Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Spectraland Saga: Origin Story, Part Four

Missed the previous chapters? Well, here they are:
Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Picking up where we left off: in December of 2010, I sat down and started writing what would eventually become Secret of the Songshell, Book One of the Spectraland Saga. Ah, I can almost remember it like it was yesterday.
Oddly enough, I have no records of that initial draft. However, I do remember that the book originally started out in the same place, with Joel in the hall of his high school. Only, instead of psyching himself up to talk to Suzi, he had a little run-in with one of the school's football players. Nothing significant, mind you - they basically just bumped into each other because Joel was focused on something else while the football player was, well, he wasn't really looking where he was going - and the resulting first line of the book was:

"Hey, watch it."

And then it quickly moved on to where the story actually now begins. It was a pretty unnecessary moment - not even long enough to be considered a "scene" - so I'm glad I cut it out. So glad, apparently, that I have no saved versions of that particular draft. As a result, I don't really remember exactly what transpired between Joel and Mr. Touchdown.

But I'm going to backtrack for a moment here, because I want to talk about how the whole process of creating the Spectraland Saga in the first place seemed sort of like a real-life hero's journey. I touched on this subject briefly in a previous post, but I don't think I really ever delved into it that deeply. So, here we go!

In case you aren't familiar with the hero's journey, it's basically a narrative structure that involves the main character leaving his or her ordinary world, embarking on a grand adventure, and then returning after winning an epic victory. You can and should read more about it here. It's been the template for many, many stories ranging from The Odyssey to Star Wars (btw, I saw The Force Awakens for a fourth time last week, this time in IMAX 3-D. Still so good!)

Okay, so if you read more about the hero's journey like I just suggested, then you know that the first step is - say it with me, class - the Call to Adventure, in which "the hero begins in a situation of normality from which some information is received that acts as a call to head off into the unknown." In my case, this Call to Adventure was the fateful moment when my son came up to me in the upstairs hallway of our house and said, "Hey, Dad - can you write me a book?"

The funny thing is, I really was in a situation of normality at that point. If you've been following this blog for a while and you have some kind of amazing photographic memory (like Joel Suzuki?), then you'll remember that there was a time when I felt like I was at the end of my creative rope. I was ready to give up playing in bands, not only because I was pretty burnt out on that whole scene at that point, but also because I wanted to just stay at home and spend more time with my kids. But as someone with a desire to make stuff up (sometimes we call these people "artists"), I knew I couldn't sit still for long. Fortunately, writing a novel was something that I had always wanted to do, and now I would have the perfect reason and inspiration to do it.

To be continued!

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