A Conflict of Theories

I am having a dilemma. And I think it’s one that not only writers who are pantsers or character driven can understand. It involves plot, and the most appropriate way of getting your story idea out into the world so it’s exciting and interesting.

For Seeking Space, my Camp NaNoWriMo project, I am doing a retelling of Pride and Prejudice. Ambitious? Not really, because I am under no illusions that it will be any good. It certainly isn’t going to magically come out as a perfectly publishable piece that will get me a farm and a pony and all the other nice things that come of winning the writerly luck lottery.

The problem is as follows. In Pride and Prejudice, the story is conveyed in a very different style to modern literature. No surprise, this is a part of the foundation of literature. It’s called a classic for a reason. Which is why the completely sensible and utterly marketable advice in The Fantasy Fiction Formula by Deborah Chester has me rattled.

How am I supposed to do a sci-fi retelling of a story that, when you get right down to it, has a main character we like because of her inner conflict and change rather than her impacts on the world at large? All the small things that escalate do so in part because someone doesn’t act, and then when things are at their worst, it’s not Lizzy who goes to the rescue. It’s Darcy. And yes, I like it because it’s an ‘actions are louder than words’ sort of moment, but it does mean that the main character isn’t the one who solves the issue. Which would not fly in a modern sci-fi. And rightly so. I love Anne McCaffrey‘s works precisely because things get done by the main character, and the small decisions have larger consequences.

Which leads to the point. How do you preserve the essence of a story, without becoming trapped in the nuance of the original? I’ve seen Mercedes Lackey do it time and time again in her Five Hundred Kingdoms series, but they’re all still medieval or fantasy, so similar rules to work within. My original is right out there…

So into the final few days of March I go, the original plot mapped out but my world building still a shambles, and no idea what the whole things is going to look like in my novel. Sounds about like a normal Camp NaNoWriMo, I guess. Lucky I have some practise.

And these cute monsters.


7 thoughts on “A Conflict of Theories

    • Thank you!
      I’ll do my best to keep the blog updated progress wise. Hopefully, the crazy scheme pays off 😉
      Is there anything you would call essential to ‘Pride and Prejudice’ that you couldn’t bear to have left out?
      If you’re doing Camp, I hope it goes well for you too 🙂

      • I’m doing camp too. I’d think just remember those most rememberable scenes, such as the ball scene at the start. And then it’s just keeping the character’s personalities and reactions really, I would think. That’d be the main thing.

        I’m intrigued to see how you twist it into a sci fi setting. I think it’d be amazing!

        Yep, I’m taking part in Camp too. 🙂

      • I’m glad you like the balls too, because they’re not optional as far as I can see it. Even space ships need balls!
        Hope your Camp project goes well! Remember, if you want to brainstorm or chat about it, I’m Dawnwings and I’m more than happy to help 🙂

      • Oooh, are you on twitter? I’ll have to add you. And the same to you. I’ve seen all the pride and prejudice, read the zombie version and plan to finish reading the original work. 🙂 Are you joining a cabin?

      • I’m not on twitter yet, but that was on today’s To-Do list 😉
        I will be in a cabin, so if you want to pop a request in that would be awesome!
        I read the original really thoroughly for the first time since high school, and it just made me love it more. I have to get the Zombies version, it sounds fantastic 🙂

      • The zombie version is good fun.I had a good giggle at it and quite often thought, calm down, Elizabeth. You’ll see what I mean when you read it. Thanks, I’m already in a cabin though.

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