Changing Expectations and Infusing My Writing Part 2
Posted on September 16, 2011
Part 2 continues detailing the inspirations and background brainstorming I did to create GRAHAM THE GARGOYLE.
BANDAGED BEDTIME GUESTS All of the Cascade books feature a cameo by the Flying Mummy. He's a magical superhero who is the realm's go-to pharaoh when world-shattering needs preventing. In Cascade, he's hugely popular, which is why Graham idolizes him and Norton does too. Both have all his comic books and various toys, including the rare Flying Mummy pencil holder sarcophagus. I love how naturally the mummy shows up in Graham's adventure. The fact that the mummy is a old heroic comrade of Graham's grandfather makes the mummy's visit all the more poignant and rife with pathos. And, honestly, don't we all deserve a dollop of pathos in the books we read once and awhile?
EASTER EGGS I love being rewarded with hidden narrative and visual gifts in movies and in books. I'm the type of viewer who pays as much attention to the elements of the set because I love being rewarded when I spot the sly Easter Eggs laid out for the scrutinizing watcher. I'm the same way when I read books and when I write them.
In the Cascade series, I made an effort to incorporate details and scenes that enhance and overlap in the books. Graham's adventure runs concurrently with Norton's so that when you read both books, you can delve deeper into both characters. One can only hope that when my books are wider read, I'll stumble across some posters volleying back and forth all the Easter Eggs they find in my work.
MAGICAL JUSTICE LEAGUE Oh, look, Brian's love for the long underwear types found in comic books is showing. Yep, I'm guilty of being a comic book fan for close to 30 years. I still get excited every month when my newest shipment from Westfield arrives. The Eternity Guard is the band of heroes led by the Flying Mummy who are the magical equivalent of the Justice League in Cascade. Their exploits are legendary and always name-dropped in each of the books alongside the Flying Mummy's comings and goings.
CHURCH PERCH I needed an added stressor in Graham's life besides his anxiety over his first flight. I knew I wanted to have his father be a bit overbearing and detached, but I wanted at lease one family member Graham could go to for emotional support. His grandfather fit the bill beautifully. Once I knew his grandfather would loom large in his life, I knew it was a rug I would have to pull out from under the stony fellow. I needed a way to take away Graham's emotional support and the notion of having gargoyles grow harder as they aged came to mind. When they become old enough to completely calcify, they perform the ritual of climbing a church back on Earth and harden into place, taking on the role of protector in their final resting spot. Having Graham experience this added another level of maturity and coming of age to the growth he encounters in his tale.
FATHER FIGURES Goodness, I could write a book about the pitfalls of father/son interactions. In fact, I wrote two. GRAHAM deals with the difficulties of a father removed from his son. Graham's dad is highly placed in the village and he demands much of his son.
In MARSHALL: GODLING OF WAR, a project I released as a comic and will soon see the light of day as a novel, deals with a son estranged from a father who is a god among men. Marshall is another book that's a Changing Expectation. It ponders what would happen when the son of the God of War doesn't want to follow in his father's bloody footsteps. It's got a cute golem manservant who is aquaphobic. You would be too, if you were just a lump of animated mud and clay.
Anyway, the father/son tribulation theme is one I was very familiar with in my own life. My dad and I had a tough time in my early years. I was the perpetual dreamer, and he was the pragmatic one who just wanted me to be safe and secure. No wonder it's a theme I continue to explore from different angles in my writing.
So there you have it, a look inside how GRAHAM came into being. It's a book that is incredibly close to my heart and contains so much of what I want to achieve as a writer.
Up Next: MAKING MAPS OF WORLDS HELPS ME BUILD CHARACTERS