Many writers were influenced by the great generation, authors such as Gertrude Stein, Earnest Hemingway, and F. Scott Fitzgerald, while others were influenced by H.P. Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. No matter the source, the influence can be seen in their prose and style. Much more, the themes, subjects, and even characters become borrowed and re-envisioned. One of the most obvious examples of this is with H. P. Lovecraft and the Cthulhu Mythos. A lot of writers take bits and pieces from the lore, and work them into their own vision, making something new and unique with something borrowed.
I consider this a gift from those that have become immortal.
As a writer, how would you feel if your name and legacy was not only remembered, but people borrowed from it, and put bits and pieces of you into their own work? Do you find it to be stealing from your estate? Do you find it to be taking something of yours without permission, or is it a way to spread your reach and legacy even after death?
With this in mind, I think of Stephen King. God forbid King passes away, but being human it’s inevitable that he will. When he does, will his characters and mythos be available for other writers to use as their own, or will they be tied to the estate?
Could you imagine Jack Torrance living on in different iterations, created by authors from various sub-genres of horror? Could you imagine Randall Flagg living on well passed his creator’s death much like Cthulhu? What about Stephen King’s mythical turtle?
Stephen King definitely has the status and reputation to be remembered long after he passes away, and his books, themes, and characters will be with us long after that. I could imagine the family keeping the rights and guarding the books, of course, but you know good and well that people would want to write on with bits of his legacy. I’m curious how that King family would address that when that time comes.