In many respects, the story-line of Chameleons is a modern retelling of the legend of Orpheus and Eurydice, where Orville Braithwaite stands in for Orpheus, Candice stands in for Eurydice and our big bad represents the shepherd/satyr Aristaeus. The Orphean storyline is allegorical, and the ending might not be quite as disappointing. Another change is that in the original Orphean myth, we primarily hear the tale from Orpheus’ point of view. In Chameleons, the focus is squarely on Candice’s journey, and while Orville will be her guide out of the “underworld,” the choice at Cerberus’ gate will be her own.
For those of you not familiar with the classic Greek myth, Wikipedia offers a brief overview.
In case you’re wondering… yes – Orville is an intentionally similar name to Orpheus, and it’s no coincidence that Candice’s name has the same ending as Eurydice. Candice is also the name of a character I created in a flash fiction piece called Cybabe, although this one lacks the aiming reticles on the eyeballs, the eight-inch rippers and the chain-mail dress of the original Candice.
A quick update. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been at a bit of a stand-still with the writing thanks to a bit of a mental health glitch. On the downside, it’s been a bit disruptive with respect to productivity. On the upside, it’s offered me some insights into the mental state of one of the characters in the Tomekeepers TV series who is currently scheduled to start going into a major depressive episode starting at around episode 5 of the series. Unlike me, she’ll come back to herself with a transcendent ability before being dragged back into the pit, only to rise again as a personage of dark power. Unlike her, I will be enjoying the fruits of modern pharmaceuticals to help smooth out the peaks and troughs, and I can’t kill people with my mind.
On a separate note, I recently attended the New Screenmakers Conference put on by the Media Resource Centre at Mercury cinema. One of the speakers – Allan Palmer (who blogs about screen writing at CrackingYarns.com.au) did a couple of sessions which have made me think very seriously about discarding about ten pages worth of the Chameleons feature screenplay and go back to the planning stage to double check my work. Between cogitating on Allan’s talks and reading Shawn Coyne’s The Story Grid, I’ve been carving a deeper and truer story out of the monolith that was originally going to top out at over a hundred pages, so it’s now starting to look like closer to ninety. It hurts throwing work away. But it’s better to do that than to leave the work overburdened with heavy-handed exposition which doesn’t even relate to the protagonist of the story. On the upside, this will mean that some of the spoilers for the Tomekeepers TV series will be less obvious, so perhaps that will lead to a few repeat viewings and a bit more buzz around the TV show.
Watch this space. More updates to follow!