I have been pondering on a novel idea that would likely utilize a large chunk of a premise of a novel that I read several years ago.
To be clear, the elements that I would want to use are the premise (Magical detective solving magical crimes) and the configuration of the three main characters (The magical detective, his apprentice, and an aristocratic girl whom the detective is allied with).
I read a story with this exact setup and felt that I would want to take it in an entirely different direction, but with a somewhat similar world (magic is real, urban fantasy setting). I fell in love with the idea of writing a story that starts out with this same configuration of story elements, but has a different theme, plot line, and ultimately a different focus than this series ended up having.
My question is, is this enough to not worry about copyright claims? I’d love to move forward with the idea, but it seems like it would be a wasted effort if I could do nothing with the story when I’m done, due to having such a similar premise.
To reiterate, my intent is not to re-tread the same plot lines and ideas of that series other than what I detailed above. My main issue being that I’m not sure where the line would be in terms of copyright if I use an extremely similar jumping off point, but then do my own thing.