“You ask four guys how it happened, you get four different versions..”

The quote that changed the direction of Old Ipswich Road. Sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Well, before I get into trouble, you should know that the quote is from Jersey Boys and the man that said it was Tommy DeVito. Now, whether he really said it in life, I don’t know, but Christian Hoff said it in the stage performance and it really is quite apt for this blog entry.

In reality, Jersey Boys isn’t the only thing that changed the direction for Ipswich Road. Shiri and I came to an understanding about a chapter and whether or not it was viable to keep her characters, and thus her world, as parameters to define my own. Creatively, it was restrictive to me and to what I wanted to do. For her it was anxiety producing. In the end, we decided it was best to split.

So, where did that leave me?

For a while, very confused and a little bit depressed. I’d worked really hard to get the story where it was and for a shining moment, I thought Old Ipswich Road was finally done-I could move on to book two.

That’s what you get for thinking, right? Yeah. Pretty much. For two weeks my brain refused to write a single sentence. I couldn’t coax anything out to save my life. Frustration, irritation, annoyance and every other synonym for pissed off ran through me, and I seriously contemplated scrapping the whole thing to concentrate on being a comic book artist and web designer. Six years of a story line and nine years of writing down the drain because I couldn’t figure out what the hell I could do with the story.

A google search changed my mind.

If you don’t know anything about steampunk, look it up, it’s pretty cool. The basic premise is that the world is stuck in the Industrial Revolution, where steam is still the coolest thing since sliced bread. Electricity is relatively unused or deemed inferior and Victorian fashion still pervades. Go check it out, there’s a whole movement for it and some pretty cool jewelry to boot.

What did that mean for Ipswich?

Well, despite my brain refusing to work every time I opened Scrivener, it was still toiling away trying to work out a new story line. And, from somewhere it happened. A google search introduced the idea of RRH 240 to my head-a Red Riding Hood Law that would be passed in Congress screwing over every magickally inclined person that decided it would be a good idea to immigrate to the United States.

Hey, why not? Crazier things have been done. But, as far as story lines go, RRH 240 is too broad, it would mean a complete restructuring and a more politically inclined novel than what I wanted. But, it could be in the background, a caveat to what would happen next.

If you’ve never seen Jersey Boys, or think that musical theatre is for pansies, I encourage you to give it a shot.  The show was amazing. It was fun, and practically everyone within my line of sight (actors not included) were dancing in their seats. I’ve seen Evita, The Phantom of the Opera, and the Lion King-I’ve even seen Faust-but never have I had so much fun as I did with Jersey Boys. It was a birthday present for my mother, and a stroke of genius for me. The opening to the show is Tommy DeVito telling the audience “You ask four guys how it happened, you get four different versions.”

Fucking. Brilliant.

The show continues with Tommy telling his version of what happened, Bob Gaudio (the song writer) is next, then Nick Massi, and finally Franki Valli. They each tell a part of the Four Seasons story.

Omigod. I could do that. Hell, the first book is all about Melanie Jacobs and what happens to her anyway, why the hell not?

In my mind the story was easy; one woman lies dead in a filthy alley underneath the freeway in New Orleans, a bullet wound to the forehead. That woman is Dama Reddington, beloved fortune teller and Dark Lady of New Orleans (thank you, Cher). There are four people, each with a story to tell in the police interrogation room. Throw in RRH 240 and the problem compounds. Add in a bit of steampunk, and I can really have some fun with this.

Is the steampunk going to stay? Probably. I like the idea. I also like the idea of starting the book out with a comic.

Can it be done?

Sure. It probably will never see the light of day in a major publishing house, but that’s what self-publishing is for.

So, in all of this I have to say;  thanks Shiri, I owe you one my friend.

Until next time!

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