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Remaking a literary story

Geometry Girl has its roots in a serial story I wrote years ago for the now-defunct local edition of Official PlayStation Magazine. It was called Ninja Gimmick Girl, and it appeared from August 2008 to July 2009, with an illustration by Gauthier de Booseré (see above).

It was about a young game developer who visits the E3 games trade show in Los Angeles to sell his game idea; he fails and nearly goes crazy in the process. I based it on my own experiences as a games journalist, especially my love/hate relationship with E3’s (empty) spectacle and (unrealistic) dreams. I put a lot of Bret Easton Ellis into the story, and not just in spirit, as the protagonist reads Less Than Zero during his trip.

Ninja Gimmick Girl had to be written quickly (partly my fault) and was published on a monthly basis, so I could never revisit earlier episodes. I always felt the story had more potential, so with Geometry Girl I’m going to completely re-imagine and rewrite it. It’s one of the project’s most straightforward ideas and probably its earliest starting point.

Some of the things on my wishlist: I want the lead-up to the ending to flow more smoothly. I want to bring in more warmth and emotion, as it’s currently quite abstract. I want it to reflect on videogames more than it does right now. For a long time, I thought I was going to describe ‘E3 2001’ in a more historically accurate, researched way. Instead, I’m going to bring it to the current day and make it more fictional, tying the story in with a long-gestating epic novel I’m hoping to write next.

The project is not just about unfulfilled potential, though. I like to see Geometry Girl as a literary remake of sorts, mirroring those in the movie and game industries. Of course there are examples of authors revisiting the same source material at a later age, but I want to see what happens when I dive back in with more writing (and life) experience. And I want to add my interdisciplinary collaborations into the mix.

That’s one reason why I haven’t rewritten it yet: I want to do that while looking at sketches and mock-ups, and while listening to sound effects and music. And I want to preview my drafts in prototypes of the app that readers will be reading in.

Another reason is the notion of having a pre-production phase and taking it seriously: I want to develop my characters, plot, structure and style before I start writing.

Finally, for now: I’m looking to do some of my writing in public, and somehow use readers’ feedback in the process. That’s why I’ve put the full text of Ninja Gimmick Girl, the prehistoric version of Geometry Girlonline as an ‘open draft’.

If your Dutch is up to snuff, feel free to read the thing and add your thoughts (anyone is free to add comments). My general sense is that the idea is good, but the execution is lacking, so I’m throwing most of it out and am starting from scratch. That’s why I’m most curious about feedback on what parts to keep.

Next up: how I’m using a cartoonist’s sketches to develop my cast of characters.