Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Callooh! Callay! I have just discovered a biography of George Orwell that goes into detail about his experiences at, and opinions of, Eton--James Hook's great boyhood influence. And there was a $5.77 copy of the book on eBay from Goodwill right here in Seattle.

Some days it's so easy it's near miraculous.

Monday, April 29, 2013

This arrived today, from ABE Books through a store called Turgid Tomes. I gather they sell academic volumes and have a sense of humor about it, for which I love them with all my heart.

The book contains fourteen essays about various aspects of "Peter Pan," which I hope will provide me with some useful context for what I'm writing. Perhaps even enough context to convince me that Once Upon a Time will not steal all my potential readers or convince them to point and jeer and accuse me of Doing It Wrong.

Weekly rant

Yes, I'm watching Once Upon a Time, because I feel obligated to keep up with what they're doing.

I'm so embarrassed for the Captain, I don't even. Barrie's Hook would poison himself before he'd let himself be captured repeatedly and in humiliating fashion. It's in the original. Nor would he be witlessly duplicitous over and over again, or so easily tricked.

Dammit, Disney. I can't write fast enough to make it better.

And wait--wha'? That's Maleficent? 

Additional note: Neverland? No. Oh, don't. Please don't. I may go and cry now.

This may be my least favorite episode yet. The worst part is I don't expect to remain that way.

Friday, April 26, 2013

"Of course, the Neverlands vary a great deal."~ J.M. Barrie

Part one of two. 

A quote for me to keep in mind as I read other writers' takes on the Peter Pan story. I'm investigating all I can easily find, because I feel it's important to know what directions the mythos has taken in different minds and in different eras, and I want to know if I've inadvertently pilfered someone else's idea. Reading these books and stories also frequently reminds me of plot points and character development and themes I should address.

However, while I expected to enjoy that part of my research, I've found all too often I do not. Invariably there's a sort of anxiety involved, and too often I find myself disagreeing with an approach that's being taken and worrying that mine will not be of interest because another is too prominent.

Some reasons for this unease:

"I wanted to do that!"
My constant fear, that someone is channeling all my ideas, doing it better, and producing it more quickly. Realistically, there are some ideas that seem too obvious to dispute (that Hook has a military background, for example), and it can be reassuring that someone else recognizes them.

"Stop picking on Jim!"
Self-explanatory, yes? I know he's the traditional villain, but Barrie allowed him some dignity, competence, and grace. I try to use this impulse as encouragement to get  back to work, since this is the reason I'm doing this, after all.

"Yer doing it wrong."
If the characters are changed too much from the original, or the new version seems to strip the original of its magic (sometimes literally), I squirm. I try to enjoy these on their own merits, but apparently I am a canon writer and nothing to be done about it. Nor do I want to do anything about it. So there.

There is also the work that goes in such a different direction that I feel it could undercut my own. Since that is in direct contradiction to #1, I try to shut this one down as soon as I feel it prod me.

Part two: A list of works in my research stack, and some critique/analysis of what I've read so far

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Writing can feel very much like falling in love, complete with the attendant anxiety and urgency, I wrote in my LiveJournal back in May 2012. Holding back on a project exacerbates that, and for too long, that's what I did with The Stowaway.

I fell in love with Captain Hook when I was four years old and pestered the teachers at preschool endlessly to play the Disney soundtrack record during naptime. At home I played Wendy as often as I could convince my mother to be Peter Pan and rescue me from the plank. She told me later that she found this interest of mine somewhat disturbing, and remembering this made me hesitant to tell her about this project. 45,000 words in, I couldn't keep the secret any longer, and was ridiculously relieved that she now finds my take on it fascinating rather than worrisome.

usually feel like I should keep my projects secret till they're near completion, although I don't have any reason for it. Not this one. It also feels like it wants to be done soon--to keep someone else from getting to it first? Enh, probably because it's taken so many years and it's tired of waiting.

Anyway, to do it right, I think, requires getting a hold on a number of topics. Foremost, the psychology of James Barrie, which I think I'm actually getting close to as we have some familial similarities. Also Edwardian life and sailing ships (more on that later). One thing I have learned during this process: When an author's article about his own book makes him sound like a crackpot, I do my research somewhere else.

Original version of this post June 22, 2012, in my personal LiveJournal.


Welcome to Hook's Waltz, the home for the trove of information I'm finding as I write Captain Hook's story as it actually happened, not as it was relayed by an unreliable young boy who refuses to grow up. The blog title, if you're wondering, comes from the 1954 musical version of Peter Pan with Mary Martin and the delectably-voiced Cyril Ritchard, a copy of which I was lucky enough to come across at NorWesCon 2013.

These things have been veritably throwing themselves at me since I became serious about this project, leading me to wonder if the tale is so prevalent in our culture as to be almost invisibly omnipresent, or if my story merely wants that badly to be told. Regardless, I'm finding enough people interested in my research to turn it loose on the world. I will be filling in some information from LiveJournal entries I've made over the past year, and then we shall see what happens from there.

Thanks for taking the journey with me.