Have you noticed that as the fall leaves begin to change, store fronts are looking more and more Christmas-y. It isn’t even Thanksgiving, but that hasn’t stopped Starbucks from decorating their cups with Christmas trees. It hasn’t stopped Macy’s or Barnes and Noble from decking their stores with wreaths and lights. It seems Christmas is coming sooner every year, and with it the old holiday classics.
Holiday favorites like Dickens’s Christmas Carol, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street, and many more have been remastered time and time again. They’ve been remade in print as well as on the silver screen. It is obviously that some of these remakes are sub-par, so how do you successfully recreate a classic?
The best tip I can give is creativity. Everyone is familiar with the plot and storyline of these classics, but unique characters or settings can really revamp the traditional aspects. If you are re-creating the Grinch, try something outside of the box. Your new Grinch could be a beautiful, wealthy, young heiress or even an alien. You could create a whole new world rather than who-ville. Maybe it takes place 8,000 years into the future or maybe the main characters are animals not humans. The world is your oyster, use your imagination.
Be unique when you are revising a classic, but remember sticking to key points is important. You want the reader to recognize the original story in the frame work of your piece, but you don’t want to plagiarize either. The need for aspects like the three ghosts of Christmas in A Christmas Carol, make the story easily recognized, but it could be something rather than a ghost. Just making a specific nod to past, present, and future portions of your Scrooge’s life will link the two.
Also don’t be afraid to stray as far as you want from the script. You can change anything. It may be fun to alter the ending completely. You can give the readers a twist that they would never expect and in turn maybe make an improvement on all other remakes. Your goal is not to be hidden amongst a slew of awful interpretations, but stand out like a unique gem.
These tips can be useful for any sort of remastering attempt. I recently read a book by Sharon Shinn called Jenna Starborn. This novel was a unique take on Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre. The science fiction novel is set on a foreign planet with creative advancements and interesting side notes. The plot stays true to the original, but the new setting and creations make this a fun, original take on a classic.
All in all writers are always getting inspired from previous work, but it is important to remember that your creative ideas have to be present as well. You can’t just take someone else’s idea and not improve on it. So keep thinking and writing, new spins on classics can be great ways to practice you technique and creativity!