybe make Cathy less of a wet blanket...
I have seen several American versions but not an English one from the same angle as my idea. And do retellings as contemp YA romances sell?

Thank you :)

Becky Black
10-03-2011, 04:57 PM
You're okay to use all the names and stuff. Austen is long out of copyright. My personal reaction would be "Gawd, not another Austen retelling!" though. There seems to be a bunch of them, so they must sell, but whether that's to the YA market I couldn't say.

Jamesaritchie
10-03-2011, 08:33 PM
You can use it any way you wish. But if you want it to sell, it has to be more than just a modern language, modern setting rehash. You have to add your own originality, you own take, make it new and fresh.

Phaeal
10-03-2011, 10:06 PM
Legally, you can do what you want with poor Jane. Like turn all her characters into zombies, vampires, werewolves, sea monsters, pensioners in St. Petersburg FL, Clueless teens, etc.

You already know what you need to do: Twist it! And the more tasty new and You stuff you can get in that cruller, the better.

PrincessofPersia
10-03-2011, 10:43 PM
Northanger Abbey is my favourite Austen novel, so don't stuff it up! :D

But as others have said, it's out of copyright, so you can use as much of it as you want. Just put your own spin on it, or what's the point? My current WIP started out as a modernised Twelfth Night, but it's gone so far out on its own, that the original story is barely there.

LadyA
10-03-2011, 11:18 PM
Northanger Abbey is my favourite Austen novel, so don't stuff it up! :D

But as others have said, it's out of copyright, so you can use as much of it as you want. Just put your own spin on it, or what's the point? My current WIP started out as a modernised Twelfth Night, but it's gone so far out on its own, that the original story is barely there.


It's my favourite too - I know it's not the most popular of Austen's novels, but P&P has been done to death, I reckon I know how to twist the NA plot, and I just love Mr Tilney...