Wednesday, March 20, 2013

More on the adaptation process

I wrote a few days ago about adapting my musical, Grimhilda! into a book, and how I was feeling quite disenchanted with the process, as it was proving a great deal more difficult than I'd expected.  I don't know if getting that off my chest helped or not, but I've now done more work on the first three chapters and have handed them out to some other people to read and comment. The responses have been pretty positive all round. So perhaps it was just a matter of getting up and running again.

Last year, when I started the adaptation process, the big pull initially was to keep everything that was in the musical's libretto.  Not a good idea.  I got gradually more adventurous and added in detail which clarified the story further, and broadened its parameters and allowed things to breathe.  On stage everything happens within a short period of time (about an hour and half in this case) and it's all in real time even if you're covering a day or a month or several years.  In a book, time is far more flexible, and I began to allow for that as well.  But I still got to the end of the first draft feeling increasingly unsatisfied.  And by the time I'd gone through three or four more drafts (I think the first chapter was on its sixth), I was beginning to get thoroughly fed up with it all. 

But that was back in August last year.  Coming back to the book has been a pleasure.  Things are working, and I can better see which details are needed and which are not - and where other things can do with expanding a little. 

I was further encouraged when my daughter told me the other day about a friend of hers.  This woman had come to see the show (back in April/May last year) with her eight-year-old daughter (I think that's her age) and the daughter was very enthusiastic, wanting to know when the sequel was coming up!  Crikey.  I'd met this little girl briefly at one of the performances and she was star-struck at meeting the author.  This will probably be the only time in my life when someone is star-struck, so I'm making the most of it. 
Post a Comment