Friday, March 11, 2016

To Prequel or Not to Prequel...That is the Question....

Before I start. just a bit of political humor Collin and I cooked up...sorry, I just couldn't resist!



Years ago, when I was just starting to write Chasing the Wind, I got some interesting responses from people in publishing, some of whom I'd known for years. One agent to whom I showed the synopsis told me it was a movie, not a novel. I considered writing it as a screenplay, but as I've said before, selling your book to Hollywood is a lot like putting a baby up for adoption. If you ever do see it again, you probably won't recognize it. Unless you're J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins or a few other top authors, you sign away all control of your work when you sell it to Hollywood. And if you're a screenwriter, if you want to maintain control of your work, you'd better also be the director.

But I'm getting off track here. It was also suggested that Chasing the Wind should be the second book in the trilogy. One agent told me she thought I should start much earlier in the storyline--go back to the beginning, to the birth of Andrew Stewart, to his troubled young mother, who made a deal with the devil to provide for her child, to the wealthy Brit she married, who had also made a devil's bargain to save his failing business, to the egomaniacal scientist who carried out illegal experiments in human cloning, whose interest in young Andrew began long before the boy became his protege. And then there was Andrew himself, who, after his mother's death, was deeply troubled and shut down his emotions in a bid to avoid ever being hurt again. Andrew's mother dies early on, and Andrew himself is a bit of a jerk as he grows up. So how was I going to make any of these people sympathetic? How could I get readers to care enough to read the story to the end and actually like it?

I'd had this problem with Final Hours. I understood Jamie, the protagonist in that novel, and so did some of the readers, according to the reviews--but they either loved him or hated him.

So the untitled Chasing the Wind prequel has remained on the back burner for years. I've revisited it several times, trying to figure out how to make it work--most recently this week, when I discovered there was now a TV version of the Damien Thorn character from The Omen movies. Damien, as anyone who's seen the movies knows, is most definitely not a sympathetic character.

Again, I asked myself if my prequel could work. I mentioned it to my partner in crime, William Kendall, who suggested a prequel to The Unicorn's Daughter might be a better idea. I gave it some thought. He's right. There is a story there to tell, and though James Lynde came off as having ice water for blood in the early chapters of that novel, his backstory would make him a sympathetic character. And World War II Europe would definitely make for an interesting backdrop (Judith Krantz's Mistral's Daughter, one of my all-time favorite novels, was partially set in that time period in France),

Will I write either prequel? I still have five unfinished projects waiting to be written, so who knows?

 

16 comments:

  1. It would pose a challenge.

    Got to love that meme!

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    1. Definitely a challenge.

      Figured you'd like the meme!

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  2. Oh my! What a conundrum Norma! Sounds like you need a plan :) I only say that because I need one too :)

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    1. I keep telling myself I need a plan. Then I forget what I needed the plan for....

      I'm looking forward to seeing Finding Dory. I have a feeling Dory and I have a lot in common!

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  3. That's Ellen DeGeneres doing Dory isn't it? She's fantastic!

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  4. wahahahahahahahaha, love the meme and I noticed Collin's name !
    Welcome to my world of stacks of unfinished work, ideas and a forgetful mind.

    cheers, parsnip

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    1. Gayle--did you get the photo email I sent you? Finally, a candidate we can get behind...way behind!

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    2. No I didn't.
      Did you send it to my gmail ?

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  5. It is interesting how screenplays get optioned and then rewritten and boy, it's gotta be nuts.

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    1. It is. That's why I only pursued it briefly.

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  6. It's always hard to make an unsympathetic character likable, or at least understandable. But then if you go too far that way, everyone's unhappy when he turns out to be the bad guy somewhere else!

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    1. In the case of Connor, he started out good, then was hardened by the loss of his mother, but found his way back to the light side in Chasing the Wind. As for the other characters in a potential prequel, making them sympathetic would be a hard sell, I think.

      In The Unicorn's Daughter, James was a loner who was profoundly affected by the war--but fell in love quite unexpectedly with his newborn daughter. Potential there.

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  7. I say go for it. Why not? An agree about the screen play idea. Hollywood is Hollywood... like some alien planet. They do it their way!
    Oh, and love the meme! Great! We have primary in our state this coming Tuesday. For first time we're voting in a primary, as we feel it's important. And we're getting all those political ads on TV, now. Gag me!

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    Replies
    1. Our primary is Tuesday, too. I'll be so glad when this election is over and we don't have to see the endless TV ads anymore!

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Disagreements are welcome; trolls and spammers are not. Any and all comments by either of the latter two will be immediately deleted.