There Are No New Stories, So You May As Well Steal The Old Ones

We are living in the age of fan-fiction and the genre mash-up, where a new story can be forged simply by changing character names, genre, or location… or by putting zombies into a pre-populated Regency drawing-room.

Meanwhile, authors who at least believe they’re writing something new are struggling more than ever to be heard in the popular chorus.

As we all know, there are no new stories, only old stories told in new ways. And given recent history, we could say that the new way of telling old stories is simply to deny that the old stories existed in the first place. It occurs to me that this is an untapped goldmine for authors. Why bother scraping and striving to create something new, when you can just rework a former blockbuster and pretend it’s all yours?

Just look at Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice alone spawned Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, Bridget Jones’ Diary, Death Comes To Pemberley, Longbourn, Austenland, and Eligible, amongst others. But not all derivative fiction has to be based on one Jane Austen novel, nor does it have to be so obvious.

What if The Bourne Identity was rewritten as a lifestyle guide? Or Stephen King as YA romance?

Go forth I say, and prosper. If they want us to be sheep, we’ll give them sheep.

There Are No New Stories, So You May As Well Steal The Old Ones


Repudiated Author: Robert Ludlum

New Genre: Lifestyle Non-Fiction


Having become lost in IKEA, Jason Bourne wakes up from a protracted nap with no memory of how he has decided to decorate his achingly cool bachelor pad. He must race before closing time to rediscover and reconstruct an entire lifestyle trend, with only a dog-eared catalogue and two mysteriously popular Instagram accounts to guide him.

  1. THE DA VINCI CODE        by YOU

Repudiated Author: Dan Brown

New Genre: Children’s Picture Book


Friendly scientist Robert and his best friend Sophie go to Europe to learn about the very first Christmas. They have lots of fun in an art gallery before running away from some monsters and somehow earning lots of money.

  1. THE DARK HALF         by YOU

Repudiated Author: Stephen King

New Genre: YA Romance


Until loner Thad Beaumont met Elizabeth, he always felt like something was missing. Thad’s parents always claimed it was because he had his dead evil twin living inside him, but Thad has other ideas. Can Elizabeth convince Thad that love conquers all homicidal tendencies?

  1. OH, THE PLACES YOU’LL GO!        by YOU

Repudiated Author: Dr Seuss

New Genre: 2017 Self-Help


No idea what you want to do when you leave your school/college/job/home/country/senses? Having trouble imagining your future in the current political climate? Top tips for navigating the unnavigable. This book is a must-have guide to the impending lack of future enjoyed by us all.

There Are No New Stories, So You May As Well Steal The Old Ones


Repudiated Author: Suzanne Collins

New Genre: Diet Cookery Book


Unable to shift those stubborn Christmas pounds? Sick of fad diets? Join celebrity fitness guru KATNISS EVERDEEN as she takes you on a survivalist’s path to clean eating and unprecedented thinness (with just the teensiest chance of brutal starvation at the hands of a corrupt regime).

  1. THE TRIAL   (renamed as   THE ELECTION)       by YOU

Repudiated Author: Franz Kafka

New Genre: Political Thriller


A candidate finds himself standing for the highest office of the land, but has no idea what he’s running for. He keeps going in order to validate himself, but finds that no matter how bizarrely he behaves, it makes no difference to the election process. Everyone hates him, and they all die.

  1. ONE DAY       by YOU

Repudiated Author: David Nicholls

New Genre: Crime Fiction


Each year on the same day, Dexter and Emma commit a crime. It’s not a very big crime, and to be honest, it doesn’t seem to have much impact on the lives of anyone around them or anything. Mainly petty theft, being drunk and disorderly, blaspheming, that sort of thing. But it happens on the same day every year, which is apparently gimmicky enough to carry us through.

There Are No New Stories, So You May As Well Steal The Old Ones

  1. TWILIGHT       by YOU

Repudiated Author: Stephenie Meyer

New Genre: Literary Fiction


Edward has spent a long time thinking. He is young, but has thought a lot. A whole lot. Especially about death. Some day he hopes to form a connection with somebody who thinks about death as much as he does. If only everything wasn’t so pointless. Like food. Food is pointless, because death is inevitable, and never-ending. Death is life. But so is love. Thinking is hard.


Repudiated Author: Stieg Larsson

New Genre: Historical Fiction


Special Counsel to the Swedish Royal Family, Sir Mikael, has been ruined by false allegations made by jealous courtiers, because he is very attractive to women. When King Vanger asks him to find missing Princess Harriet, who would totally fancy Sir Mikael if she hadn’t vanished thirty-five years ago, Sir Mikael has an opportunity to redeem himself. But who is the mysterious orphan with the dragon tattoo? And why, having been abused by men all her life, does she totally fancy Sir Mikael?

  1. GONE GIRL      by YOU

Repudiated Author: Gillian Flynn

New Genre: Dystopian Fantasy


After his wife Amy disappears, Nick Dunne finds that nothing was as it seemed. Soon it turns out that not only was Amy lying, but Nick too, as well as everyone else, and others besides. When did the entire population become an unreliable narrator? What does this mean for society? Who is really to blame, and even if we knew, is it too late now to do anything about it?

That’s all folks. Let me know when you hit the no.1 spot. Feel free to leave further genre-mangling ideas in the comments.

  74 comments for “There Are No New Stories, So You May As Well Steal The Old Ones

  1. robert_trance_varga
    January 24, 2017 at 7:32 am

    With Bourne I had to laugh the most, you got here hilarious ideas while telling a sad truth about movies and producing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 24, 2017 at 8:00 am

      Or indeed books and publishing, Robert!


      • robert_trance_varga
        January 24, 2017 at 8:03 am

        Yes, perhaps, although I still see enough gems with books in Play Books Store (and then I’m not talking about Twilight-type works and authors)

        Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      I agree with Robert. I actually want to read the Bourne in IKEA. It sounds hilarious.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 24, 2017 at 5:01 pm

        So do I, Allie. I wish someone else wrote it already!


  2. Ali Isaac
    January 24, 2017 at 8:25 am

    Omg! I so want to hire you to write all my book blurbs but I’m afraid working for Tark and Mara has made you unavailable and priced you out of my budget! I’d just like to point out that all my stories are of course totally new ideas that have never been done before… well, not in the last few centuries, anyway. Does borrowing from 9th century Irish Christian monks still count?

    Liked by 3 people

    • January 24, 2017 at 9:29 am

      Working for Tark and Mara has even priced me out of my budget, Ali. I’m living on brand recognition and beatings, but that’s okay. And yes, borrowing from the monks counts. But only in the best way.


  3. January 24, 2017 at 8:31 am

    Are you implying that I stole the characters of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson and stuck them into a steampunk parallel universe? Cos if that’s what you mean, Tara, just come on out and say it!

    Seriously, very funny and so true. I’ve said if before and I’ll say it again – you should be on telly.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 9:31 am

      I imply nothing, Colin. I’m far too direct for that. Let’s hope I get on good telly. Knowing my luck, it’d be a poor soap.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. January 24, 2017 at 9:25 am

    I would love to see your Bourne adapted for the big screen 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 24, 2017 at 9:32 am

      I’ll get straight onto the screenplay, Cathy. Shouldn’t take me long.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 24, 2017 at 9:46 am

        Can we have an entire scene where Bourne has to build a flatpack bunk bed while simultaneously fighting off an assasin with only a lampshade and one of those big blue bags?

        Liked by 3 people

  5. Liberty On the Lighter Side
    January 24, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Yes definitely the telly and the radio too, in fact I’m surprised it hasn’t happened already. I’m unashamedly a huge fan and have to say you are one of the best things to have fallen into my in box. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 11:39 am

      Ah g’wan out of that, you’ll have me killed with the embarrassment so you will. I’ll only re-read that 10 more times then I’m done…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. January 24, 2017 at 10:33 am

    No other words possible tor this than absolutely brilliant. Too bad it was so short. How about part two.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 11:40 am

      Well, you never know… if I’m stuck for other material we could be talking volumes, not parts!


  7. January 24, 2017 at 10:48 am

    There’s a merciless logic to this line of thought. The gentleman whose book I read years ago, John Eldredge, already cut to the chase. Trigger warning: belief in God discussed.

    To wit, we’re all telling the same story, so drop the guilt and get on with it:

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 11:43 am

      I’ll have to have a look at that later, Will, before I make any pithy comments… I can’t access it at the moment. Let’s just pretend I was witty instead, eh? Ha, ha!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 24, 2017 at 3:04 pm

        Ms. Sparling, the day where anyone has to pretend that you are witty will never dawn.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 24, 2017 at 5:02 pm

          You’d be surprised, Will. If I ever see success, for instance, I’m sure to be awful to some cohort.

          Liked by 1 person

  8. January 24, 2017 at 10:58 am

    The one thing I can’t fathom is why you’re giving all of your bestselling ideas away!! All of these books need to be written by you and we’ll all buy them (Ba-aa-a-aa) It’s not plagiarism if it never existed #alternativefacts

    Liked by 2 people

    • January 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

      I like a challenge, Evie. I’m setting myself deadlines by racing against the competition. Either that I kept all the best ideas for myself 😜


  9. January 24, 2017 at 11:28 am

    These are fantastic and hilarious! Haha, I’d love to do something like that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 11:47 am

      Nothing stopping you laugreva! Give me a shout-out in the acknowledgements. I’m shallow like that.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. January 24, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    ROFLMAO… a huge undertaking given the size of it! 😦
    I’m always toying with the idea of time-travelling classical authors becoming contemporary movie/TV industry workers. What would happen if Jane Austen was screenwriting a Carrie satirical adaptation? Dickens directing Eastendaz? Shakespeare editing News At Ten?
    Actually, scrap that last one – Trump’s orating in decorous couplets is a little too horrible to contemplate. 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      Shakespeare editing News At Ten I MUST see, Jan. I feel it would make a lot of it more palatable. Even the T-word.


  11. January 24, 2017 at 2:17 pm

    THE TRIAL (renamed as THE ELECTION) by YOU . It’s interesting that they decided to run this as a live action global TV series on all channels. I almost believed I was watching the news. Best adaptation since War of the Worlds on the radio caused mass panic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm

      It’s fantastic, isn’t it Rhoda? Even the way it’s so subtle, in that they’re not over explaining anything or telling us how to feel. Vintage Kafka.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. January 24, 2017 at 2:19 pm

    Lord Thunderin’ Jesus, Tara, you’ve done it again! I was going to say One Day was the best blurb I have seen, and then it just got better with Twilight, Girl Tattoo, and Gone Girl. “When did the entire population become an unreliable narrator?”
    Which reminds me: Am working on that new level of hell re adult books with the word “Girl” in the title.
    Okay, I’m done.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm

      Thank you, Melodie. It’s a struggle to get the LOLs out sometimes these days so I do count myself lucky to be a perpetually jaded cynic.


  13. January 24, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    For Her.

    Swoon by Every Other Author

    Ravishing Collandra is the babe about town. The guys are ever trying to figure out a way to have her, while the girls all despise her. She’s just that gorgeous. Then one day comes along Big Hunk Dude. Diffident, aloof, rich, BHD doesn’t need any woman, he’s got his pects and abs to keep him busy. But, pressure building, soon a Titanic struggle develops, and the proles bet on who will buckle first. Spoiler alert: there may be flowing dresses, a castle and a dragon involved!

    For Him.

    EXPLOSION at the O.K. Corral! by Every Other Author

    It’s a high stakes game as John, a one man Macgyver-like wonder, singlehandedly battles the entire armies of Russia, China and the U.S. of A. And Aliens too! Racing against time, John must find a way to defuse the Big Bomb that threatens the entire planet, while looking cool. But will he be able to defeat the Secret Weapon that’s been designed to stop him? Hold on to your armchairs as the tension skyrockets! Spoiler alert: zombies and car chase scenes abound.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 5:04 pm

      Masterful. Ravishing Collandra must be one of the greatest character names to grace the interweb. I wonder about your mashups, though. Are we ready to mash ALL the genres rather than just two?!

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 24, 2017 at 5:52 pm

        Oh absolutely! After all, we want New.

        Darn, I forgot to add guns to the last spoiler alert. Lots of guns and carnage.

        Liked by 1 person

  14. January 24, 2017 at 4:40 pm

    Ha ha ha. Hey, some of these could work! My mind is buzzing with repackaged stories. I think all these stories can be told with mermaids. Don’t tell anyone. I think I’m on to something…

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 5:06 pm

      Great Scott. You are indeed. Mermaid Misery Memoirs. Murdering Mermaids. Mermaid Mechanical Manuals. Diana might’ve said it, but you heard it here first, folks.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. January 24, 2017 at 5:27 pm

    you’ve a gold mind here
    Lord of the Rings, a D Trump cookery book: take the US constitution, boil for five hours and get yourself instant gollum;
    Pride and Prejudice, alliteration for beginners: take any consonant, repeat and have endless fun while waiting to get married;
    Moby Dick, a sex guide: no description, only pictures, truly a graphic novel.
    Why have you done this to my brain, Tara? You are cruel and heartless, leaving aside whip sharp and funny. Sorry, that was dangerously close to a compliment.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 8:05 pm

      Oh, dear, Geoff. It was dangerously close. I’m in shock. I’d admire your other marvellous ideas here, but I’m afraid I’ve had to go for a lie down.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. January 24, 2017 at 7:52 pm

    The mad woman in the attic could now be the shih-tzu with an Instagram account. New title: ‘Mr. Rochester: The Undeclared Sponsored Posts’.


    • January 24, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      That’s an excellent idea. Because if he wasn’t going to get done for locking his wife (or her dog) in the attic, we can only hope Advertising Standards get him for lying to his blog readers. Barely justice, but it’s the new way.


  17. January 24, 2017 at 8:12 pm

    I’m actually rewriting the Odyssey with Ulysses as a travel guide leading his package-tour group through various adventures. I’m calling it The Michelin Saga. Please don’t steal my idea😬

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 24, 2017 at 8:19 pm

      But I would NEVER DO THAT EVER, knowingly. I would never on purpose steal your (great) idea. I mean if I somehow forgot it wasn’t my idea that would be different. Like if I was busy being very busy and important, I might forget some things, who knows? But knowingly, no. I would never. It’s a fact. It’s true.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. January 25, 2017 at 9:57 pm

    Peter Rabbit as the new genre – Economic Satire? I dunno, anything’s possible these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 26, 2017 at 9:42 pm

      Economic Satire. Now there’s one I never thought of, Hilary. Even I have trouble seeing the wit in economics…


      • January 26, 2017 at 10:01 pm

        Run it by Tark and Mara (they should have you back on the strength by now), they’ll have it sussed in no time.

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 26, 2017 at 10:16 pm

          I’m too scared. The last time I ran something by Tark and Mara, I woke up on a repossessed yacht wearing seven pairs of shoes.

          Liked by 1 person

  19. January 25, 2017 at 9:58 pm

    the new version of The Trial sounds like horror fiction. If only it were not true

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 26, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      All the best satire is uncomfortably true, isn’t it? And I feel like I’ll never be comfortable again.


  20. January 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Well, it is said there are only two, three, four? (I should pay more attention so I’d know the exact number) story lines, so I guess we all mangle them to some extent. I must say some of your plot ideas sound more interesting, and much more innovative, than the originals. But to some extent readers favour the tried and tested angles, the well-worn stories of boy meets girl and Bond meets villain. The difference between the modern and the older is in the amount of violence and destruction graphically told. That seems a cue for revamping a staid historical novel into a racy modern tale with rape, murder, dissection, car chases and nuclear destruction.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 26, 2017 at 9:44 pm

      Dead right, Dorothy. When all else is said and done, crime and romance always sells. The rest is subject to fashion, argument, and intermittent parody (from me)


  21. January 29, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I have nothing to add except that a) this is all brilliant b)this is all depressingly true and c)that The Election is also now in the non-fiction section, isn’t it?

    Also, like Ali, I wish you were available to write all my blurbs xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 29, 2017 at 9:52 pm

      I wish I could write my own blurbs, Helen. When it comes to encapsulating my own stuff, I’m woeful. I wonder sometimes if I just need to get so drunk I forget my own name and then do the blurbs as if my stuff was written by someone else. There might be a flaw in that plan somewhere, but I’m willing to try anything.

      Liked by 1 person

      • January 29, 2017 at 10:26 pm

        I like your plan very much and am tempted to try it myself. I’d also like to try it when writing my author bio – surely the resulting gibberish can’t be any worse than what I already have 😀

        Liked by 1 person

        • January 29, 2017 at 10:38 pm

          Ah-ah! You have the author bio generator don’t forget! And that is destined to TAKE OVER THE WORLD. Fact.

          Liked by 1 person

          • January 29, 2017 at 11:04 pm

            Haha, really? Well, I shall just sit back and let the generator do its work then… *villainous laugh*

            Liked by 1 person

            • January 29, 2017 at 11:11 pm

              I think you should start wearing trouser suits and carrying cats immediately.

              Liked by 1 person

              • January 30, 2017 at 6:02 pm

                I’m allergic to cats, so perhaps one of those naked crested dogs, instead. Otherwise I’m down with it. In fact, I might be doing it already… 😉

                Liked by 1 person

  22. January 30, 2017 at 1:52 pm

    LOL!!! Those are great, Tara. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  23. January 30, 2017 at 3:36 pm

    What a selection box! But as you know the “The Election” is not your own original idea because it’s playing out in real time on my doorstep so I’ll not be buying that, thank you very much. This art imitating life shit has got to stop. But your new self-help offering might help calm the tremors and give me temporary reprieve. So I”ll be ordering that. Plus the diet cookbook. I’ve been overeating my way through this. Like the Bourne in Ikea premise too. Scandinavian design is soothingly spare and ripe for intrigue.

    Liked by 1 person

    • January 30, 2017 at 6:18 pm

      I think the IKEA idea might be a whole new genre, Jackie. Scandinavian interior fiction. Where untidiness results in war, and harsh lighting brings down entire civilisations. They’ll try to pigeon-hole it into dystopian fantasy, but I’ll fight them to the death.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. February 1, 2017 at 10:39 am

    I need to read Bourne in Ikea, so when you’ve it written you might send me a copy, ta muchly!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. February 4, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I’d be happy to arrange a collaboration with Zoella to revisit The Exorcist: Everyday Makeover the Primark Way. There’s no excuse for the damned and possessed to go round looking rotten every day. I don’t suppose you can think of a way to get a wok on the cover?

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 4, 2017 at 10:27 pm

      Of course I can think of a way. When it comes to Zoella, I believe her integrity can be bought for, oh, let’s say any money at all, at all.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. February 22, 2017 at 1:21 am

    Too many goodies here! I had thought with One Day the crimes would be huge crimes as opposed to minor ones, but, yes, yearly, and so perhaps the investigating officers would be too old/ have shuffled off the mortal coil before a link was established … I think someone may have been thinking of The Hunger Games when the ‘boot camp’ or those mud races were first brought in!

    Liked by 1 person

    • February 22, 2017 at 8:56 am

      That sounds a hell of a lot more thrilling than my idea. In fact, now I’m starting to think someone should write it….


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