Many years ago I was fascinated by Clifford Simak’s ‘THE WEREWOLF PRINCIPLE’ ( A great idea, that I want to revisit) and of course, Roger Zelazny – who used changing of bodies in a different way in LORD OF LIGHT. I rolled my vehicle responding to an Ambulance callout (for a roll-over – our roads are shockingly badly maintained), and while some kind people (not those, oddly, getting my services, free) have donated generously, so I’m what I have to try and get the vehicle back on the road. What I have is a limited amount of funds, a good friend with somewhat more experience than I do, and another non-going vehicle of the same model – but manual (mine was an automatic) and a year different in manufacture. The chassis and engine of mine appear in reasonable repair. The bodywork is isn’t.
Suggestions of changing the engine over where supplanted by ‘take the bodywork, retain the chassis and engine. Given the whole manual to automatic issue and the fact it would then have to be re-registered, we went with the latter. Look, this is the usual major undertaking by someone who would really rather do it otherwise, but those are my choices, nothing or try, so we take on hell with a fire-bucket. Story of my life, really. I fit the ‘Aussie battler’ image too well for my own liking, and not by choice. (a ‘battler’ is term of approval, it means, basically a little guy who struggles his way up, gets knocked down by circumstances way beyond his control, gets up, dusts himself off and tries again, till he either succeeds or dies trying – the latter being more likely.) Admirable to look at, but not much fun being, really.
Which — and this rather the point of this story in a writing blog post — was for rank amateurs going not all badly. We got both bodies off intact and the next step seemed to try and put the mechanical bits together. Unfortunately… while the body does match the chassis, the electrics… do not, including the computer. So now we’re trying to move the dashboard across, along with the wiring looms. It’s been three days of unrelenting work, so far.
This is not a job for the faint of heart or ignorant. Or maybe it is a job for the ignorant. No-one well-informed wants to venture there. But… needs must.
Now maybe you remember what I said about revisiting the idea of THE WEREWOLF PRINCIPLE. Revisiting the ideas and concepts of other authors in your books is very much a similar sort of body-changing exercise – taking their underlying structure, popping a better/different body on… and hey! presto! there is a whole new book. Easy!… uh…
Plenty of people do this. If they’re close enough, they work reasonably well. There are whole romance catalogues where you just shouldn’t read the books too close together. Then, of course, there are the efforts which… um, don’t work that well but still work, sort of. They are poor clones of a far superior original, even if the original had flaws.
Then of course there is the situation where the writer finds themselves in similar hot water to that which I find myself in. Some proceed, willy-nilly. The book usually resembles a train-smash. Making it work basically means adapting a lot more either of their original ‘wiring’ (which makes the book very similar to the model) or re-creating your own internal structure, and that leaves you with perhaps some of the original underlying story, but something which is unique. It is also so hard to make fit that underlying story itself is substantively adapted.
You may find yourself wondering why you started down this course… as I do with the body-change.