This is Careless Whisper on an acoustic guitar and it sounds amazing.
What has this got to do with writing? More than you might think.
It is often tempting to think that in order to “make it” as a writer we have to come up with entirely original stories, fresh settings, new and different characters and do something that no one has ever thought of before.
However, as demonstrated by the video above, taking a classic and putting it into a new setting can make something entirely great and unique to you.
- Take Firefly as an example. The old done-to-death cowboy story but set on a spaceship. One of the greatest TV series that ended too soon (in my opinion).
- What about A.I.: Artificial Intelligence? A.I. is pretty much an update of The Adventures of Pinocchio but set in a post-apocalyptic North America.
- Edward Scissorhands is just Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein set in 1960s suburbia.
- The Lion King, songs aside, is more or less William Shakespeare’s Hamlet told in the form of an animal fable.
- The 1996 film, Independence Day is near enough a reworking of H.G. Wells’ War of the Worlds with a more modern setting. In both cases, a virus saves the day.
This is something you can do too. Take a classic, strip it down to the themes and narrative mechanics and rebuild it in a new setting.
Don’t copy; reinvent.
For example, what if you took Cinderella’s story – just the core elements – and set the whole thing aboard a pirate ship? Or recycled it in space? Or made it a young boy’s coming of age story set in the 1960s?
For example, what if you took the biblical parable of The Good Samaritan and respun it to tell the story of a white supremacist saved by a Caribbean man and the friendship that followed? You would have the platform to explore what it means to be a good neighbour as well as tell a very compelling story.
Why not try it for yourself? Find a much loved old classic and let it inspire you to tell a whole new story.
Here’s a geeky TV show theme tune on an acoustic guitar to show you anything can be reinterpreted into any setting and, with a little (or a lot) of skill, be amazing.
If you want to hear more amazing acoustic covers the guy in both these videos has a channel full of great tracks like this. Check it out.