The Wall/Homage – based on – how far is too far?

Hitting the wall with Junction X a little, partly because of plotting problems, but I think I see my way clear now, I think I was trying to make it a bigger book than it wants to be.  However was having a very silly conversation with  and we almost decided to go for the popular vote and have the MC so angst full that he discovers he has shifting abilities and turns into a crocodile but can’t shift back.  His wife has to keep him in the swimming pool and the only way that the boy next door and he can express their lurve is to have swims on moonlight nights where MC can teach boy how to be a crocodile too./joke

And I’ve having thoughts about original fiction and how “influenced” is influence, or when does “homage” become too much?  I’m rare-locking the post, to people I trust, because I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, and this relates directly to a book.

Thing is, this particular book is “based on a well-loved classic” namely Jane Eyre, and although the author makes this clear from the start in the preface, I’m still not really comfortable with it, and I am finding it hard to explain why, it just gives me an uncomfortable feeling between my shoulderblades.  What the reader has done has literally taken JE, changed the sex of JE, changed the names of all the characters but everything else is almost exactly the same. Even the famous “Reader, I married him,” which – considering this IS, after all, Victorian England, is rather daft to start with.

It’s a well-written book, the writer knows how to write, she’s got a good voice and she’s got talent, but … I still feel uncomfortable with the concept.  I know that, in the movie industry, remaking a plot is quite a common phenomenom, “Clueless” for example is based on Emma, but by bringing it up to date the way it does and having a new script a new way of approaching it, works fine. There are many others – “West Side Story” being one of the most famous, of course. Hell, William took his plots from many sources – and any historical fiction author (who writes about real people and real events) is rehashing but still – I still don’t feel happy, not to this level.

When in fanfic I did it, I admit. I’ve written “Malfoy” a Potter based interpretation of “Macbeth” which of course copied the plot of Macbeth point for point, even chucking in various quotes to show how intelligent Severus and Lucius were, and I’ve written “Green Lights” which was a based-loosely-on “The Great Gatsby” but that was fanfic.  But does that make a difference?

I am planning to write an interpretation of one of Will’s plays from the perspective of one of the more minor characters one day, does that count? It won’t be in blank verse, that’s for bloody sure, though, and I won’t be quoting any of it, I shouldn’t think.

What do you writers think?

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