Friday, February 2, 2007

the wrong idea

About a two years ago, I had a great idea for a picture book.

Seldom does an idea arrive so complete. I knew the story, almost top to bottom, before I had a chance to write down any of the details (although I did write a two-sentence summary of the plot). I was so excited by the idea that, when I called my friend Steve that night, I told him everything. Steve listened patiently (as he always does), as I described the story: it was to be called "The Golem", as I recall. The Golem was a monster who wakes up in the ruins of a castle with amnesia. Looking for his purpose, he wanders the countryside, meeting all sorts of colorful medieval types who immediately shun him due to his fearsome countenance. Understandably, this upsets the Golem, to the point where he takes out his frustration by destroying a house. This catches the attention of an evil warlord, who enlists the Golem to fight in his army.

"Now, here's where it gets a little fuzzy", I told Steve. "All I know is that he finally realizes his ultimate purpose is not to be destructive. Maybe he finds the plans of the scientist who constructed him, or something. Maybe he was supposed to be a gardener. Or a surrogate son for the scientist. Anyway, the general idea is that the even though he's a monster, physically, it's the world that makes him a monster, inside".

Steve said, "Hmmmm." And by the time the last "m" had sounded, I said:

"Oh. I just wrote Frankenstein. Again."

And in retrospect, I had also written Edward Scissorhands. Again. I'm not sold on the fact that all the good stories have been told, but I do know that most of the good stories have been told too many times. That's not to say that someone won't write another interesting take on Frankenstein. It just won't be me.