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Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Childhood Writings and Borrowing Characters

I can't ever remember not making up and writing stories. Until the mice got ahold of it, my parents kept a copy of a story I wrote when I was four: Judy and the Four Bears. James Joyce had nothing on my stream of consciousness writing.

Looking back now, I have to laugh about how heavily derivative my writing was for most of my early years. I borrowed characters and setting with complete disregard for copyright or trademark. If there was a character I liked in a book and the author wasn't writing anything more, then I would. Movies? Television? Sure, they were all fair game.

So I always feel a certain strum of recognition when I read about authors who are willing to admit that they did similar things as children. Granted, authors such as Kathy Lynn Emerson have long since outgrown their derivative writing and blossomed into writers with great creativity and success, but I still appreciate that they played with writing when they were young.

Emerson even credits her early writing as giving her the ease now with switching genres. She's a writer who has written mysteries, romances, biographies, and children's books.

I happened across her for the first time when she contributed a short story to a collection entitled Much Ado About Murder, edited by Anne Perry. In that story she once again borrowed characters of another's creation and gave them her own unique spin in what was an utterly delightful story. She brought us Shakespeare's Beatrice and Benedict from Much Ado About Nothing after they've been married for a while. We see that they are still as passionate and witty as ever as they apply their intellect to a murder mystery.

It was a good read amongst the many good stories in that collection and I'm glad that I found her. She's definitely a writer I'd like to read more of.


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