Thursday, May 14, 2020

85. The Fantasy World and What Used to be 'The Normal World'

A few months ago, before the world changed, I thought I had written a book contrasting 'the normal world' with a fantastical imaginary world, where drawings come to life and have their own consciousness. It never occurred to me at the time that 'the normal world' might be a little bit of a fantasy also.

It didn't feel odd to write a scene with four 12 and 13 year-old kids playing 2 on 2 soccer at their local park. Or a rich 60-year-old guy hosting a birthday party at his mansion, with lots of people in attendance.

People gathering, kids going to school. Normal stuff, right? Now it almost feels like the 'normal' world is as much a fantasy as the fantasy world.

But here we are. "Milo and Meg are Solid" (a title voted 'best title among the three options you gave me' by the only 12 year-old who voted) is a book about 13 year-old Milo and his 12 year-old sister Meg, living 'normal' lives in their medium sized town called August. Their normal lives are thrown upside down when they accidentally discover a strange portal between two trees at the park, that transports them into Icarus, a fantastical world where they become pencil drawings.

Then they begin meeting new friends in Icarus...

Where did this idea come from? I've already been asked this several times, and I'm struggling to answer. The idea of a portal to an imaginary world...well, that's Lewis Caroll's "Alice in Wonderland," or "Through the Looking Glass." It's C.S. Lewis's Narnia tales. It is Neil Gaiman. Name your fantasy author. I am happy to admit I am not reinventing the wheel with this aspect of the story.

As for the drawings having their own conscious lives? Sometimes an idea just lands on you. You can either run with it or toss it aside. This one I ran with. It seemed like an interesting question to me; What would happen if ('what if - ' the question that launched a thousand stories) characters from a simple artwork asked where they came from? What if they knew when they were being erased or redrawn? It sounded both fascinating and scary.

Is it for kids? Yes, slightly older kids. The characters are in middle school (remember when kids went to school?), but I think it's really for adults who are still partly kids. Milo and Meg roll their eyes at the boring old folks at the rich guy's birthday party. They're a little bit rebellious against their parents, but not too rebellious. They just know for a fact that their parents are dorks.

They struggle to adjust at first, when they become drawings once inside Icarus, but then they start making the transition effortlessly.

If I'm totally honest, I kept writing this story because I was having fun with it. I can only hope that the enjoyment translates to readers.

As always, I turn the idea over to you now. A book is the writer's, as long as he or she is writing it. Once readers begin reading it, it belongs to them.

It won't officially be out until a week and a half after I post this. Tuesday, May 26.

As I said before last month's post, thanks to all the readers out there who have made the Milo and Meg sneak peeks this blog's most popular posts over the past year.

What happens now? What makes a popular book during CoronaVirus times? Well, that's the complete unknown. I try not to have expectations. I know some readers will give it a look, though. thanks in advance. Enjoy!
Peter Wick
May 14, 2020