• Troll portfolio

    27 November 2023

    I had a brilliant, productive three hours late in November, working with Eva Byrne on storyboarding our Terrified Troll picture book. I'd written several drafts of the story over the last few years, and Eva had produced loads of sketches, but this was the first time that we sat down as a pair and fine-tuned it into a working storyboard. We now have a clear working plan for how the book is going to play, with each page of the story sketched out, so it will *just* be a matter of Eva now translating the sketches from the storyboard into finished illustrations, then me tweaking my text around her pictures. VERY exciting!!


    If you'd like to track the evolution of The Terrified Troll, there's a PERK in our fundraiser for the book, called the TROLL DRAFTS PORTFOLIO. This features every draft of the story to date, from when it was a single-page poem, to my latest run-through of it this month. It runs to more than 50 pages (even longer than it says in the campaign listing, as I wrote another draft of it since the fundaiser started), and you can see how the story grew and changed. There's actually LOADS more in the drafts than will appear in the final book, as we've ended up having to trim it down quite severely to get the story flowing the way it needed to. And there are scenes that will only properly be understood by the few people who read the various drafts -- they'll work fine for everyone else, but only the few Shansters in-the-know will understand the genesis of those scenes and WHY they are in the book. You'll also get to read my original, beautiful-but-bleak ending, which I had to change because I seem to be the only person in the world who thinks that a scene where a child is told it's going to grow up to eat its parents can be a SWEET scene!!! :-)


    This is a truly unprecedented look-behind-the-scenes into my working process. It's the first time I've ever shared EVERY draft of a book with anyone except my agent -- and even he never saw the early drafts of many of my books, as I got into the habit of working on a novel at least three or four times by myself before taking it to him.


    Also, I keep all my notes and drafts of my books in one place. If they ever got destroyed in a fire (as almost happened last year, when we only just managed to stop a dangerous house fire from spreading), this portfolio would end up being the only collection of complete drafts for ANY Darren Shan book in the whole wide world!!!


    In short, I think it's an amazing perk. It takes me a lot of time to put each portfolio together, and although they're photocopies, I handwrite dates on several of the drafts, and Eva produces a wonderful title page with an original sketch for each of them. I'm attaching some photos, of a title page (as yet unsigned and numbered), the faux-leather portfolio, and a couple of the pages.


    Oh!! I almost forgot to mention -- I'm also going to write a short essay, probably a couple of pages or so in length, reflecting on the growth of the story, explaining some of the changes that I made between drafts, and also talking about how the work has now moved on from my drafts, to the storyboard, where any final changes will be made by myself and Eva working in collaboration.


    If I've whetted your appetite for more, you can purchase a copy of the portfolio (only 6 remain up for grabs as I write this), or any of the other perks, by clicking here: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/help-bring-our-troll-to-life/x/35435619#/





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