As I launch full bore (or as full-bore as I can manage with a day job) into developing a trilogy of kaiju novels, here comes the Internet with a meme that provides a smile by adding a third option to Tolstoy’s fairly well-known quote, “All great literature is one of two stories: a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”
On Tuesday morning, I dashed off the first 576 words of the first draft of a novel that currently has the working title Kaiju I – not very creative, but I don’t even have a detailed outline yet, so we’re in the early stages. I do know the general arc of the story over three novels, and I think I have a sturdy foundation in that arc. The next step is breaking it all down so that I understand the general arc of each separate novel and our main characters. I got a suggestion to use the coincidence of NaNoWriMo to try to write at least the first novel by the end of November; I’m not sure I could pull that off, but I do expect that once I’ve assembled the skeleton of the story, the flesh will grow fairly quickly.
Sadly for my friends who are lovers of kaiju, I do not wish to write Godzilla vs. Megashark. I am a huge fan and respecter of the original Japanese film Gojira, which was re-edited and Americanized as Godzilla, King of the Monsters. Like many former kids of my generation, I grew up loving the Americanized version and wondering about the original 1954 film, which was not available in the U.S. until well into my adulthood. It was a revelation when I finally saw it, and although I continue to be entertained by Godzilla’s numerous sequels, they are quite a departure from that first story.
The first sequel, Godzilla Raids Again, begins with the discovery of a second godzilla in mortal combat with another giant monster, setting the pattern for the myriad stories to follow. It has been a popular pattern, and recent American films Pacific Rim and the 2014 Godzilla have followed that pattern in fascinating and wonderful ways. That is not, however, the story I am now compelled to tell.
Oh, there will be multiple monsters, to be sure, of more than one species. But my goal is to pursue the spirit and themes of Gojira, and my monster will have more in common with that creature than the one we’ve cheered for in numerous grudge fights against other kaiju. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy where Godzilla has ventured as much as the next guy, and I think the 2014 film is the second-best movie featuring the big guy that I’ve ever seen. I just want to travel a different path.
If I can conquer my infuriating habit of starting creative projects with a bang and then letting the fruit ripen unplucked on the vine, I expect to start sharing the finished stories by mid-2016, which is closer than any of us think on Nov. 4, 2015. I plan to keep you informed.