Today my son started Kindergarten. This is a little bittersweet. He's my youngest, which means all my kids are in school. That makes for an emotional send off. Fortunately, as the bus pulled up, there was a downpour. I mean, we walked through a river trying to get him on the bus. That did away with the emotional sendoff and made for an emotional day. My wife and I felt guilty that we didn't get to do the pictures, hugs, and all that first day stuff. When he got off the bus, it turned out that everything was fine. He had a great day.
What does this have to do with today's post? Really nothing. It just got me thinking about the next chapter and how we get there. One of the earliest concepts I developed was called Wildchild. This was an epic. Like many beginning writers, I mapped out over two years worth of stories and built an intricate world with well developed characters. I'm sure more than half of them were knockoffs of my favorite characters in comic lore. Needless to say, this epic never made it to publication.
The interesting thing about this concept, it never really died. I would constantly pull open the files and look over them. The thing is, I never really read them. I never wanted to see what was in my old notes. I don't know why. Maybe I was too lazy to read the writing. Or maybe I didn't want to figure out that it wasn't that good. One day, I decided to revive the concept and seek out an artist. I worked through some things but never went back to my old notes. The concept didn't take off. I still have no idea why.
While I was reworking Wildchild, a friend of mine proposed working together. He wanted something similar to this old concept. We discussed what we wanted in the book and I decided to take a risk. That was the day Wildchild died. I killed the concept.
Instead of forcing that story to fruition, I thought it would be a good idea for me to take what I remembered. What drew me to this concept all these years later? That was what I needed to latch on to. I took those nuggets and put them to use in a new story. This story became Saturn and Orion. The script came together and gelled in a hurry. I did plan for the future, but made sure Book One had a definitive ending just in case. It is one of my more impressive stories, which became my first successful Kickstarter campaigns. Book Two is currently being drawn and it looks fantastic.
What did I learn from all this? Well, sometimes old concepts are really good. They may not be great, though. There is a reason my mind kept going back to this book. I learned that the things you remember from these stories, the ones that stick with you all those years later, the ones that you never forget ... those are the things you keep. That is what will make a story great.
In short, killing Wildchild was a great idea.
Till next week.