I had planned to release two Alice in Wonderland books in November for the 150th anniversary of the original Alice book. One was going to be a reimagining while the other was going to be a direct sequel to Through the Looking-Glass. I had gotten very close to completing the reimagining when I suddenly looked at it and thought to myself "this isn't the story I wanted to tell". To give you some insight, Alice (in Wonderland) began as a concept for a short film roughly twenty-minutes in length but my overly ambitious ways and overactive mind gave birth to new ideas and additional content, expanding the length to roughly forty-minutes worth of scenes I knew were needed for the story and an extra that could add extra content and add extra symbolism.
Me and my friends held auditions, found our Alice and found the voice for the Cheshire Cat. We then went on to develop a concept trailer for Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. We were unsuccessful and over factors led to me eventually abandoning the project. Soon after I decided that I was going to take the plunge and indie publish my first novel, Darkest Nights -Awakening and then I came to me. A novel didn't have a budget. A novel was restricted by whether you had special effects and or by a run time. I would go on to write Alice (in Wonderland) as a novel and, with the 150th anniversary on the way, it made sense to write it as an anniversary title.
But that was where it went wrong.
If you're going to present something as an anniversary title then it has to actually be something that celebrates the original story. My original take on my version was far darker. Imagine taking the original Alice book, Donnie Darko and Black Swan and put it all in a blender. That was what my story was going to be. It was going to dark, trippy, full of symbolism and littered with nonsense. There was only so much darkness I could add in because of the American McGee titles. I didn't want to go for straight out horror like he had. I wanted it to be a psychological thriller. It just made sense to do that with Alice, a story that could be considered very psychedelic.
But my thought was "who would want to read that to celebrate the 150th?" so I decided to lighten it up and added more Wonderland than originally planned but this caused tone conflicts. I would go from a disturbing scene to a whimsical one. Every time I put Alice in danger I would try to reward her with something beautiful. I was so concerned with trying to please people and trying to avoid comparisons with the McGee titles that there was very little of my original story there. All that was left was a shadow of its former self.
I literally just looked at my screen thinking "this is a mess". I'm always critical of my work. I always look back at what I would change. That's why it took so long to finish my first book. I would keep editing it as I went along to try and make everything perfect and even after I had finished it I would go back constantly and edit. I think one of the best pieces of advice I've heard for any writer is to write for yourself. I wanted to be a writer to tell my stories. So Alice is delayed and the Looking-Glass sequel is on an indefinite hiatus. With all the rushing about trying to write Alice (in Wonderland) and my unhappiness with its current form I just want to spend sometime away from Alice completely, write some other stories and go back to it with fresh enthusiasm.
Darkest Nights -Ashes to Ashes- is currently about 90% finished with editing left to do. I expect its length to come close to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and its been a huge undertaking so I can say for certainty that I doubt the third book will be that long but while that's all in the planning stages I have started work on a slasher novel to get all my bad feelings out the way.
I'm not sure when I'll start work on Alice again but when I do I'm going to make it worth the wait.