August 27th, 2012

Jin Shei Cover from sgreer

Storytelling gold

I just discovered the Hulu serial "Booth at the end". You can watch it all from the beginning here

Guys. Watch it all. SERIOUSLY. It's one of the best things I've seen in a really really really long time.


If you are a writer, this is a textbook for writercraft - *this is how you tell stories*. This is how you engage a reader/viewer/listener. This is how you hook an audience. This is how you touch people. This thing... it is complex, and simple at the same time, and utterly utterly amazing. If you have any writerly ambition at all, go look - you will learn just by absorbing this by osmosis.

If you are a reader (or any kind of story consumer) and you like your stories intelligent, passionate, poignant, full of smiles and tears and laughter and drama, you'll be hooked. I was, from the very first episode.

This is gold.
book and glasses

OK - so I wasn't exactly tagged -

- but I like the idea, so I'll just start the ball rolling by myself, over here. The original thing that inspired me (and you should go and find out more ove rthere) is right here.

The basic idea is, a writer should answer a bunch of questions about the WIP - but I'm going to bend the rules and talk about the book that's out there, which I probably talked about to death already but hey, it's still my baby... and I'll do the linky thing to five other writers/bloggers at the end, so you can all do the hop...

1. What is the working title of your book? Wake Me Up

It started out as just "Spanish Gardens", then morphed into "Midnight at Spanish Gardens" as the time as well as the place began to be nailed down, and emerged from the chrysalis as "2012: Midnight at Spanish Gardens"

This is what the book looks like:

And you can go get it right now, at several different places online and elsewhere, but I guess you can always start here and if you leave a review here when you're done that would be perfectly marvellous. And always appreciated.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

There's a real place - there WAS a real place - known as Spanish Gardens. I used to go there when I was a student at the University of Cape Town - it was a place of true magic, and I've carried it within me for decades. When I describe it, in the book, it's EXACTLY that way that it was when it was still here, and exactly the way that most of us who ever went there will remember it as. It's a memory caught in amber, ageless and eternal, and it's something that demanded its story. And here it is. I hope you'll follow me into Spanish Gardens, that you will recognise the place somehow as somewhere that magic lives, that perhaps you will find yourself thinking about the magical places of your lives. And the choices you made there over the years.

3. What genre does your book fall under? Contemporary fantasy, I guess - but it's basically a story of people and how they change, with a sprinkling of magic fairy dust over the top, just to make it glitter. Go look. [grin]

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

OOoo. kinda cool.

But actually - I'd love to know, here, who the READERS might cast as these characters. Dream cast, anyone? To be perfectly honest I would love for this thing, if it were cast, to gather up complete unknowns - people who would lend their faces to my characters, who would BECOME those people in the minds of the people who were taking in the story, rather than casting well known faces who would distract from what's happening up there on screen. What do you think?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? What is the thing that you consider the most important of all in the life that you have been given to live - and what would you be willing to give up if you were given a chance to change your life completely?

6. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Hard to say. In one sense this is a story that was thirty years in the making. And then I procrastinated quite incredibly while I was doing it. I COULD have done it fast - very fast - but it took... as long as it needed to. Which is the best thing you can say about any book.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Well, one recent review compared it to Haruki Murakami's work, which was a little startling but nonetheless a compliment. So that's ONE opinion. Another one for you, readers. Did it make you think of any other stories or writers?... I'd love to know which...

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book? Well I kinda already answered that, up there, when I talked about Spanish Gardens, the original version. It was the memory of that place that was the inspiration for the setting. But married to the end-of-the-world scenario as applied to 2012 - it became something else again, something rich and strange. This became a novel about telling the truth, about living a lie, about settling or reaching for the stars, about love, longing, betrayal, and most of all about choices.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? It asks questions that everyone's asked themselves about their own lives at some point - what if I had chosen THIS instead of THAT? One person over another? A different direction? Many of the reviews basically began with the reviewers asking those questions of themselves; they couldn't help it. The book... appears to function as a literary mirror. The readers look into it and somehow, past the characters who inhabit it and their own stories, the readers see... themselves. It may not be an entirely comfortable place to be. But it's a fascinating one.

And now, here are my five nominees whom I tag (entirely voluntary, guys, but I'd love to see your answers)

1: jimhines

2: swan_tower

3: tltrent

4: katatomic

5: maryvictoria

Guys, if you want to play, have fun.