Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Retelling Stories

This week, we're reading The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor.  Beddor took the story of Alice in Wonderland and repurposed it, changed it.  Really, he turned it on its head and created his own story out of it.

Lots of authors have used a story as a starting point, and refashioned it into something new.  Usually, it's fairy tales that get retold in new ways.  We reviewed Cinder not that long ago (and by "not that long ago" I clearly mean a year ago... ), where Meyer took the Cinderella story, servant meets prince and falls in love, and transforms it into something futuristic.  Cinderella is a cyborg, half metal, half human, in a world far into our future.  There are aliens and hovercrafts and constant space travel and let's not forget plague and a couple more world wars than we, the reader, know about.

Myths often get retold, or told from different perspectives.  If you remember, way back when, one of the first books that we reviewed on this blog was a myth retelling.  The Penelopiad told the story of Odysseus' wife and her suitors.  But we hear a lot from Penelope's maids, because they're kind of the tragedy in the story.

You know who else did a retelling of a myth?

Where can you find this wonderful piece of work?  

OH MY GOSH!  IS THAT MY BOOK?!  HOW IN THE WORLD DID IT GET INTO THIS POST!!!  (Ok, so I'm kind of shamelessly plugging this.)  BUT that doesn't change the fact that I took the myth of Cassandra and set it in modern day, taking all of those characters and repurposing them into something new.

So what makes a retelling different from, say, fan fiction.  Well, for one, retellings take characters that are out of copyright/never were copyrighted to begin with.  Yes, they're someone else's characters, but the original owner has been dead so long, no one is around to collect the money anymore.

Also, a lot of times, while authors may start with an idea, a story, by the time the book is done, these characters are completely different than their originals.  Unlike fan fiction, people like Baddor and Meyer aren't looking to copy the original character, just give their readers some base knowledge for the story.

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