I hadn’t originally intended to do another number related post but post number 102 made me think about spotty dogs.
101 Dalmatians is a Disney classic in both animated and live action variations but where did 102 come from? Probably because the first one did well, the movie machine started to suspect there may be an audience for a sequel.
Now this post isn’t making any comment about the film ( I’ve not seen it ) but it made me consider the way stories are expanded or amended and then grown because what had originally been a stand alone tale was popular. Should it always be the easiest task of just bolting a new angle onto the end of an established property rather than there being a hunt for new stuff?
We’ve probably all seen the meme on line of the ‘still’ from Jumanji which shows Robin Williams, dressed in his fantastical jungle garb, asking what year it was as there was a Bush and a Clinton vying for office in the U.S. and Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Terminator films were in the cinemas. Funny, yes, but it did raise a serious question. Why the almost constant need to go back to existing stories for the latest re-telling / rebooting? That feeling of reading a trilogy of books where books 2 and 3 feel like they’ve been added because book 1 did so well, not because the story was always there.
When I started to write The Circle of Fire, it was very much a closed story. It had a beginning, a middle and an end and there was nothing beyond the resolution of that story. But as I wrote, something unexpected happened. Other stories began to sprout. I’d done loads of research and not all of it was going to be used but it was adding colour to the world I was writing about. Very quickly, another idea for a story was standing out, aching to run on from the first. That was quickly followed by a third idea and soon, I had a five book series in mind.
It would be easy to say that I was just going to use my characters for all the stories that come to mind but that isn’t the case. Outside of my Circle series, I’ve got ideas for four other books which are again, stand alone to start with but may grow. I’ve let the story write itself to a point.
Constantly redoing old stories or simply cashing in on the power of a brand cheapens the storytelling experience. It becomes a story guided by something outside of the story itself.
I know that I’ve done just that with this blog post, amended the idea just to fit 102, but that should make it clear that the copy does become the easiest thing to do.
Long live original storytelling.