For the last couple of weeks I've been doing a lot of pacing over Les Voyages Fantastique.
When I first conceived the notion, I really had just the germ of an idea - a story, told in the style of Baron Munchausen, built from the bones of several other stories, strung together into a single 40-minute tale. But, except for a drawing of a flying ship, I really didn't have much when I set out to sell it to the libraries. I knew I would have a great show in the end, but it's difficult to explain an idea when you really don't know what it is yourself: "I don't know what it will be, other than good - trust me."
I knew the kind of thing I wanted to do, and I started throwing ideas onto my board. When I went into the studio to start writing I looked at my mood board and pulled stories from it one at a time and just started telling them to the couch. This one fit good here, that one fits good there. At that point I had a story about an anonymous European commander who rides a cannon ball, pilots a flying ship, commands an extraordinary crew, is swallowed by a whale and takes on an entire army of sword-wielding Turks. That's good, that's fun, but that's not really what the story is about.
"When I was a boy I dreamt of a life filled with adventure."
The story is not about Baron Munchausen, Commander McBragg, or whoever, and their amazing adventures, the story is about a little boy - me - who stays up late each night reading adventures by flash light, and dreaming those adventures, placing himself in the role of the hero - it's a true story.
It's the very reason I love my work so much, it's my "why" for being a storyteller. I tell stories because they make me feel the way I felt when I was a boy, dreaming of a life filled with adventure.