Sunday, February 21, 2010

Back to the Story

Way back in 2004, before we left Flagler, Sara and I came up with an awesome idea: a story that spanned an arc of at least five books. While I claim credit for the initial concept of a set of quadruplets (another brilliant shower idea), Sara and I were equal partners in the development of everything else. We spent a good year working solidly upon it. We made maps, religions, creatures and a royal genealogy spanning centuries. We (and by “we” I mean me) even created a song about the main character!

As time went on, we developed side stories to our main arc. We fell in love with some of the minor characters and ideas. We developed ideas for other books and story arcs. We talked, emailed and took notes but we never actually got around to writing anything solid.

We had cultures, back stories, political intrigue and wars, but no story.

Time passed. Our notes and ideas were filed away as we moved on with other projects. Four Nanos ago, I decided to try my hand at starting our story with Sara’s full support. I didn’t get very far and got frustrated that one character, the villain, began taking over the story and took me away from my main character. I put it away.

When Sara left for Japan, she gave me all of her story notes and files. I dutifully put them with mine and they have been floating around my house ever since, taking up space but not being used.

Last year when the computer incident occurred (Scott crashing my system and me not having anything backed up*) I thought I had lost everything that I wrote for the story I finally started. I was devastated. All the time spent, all those hours of typing…not just the story but all the notes that were saved on the computer – gone! I was thankful I had hard copies of some of the material, but at the time, I didn’t even look at the hard copies. Knowing I had something of the world Sara and I created was enough for right then.

Recently, I’ve been thinking about the story, the characters, and the world. I've had some more of my brilliant shower ideas: snippets of conversations, scenes and plot ideas. For the past three weeks or so, I’ve come home glanced at the files and thought to myself, “You’ve got to do something with those!” This world that we created, I thought, deserves to be more than just a bunch of notes. Sara and I invested so much into it, to have it all just sit and wait seems such a let down. Not just for me or Sara but for our characters that we poured so much of ourselves into.

But between work, the girls, and everything, I never picked them up…

…Until today.

Waiting for my gaming group to arrive, I took out my file folder of story notes and began to thumb through them. I couldn’t have been more surprised! Apparently, a while back, during a time I don’t remember at all, I printed out what I wrote for the Nano novel! I had tucked it away in the file and left it there, forgotten and alone!

After the gamers left, I sat at the dining room table and thumbed through all the files. What I thought I lost – the genealogies, the country backgrounds, character notes, one of us (probably Sara) had the foresight to make hard copies. While I am missing some of the original email discussion we had, I have so much material that I don’t know where to start!

So, what to do…

Well, with Sara’s blessing (which I have no doubt she’ll give) I am going to revisit our world. I am going to give voices to our heroes, to our villains and our world!

* I haven't figured out how to imbed a link to previous posts, but for the computer incident check out Silent Fury from Feb. 13, 2009 and Live and Learn from Feb. 14, 2009.

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