Monday, July 4, 2011

Lets Rip My Story Apart: What Happens Next

After careful consideration, I've created a list of Wants and Needs

I Need...
...Stronger driving narrative
...To finish each and every mystery in a given story
...To avoid plot holes (doesn't everyone?)
...To avoid wasting the time of the reader 

I Want...
...To be original
...Fantastic, imaginative storytelling that takes readers by surprise, like a burglar
...Really hilarious things to happen to the characters
...Endearing characters
...A world history deep enough to support many more stories
...To be happy with the finished product
I received a very helpful comment from my sister on my previous post; she said,

“One thing I remember about Dower is that it was like a bunch of different inter-related stories in one. Like, you could take any of the sub-stories and make them into their own book, like the inverted universe, or the part where they go into the dreamworld.”

Hmm. I completely agree with her on this. In fact, as long as I'm splitting the story up, I might as well think of what each story is going to be about. There were indeed so many little things (that never truly got explained) that each of them could be their own very short stories, or if I combined a few of the events, a few slightly longer short stories. As long as I'm pulling concepts and plot devices from the story, I might as well make a list. If the main title of every book was Dower then the Subtitles of each sub-book could be (according to things that are simply in the story):

And The Griddle
And The Monster in the Mail
And the Inverted Universe
Destroys the Universe
And The Transference
And The Interdimensional Deck of Cards
And The Dragon Roost
And The Pirates
Goes Memory Hunting
Meets The Rocket Riders 
Travels Edward

In the past I've mentioned how exciting book titles can be, and simply seeing all of the potential I could have in chopping up one large story is pleasing to me. Although I probably won't have a naming scheme like this as it seems a little like something more appropriate for children's books, this is enough book-writing to keep me occupied for years, depending on the length of the stories. Of course not all of the stories necessarily have to follow around Dower, who in himself is quite bland, a regular Alice in Wonderland-type character who exists simply to ask questions about the universe so the reader understands things.

In my previous blog, I mentioned that I wanted to have a stronger story-seed (as I called it) for the story. My sister (in her excellent way) also adds, 

“Also, that story seed you're talking about is the theme. It's like the moral. It can be something as simple as "a story where the boring main character becomes a hero". You know, character growth. But the story always puts out other little thoughts, like the guy whose appearance changed according to people's expectations. That was a profound little thought about people making snap judgements that aren't right.”

By gum, she's right! I was overlooking the fact that a good story-seed doesn't have to be the initial concept; it can also be the journey of the character or the events in the story. If that's the case, then I don't need quite as much rewriting of the material I like. This is good news indeed.

My only worry is that this isn't going to be like rearranging a few legos into a different-looking lego house; this is going to be like having to make all of the legos, make sure they fit together with the old legos and then assembling them into a different-looking lego house. Lucky for me, I happen to love making legos.


  1. Or you can jump straight to writing "book 2" by taking stuff you liked from "book 1" and making it into a new story. I call it "fanficcing" but when you're writing fanfic based on your own original work, it's not fanfic anymore, is it? :)

  2. I think you should jump in write something who cares if it works or not. Just write and write some more, as Stephen King says and then burn it all and start over. The more you write the more ideas will come. Sometimes I think a person can be so involved in the mechanics of writing they forget that all writing is just good story telling.
    It is like drawing a picture, just do it because you love it, not that you aren't Rembrandt.
    Write ever day whether you have anything to say just do it for the discipline.
    I think you already have the mechanics down.
    Now write as if your life depended on it.

    Do you know why I write? When my Mom died, I wanted one piece of paper that said she loved me, or that she had dreams to share. Just one piece of paper would have meant the world to me.
    I started writing then and I have never stopped.
    I have burned so much of it but I have reams of stuff written just because if something ever happened to me you guys would have a record of how I loved you all.
    So write, write for those who will come after you.
    Write because you are a good story teller. :)