Do you ever wonder how your favorite stories come into existence? How does an author string together words into sentences and transport us to a world of their own design? Let’s hear from Richard O’Brien about the making of his latest release!
“This novel started more than twenty years ago as a short story entitled “Confederate Ghosts at Beggar Creek.” A decade ago, I tried my hand at turning the short story into a feature-length screenplay for a production company overseas who specialized in animation. I submitted the screenplay, but I never heard back from them. Rumor has it that they have gone out of business. On their now-defunct web site, the production company once touted themselves as the first film company that would not need to hire live actors. I guess the world wasn’t ready for the wholesale obliteration of flesh-and-blood actors—at least, not yet.
Fast-forward to a couple of years ago when I broke out that old screenplay and used it as a working outline for what eventually became To Dream the Blackbane. There were several changes I made between the screenplay version of the story and the novel. For example, in the novel I knew that Wolfgang Rex the hybrid man-dog private eye was too reckless to overcome some of the obstacles he faces in the story; so, the dryads came into existence (among other characters) to assist him to that end. Also, the old screenplay version had a different Charlotte that was not keeping a secret like the one who does in To Dream the Blackbane.
To Dream the Blackbane is the product of that old chestnut that goes something like this: Never throw out any old work because one never knows when it might be revisited, revised, and turned into something new. As a writer, I keep everything. Before I could afford to buy a desktop computer back in 2000, I typed manuscripts from handwritten ones. My typewriter has since been replaced by a few computers (desktop and laptop alike) over the years, but I still write first draft manuscripts in longhand. Transcribing longhand work into a Word doc serves as a form of editing because I make changes as I go. Then there are subsequent edits I make once a manuscript has been typed out. To Dream the Blackbane was a departure from this process since I wrote the first draft on the old computer rather than writing longhand first.
Where my writing habits are concerned, I will say this: I write every day (even on major holidays) and I tend to work best at night. Other writers I know get up before dawn to get their work done, but I am opposed to pre-dawn wake-up calls ever since I left the army three decades ago. Maybe as I get older I will wake up early and begin writing, but then I think why ruin a good thing. Lastly, while I enjoyed the process of composing the first draft of To Dream the Blackbane
directly on my computer I have since returned to writing first drafts of my work longhand with my trusty magical pen on college-ruled legal pads.