• The Saga of my prep work!

    20 July 2011

    I've been busy, since my return to Ireland, preparing for my solo Edinburgh event in August (see the Shanville Monthly or Events pages on http://www.darrenshan.com for date, time, etc). Usually it takes me about half a day to prepare an extract for an event. I'll choose a section that I think will sound good read out loud, edit it down a bit to try to make it work to its maximum as a stand-alone piece, and I'm good to go. Occasionally I've spent a bit longer than that on a piece, for instance when I wrote "The Song of Darren Shan" years ago, which was the plot of The Saga done in rhyme. But even those lengthy poems didn't take more than a day to write -- I'd just very briefly cover three books at a time, covering the rough plots of the books, no need to go into great detail.


    THIS is a different beast entirely!! I've had it in the back of my mind for a few years now that I wanted to do something epic to celebrate my original Saga at a live event. It's been nearly 12 years since "Cirque Du Freak" was first released, 8 years since "Sons of Destiny" rounded it off. While I'm always more interested in looking forwards rather than backwards in my career, I felt that enough time had passed to warrant a big live party for the Saga, a way for me and the fans in attendance to look back and remember the good old times when i was just starting out and telling the snowballing story of a young boy who crossed paths with a vampire at a freak show. I guess, more than anything else, I wanted to create a memorial to The Saga, if only to draw a complete line under it.


    While I toyed with the idea of a 12 hours event (!!!!) I ultimately decided that would be asking a bit too uch of my fans -- and of myself!! So I came up with the 2 hours event instead, 10 minutes per book, enough time to cover all the main points of the Saga and tell it in a way that would work dramatically on its own terms, but which wouldn't test people's patience (and bums!) TOO much! But squeezing the storylines of 12 books into a 2 hours event is FAR from straightforward. First I had to skim-read the books, one at a time, making notes of what happened in each. And now I'm having to write up a script for each book, re-telling the story and trying to make it work in its new form -- I don't want this to be a dry re-telling of the Saga, I want it to ROCK!!!! Each script is running to about 6 or 7 A4 pages, approximately 2000 words per book. I'd normally write 10 pages per day when working on a first draft of a book. With these, I'm trying to do two books a day, so I'm working harder than normal. I've already put in 10 or 11 full days of work on this, with at least another 3 to go -- all for what may very well be a one-off event!!!! But, hey, I think The Saga is worth it!!!


    If the event goes well, I might repeat it occasionally at other venues further down the line, though give its extended running time, I don't think I'll be doing it too frequently. But, equally, this might well be a one-time-only event, if I find it too draining, or if it doesn't go down as well as I'm hoping it will. So miss it at your peril!!! I can't guarantee that it will be the most exciting, thrilling, involving event that I've ever done (though I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be), but it certainly be the one I've done the most amount of prep work for!!!!!!!


    To order tickets for my solo event at the Edinburgh Book Festival, click on this link: http://www.edbookfest.co.uk/the-festival/whats-on/darren-shan-1

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