Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Much Ado about Spires

For those who may not have heard (that would be people new here, because I haven't stopped talking about it), Spires of Stone is a retelling of Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing.

Some may recall a reference to Much Ado in At the Journey's End, which was deliberate, because I knew I'd be writing this one next (or at least thinking about it).

The first draft followed the play pretty closely for the most part, with of course historical changes and so forth, but subsequent versions started morphing the story and especially the characters. The result is a book that sort of mirrors the Bard's version, but ends very differently. (Although I admit the ending was a bit different even in my original version. I just didn't work Old Will's way!)

I've put up a character list on my website to help clarify which characters in my book are essentially representative of which ones in the original version. If you go there, you'll note that Phillip is listed next to two characters.

The reason is that Phillip has two jobs, plot-wise. Since I'm not giving spoilers, I'll refer to him in terms of Much Ado only, so that if you really, really want to (or are already familiar with the play) you can keep track.

Phillip essentially takes on the role of Don Pedro when it comes to how Benedick and Beatrice's story plays out. But he also—quite accidentally and innocently—creates a problem, the same problem that Don Jon creates deliberately in the play.

One of my early readers asked why Phillip's name begins with a P instead of a J (noting his Don Jon-like role). My answer: He's just as much Don Pedro as far as his story responsibilities go. But more importantly, his character is a very good one, unlike the villainous Don Jon. I certainly didn't want to give him a villainous connotation by naming him something with a J.

But this brings up another issue. Again, I don't want to spoil anything, so let's just say that there's a Spires character who ends up behaving very differently than in the play, and as a result, I've had at least one reader assume that this person is Don Jon.

Not so. Not in any way.

It just so happens that my characters took on lives of their own and simply refused to behave the way they were "supposed" to.

The result? A different very different ending in Spires than in Much Ado.

And that's all I'll say about the characters for now.

Countdown: We're a week away from the release!

Now for a quote from Phillip. I've cut out a bit in the middle. (How weird . . . I'm ellipsing myself . . .)

"Look, I'm not a poet, Claude. I can't write a love letter. . . . I read scientific books, not anything about love and fairy tales. Any letter I could write for you would sound like a proclamation from a newspaper."

6 comments:

Josi said...

I can't even spell Shakespere, let alone read it, so I know nothing about Much Ado About Nothing, but I got to read the book and I loved it! Maybe that means one day I'll read Bill's story. It could happen.

Can't wait for the book to come out!

Karlene said...

Much Ado is one of my absolute favorites. Looking forward to reading this one.

Janette Rallison said...

My cousin's children were just in this play. I'll have to let them know about your book, I bet they'll love it. (And of course I'm sure I'll love it too.)

Luisa Perkins said...

Cool, cool, cool! I re-watched the Kenneth Branagh film recently--can't get enough (even with Keanu ridiculously out of his depth).

Annette Lyon said...

Keanu is the one blemish on an otherwise magnificent film. Everyone else does a great job with their roles, creating believable, real people, but he decided to do his role as "Shakes-pea-ah" and look like an idiot.

I was much impressed with Michael Keaton's performance. I had no idea he had such a character in him.

For anyone who hasn't seen the film, I feel like I should make a mild disclaimer. Having lived in a European area for three years where the body isn't shocking, shameful, or necessarily a sexual object, I wasn't at all phased by one scene. But I have a friend who was shocked at seeing large amounts of skin in that sequence and promised her mother to always close her eyes during that part. So I know some people feel uncomfortable with it.

Be assured that there are no body parts, and nothing is even remotely sensual about it. The whole thing is two groups of people excitedly getting ready for a reunion. If seeing skin and a few bum cheeks makes anyone squirm, be forewarned.

Jo Beaufoix said...

Oooo I'll have to read this now.
I studied loads of Shakespeare at Uni.

Thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog, and I'm looking forward to reading more of yours.

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