Friday, September 30, 2011

“It’s all very well to say you are waiting; so am I waiting.”

(From a production of Waiting for Godot)

Once again I apologize for being absent from posting lately.  The upheaval of which I spoke in an earlier post is, in fact, still in progess.  Dealing with the ramifications of it in addition to the regular aspects of my life doesn't leave as much room to go ranting on the internet.

But it doesn't mean I haven't been productive.

The back cover to Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between has been finalized, and comes as such at having been tweaked yet again since I'd thought it done before.  As it says in Peter Pan's NeverWorld: Wisdom knows finished from done.

The Foreword has also been composed and recomposed and revised and overhauled and... well, you get the idea.  It's also now in its final form.  I've been having a go at the Acknowledgements page.  Turns out it's difficult finding a sincere balance to convey the level of gratitude and deeds without sounding overly sappy.  Don't worry, I'll get it down on paper.  Other than the 'technical info about the book' page, we're drawing very close to bringing the novel to you all.

Thanks for being so patient.  I hope you understand my adherence to getting it "just right" before you see it.

In other news, I heard from two of the characters in What If It's a Trick Question? the other night at Buttercup's place.  And you know what they finally told me?  How to defeat the "big bad" in the sequel.  I have to tell you, I've been wondering about it!  And now I know.  And it's pretty clever of them.

I also find myself thinking of Thom and Carabas a bit more than usual.  Of course, it's largely due to Josiecat often bringing up Thom and his story.  She loves him so!

Then there's the generating of new angles and tidbits for my "ghost story" on the backburner.

I've nary a clue as to which of these will wind up being my next all-consuming project once the Peter Pan interquel is available... but I'm sure I'll have a good time doing it!

*Title of post  is a quote from Peter and Wendy

Friday, September 23, 2011

OBJECTive Inspiration

I'll admit it... the other night I'd been watching parts of P.J. Hogan's Peter Pan movie.  Some bits are just so beautifully done. 

And while watching, I had a cool idea for a subsequent book of tales from the NeverWorld.  Which is great, but I'm in no short supply.  This one, however, seems like more than just a tidbit.  It has the potential to be very grand.  I haven't fully formed it but I can see how it would branch out and grow into something wonderful.

My favorite part of this idea is that the notion for it comes directly from Barrie.  (That's my favorite kind of inspiration when it comes to writing about Peter Pan!)  I began to wonder whatever happened to a certain object in the story... and that's when the spark ignited.  Needless to say, I know what became of it.  At least in my subsequent timeline of Barrie's world.  And like I said, I know it will turn into a powerful thing in the tale... I'm just not sure all that it entails or why it would be important or why the characters would need it... but then, that's where stories begin... with just the seeds.

I'll let it sit for now... as I don't have any immediate plans of returning to NeverWorld.  So it will have plenty of time to develop.

If you're dying to know what the object is... there are some hints in this post.  But otherwise I'll just say you would have think Wendy would have always kept it safe... And I'll just bet she did.  But that's not to say something couldn't have happened to it down the line...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Talking Tink...

Assuming her alive at the time you found her, would you be able to carry on a conversation with Tinker Bell? I’m guessing you’re inclined to say “no” because she speaks in the sound of little tinkling bells. No doubt your rationale for this comes from the passage:

You don’t hear her, do you?” and they both listened.
“The only sound I hear,” said Wendy, “is like a tinkle of bells.”
“Well, that’s Tink, that’s the fairy language. I think I hear her too.”

Some of you might be so inclined as to believe you cannot understand the fairy language. Hearing it the first time, really how could you? Would you be able to understand Swahili when it first entered your ear? (I’ll venture to guess no.) And there’s rationale for this from the book as well:

“Tink,” said Peter amiably, “this lady says she wishes you were her fairy.”
Tinker Bell answered insolently.
“What does she say, Peter?”
He had to translate.

And then: What she said in her lovely tinkle Wendy could not of course understand...

So there we have, right? Only Peter Pan can understand Tinker Bell...

Now hold on a moment! Don’t go zipping to conclusions. Here’s a bit of text regarding the Lost Boys:

“Hullo, Tink,” cried the wondering boys.
Tink’s reply rang out: “Peter wants you to shoot the Wendy.”
It was not in their nature to question when Peter ordered. “Let us do what Peter wishes!” cried the simple boys.

A-ha! So the boys make sense of her bell-voice, too. Before you go arguing that the boys are wont to say such a thing anyway as they are devoted to Peter’s wishes, surely you don’t forget they actually do shoot Wendy down, just as Tink says Peter commands. Obviously it’s not just a regurgitation of an ingrained desire (to obey Pan’s wishes.)

So why is it that the Boys can comprehend her as well as Pan?  Perhaps it’s because they’re in the Neverland and therefore just do?  No, that’s not it.  Good guess, though.  Perhaps they’re magical like Peter himself?   Oh no, that can’t be it.   They’re just not.  Well, then, why?

For the answer, we’ll have to (but of course) look to Barrie’s words again:

You silly ass!” cried Tinker Bell in a passion.
She had said it so often that Wendy needed no translation.
“I almost agree with her,” Wendy snapped.

When does this occur in the story? Just about the time Wendy is trying to get Peter to declare his real feelings for her. When “playing house” needs to be much more real for her than it seems in the Home Under the Ground. Okay, but how about a more concrete image story-wise?  Surely.  It’s after Pan rescues Tiger Lily. Unlike a play or movie version of the story which must have a rapidity to the adventures the children have on the island, we know that a they’re there for a long time, so the saving of the Redskin princess wouldn’t have been toward the beginning of their trip.

And so we arrive at the simple answer. If you’ve been around Tink for quite some time, would you understand her then?  Yep.

It seems that the fairy language is something that humans can pick up on, if they have enough exposure to it. Which certainly explains why the Lost Boys have no trouble.  For who knows how long they’ve each been on the island?  But we can bet it’s been a while.

Knowing that I’d need the first girl to visit NeverWorld to be able understand Denny (Peter Pan’s ‘new’ fairy) right away in my book, I had to make sure I included a passage about how this could be so.

Of course, Amy could not be described as a normal child, for she understood the fairy language perfectly. She had heard it so many times while passing through Kensington Gardens and in the twilight of slumber that she knew it quite well. Thus, she did not need a translator to converse with the fairy who just spoke to her.

Another easy solution. You see, I happen to know (of course I would) a little about the backstory of Miss Amy Alexis Richards.  In the relevant nutshell, she’s been hunting for fairies and Peter Pan since age five, and does so with more conviction than most summon up [for anything] their whole lives.  It took her a while to finally track down the Darlings’ house, but that’s another story and I digress...

At any rate, talking to Tink is no great feat.  It’s just a matter of paying attention and prolonged exposure. Not unlike any other language, oui?

So why is it that there’s the misconception that only Pan can talk to Miss Bell? That when (erroneously) Captain Hook speaks with her in cahoots, she must pantomime to help get her point across? [Thank you, Disney. (Said with an eye roll.)] Why is it that she rarely talks in the few movies of the tale?  Do we really have an aversion to hearing her speak?  Possibly so, since many protested her being heard in the Disney films about her... and the script drafts of it bounced back and forth as to whether or not she had a “voice.” (Yes, certainly it also had to do with maintaining the Disney animated feature as well.)  And yes, I know a certain actress played Tink and spoke freely in a certain movie named for the priate captain, but I so very pretend that movie doesn't exist.

It baffles me, then, why P.J. Hogan preserved the “silent” pantomiming Tinker Bell as well. Although I do recall learning in the ‘extras’ on the DVD that Hogan (and all) had been entranced by Ludivine Sagnier's facial expressions and clowning as such without words.  But as cute as they may have been, I’d preferred they left the marvelous expressionism as such to Peter Pan, for as I’ve said before, no one makes faces like Jeremy Sumpter!

I’ll tell you... if I’m ever responsible for the mini-series version that rattles around in my head, the way I’d handle Tink’s speech is as follows:  She’s just heard as the jangling at first. But throughout the show, each time she speaks, a whisper of actual words will gradually become louder, almost imperceptible until it’s clear as a well, bell.  Naturally the tinkling sound will always accompany her, but it will be softened and weaker.

So there you have it.

Tinker Bell talks. Why else would she have lines with quotes around them in the book?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

To Error By Era...

I talk a lot about the wonderfully wacky and wow-ing 21st Century. We’re able to get guided directions, find out that name of an actor we can’t remember with a few touches of a finger, receive emails, shop, check the weather and a whole host of other sundry tasks all in the palm of a hand. And that’s just smartphones! Surely I needn’t go on about the other technology marvels that may as well be fiction!

But I’ve often wondered what it’s done TO our fiction. Certain elements common to all sorts of tales are now not going to fly. Once upon a time if a character wound up in unfamiliar territory, it meant “lost” and the panic would ensue. How to rectify the situation? Ask that kindly old man who turns out to be a sexual harassment creep? Break out the map (if one is even along!) but have no street lights to read it by? Keep walking and hope for a cab? The possibilities are endless. And yet many of them are cut short because nowadays, said character could just look up how to get back home on the “phone,” a device that does nearly everything other than be a telephone. Oh sure, there are ways around it for authors to thwart the character. The batteries are dead. The device  itself got lost two days ago. Or...

I’m not saying that technology had ruined fiction, just that it’s given us storytellers more on the plate to have to contend with and thus makes it not so easy to create havoc and tension in the events of a story without having to cover other bases.

Go back even further, to beyond when a cellular phone had just been that and that only, a telephone. No texting, no pictures, no maps, no Angry Birds (no I don’t play)... Even then, there’d been a huge dynamic shift from something like Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho. If they’d been able simply to CALL Marion Crane on her cell phone in the car, it would have turned out much differently. Yes, yes, it’s probable that she’d not answer or what have you, but any way it’s sliced, there’s a huge change in how the whole situation is perceived.

And that, then, affects how and WHEN authors craft a story. It makes me think of my own “epic” novel What If It’s a Trick Question? One day my #1 fan Anon wrote to me and told me exactly what year the book takes place. I’d been surprised. It didn’t have a specific year so much as an era. Jeremy, the main character, has a cell phone. Okay, sure. He plays video games... yet it’s before the Wii and motion-control gameplay. I could bring in other examples, but you get the idea. There are certain elements that can or cannot be in the story, also to the extent of his station in life (and what could be afforded and such.) It had been quite easy to figure out, since I essentially aimed at the time period during which I wrote it.

I didn’t have to worry about whether this time overlaps the particulars for quite some time, you see? Until Anon goes and figures out all the math accordingly (from story data) and also from the calendar. [The book takes place over the course of a month, each chapter is the subsequent day.] Anon located which year the dates matched up to the book and told me WHEN it happened. Interesting, no? Given that the world of the book is a fictional version of Chicago, it didn’t matter to me so much when the calendar aligned... I’d aligned it with the events/circumstances of the book. Again, it had been a time frame. If it hadn’t been meant to be a real city, did it have the same cycles of days as us?

That's the rub of writing what (at the time) is contemporary - advances render the book into a bygone era. But that’s the essence of this post. Things we now take for granted must factor into new storytelling. Why can’t she just use her cell phone? Did they record it in HD? Why is he using TAPES? Don’t they have security cameras placed at the top of the lampposts or something that would show the killer? Well, once upon a time all these didn’t apply.

Just one more way in which authors need to keep up with the times -- and it can be argued that such techno newness is ruining the options in a good book. What would Agatha Christie do with DNA matching?! From another angle, though, it opens up a lot more, too... always a trade off, Isuppose.  For when writing in a past era you've got to REMEMBER (or research) what could/couldn't be done and what did/didn't exist.

We’ve got a lot more to contend with and control and make up excuses for (if you’ll pardon the expression) as to how it all went down in our stories.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Dino Pan?


What on earth?

(And be sure to notice Robinson Crusoe the Lost Jedi Knight)

Taking a bit of liberty, aren't they?

I doubt it's "contiguous" with Barrie's stories, so I suppose it's harmless fun.

It does get me to thinking, though... Dinosaur Island could very well be a location on NeverWorld.  After all, it's a planet of mostly islands and kids dream of dinosaurs all the time, no?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I've Got It Covered?

I believe I have the back cover of Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between, the interquel in the life of the eternal boy.

I said before that I had an idea for it which my best friend Laughter suggested. It would have been great and even felt reminiscent of a location in the book. Sadly, though, I couldn’t find anything worthy. No, that’s not me being high and lofty. Let me explain... So you’re not in the dark, Laughter’s proposal had been a Banyan Tree. Mind you, he thought I could use such a tree for one of the illustrations. But no such luck. Those that arose didn’t require one. So I decided it could be on the back cover, as you know. 

Well, first there’s getting a image that I liked and could use. I had a few. All right, so... the real problem had been that no matter how I positioned one of these trees on a rectangular cover, it only looked like a pile of, well, dung. You couldn’t see the glory of the mysterious trees. Just a twisted mass of browns and not at all appealing. So I changed direction entirely.  (Note: These are but examples, not the photos I tried.)

The task of composing a back cover blurb felt daunting... until I realized that “less is more.”  So I thus decided it shall have naught (in terms of words) but the tagline I came up with many moons ago. It’s here on the blog if you want to hunt for it!

I narrowed down my photos, discovered which one looked best rectangularly without losing the essence or best parts of the photograph and started fiddling. I tinkered with it on and on... until I... well, I guess you can say inspiration struck. I tried it out. Voila. Just what the cover needed! Or at least I think so... I’ll give you a hint: It’s a callback.

I’m going to pass it along to a few people and see what kind of reception it has.

First up is my buddy Laughter. Not entirely sure who will see it next, but it’s a good bet I’ll ask for opinions of fellow Barrie-borrower Andrea Jones (author of Hook & Jill) and Pan-fanatic Anon.*
In the meantime, I’ll be doing the other Foreword and such...

*Barrie enthusiast and my faithful reader and #1 fan

Friday, September 2, 2011

Interquel & Interview


My apologies for being absent again.  Suffice to say that a large chunk of my life had been (is) in upheaval and dealing with that took precedence.

However, that whole time I have not neglected Peter Pan: Betwixt-and-Between.  I'm happy to report that all the revsions are done (as far as I know!) and all the illustrations and chapter adornments [a little drawing above each chapter title] are now on the pages!  I really like the chapter pics and I've already mentioned how much others have liked the illustrations.  Now I just have to settle on a back cover pic and write the Foreword, Acknowledgements and such.... and I'll try to get it done as soon as I can.  I'm as eager as you probably are to see this interquel come to light.

I've been interviewed by L. Carroll [how GREAT is that for a name!] on her blog Lor Mandela, for the Authorpalooza.  Be sure to go read about, I'm not like Peter Pan a bit.  ;)   There's also a chance to win a free signed copy of Peter Pan's NeverWorld, too!  Interview link

Until again...