At last, the time has come to submit the manuscript of WeeWee and Somebody to professional trade publishers. Except that it’s no longer titled WeeWee and Somebody. Even the two main characters no longer have those names. I found myself wincing at the notion of real, flesh-and-blood people being addressed in the narrative by the names which were perfect for two whimsical cartoon characters created by an eight-year-old boy, so after a great deal of thought, I made the name change–along with many others–to “Colin” and “Sophia” for the leads. It made an incredible difference, which was long overdue, because I think I had neglected to realize that the project had morphed into something different than originally intended; something deeper and, hopefully, better. Following the revisions suggested by my proofreader, I also made a multitude of other changes, adjustments, and edits. True to my word, thirty pages were cut, and I don’t miss them at all. Their absence strengthens the central story–the development of the friendship between Colin and his once-famous film star Aunt Sophia–and quickens the pace like no tomorrow. The finished manuscript is two hundred fifty pages…the perfect length for a coming-of-age story aimed at a juvenile/teenage audience. I’m pleased with how it turned out, regardless of what the response is when I submit it to the first two publishers and agent I researched a year ago. The book actually became much more than I ever hoped for. My original thought was to write a children’s book based on the adventures of a living popsicle named WeeWee and his brassy Aunt Somebody. My final product–at least before the rewrites and revisions suggested by the publishing faction, if they even show that much interest–is a much more sophisticated story about real people with real problems, set against the backdrop of my own childhood experience, and adult love of Old Hollywood. It is now titled Alexander the Avenger and the Star-Struck Summer. To understand the first part of the title, you’ll have to read the book.
At the same time that the journey with Colin and Aunt Sophia has ended, I have begun putting together my third short film, titled The Terrible Mr. Teeth. I worked for almost a month on the various sketches, sculptures, and miniatures to be used in it, and recruited the help of my best friend, Troy, in shooting some actual video starring yours truly as Mr. Teeth! I created his look based on that of Lon Chaney in the lost silent film London After Midnight, which has had its influences in some of my other works, most notably the Play with Pictures Oz After Midnight. The actual shoot went smoothly, and I am now engaged in editing all the pieces together into a (hopefully) cohesive whole. I really don’t know what to say about this one except that it is proving to be one of the most fun projects I have ever worked on, and because of the multi-media approach, which includes actual footage, shots of miniatures, stock photography, and a myriad of music and sound effects, the finished result will be as much of a surprise to me as to anyone who checks it out on YouTube, where it will be posted by October seventh, just in time for the Halloween season.
Not long ago, I returned to Julian Mumford Mysteries, and reread the first of these novellas focusing on the titular “reconstructor” of baffling and sinister events in his hometown of Autumn Woods (based on myself and Brewster, Ohio, respectively), and found some real potential there–much too much to just be tucked away on my hard drive. So here’s what. I have decided, in a couple of months, to publish this first story in the format of a blog devoted to Julian Mumford Mysteries, illustrated with stock shots and some miniature setups to satisfy my urge for visuals. Over time, I will probably add more segments dealing with myriad other mysterious and macabre events in the town of Autumn Woods, and offer this blog as a free example of my writing…which most successful published authors would agree is necessary to build a platform of readers.
And there you have it. Oh, by the way, I sent my Christmas children’s book, No Room at the Inn, to the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award Contest. Will share any developments as they occur. No word yet on the Youngstown production of Below the Surface…hopefully I will have an update on that to share soon, as well.
And then there’s Closing Night, the play I’m set to begin writing next month, but I’ve written about that enough in past entries. I’m thoroughly enjoying my present projects and endeavors, but I look forward to settling down to direct my energies into this final work spawned by my first burst of inspiration and ambition as a (serious) writer.