I went to my grandma’s house and all I got was this weird story idea

THE TIME HAS COME, my little friends, TO TALK OF OTHER THINGS (if you read that like the walrus from Alice in Wonderland, I officially love you and if you have no idea what I’m talking about, I apologize for your sad, sheltered childhood). It’s almost the end of 2012, but unlike the rest of the blogging world, I am not going to do a summary of all of the books I’ve read this year, nor will I talk about how awesome I am for writing way more than you did this year ha-ha (actually false I know you wrote more than me I KNOW YOU DID STOP LYING TO MAKE ME FEEL BETTER SLFKJALSK *cries*). Instead I’m going to talk about my crazy, wonderful, Chinese grandmother.

I went to her house in Santa Rosa for Christmas. Also, I overate like a hero, but that was only after I checked the dates on basically everything in her cupboards and refrigerator. She has a tendency to feed people expired food. The rules for eating at her place are these:

  1. If it smells bad, it is bad. Except in the case of some unidentifiable Asian foods that smell mysterious but taste miraculous.
  2. If at any point you hear, “Oh, I forgot I bought that,” “that” is probably older than you.
  3. Those little black dots floating in your cereal bowl? Yeah, that’s not cereal. It's ALIIIIIVE!
  4. Don’t drink anything given to you unless you’ve seen the bottle/jug/carton being opened for the first time.
  5. Accept the decade-old candy. Throw it away later.

But seriously, my grandma is the best. She’s an adorable, generous soul, and I love her to pieces even though she’s unknowingly tried to poison us all a hundred times over.

Also, on the eight-hour drive up to her house, I started working on a new story. I had thought that my next project was going to be a historical fiction novel involving a boy in Hitler Youth and two Roma girls, but this new thing I started writing a week ago is taking over my thoughts in a way I hadn’t expected.

I wrote 8000 words over the course of the weekend. Definitely didn’t mean for that to happen. Must have been something I ate.

So this new story… this summer, around the time of the Tony Awards, I suddenly fell completely in love with all things Peter Pan, thanks to the award-winning genius of Christian Borle in Peter and the Starcatcher. I jokingly told my roommate at the beginning of the semester that once I finished Privateer, my next novel was going to be a PP retelling because I was literally just that hung up on it. But you know how it goes—you go crazy for something for a little while, and then Nazism catches your eye and you forget about the first thing until later when you realize that it might be permanently lodged in your subconscious until you write it out.

I started writing it out. And now I can’t stop.

So far, I know that this project involves certain characters, and that’s about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got pages and pages of notes on the story (yeah, it’s that bad), but when I flip through them, I see an anthology of short stories, not a novel. Maybe that’s because it’s going to be told from the point of view of multiple characters from multiple different time periods—you know, because Peter Pan’s basically immortal? I was sitting there in the car thinking about how weird it was that nobody ever questions the magic that made/helped Peter Pan stop aging…

…and the next thing I knew, I was writing this odd little fantasy story that reminded me of the stuff I used to write in junior high. It’s actually coming out like a mashup of Doctor Who, Robin Hood, and J.M. Barrie’s The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up—which leaves me with what? I have no idea.

I think that it seems like a combination of many different genres right now because of the many different voices that are competing for my attention, and I probably won’t know what I have on my hands until I finish it. If I finish it. All I can say for sure right now is that I won’t be working on that freakin’ Hitler Youth story any time in the near future.

If I start feeling brave, I might post this new project on Figment to see what people think, but probably not yet. I’m trying to just enjoy writing a crappy first draft… I don’t do that nearly enough, and that’s absolutely the best part because I can throw in whatever the heck I want, without wondering what people are going to think if I do it.

In the meantime, I really need to come up with a name for this project. It’s driving me berserk. I don’t even have a working title because even my best ideas are terrible. It refuses to be named. Figures… maybe I’ll use some Scottish Gaelic word, in honor of Mr. Barrie (LOL oh my gosh, no, that is a terrible idea. I should stop brainstorming on the Internet. It’s embarrassing).

Oh well. I’ll have plenty of time to think about it, I suppose. When I fly to London on Wednesday. 

–Samantha Chaffin

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7 thoughts on “I went to my grandma’s house and all I got was this weird story idea

  1. thejaneite says:

    Have I told you how incredibly jealous I am of your whole “living in London” thing? Yeah, I’m gonna keep saying it. 🙂

    BUT NOW. Onto more important things (though your skillz make me just as jealous at least) YES FREAKING YES!!!!!! A PETER PAN RETELLING FROM SAM CHAFFIN?! THE Sam Chaffin? Hallelujah! I am so pumped. Do me a favor and tell me when you’re going to post it, so I can be right there to devour it right away? K, thanks. Oh my, words cannot express my excitement. I have always been a little in love with Peter Pan (I wrote this book when I was like 12 about “Linnea Darling”, Michael Darling’s orphaned daughter who liked her Aunt Wendy’s stories and so she hung out at the homeless shelters to find a baby that was laughing for the first time and then she caught a fairy and made it take her to Neverland. 😀 haha it was pretty bad, but I was obsessed.). Needless to say, yours is going to be incredible and hopefully erase mine from my memory. 😉 I cannot wait.

    On another note, a boy in Hitler Youth and Roma people?!!?! Yeeeahhh. That has to happen someday. 😀

    • samchaffin says:

      Soooo, OMG your Peter Pan retelling sounds AWESOME. So creative!! I want to read this. Immediately. Haha and you flatter me, but I’m pretty much positive that this project is crap right now, so I won’t be posting it for a while. If ever. But if there’s the slightest chance that I do, you will be the first to know! 🙂

      Also, let me tell you, if I could take you to London with me, that would be happening. My roommate and my family are already ticked at me for leaving them. Haha

  2. deshipley says:

    I saw the name “Robin Hood” and spazzed out. Like Peter Pan isn’t awesome enough to start with, now there might be some sort of Robin Hood connection?
    You could be my hero.

  3. S.R. Knox says:

    OH.EM.GEE!!!! Peter Pan?! *dies of fangirl-dom*

    I’m absolutely IN LOVE with Peter Pan, ever since I was a little girl and fell for the adventurous boy who wouldn’t grow up. I mean, he flew, fought pirates, and lived on an island hidden somewhere amongst the stars–how could I NOT fall for him? *swoons*

    I actually had a somewhat “sequel” to Peter Pan idea that sparked up in my mind sometime last year (Dude, I can’t believe I’m referring to 2012 as “last year”!), but it’s something more for my enjoyment than for public reading. The story is like a sequel to another story I wrote-but-never-fnished when I was like 11 or 12 (where Wendy’s granddaughter goes on her own adventure with Peter). It’s so corny and cheesy and cringe-worthy, but I’m in love ^_^. So New Years 2012 Goal No. 19: write that Peter Pan fanfic (and all the rest of my stories that have been abandoned to the depths of neglect. Yeah…).

    I’m so excited for your project! You’re already an incredible writer (no seriously. you’re actual writing ability is rather astounding.) and I’m sure you’ll do Peter justice.

    And you’re flying to London. My jealousy is seriously overheating. >_<

    Looking forward to your projects! And I know this is the first time I've really spoken up (I've kinda been the silent-stalker. I promise I'm not THAT creepy), but I not only really enjoy your stories and writing, but girl, I love your blog. New inspiration, right here. ;D

    ~ Skarlette

    BTW: How long are you staying in London? And have I mentioned that I am jealous?

    • samchaffin says:

      Skarlette! Sorry, it’s taken me forever to comment back because I’ve been traveling without Internet. Anyway, dude, I’ve just got to say that everyone’s Peter Pan ideas are making me so excited, and I think that we should just have a massive Peter Pan party complete with cake and chocolate and other such things.

      And THANK YOU! I’m so glad that you decided to comment haha I love finding out that people actually READ my ramblings here.

      I am staying in London for five months, until June 2013, while taking four courses at Queen Mary University in the East End. Classes started today, in fact! I can’t believe I’m actually here… it’s all completely surreal.

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