While getting ready to take my return flights, I looked over my chart of ideas for sequels and prequels and realized it was almost entirely sequels. So I kept writing more summaries. Some of the ideas were absolutely terrible. There was the topic I talked about in my last entry, the thoughts of a stack of lumber (January’s story). There was one that would be a prequel to several of the stories (mostly the later ones) where you were at the Secretary of State’s offices and they were approving all these business names that were bad puns (Merchant of Tennis, Hamburgois… etc). There wasn’t even a plot attached to that one in my mind – just sitting there watching people continue to come in with bad pun named business. Then any of the stories with alien invasions (there were two), I had the idea of delving into the origins of the race(s), but that still didn’t seem all that interesting.
Meanwhile, I had had about half the stories having sequel ideas. Then I started looking them over and realized that most of them were like TV shows coming into the scene after it was done. For instance, I had paranormal investigators looking at the house that had personality for hauntings (January). I had a CSI coming in to investigate the suicide of the man after his wife left him (May). I had a Saving Private Ryan-esque story where the wife receives the letter and goes on a recon mission to retrieve her husband who she still believed to be alive (November).
Initially, the reason I had suggested the prequel/sequel idea is that I had just finished reading Verner Vinge’s “prequel” to Fire Upon the Deep which is set millions of years before and only has one of the same characters. What’s more, what made FUTD such a good book (the exploration of technology itself) was mostly absent from the prequel. So it was a prequel only because it was set in the same universe and had one character. I love that idea, that prequels and sequels could have such freedom and not be chained to the original. In Hollywood, sequels are basically rehashes of the originals, and prequels are rarely any better. I wanted to do something quite different.
Then I jotted an idea that immediately leaped out at me as a great one. In Aaron’s July story (the one with the sword-in-the-stone), I had first had the idea of having a modern-day boy find the letter that was written (which was the story itself) and resolve to break the curse. But then I realized that the sequel wouldn’t be all that different from Aaron’s original story.
Then I started to look at the characters – the boys, the brother, Jasper the old doddering fool – was there anything there? No. The king? No. The wizard? Hmmmmmm… that guy is very interesting and actually aside from appearing (and certainly contributing at the end to the plot), there isn’t anything known about him. He has no text, he has little description. He was wipe for exploration. Not to mention I could easily take the story back 800 years. In fact, because of how Aaron wrote it, the EARLIEST I could go back for a prequel is 200 years.
But indeed, I’ve set it back 800 years when the wizard was a boy himself. And this story is ending up being something of a Hobbit-esque journey. It will manage to tie in the origins of the ceremony, the rise of his power, and even an explanation of wizardry in general (in Aaron’s world). Further, I’ve been combing it for small references I can use again. Jasper (who does appear in my story) references “what [the wizard] did to my village” Well now, I guess I gotta figure that one out.
So while waiting for 3 hours at the airport, I began to write. And I immediately have a problem (actually two). First, much like this entry, it’s just getting way too long. Aaron’s original story was long, around 5500 words. Mine is about 2700 already and I haven’t quite gotten to starting the journey yet. This thing is going to be its own novel. Second, and this is minor but still niggling, is that this story is thematically and even in writing style extremely similar to my October story. The elements of fairy tale aren’t there, but just about everything else is. I actually had to abandon a relationship I wanted to include because it would have been the same as in my older one.
But anyway, I’m excited about this new one.