Tag Archives: classic novels

Something Old, Something New

Hey, friends, it’s Thursday again. Suze here.  They say everything old becomes new again. I think they, whoever they are, might just be right.

Have you heard about the new Disney movie, John Carter? Let me tell you a little secret. It’s based on a hundred-year-old story by none other than Edgar Rice Burroughs of Tarzan fame.  The original story is called A Princess of Mars, and is the first of a series. When I heard about this, I just had to check it out on Project Gutenberg. (Click here if you want to read it).

Those of you who’ve been following the Scribes for a while may have heard me mention Project Gutenberg. (Click here to check it out) Thousands of books that are now in the public domain (copyrights expired) are available, free of charge, on the Gutenberg web site. There are books everyone knows, and there are some wonderfully obscure titles. How’s this for a great title? The Extraordinary Adventures of Arsene Lupin, Gentleman-Burglar. Most books are in several formats so you can read them on your computer, or load them onto your Nook, Kindle, iPad, or other device.

But let’s face it. The classics can be a little, um dry sometimes. OK, maybe most of the time. But there’s a wonderful solution. Many, many books on Gutenberg are also available as audiobooks, also in various formats. A project called LibriVox has brought together some extremely talented amateurs who will read these classic books to you. (LibriVox has its own site as well. Click here) I just finished listening to a book I studied in college, a Victorian thriller called Lady Audley’s Secret, and let me tell I was astounded by just how good the reading was.

The story was far more vibrant and engaging when read aloud.  Not only that, but as I paid attention to the structure of the story, I realized that my creative mind was working overtime imagining new “what ifs.” What if this story were set in the present? How would I change the ending? What if I made one of the minor characters the heroine? Just from this one not-well-known novel I had a couple dozen ideas that I might be able to use in my current WIP, or in future works.

So today’s Secret Unlocked? If you’re feeling short on inspiration and even shorter on plot and character ideas, why not take a cue from the classics? It’s legal, it’s not as intimidating as you might think, and you just might be surprised at what you come up with.

What was the last classic novel you read? Did you love it or hate it?