Crossing into Story



Q. How do you get to the Perilous Realm?

A. Storytellers are always crossing back and forth between our world and the Perilous Realm, but when they’re asked how one gets to the places they describe, they can be pretty evasive.
The answer, unfortunately, is that there really is no tried and tested way to cross over into Story. People can search their whole lives and never reach the Realm, while others may slip across the border from our world (which Storyfolk call the Untold) with little or no effort. Sometimes, as they say in Zen, you have to leave the way to the way. The journey itself might be the story you’re searching for. 

However you set out, and for whatever reason, my only advice is to find your own path.

Some people, like Will in The Shadow of Malabron, find themselves in the Realm without having meant to go there. Some end up in the Realm against their own will. It would seem that the only thing necessary is that you are somehow needed in a story, or a story is needed by you. If that’s the case, then the invisible boundary that separates you from the Realm will grow thin and permeable, so that you will likely not even notice you’re passing from one world to another. 

For each person who reaches the Realm, the passage is different. It could happen anywhere, not just in a forest or other mysterious, uninhabited place. It could happen to you while you’re crossing the street to visit your neighbourhood coffee shop, or even when you get up first in the morning and get out of bed. Suddenly, without warning, you will realize that the world is not the same world you were in a moment before. Now you are in a story, and you will have a role to play, a role you must see to the end if you wish to find your way home. For some, the story becomes their new life, and they never leave.





2 comments:

Susha said...

Thank you for this post, it clears a few things up that I needed to know!

I also have a question...

I am sure without a doubt you have thought about what the cinema version of your book might look like, (I know I have!) and I was just wondering who you would cast to play certain characters whether it be live action or just voice over.

Would you rather it be a live-action movie adaptation(LotR, Eragon, Spiderwick), CGI adaptation (Happily Never After, Monster House, Beowulf), or an animated adaptation (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, Howls Moving Castle).

I must confess, if you have not noticed already, I am a bit of a movie geek, so forgive me if this is too much to think about, as I understand planning for such things is a hard decision.

Whenever I read or write a story, I always get an image of the character I am reading or writing about in the form of an actor. Certain characters remind me of certain actors and so forth and I sort of create a character profile around the information I read or write and the face I see in my mind...If that makes sense...tee hee.

I have faces in my mind when I read the books for many of your characters in the book, but I know everyone interprets books differently, so I do not expect other people to agree with my opinion.

By the way, these are YOUR characters, YOUR ideas, YOUR plans, and I am by NO means attempting to adjust your characters, ideas or creations. Just thought I would put that out there...

Perhaps I am getting a little bit TOO into the book and the Realm itself, but I cannot help it when I get attached to a certain character, and with your magnetic writing style and empathetic characterization , I got sucked in during the first chapter straight through to the last.

Throughout my life nearly every single movie (or book for that matter) I have loved, my favourite character almost always seems to die. They are most often a more of a minor supporting character compared to others, but they still play an important role, and unfortunately one of your characters fell into that category.

I am, however, glad to have had the opportunity to have come along on this journey across the Realm with all the companions, and besides his death, I found Moth and Morrigan to be very fascinating, very noble and very intriguing and I cannot wait for the next book to see Morrigan's come back and course of action!

Anyways, I have taken up FAR too much time and space writing this, so I will just wrap it up and wish you the very best!

-Susha

Thomas Wharton said...

Hi Susha,
It's funny you should mention Spirited Away and Miyazaki's other films. I love those movies and I went to see "Arietty" the other day and thought how wonderful it would be to have Studio Ghibli animate my books! A writer can dream...

But I have to say I usually don't think much about movie versions of my books. One reason is that my goal as a writer is to weave a world of words -- a world that can come alive in a reader's head as their own "movie." And another reason is that the chances of anyone ever making movies of these books is pretty slim!

But I understand what you mean when you say you get an image of an actor while you're reading or writing. I sometimes do that, too. Sometimes an actor's face and voice can give me a place to start with a new character -- I can say to myself, "I imagine someone who talks and moves like that guy..."

Thank you for your kind words about my books and my writing. It's much appreciated -- helps keep me going during the long haul of writing a novel!