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Monday, April 14, 2014

The Story Behind "Passageways & Portals"

The seed for Passageways & Portals was planted after reading Stephen King’s The Gunslinger in my junior year at University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Not one to be swayed by spoilers, I decided to look ahead to see how the series progressed. While I have yet to continue through The Dark Tower series, I was sufficiently impressed by the plotting to consider an epic multi-novel book idea of my own that I considered to be inspired by The Dark Tower but was an entity of its own. Around the same time I got into the comic series Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steven Dillon, which has had a little influence over the story itself as well as where this is going. More on that in a minute, though.

I don’t want to give too much away as I do intend to continue this concept. Rebirth is the subtitle for what I hope to be the first book in the series. As the subtitle and the posted sections of the book here suggest the first book deals with a man trying to determine where he came from, where he is, and where he’s going. As such the book would work as something of a mystery, unfolding how the main character came to be where he is. I wanted to play with the narrative a bit, so the reader would find out who the character is as he does.

This led to a little bit of a problem when I showed the first draft of this story to some of my writer friends (a group we refer to as “The Pensmiths’ Guild). With no name for the main character over the first four chapters of the book, they felt as though it was difficult to connect to the main character and his plight. The emotional connection wasn’t there. While I understood where they were coming from, I also didn’t want to change my view that I didn’t want to give the character’s name to the reader until he learned who he was. Another type of compromise was needed to make this work.

It was around this time that I started really getting into graphic novels. I’ve always been a fan of comics and graphic novels, but at this time I went on a graphic novel spree. I picked up some new Hellboy, Hellblazer, V for Vendetta, Atomic Robo, Batman: Venom, and the aforementioned Preacher. While talking to a fellow member of “The Pensmiths’ Guild” I learned that he was looking for a concept to turn into a graphic novel. At the same time I was thinking that if I could show the main character’s face, I wouldn’t have to reveal his name. As a result we decided to work together to turn this into a graphic novel.

So, I guess I should amend my earlier statement to say that this would work as part of the script for the first graphic novel. So don’t expect much more here from this novel idea, but hopefully you’ll get the opportunity to see it in another form at some point.

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