Sunday, February 28, 2016

Far Away Kingdom

Here's a little preview of my latest project.

Far Away Kingdom by Caron Rider & George MacDonald

In a wild, mountainous kingdom, a princess and a miner face off against goblins and a poisonous traitor. With the help of a mystical figure who watches over the royal family, along with a pack of Uglies, the two must rely on each other to save king and country.

This story transforms two beloved children's tales by George MacDonald into one cohesive fantasy that focuses on adventure and features updated language and new scenes. Even if you've read his original novels, I feel you will still enjoy this new take on the classic.

My kids wanted to know how I could write a book with a dead guy and wasn't that plagiarism. Well, the simple explanation is that I took MacDonald's two stories listed above, put them together to form one story, removed tons of it, changed some of it, updated some of the language, and added a few of my own scenes. Technically, I did not need to list him on the cover because I could have acknowledged him on the inside (which I did anyway). But I feel very strongly about giving credit where credit is due, so I wanted his name on the cover and wanted the readers to know up front that we both contributed to the story.

Then they wanted to know how I could use his information. What about copyright? I gotta say, my kids are on the ball. Anyway, the stories I utilized are no longer under copyright, so they can be used in any fashion. Legally, I could have used his books and not given him credit; as if it were my own. The difference I had to explain to my kids was this: copyright is a legal matter whereas plagiarism is an ethical one. So for copyright: I didn't break any legal requirements. As for plagiarism: I've given MacDonald credit, so there is no plagiarism.

MacDonald's words are in the story, but then so are mine. He was a minister from the mid-1800s and his stories were filled with blatant moral and ethical lessons for young children. I've removed most of them and toned down others because I wanted to update the story for a young adult/teen audience and didn't feel they needed to be hit over the head with lessons while reading for pleasure. I've tried to focus the story on the simple fun and pure adventure of the tales.

I would love to hear what you think of the project. In your opinion, should public domain material be reworked and updated for a modern audience?

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