Sunday, July 17, 2011

Idea Garage Sale: Adventure Book

Bookworm Annie picks up a battered old book of short stories at a used book store, off the "please take these I can't sell them table" out front. When she reads, she enters the story and becomes the main character. This means that she can use her extensive knowledge of literary convention to solve plot problems, and her annoyance with certain tropes to shake things up; but it also means that she can't skip the boring parts that the author zips the reader through with a transitional sentence. Being in a Western is a lot less exciting if you have to actually experience the ride from Point A to Point B! And the desert island story, face it, is excruciating.

She can't enter a story a second time, just reread it - no matter how embarrassing it now seems - but if she reads aloud to someone else, that person can come into the story with her.

Skills learned in the story remain learned, but a little muted, in the real world.

This one's written and in the attic somewhere. I didn't have the skill to pull it off when I first conceived it back in the mid-80s. You have to be able to carry the short stories (which of necessity include the boring parts, remember!) and tie them in to the reader's real-life situation, making a believable and satisfactory character arc.

I still think it's a viable concept, and I still like the ending, in which Annie intends to pass the book on to the friend she made in the course of the story, but instead it winds up with the bully who's been picking on her, and who could really benefit from that desert island experience.

But I haven't gotten any better at short forms, and having already written this book once I'm disinclined to write it again.

1 comment:

  1. A fascinating idea, Peni! I see all kinds of possibilities: places to go, things to do, troubles to have, lessons to learn.