All terms

What is adaptation?

Modifying or transforming a text, story, or work into a different form or medium.

Adaptation: Transforming Stories to New Forms

Adaptation refers to the process of transforming a pre-existing work into a new form. This can refer to anything from translating a text into a different language to turning a novel into a screenplay.

In creative writing, adaptation can take many forms. Many writers, for example, draw inspiration from classics or folklore to create new works that are original but pay homage to previous stories. Others might adapt an existing work into a different medium, such as taking a novel and turning it into a graphic novel.

Adapting a story requires a careful consideration of the original work, as well as the new medium into which it is being transformed. The adapter must ask themselves what makes the story work and how it can be translated successfully to reach the intended audience.

Grammar and vocabulary also play an important part in adaptation. In some cases, the adapter may need to adjust the language to suit the new audience, or adapt idioms or cultural references that may not be familiar to the new readers. This process requires both creativity and attention to detail.

Adaptation in Literature: Examples through Time

Adaptation in literature has been used in many forms and shapes to create new stories and transform classic works. Below are two examples of adaptation in literature:

Romeo and Juliet - West Side Story

The 1957 Broadway musical, West Side Story, is a modern-day adaptation of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet set in New York’s Upper West Side. In West Side Story, the love affair and the rivalry between Tony and Maria reflect the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet. But in this adaptation, two gangs, The Jets and The Sharks, replace the Capulet and Montague families.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

The 2009 novel by Seth Grahame-Smith is a parody of Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice, with the addition of a zombie apocalypse. In the book, zombies roam the English countryside and the Bennet sisters are educated in zombie-killing and martial arts. Jane Austen’s original dialogue and plot are preserved, with the addition of fight scenes and zombie encounters.