The Monkey what?!
The Monkey King of the Pearl Sea! It's a story that's been bubbling away in my head for quite some time, and I finally started it a few months ago. It's much harder going than writing Weapon of Mass Instruction I'm finding - making stuff up is hard! With Mass Instruction I had all the material and the research and the intimate knowledge - I had 12 years worth of material! - all I had to do was string it together in a coherent way and that was pretty much it. This is much harder. As good chum and fellow aspiring author Lynsey Murphy will tell you, you can get lost in the research and get sidetracked very easily! I bought a book (which I still haven't finished reading) on smoking opium just for a few throw away lines in the first chapter. I spent far too much time researching Victorian money and what it'd be worth today for a single line! Engrossing stuff though.
The inspiration for this story comes from my days as a wee lad and even further back. It's inspired by Indiana Jones and a slightly obscure show that was inspired by Indy, Tales of the Golden Monkey, which only lasted one season on tv back in the 80s. It's inspired by the serialised tv shows of Flash Gordon that used to be on BBC2. It's inspired by schlocky, pulpy, over the top serialised fiction in the 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. It's inspired by every villain who ever stumbled into quicksand in a Tarzan film and disappeared screaming into its murky depths (even though quicksand doesn't work that way!). I want it to be silly and over the top and adventurous and funny and entertaining. I don't really want to take it too seriously, even though I can tell I am starting to take it far too seriously already!
I've also had the idea for telling a story via Facebook status update or Twitter feed for a while - drip-feeding a story bit by bit, a really stylised version of the episodic structure of pulp fiction stories and serialised tv shows. Because of this I'm deliberately being a bit vague at times, I'm deliberately being repetitive, and you'll have to keep coming back to keep up with the story. I'm also inspired in this by some excellent fiction that's online now and is released chapter by chapter - Super Powereds by Drew Hayes in particular (check his work out here: http://www.drewhayesnovels.com). So buckle up, get comfortable and dive into the murky world of adventuring!
The plan is to release a new snippet every day - at the moment I have enough for a couple of months at this schedule, so I;d better get writing to keep up with it!