Welcome today to Sandra Ulbrich Almazan, the author of the recently-released Twinned Universes, the sequel to the novella Lyon's Legacy. If you go to the Amazon page for the book you can see a review written by me under one of my many guises. So it comes highly recommended. Now, take it away Sandra!
If you’re going to use the Bard’s works as a source for your stories, are there any points you should keep in mind? One of the first things you want to consider is how explicit you want the connection to be. In Twinned Universes, the connection is pretty strong. Some of the plot points and characters have parallels to Hamlet. However, depending on your work, you may only want to make the link in one part of the story. The link could be as simple as a name. (“What's in a name? that which we call a rose/By any other name would smell as sweet.”—Romeo and Juliet.) Of course, some names from Shakespeare carry more weight than others; a Viola or Juliet may slip under the radar of some readers, but Romeo or Hamlet are such strong, well-known characters that Shakespeare’s versions will be associated any other characters with that name. Other times you may want to use part of a plot, such as a woman disguising herself as a man to be closer to the man she loves.
One of the things that makes Shakespeare’s plays so popular is that they focus on the human condition. This means that you can feel free to tell the story in a completely different setting or change parts of the story and still have it work. In fact, there’s an old anthology called Weird Tales from Shakespeare, edited by Katherine Kerr and Martin H. Greenberg, that includes stories with spiders and artificial intelligences as the characters. (Ironic that nonhuman characters can be made so human, isn’t it?) John Varley’s The Golden Globe, set in the far future, features an actor who plays King Lear on the moon. These are just a couple of works that feature Shakespeare or his plays; if I took the time to dig through my library or search online, I could find lots more.
Do you need to use Shakespeare’s language or quote directly from him to tell his stories? In my opinion, it’s not necessary. If you transplant the story to another location, then the story should be told in words natural to that setting. Since Shakespeare invented some of the words in his plays, words we use today, I don’t think he would mind. Although we can still follow (sometimes with difficulty), Shakespeare’s original language, grafting the ideas into new settings keeps them fresh. We should be so lucky to have our work be so valued four hundred years after we pass.
Thanks to Sandra for the guest post. Just a reminder that if you want to promote something, you can let me know and I will make some room in the schedule to fit in.