This past Sunday evening, I dipped my toe back into the blogosphere (do they still call it that?) and asked some questions about what you’d want to see in my little corner of the internet. If you haven’t taken the time to share your opinion yet, please do so now! I’ve got some ideas brewing, but I want to take the time to really think through them before I start making grandiose announcements.
But one of the things I really wanted to do was restart the Wordcount Wednesdays. I haven’t had a lot of time lately to do any new writing. I’m still waiting to hear from my publisher on The Iron Staff. While I’m waiting, though, I started getting the itch to start a new project of some kind. I had a few ideas of what I wanted to work on, but I wasn’t sure what direction to go.
But then I decided to reach waaaaaaay back into my drawer and pull out an idea that I haven’t touched in a long, long time. If I remember correctly, the last time I did any work on this particular idea was somewhere around nine or ten years ago. I think I worked on it before I even conceived of the idea for Failstate or Numb. I wrote a complete manuscript for it and I think I even pitched it once or twice.
It’s a fantasy that I have tentatively entitled Return of the Mourning Dove.
So what’s it about? Well, I can’t go into too many details yet. I will say this much: it’s a story rooted in my love for the theatre, specifically for a madcap, slapstick form of improv theatre known as commedia dell’arte. For those unfamiliar with this particular form of theatre, commedia troupes would travel throughout Europe (mostly Italy) in the 16th century. The actors in a commedia troupe played stock characters, like the blow-hard soldier, the decrepit old fool, the crafty servant, the young lovers, and so on, and they usually did so in masks. These stock characters would then be plugged into stories that the actors would improvise as the performance went on, injecting jokes and sight gags (called lazzi) into the performance.
Eventually, theatre troupes abandoned the form in favor of scripted stories. I think I’ve read that there are a few functioning commedia troupes that are still performing the traditional way. And my most favorite play ever is about a lost commedia troupe (it’s called A Company of Wayward Saints and I’ve had the privilege of directing that show twice).
Anyway, a number of years ago, I had an idea for a story centered around a commedia-like acting troupe that find themselves on a quest. Like I said, I actually completed the manuscript and I had every intention of pursuing publication for it. Only I got sidetracked by superheroes and space assassins and pregnant teenage cyborgs along the way.
But I think the time has come to revisit this story and see what I can make of it.
Only here’s the thing: I’m pretty sure that I’ve grown as a writer in the intervening years. Maybe just a little, but it’s enough that I decided that the best thing to do is throw out the old manuscript and start over again, basically from scratch. The new version will still follow the original’s plot and story, but I’m working out ways to tweak what I did before and make it better.
So that’s the new project. And here’s the thing, folks! Thanks to the good people at Author Media, you now have a new way of keeping track of my progress (that is, if you want to).
See that snazzy box up in the right corner? That handy little widget, called “My Book Progress,” will help me keep track of how my manuscript is shaping up. I’ll keep it updated whenever I have progress to report.
So here’s my first report. I am presently in the middle of outlining the story. When I work on plotting out a new story, I utilize the Snowflake Method, a system put together by Randy Ingermanson, to help me figure out the story structure and characters. I’d say I’m close to halfway through with the process as of right now:
There we go, folks. Hopefully that bar will continue to fill in the coming weeks and a new version of this story will be produced. Stay tuned!