Perhaps there is a literary purgatory where characters from early drafts wind up. They’re sent there when they are rewritten beyond recognition, replaced, or written out entirely.
Here you’ll find Bilbo’s son Bingo Baggins as well as his friends Odo Bolger, Frodo Took, and Marmaduke Brandybuck. They dolefully gaze down upon Frodo, Sam, Merry and Pippin. The warrior-hobbit Trotter glares enviously at Strider. It’s so unfair that they shall miss out on their adventure. All of them give the evil Treebeard a wide berth, though they are perfectly friendly to the sweet-natured imp, Gollum.
Beside them sit Hermione’s parents, who are deep in conversation with a ghostly figure called Pyrites. They wonder aloud why they lifted so cleanly from Harry’s backstory.
And oh, here are twelve-year old Ashla Starkiller and her little brother Luke. Their loving father, Mace Windu, chats with a green-skinned alien by the name of Han Solo.
It’s a strange place.
Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. It has been… a while since my last confession.’
‘Speak on, my child.’
‘I have never seen one of the Die Hard movies.’
‘Nor have I seen Ghostbusters. Or the Alien films.’
‘That is quite the confession.’
‘Nor have I seen the Godfather movies.’
‘But Father, it gets worse. I have seen The Amazing Spider-Man… And I liked it. Well, the first one, anyhow. And not even in an ironic way. It was just a fun movie, especially if you could pretend it wasn’t a soulless reboot.’
‘I have not had to perform an exorcism in many years…’
‘That’s another one I haven’t seen. The Exorcist.’
August is over? Really? *checks calendar*
It was another busy month in which I had to remind myself that reality is ultimately more important than fiction. I’ve had to deal with some health-related issues. They haven’t stopped me, though. I’ve been productive, but not as much as I’d like to be. No point wasting time berating myself about that. If you don’t look after your health and that of your family, then what’s the point?
That said, the work doesn’t stop. I’m about at the halfway mark on this children’s novel I’m co-writing with my seven-year-old. Given this project has to fit around my day job and looking after two sick kids, I’m happy with that. The manuscript is continually growing and developing, like him. He gets so excited at bedtime when I read to him from the book. A few nights ago, though, I had to tell him that I only had half a chapter to read him, and I thought he’d be upset. ‘It’s okay, Dad. I want to give you time to write more, so I’ll read to you from one of my books.’ What a great kid! I’m really proud of him. I’d like to do a blog post exploring the process of working together in greater depth.
What else? One of my close writer friends read over the draft of one of my earlier novels, and gave me some very encouraging feedback. It’ll be good to revisit that project, but for now it needs a little time to gestate. I in turn had the privilege of reading a manuscript for a member of my extended family. Being invited to read an unpublished manuscript is really special, isn’t it?
And finally, I made a couple of really important decisions about where I’m headed as a writer. More than anything, I want to write for a living. That doesn’t mean just sitting around waiting for the ‘right opportunity’ to come along like a kid with a band. It means making smart choices, forward planning and being willing to learn from mistakes. Over the last twelve months or so I’ve established a solid author platform. Now it’s time to start building on it. I’ll share more in the not too distant future.
Until next time,