Last Thursday, Sarah Parr guest blogged with us about playing the “what if?” game. Asking what if we brought zombies, or dead people, back to modern day life. I went on Twitter and asked “What dead person would you like to resurrect and talk to?” Then I pasted in the blog link.
My Twitter is set up so all my Tweets go straight to my Facebook account. Because I phrased it in a question, friends answered it on Facebook. Next time I’ll make it clear that I’m linking to a guest blog, but I’m glad I did it this way, because it gave me an idea. Half the commenters said they’d like to talk to a dead writer: Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, Virginia Woolf, Louisa May Alcott, Anne Frank (that last was me).
The other half were relatives, but that first half made me think, “why not?” instead of “what if?” Lainey Bancroft recently raved on her blog about ACCORDING TO JANE by Marilyn Brant. In this book, Jane Austen is in a bookish woman’s head and guides her through “dating mishaps with wit and wisdom.” (I’m quoting from Lainey’s blog.)
My first thought was “not another Jane Austen in modern times book.” My second, after reading Lainey’s blog about the book, was “I want to buy this book!” So now I’m thinking, why just Jane? Why should she get all the page time? Why not the other famous writers people mentioned? What if we take those dead characters and resurrect them in our books?
I’d love to have Anne Frank in the head of one of my characters. Her diary vibrated with her zest for life. I can imagine her wanting to vicariously experience life in the twenty-first century through a fictional character. And what if she comes back with a bit of post traumatic stress? In addition to her love of life, there’d be a dark edge. (I’m getting ideas as I type.)
Or what if you used characters from your favorite books? Carrie Bebris writes Mr. and Mrs. Darcy mysteries. Why not mysteries with the March sisters from Little Women? Or Charles Dickens’ characters — perhaps Scrooge or Tiny Tim.
Instead of authors or their characters, what about movie stars or sports stars? This has been done in mysteries, but why not expand this to romance? Why not let Marilyn Monroe give dating advice? In her own way, she could do as well as Jane Austen. Where Jane compares a bad boy crush to Mr. Wickham, Marilyn could compare him to JFK.
I don’t know if I’ll ever do this, but I do feel like I have ideas for future books cooking in my brain. Just for fun, if you did something like this, who would you pick and how do you think you’d do it? Romance? Mystery? Paranormal?