Saturday, March 23, 2013

How the Idea Became the Vivid Reality - The Quadrilogy

Alright, kids, this is the story of how four mischievous characters snuck under my skin, took over my life, and have also brought me some of the most joy and grief a writer can suffer. They collectively have added up to well over 300 single-spaced pages of material, spanning the hysterical to the dramatic to the sexy. And that's nowhere near what the finished product will yield. This set of muses has been my baby for a long time, always lurking in my mind waiting for new material to spring on and take home with it. Those characters are always lazing about up there, poking their noses in at the least opportune times, urging me to write some more.

First I'll tell you how this all came about, these particular characters. In junior high, I became friends with a girl who was simultaneously the weirdest and most intriguing person I'd ever met, for a variety of reasons. She was obsessed with the vampire characters written by Ann Rice, as well as Michael Jackson, she had an absolutely fearless personality, and I'd never seen anyone so quirky and confident about it. She could go on for a solid 15 minutes on a topic that I would have absolutely no knowledge of, or in normal circumstances, interest in, but somehow she would still keep me entertained just by listening to this endless stream of oddness coming out of her mouth.

Anyway, one of the things that intrigued me about her was that she was a writer, and a freaking good one. She has improved greatly over the years, but she was still brilliant even as a teenager in eighth and ninth grade. And one day at lunch, I can't quite remember how, she just suddenly started a doodle, basically, of a story of me living in a mansion with four vampires. Lestat and Louis from the Ann Rice vampire series, Michael Jackson, and Orlando Bloom, whom I had a massive crush on at the time thanks to Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean.

And this spiraled out into this whole, chapters-long story about how an older me met and moved into a mansion with these four vampires, and then fell in love with Orlando Bloom. I can tell you this, the fictional version of Orlando Bloom is very sweet and charming, and of course the much more witty and cute version of me fell for him immediately. However, the movie and book versions of Lestat and Louis were very much changed to suit our purposes and my friend's vision of them. They're awesome.

Well, in high school, this story morphed, retaining the same characters except for Michael Jackson who got replaced by a selection of other characters. In this version, all the characters were in high school, except I was Lestat's cousin and I had decided to move in with him and go to his school, of course taking on all his friends and dating the SBO, Orlando Bloom!

I had a great time. Both in the stories and out, reading about all these adventures I got to have. Those stories kept me entertained all through junior high and part of high school. Fast forward several years, and that's where things started to morph again, just in this last year or so. I had decided that I wanted to create my own spinoff of the high school story my friend had invented, maintaining all my favorite parts of the characters (save myself, which got replaced by someone far more entertaining, in my opinion) and the circumstances, just making them my own and going from that original idea of cousins going to school together and snowballing from there.

And then, I can't remember exactly how this happened, or even if this happened before or after I'd started my spinoff, I had another brainwave. I was writing a scene about an actor playing a part in a stage production in the musical Cats (which I had just fallen deeply in love with). For a long time, that character and that scene just sat in my muse folder, on it's own, when that same friend that had started this whole thing in the first place (the brilliant writer), saw Cats herself. And she immediately agreed with my assessment that our versions of the Lestat and Louis characters perfectly matched the characters Rum Tum Tugger and Mr. Mistoffelees! So I let my friend read that lonely Cats inspired muse, and our Lestat got the part, with Louis starring as well.

Which takes us back to my spinoff. (I know, we're jumping around like kangaroos, bear with me.) After joint-writing more with that Cats scene with my friend, it still just sat there for another long time. And then I had an idea . . . what if my Lestat (his name is Aidan in my universe) got to have his own story? What if there was more to my spinoff than what I had originally planned?

Thus, this monster was born. And it is amazing. After Aidan got his own story, and Savannah (the replacement character for me, the cousin) already had her story in high school, what about Ryan/Louis? He had to have a story! Those three were my main characters, my little beloved trio, but I also had squeezed in there a fourth character, Josh, the friend. At first he was much more of just a supporting character, more there for the entertainment that his cheeky, inappropriate, incorrigible self lent to the story, but as I kept thinking about him and his role in Savannah's story, I figured that he deserved a story too.

So we went from three to four. Savannah got her story with the very changed Orlando character that I named Chase in high school. Josh got his story in the first few years of college. Ryan got his after college in his mid-twenties, and Aidan, true to his somewhat commitment-phobic and womanizing ways, didn't find his match until his late twenties, and she burst in on his life like a firecracker!

To sum up . . . I just spent forever telling you backstory on a set of muses that you probably won't ever read. Why? Well, because I love telling the story, that's why. And I love the characters. Don't get me wrong, I love all my characters. Like right now, I'm working on a muse about an ex-spy who is dragged back into the spy life and hijinks ensue! Yes, I said spy, don't judge me. She's awesome, and I have learned more about guns, spy training, and espresso than I ever wanted to know, thanks to her.

But my quadrilogy characters have a special place in my heart. They hold a lot of memories, the original four and all those that have come from them, spanning into a group of many, all of whom are wonderful. So, I just wanted to share the story of how it all came to be, this beast. This life-overtaking monstrosity. It has consumed me. And I wouldn't change a bit of it.

No comments:

Post a Comment