I'm the Pied Piper, follow me

I passed kind of a big hurdle this week. Not necessarily one related specifically to this journey of mine, but it’s still a step along the way.

It started in 2013, after I saw Jack the Giant Slayer in the theater. An expanded retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, it was an okay movie, entertaining but ultimately, it seems, somewhat forgettable. But at the time, I was between books, and I thought that I might like to take a crack at retelling a fairy tale or folk tale.

I spent a little time reviewing in my mind classic stories that I remembered. Then, I went online and looked up lists of fairy tales, folk tales, etc. Finally, one of them resonated with me, for whatever reason. The one that I decided on was the story of the Pied Piper. In one afternoon, I wrote out a fairly detailed outline for the whole story. I was amazed at how quickly the story flowed out of my brain. By the time I wrote five chapters, I had completely lost interest in it. I don’t know why. I don’t remember exactly what was going on at that time.

It was somewhere around the time that I wrote The Lost Colony, so perhaps that idea just gained traction and left the Pied Piper in the dust. Whatever it was that happened, that story never saw the light of day, except for brief glimpses. Whenever I finished writing a story and didn’t have another idea in mind yet, I’d open up that fragment and read through those five chapters, hoping to rekindle my interest in it.

Alas, it never happened, and I went on from there to write six and a half other novels since then. (The half novel is the one I had to put aside due to COVID-19, since I couldn’t travel to Washington D.C. to see the Library of Congress, a main setting in the novel. It’s a post-post-apocalyptic tale, a dismal cautionary end-of-the-world story. While, at this writing, travel restrictions have been lifted, the Library of Congress still isn’t open to the public.) I hope this one doesn’t have to wait as long to be resurrected.

Three months ago, I wrote about my overwhelming focus on the AMMO program, and the impact it had on my creative outlet. At lunch one day, I was talking with Linda about my suffering creativity, and at some point in the conversation, I mentioned that old story that I had started eight years earlier.

Well, something happened during that conversation, as it often does, when I discuss ideas with Linda. She’s not just my wife, she’s my muse! Sometimes a great idea comes directly from her, other times it’s just the brainstorm effect, one idea feeding and building on another.

I decided that this story won’t be only about the Pied Piper. My favorite writing style that I’ve developed over the years involves past and present interwoven throughout the book. I started thinking of a modern story with contemporary characters that could alternate with the “historical” part of the book.

In that same blog post, I also wrote about a coincidental writing commitment that came along simultaneously, a ghost writing job of turning a screenplay into a novel. It wasn’t nearly as interesting as what I wanted to write, but it paid a decent fee, so I sighed heavily and got that out of the way as quickly as I could.

Anyway, about two months ago, I was able to drag that old story ashore, perform literary resuscitation on it, and began bringing it back to life.

On May 26, 2021, I finished it. The first draft, anyway. I’m going to let it sit for a bit. It’s used to that.

Meanwhile, I’ve started working on the outline for my next project, Undying Love, book 4 in the SpiritSense Trilogy. (I also have a basic idea for another one. I guess I should have thought ahead before I started calling it a trilogy. This trilogy will have the distinction of containing five books. At least.)

Maybe by the time The Piper is ready for the public, I will have perfected my marketing machine and I’ll actually be able to sell a few.