Evolution of the Story

So, this Wiley Wednesday, I decided to share with you a story. This is how a work of fiction evolves far beyond what the author may originally intend, a feeling that I’m sure we all know very well. This is about a series of stories I’ve been working on for years that went from a short, one-shot story to a series of around a dozen stories.

It all started in 2006, or so all the files on my computer are telling me, I’m afraid I don’t know specifically when it all started. Anyway, my best friend, Stephen, came across a figurine line released by McFarlane entitled Twisted Fairy Tales. In this toy line, there was a Red Riding Hood figure that depicted Red in her cloak and underwear (and boots, can’t forget boots, no respectable young lady would be caught without her boots!) holding a wolf with it’s stomach sliced open and it’s entrails gushing out, which include pieces of Red’s grandmother. Now, Stephen being Stephen, thought that this would make for an excellent movie. He didn’t have many details at the time, namely the idea of Red hunting werewolves. He wanted us to make this into a movie. Now, in 2006 (I’m not starting to think it was earlier, but I have no proof) we were two 17 year olds with basically no female friends to fulfill the two female roles… and basically no male friends to fulfill the male roles, either.

Anyway, since the film idea wasn’t going to happen I took the story from him and wrote a very short story about the Organization (couldn’t come up with a decent name at the time) and their star agent Red Riding Hood, who had to save their leader, Grandmother, from the penultimate werewolf.

Fun times.

The story was all of five pages and I was happy with it. I probably had an issue or two, as I usually do, mainly dealing with common sense (why send ONE person on a mission so vital when they could’ve easily sent an army? And why was she wearing such a skimpy outfit when a slash from the werewolf would turn her into one? Why use sai when they aren’t suppose to have any edges at all? [I’ve tried to answer some of those problems in recent drafts… others I just left up to the reader’s suspension of disbelief]).

So, as far as I was concerned, I was done with that. It was a good story, now back to the main thing I was working on at the time… then feelings started to change. I’m guessing I was bored, and came up with another story idea centered around this character, a prequel called: The Boy Who Cried Wolf… I’ll let you guess what this story was about.

After that, I added a few things to the original story, due to some revelations made in Boy, and decided to continue her tale. I was curious to find out what would happen to Red after the “Grandmother Incident.” So, I wrote a sequel about that and decided: this is it. I have nothing else to say about Red, Grandmother, the Organization, and anything else to do with this.

Then I thought: “What if the Organization hunted more than just werewolves?” Thus, I wrote Hansel and Gretel, the Sibling Witch Hunter Team. I really like these characters, especially when they’re together. Being brother and sister they of course love each other very much, however, being brother and sister they also hate each other with a passion. They bicker all the time (it’s how they show their love and respect for each other), about anything that they could possibly come up with to bicker about, and I think all this bickering and the end results are pretty funny.

At this point, I was enthralled with the Organization (I couldn’t come up with a better name for it until much later) and the interesting characters that they employ for whatever reason, and decided to find more of them. However, my knowledge of fairy tales at the time were very limited and I didn’t know where to begin. All I knew is what I wanted: a series of tales that were interconnected. Stories where it didn’t matter if you hadn’t read Hansel and Gretel or the Red trilogy. A book where you could open to a random story and read it with 100% understanding. I had accomplished this with the Hansel and Gretel story, it didn’t matter if you didn’t know what the Organization was, or who Red was (though she made a very brief cameo), and THAT is what I wanted.

My father, however, wanted more Hansel and Gretel (I think he likes them more than I do).

I had no idea where else to go and thought that an interesting story would be for Red to meet the siblings… most likely in a versus style arena where Red would be hunted and someone wouldn’t make it out alive.

However, that idea didn’t sit well with me… I liked those three characters too much to kill them, at least at this point.

Instead, I came up with another idea, they team up! A team up could’ve been interesting in a prequel story, with werewolves teaming up with witches and they were all three called in to put a stop to it… sadly, I only came up with that concept just now and need to write it down because that does sound pretty awesome.

Anyway, in the end the three of them ended up teaming up against the Organization, causing a schism and two factions to be formed.

I officially found myself in a linear series, one that followed a basic plot and became more like chapters in a novel than individual stories.

I’m not sure when, exactly, it happened, but I knew it was going that way after the two part team up between these characters. By the end of the next story, Rose Red and the Seven Dwarfs, I had a general idea of where I was going with the rest of the series, though things would continue to evolve a little bit over the span of times.

One such change was the Mythology class I took my Senior year of high school. I had learned several things about Greek Mythology due to:
A) A general interest
B) Movies
C) Latin Class

However, this was my first true introduction to Norse Mythology… and I found several interesting aspects in it… things that I then took and used within my series. Add on a few aspects of Christian “Dogma” (for lack of a better word) and you get several more interesting stories and one that seems somewhat contrived, confusing and lacking some important information in a desperate attempt from me to appear “deep,” or “thought provoking.”

I don’t care much for how it ended, though I think I can still salvage it, mostly intact, with a few minor adjustments and one or two explanations.

Well, anyway, I finished the final story about two years ago, now (God, that seems like such a long time ago…)

So, with the first drafts done, I started all over again… I never get far, but I made a few decisions (cut out Boy, for instance) and added several new ideas/characters to Red, and may be taking out another story, but will most likely evolve it into something that is completely different than what it was before.

Anyway, that was a little long winded, and seems like it much more than it probably actually is (started around midnight, currently it is 2:30… but I got distracted).

Anyway, that is my story about how our creations can change, drastically. How what we want originally is not what we get, and how things may end up for the better because of it. Of course, I’ll never really know what it’d be like if this series didn’t turn out the way it did, and I’m really curious about it, but I’m proud of what I’ve done so far, and am looking forward to finally getting into another draft of Hansel and Gretel and everything beyond, which only ever had one draft.

One Reply to “Evolution of the Story”

  1. Thank you for this thoughtful look into the creative process. You make some great points. And I have to say that reading about the support of your dad really made me smile. I get similar encouragement, even if my parents don't read my stuff. Dad's more of a biography and history buff when he does sit down and pick up a book. Also, I'm glad not to be the only one who spends so much time on writing something like this. Distractions are something we can all relate to, I think! Thank you for sharing your time with us!

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