Thursday, January 31, 2013
I had fun rewriting the Goldilocks and the 3 Bears story. It was a one day thing and I kept it short enough for a single blog post. People seemed to like it. I liked doing it. It was fun.
So I asked if people wanted me to do another and the overall response was 'yes, do another.' I put up a poll, which I think I have since taken down, and listed several fairy tales I could rewrite. Little Red Riding Hood won. When it came time to actually rewrite it, the story that came to mind was complex. I couldn't help it. It took me a long time to figure out what the heck I could do with that story that hadn't already been done.
You'd be surprised at how many rewritten versions of Little Red Riding Hood there are out there. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of alternate versions written by nobodies like me.
Anyway, being a 'big picture' guy and looking at the world the way I do, I couldn't help but pull current news stories into my version of Red Riding Hood as I was forming it in my mind. The story hadn't even begun to be put down on paper when I had already decided that the Zimmerman/Trayvon/Obama scandal was going to be central to it. Living in Memphis and placing my Red Riding Hood in Memphis, there was simply no way I could NOT use that in the story. I had no real intention of making it about Red vs The President, but once Obama interjected himself and his lackeys at the DoJ into the case he sort of forced himself into my story, too. And as his election campaign rolled forward and my story wasn't finished yet I had to include that, as well. I hadn't intended to. I hadn't really wanted to. But that's the price of writing as you go and trying to make a story relevant to current events. It's like trying to tell a story about the ocean while riding in a ship on the ocean. You're going to have to adjust with the waves and weather a lot.
Anyway, after seeing bloggers Karina Halle and Marlayna Glynn Brown leap from blogging to writing and self-publishing I started to pay more attention to the real world of writing. Karina has a distinct advantage in that she earned her degree in writing and has 4 years of education specific to the process, plus photography and film making, too, which no doubt helps her a great deal. But still, all that wouldn't matter if she couldn't formulate a good story. Some people just can't write no matter how much education they have. She can, though, in spades. I just read her fifth book. I completed it in a single weekend. I'm not usually the sort of person who sits down with a book and reads it cover to cover that quickly, but this was her best one yet. It was also her longest one up to that point, so it took longer for me to finish. Otherwise I would have stayed up all night to finish it. It was really good.
I'm also reading Marlayna's first book at the same time, which slows me down, obviously, but I'm not in a race. I read for fun. Sitting on my table underneath Karina's latest book and Marlayna's first book is current blogger Jenny Lawson's top ten best seller, "Lets Pretend This Never Happened." Most of you know Jenny as The Bloggess. I haven't started her book yet, but I'm going to soon. That's 3 bloggers with books out, and Karina has something like 11 books out now.
How many of you remember all of us encouraging Marlayna to turn her life story into a book? I do. I remember reading little pieces of her story on her blog and thinking "if this were a book, I'd buy it in a heartbeat." At the time it wasn't. But it is now. I bought it and I am reading it. It's just as fascinating as we thought it would be.
When I pulled all my writing from Red Riding Hood into a single file it was already nearly long enough to be a full-length novel. I was surprised by that. I'm guessing most of you aren't because there weren't many comments other than "this is really long." I had assumed from the lack of comments that no one liked it. But in my blog stats I was shocked to discover that every chapter received over 1000 views. None of the blog posts surrounding it received anywhere near that many. I don't know what to make of it, but apparently people who don't otherwise read this blog were looking at my story, and coming back later for the following chapters. They just didn't say anything to me.
I'm seriously considering self-publishing Red Riding Hood. I have to rewrite it first, of course. If I had written this thing with the intention of putting it into a book in the first place I would have done it somewhat differently. I would have written it backwards, from the end to the beginning. I wouldn't have been rushed by the coming election and my need to guess how that was going to turn out, decide to avoid it, and then regret that I didn't go with my instincts and stick with what I first wrote, which was that Obama won, but vote fraud was a strong factor. I also wouldn't have named Obama or anyone in his staff. I wouldn't have named anyone who actually exists. No one in the story would be a real person with loads of real baggage.
So here is what I'm thinking: I want to rewrite Red Riding Hood with the intention of self-publishing it. There will be no President Obama. In fact, there won't even be Democrats or Republicans. The president will be fictional, as will his party and the opposition party. The story isn't about him. The story is about one girl standing against an impossible foe, the flawed and ambitious leader of her country. There isn't just one Wolf. There are two. The first wolf is just a guy who attacked her with his own two hands. The REAL wolf, though, is the tyrant who wants to rape her for political gain.
Whether or not I'm even going to stick with the Red Riding Hood aspect is still up-in-the-air. It could just as easily be Katy versus The President, with only a minor nod to her resemblance to Red Riding Hood.
From what little I can gather in conversations Karina Halle has allowed me to overhear, something like this needs at minimum a trilogy to support it. That is to say, if I want to publish this as a book, then I need to write two more and be ready to publish them, too, one after the other. It helps to generate interest, as well as to build momentum. If any of the three are any good then they can bring attention to the other two and help lift them up. If two are good they help lift the third. If all are good then they bring demand for more books. It's like the way The 3 Bears brought demand for Red Riding Hood, only on a larger scale.
I don't anticipate this story making any great waves among the best sellers list. I don't anticipate it doing anywhere near as well as Karina's have. I don't even know if I can expect 1,000 copies to sell. Or even 100. I've never done this before. I have no one around me who knows how to do this and can give me advice, help me create the covers, tell me how best to promote it, etc. I am totally on my own. My odds of success are very small.
Still, it could be a fun learning experience. It would involve an awful lot of work. But I seem capable of doing the work part. The question is whether or not there is any point to doing this. Or whether I should dump the Red Riding Hood story altogether and just write something else from scratch, start completely over with something totally different.
So what do you think?