As we’ve talked in the past, books have a length of time during which they are under copyright. Their world can’t be “used” by anybody else while that copyright is in place. So for example you currently can’t write a Harry Potter story where Harry falls in love with Ron and sell that story. J. K. Rowling has control over her Harry Potter world.
That time span isn’t infinite, though. At some point a book goes out of copyright and becomes public domain. It is then fair game. That is why there are now books about Pride and Prejudice with zombies, for example, The novel Pride and Prejudice is long out of copyright. People can do whatever they want with those characters.
Because of the ways laws work, we’re about to get a slew of books released from their copyright on January 1st. Anything written in 1923 will be fair game starting January 1st. Here is the full listing.
Note that this DOES NOT mean you can claim you wrote one of these books :). What it means is that you can write stories set in these settings. So for example you could write an alternate version of Tarzan and the Golden Lion where Tarzan is a girl. Or you could write prequels or sequels to these. Or versions with zombies. Or time travel. Or time traveling zombies. Or versions with notes. It’s always good to still say “based on the story by …”
I’ve decided to write an annotated and illustrated version of The Prophet which is one of the most famous poetry sets of all time. It has 28 poem-stories, each fairly short, on various topics like teaching and prayer and love and so on.
Each poem is standalone. My plan is to release this right on January 1st. I’ll let you know when it’s ready!
Ask with any questions!