BEHIND THE STORY: "Untitled"

So I mentioned in my editorial piece on Tuesday, that I was working on a novel-length story. As I am writing this, the story itself is sitting at 5 full chapters, a dedication page, and about 16000 words, which translates to about 55 pages in A5 formatting... A pretty hefty work, and the second longest story I have ever written. Read on to get some insight on what is going through my head.

I once again want to talk about "The Haunting of Westerbrook Hospital". Since that story is the spiritual predecessor to my as yet unnamed fantasy story. Both stories came from the exact same spot in my head, the spot that has been reserved for improvisational comedy for years. You see, like my time doing improv, these stories started with a suggestion from the audience. In Westerbrook's case, the suggestion was "A Ghost Story". In my unnamed fantasy story's case, that suggestion was "Wonderland".

I will confess, as I did to the person who made the suggestion, that I have never read the Wonderland novels. I have only vague recollections of the cartoon, and the Johnny Depp movie. The actual wonderland movies just never showed up on my radar. However, I decided to go with it, bits of a story already forming in my head. 

This story is very much tied to two things. One, my friends from the Fairytale Games Kickstarter campaigns. throughout the story I name people and places after the people from those campaigns. People I have talked with and interacted with very frequently over the course of the last 6 months or so. These people have been supportive of my efforts to get back into writing, and have helped me regain some shred of the confidence in my storytelling that I used to have. So, this is a story that is in many ways, dedicated to them, it is my tribute to the small community we created. 

The other thing that is central to this story, is my belief that the world has too few good strong female characters. People get wrapped up in the "damsel in distress" motif that seems to permeate popular culture, and I strive to break that when I can. Granted, my characters are not always strong, and they have their flaws, but I hope that my characters manage to stray far enough away from the Damsel in distress trope.

Hopefully early next week, I will post a sample chapter for people to read, and gauge what I have been working on. Until I get that up, perhaps a few bits about the story, to tide you over?

The story is about a girl named "Jennifer". Her name was initially a bastardization of the name "Jenna", and was named after the person who suggested this story to me. It was initially going to be a sort of behind the scenes duality between the antagonist and the protagonist of the piece. I did away with this idea initially, because well, there was also a Jennifer backing "Fairytale Games" and I also realized that the duality idea would only work for me, unless I sat there giving exhaustive descriptions of both characters, which would have felt heavy-handed in my eyes.

Jennifer lives in a large metropolitan area, that as of yet has no name. I can't think of a name for the city, but I have named parts of it, and some of the surrounding areas. Interestingly, this major metropolis is not far removed from a city by the name of Westerbrook... a city that happens to be housing a haunted hospital...

On the other side of things, I have my fantasy world... A world where I control the physics, and everything else is subject entirely to my whims. The land itself has been named "Mar'chen". The name of that world is interesting to me. It started out as the German word "märchen". Which, I seem to recall meant "Fairy Tale". I removed the umlaut, because... finding that shit every time I wanted to write the word was a hassle. I decided I wanted a syllabic separation, I pondered a tilde or a dash, but I decided that the apostrophe is a classic, and why mess with the classics? In my head, I pronounce the name as Mare-shen. The syllabic separation also provided another bonus, it gave me two new words, "mar" and "Chen. Now, I remembered vaguely from my Latin classes that "Mare" meant sea, so I figured that had been carried over to other languages. A quick Google translate visit, told me that "Mar" was Spanish for sea. A quick google search also revealed that "Chen" was a Hebrew last name that meant loveliness or grace. This ended up giving me a name that meant "fairy tale" as well as "Sea of Loveliness" ... Names that will both have meanings in this story.

When I get around to finally updating my "World Document" which is a little document I use to keep notes about the world, including various characters, and such, I will ponder adding a section in there indicating who each character was named after. That way, those that inspired this story, and helped to populate its pages will be able to say "Frank, you jackass! Why did you make me a murderous lizard?" Or some such. Or, possibly, the people I named the characters after will actually be able to see that I named the characters after them, not out of my desire to make anyone look evil, but out of a desire to pay tribute to one of the greatest online communities I have ever been a part of.

So, hopefully, when I post chapter one (which I assume will be the best preview chapter of the ones I currently have) on Monday, you will get a chance to see what I have been working on... And finally get a chance to tell me how much you hate it! Who knows, if you comment on this post, there are still plenty of chapters to write, you might end up getting added in some small way to the story!