I seem to see some similar questions to this, but not ones that answer my question well enough that I feel confident, so I’d love some feedback on my specific situation.

I am a few chapters in to writing a young adult novel that I would hope to publish one day. It is inspired by a golden-age musical that, as far as I can tell, is still copyrighted.

Here are the similarities/ differences in as vague as terms as I can manage:

The original show is set in the real world. My story is very much a fantasy.

The main characters are inspired by the original characters, though they are more fully fleshed. Their names are all changed, though in 3/4 instances the first letters are the same.

A lot of the plot threads are not EXACTLY the same, but analogous to threads in the original. I also have one plot thread that is a large part of my story that is not present in the original, but is inspired by a song from the original show in which the character describes a dream. The characters in my story involved in this thread are NOT analogous to the character that sings the song in the original musical.

I haven’t fully outlined yet, I’m more of a pantser, but as far as what I can tell as I get toward the end of the story, it will diverge a bit more. Also, of the two couples that end up together in the original musical, one will end up breaking up at the end of my book.

I don’t want to invest any more time in this story if it’s not viable to publish, which will make me very sad because I really enjoy this idea. That said, I don’t want to be a plagiarist. I just really enjoy stories that are retellings, such as Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles series and Brody/Ren dell’s Sky Without Stars. I just didn’t think about the fact that the work I chose to retell may be copyrighted. I’ve read other retellings of musicals before (such as Sky Without Stars) but those musicals may be based on even older works that are not copyrighted, where as the source material for my musical might still be, if that makes sense.

I’ve read some things on fair use/ copyright law that make me think I might be ok, and others that make me think maybe not.

If anyone has any advice or input, I’d be grateful. :)



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