Saturday, August 14, 2010

"Please, sir," replied Oliver, "I want some more."

Allow me to go to Burton’s Alice once more. I’ll just be using it as an example for a moment. I find myself wondering about the previous history of the realm. Assuming that what the movie presents is true, I want to know more about the lives of Mirana of Marmoreal and Iracebeth of Crims (The White Queen and Red Queen respectively.) What of their childhood?  I’m also curious about their parents. What had the land been like during their realm? At what point and why did the Red Queen move from chess pieces to playing cards? Also, why had Nivens McTwisp, the White Rabbit, entered into our realm in the first place? (i.e. when child Alice followed him down the first time)

There are of course no answers to these questions necessarily. But that’s my question, of sorts. Are there answers? Should there be?

For another example, Anon wanted to know more about the histories touched upon in my novel What If It’s a Trick Question? Tell of the battles, the betrayals and the alliances, and the one called Choke. Main character Jeremy’s very first fan also inquired about getting to read the past the novel speaks about.  And yet Buttercup (about halfway through Jeremy's plight and loving it) doesn't feel any such need.

My novel Midnight Chaser, intended as a stand-alone piece, also prompted interest for more (both past and future) from readers, Banky especially.

But in all those cases, it’s just not a story worth telling. In other words, nothing I could tell would be any better than what they might imagine. What’s presented is all one really needs to know. The outcome of the past is what’s important and giving blow-by-blows leading up to it would just be, as the saying goes, “milking it” in the bad connotation. The same goes with the future of the main characters in Midnight Chaser. Story needs conflict, and there’s nothing I can see (nor want to) thrust upon these characters to spark up story. Sure, you can imagine them in all sorts of adventures. But nothing that would warrant or sustain a book. It’s much more fun to have the freedom to create the vignette scenarios anyway.

I know some are put off by Anne Rice’s The Vampire Chronicles having a book for nearly every minor character. (I exaggerate to make a point.) And yet, there are those who still cannot get enough. I understand both schools of thought. Similarly, Buttercup read through one of my favorite series (at my suggestion), The Incarnations of Immortality by Piers Anthony. She liked it a lot. I recently discovered a handful more books have joined the series. But to be honest, I don’t want to read them. One, especially. It’s about a character that had been ever so mysterious in the novels. I, for one, do not want to clear away the clouds surrounding her. And neither does Buttercup, who obviously also feels that it’s entirely possible to push too far into a world.

So, then, when is enough actually enough?

My response would be it that it’s to be figured case by case. Of course, personal taste factors in as well. But it all boils down to story – is it worth telling… or is just knowing about it sufficient?

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