Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Just Telling Stories Is Retold As A Story


Back in 2013 one of my stories was adapted as an online audio version by Midnight Marinara after they had discovered it on CreepyPasta, where it had been a popular story. In fact, my tale - "Just Telling Stories", from They Move Below - was the first story that Midnight Marinara adapted for their excellent series of podcasts and retellings.

Five years on, and history repeats - kind of. Midnight Marinara have decided to begin a new series called "Undercooked Analysis" (as I discovered when they kindly tagged me in this Tweet). They intend to revisit their earlier adaptations and see if they still hold up today, five years after production. And for their first episode, they picked ... yes, you guessed it, "Just Telling Stories" by yours truly. :-) You can listen to them discussing (and re-enacting) the story on Youtube.

And that's what I did last night for my evening's entertainment - listened to the hour-long episode, often grinning my head off as I got to hear thoughts on the tale in real-time, unscripted format. It was good fun, with some excellent points made, especially about the need to change or cut parts for the adaptation.

I agreed that the male character does go on too much: it is appropriate for how he is, but not always as much fun for the reader. I wanted the stories to work on one level as misdirection ("What's going to happen?") and mood-setting whilst characterising the protagonists, but that doesn't mean they couldn't be cut back a bit, which is what I would do if I ever revisited this tale.

However, the stories-within-the-story have multiple roles: they all tie in to the protagonists' situation on some level, whilst also becoming a catalystic part of the narrative, since the characters' fear releases hormones that gradually changes their blood in preparation for the ending.

And both commenters were right about the guy being a douche. :-) Fun fact that I've never revealed before: the story came out of a real situation when I was staying in a hotel room with a friend and she wanted to tell scary stories. Most of the tales in the story were part of the mutual scaring; the one about the cat called Poppy was the one my friend told. But in reality my friend was the one doing more of the scaring, not me, and no seduction attempts took place on either side. Afterwards she was supportive of me working with the raw material to create a scary story about people telling scary stories based on us telling scary stories. It was rather meta.

In fact, because some of my earliest books had a higher quota of dick-head male protagonists, I made a point in my last book of making all the protagonists female (and awesome ones at that), with men relegated to subsidiary dick-head roles. It seemed only fair.

Anyway, the episode made my night. Even better that I was alone in the house, and while I was listening to it in the dark, the French doors blew open in the wind. Full-on curtain billowing. Awesome, even if I did have to change my trousers.

[As an aside - there is an official audiobook version of They Move Below, narrated by Rosie Alldred, which includes "Just Telling Stories".]

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