For my hundreth post, it only seems fitting to chat about a literary great.
Marie recently posted about Jane Austen. She asked the question Why do we look for the brilliance in the writer’s life?
I have a similar question, especially as it regards Jane Austen: Why do we try to imitate their brilliance. There are many, many sequels and points of view novels (written from a minor character, or Darcy’s character in particular) that seek to continue her tradition. But here’s the thing: Jane Austen, the ain’t. I am also no Jane Austen.
But, as a writer, and I’m gonna play a little harsh here so others can take opposing views if they wish, why would you imitate someone else? All you will be in history is a pale, pale imitation. Perhaps a shadow–if you’re lucky. Now, I’m not talking about books like Jane Austen’s Book Club…which uses the Austen oeuvre as a structure…I’m talking about books that flat-out use her characters and her settings.
I would say fan fiction is included in this, but somehow it seems different when you’re using such commercial characters to begin with.
But taking Dickens, or Shakespeare, or Austen and putting their characters in new stories and situations. Giving them children and telling stories about their children. Well, it shows that these writers have read. Their writing says that they are talented. So why not create your own places? Your own memorable characters? Knightley is Austen’s. Darcy is Austen’s. And Scarlett O’Hara is Magaret Mitchell’s (don’t even get me started there!).
I think if you want to be a great writer, you have to do you’re own thing. As an exercise in memorability, I tried to remember a single author or a single title out of the Almost Austen Collection…and there are a lot…and I couldn’t remember a thing.