All right, the time has come to figure out what to write next. I have another thirty-plus-year-old writing project that would make an absolutely, terrifically horrible novel that I want to try to tame. I have a cartoonized version created back when I was young and stupid… in about 1981, before the invention of the graphic novel. It is in full color. It was done before I learned how to draw. It is a book that will now go under the ridiculously alliterated title The Captain Came Calling.
The novel is set, like all of my hometown stories, in Norwall, Iowa… The fictionalized version of Rowan, the town I actually grew up in. It isn’t quite as dorky in real life as it appears in my cutsified illustration, but it is approaching it at glacial speeds.
The town’s portrayal will have to change as I attempt to update and clarify characters.
The people have to be switched about. Phyllis Murphy has to become Mary Murphy. The Pirates will have to switch from the 90’s Pirates to the 80’s Pirates, as the main character, Mary Phillips has to create a new Pirates’ Club that didn’t exist when I first wrote this bilge. I have to update and increase the plot, adding the back-story through the inclusion of the Captain’s Logbook… How else can I get mermaids and the voodoo priest into the story otherwise?
I also have to be a little bit more politically correct about the portrayal of the tiki-idol-men. South Seas’ Magic can’t be racist or misogynist. And then there’s the whole thing about Captain Dettbarn’s less-than-Iowegian morals that has to be dealt with. He’s basically a clown character, not a villain.
And the Captain is cursed with invisibility. That is no small thing to pull off in work of fantasy fiction in a Young Adult style. It has to be believable enough to make the audience accept it, even if it is a comedy caper of the lowest sort.