Many years ago I created some funky lizard characters. I had a theme in mind for these characters and even gave them names. In my mind, the lizard characters had individual personalities. I wanted to create a story for those personalities. It had to be cool and fast moving. It had to be funny and dangerous and different, perhaps even a little way out, oddball, creepy and crunchy. It had to be funky…
For years, these Funky lizard characters circled my mind. What kind of wacky adventure would suite them? I wasn’t satisfied with the storylines flashing through my mind. I knew what I wanted but I just couldn’t see it clearly.
Perhaps I was trying too hard. There were long periods where I just let it go. However, my characters wanted a life. They demanded it. I needed to create a suitable setting for them before I could develop a story. What would be a perfect setting for my Funky lizards?
My Funky lizard characters lived with me for a long time. They became my companions in a way, locked inside my head, waiting for my imagination to get the show on the road.
Persistence pays off
I’ve lost count of the times I’ve read or heard that persistence is 90-95% of success. I knew eventually, something would emerge, and it did. I woke up one morning with an idea. Most of the good creative ideas seem to burst into my brain when I awake after a good night’s sleep. I don’t know where the inspiration comes from or how it works, but it seemed so clear; a dump. Yeah! I could see my characters in that setting, living in cracked tea-pot houses, rusty old cars, tin cans and other wacky homes for creatures that live in a dump.
Okay, so the Funky lizards live in a dump. Now I needed some villians. To get my mind in the right thinking pattern I had to first picture the scene. Another setting began to form in my mind; a swamp. Yeah! The villains lived in a swamp. Why not put the dump in the swamp as well? That would create a conflict situation.
Now my brain was bouncing along with the musical beat of the storyline in my head. Ideas were coming thick and fast. Possible villains were forming in my mind. One-eye and his crow-nees and Rotten Rooney and his swamp rats entered the plot. As the plot thickened, other crazy characters popped up, just right for the part.
My brain moved much faster than my hands. Like a lot of authors, I prefer my word processor to a writing pad. However, my two finger dance on the keyboard is no moonwalk, more like a three-legged race. But the story bounced along nicely and took on a musical theme. The Critterbugs rock and roll band were playing at the dump; Lizard Landing to the folks that lived there. While the rock and roll concert was in full swing, the villains hatched a nasty plan; a kidnap.
The Funky Lizards and a crocodile cousin were chomping mad when One-eye and Rotten Rooney outsmarted them and pulled off the kidnap.
The big lizards wanted a chomp fest. But Hiphop the Swamp Jock, a cool, hip hop lizard suggested they needed a cool, smart rescue plan instead. However, that was not the only problem. Seems One-eye had a gecko feast in mind. Turbo, a popular gecko lived in Captain Benny’s hat. Captain Benny was the Mayor of Lizard Landing (the dump). One-eye had planned a gecko feast for some time. Turbo was at the top of his imaginary menu. One-eye demanded the gecko be handed over as part of the ransom.
I was on a roll now. Ideas were flowing. I wanted some kind of zany peace-keeping outfit in the story. Up comes the Swamp Patrol; a misfit bunch of recruits from the dump, under the instructions of Sergeant Booger.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m fairly conservative in my outlook and behaviour, so where did this book come from?
Imagination has its own rules; i.e. No rules at all. When I create characters for a story, my mind must take on and develop the personality of those characters. So dialogue, characteristics, behaviour and language are all important to the credibility of the character and each character has a different personality and disposition. All this must be clear in my mind before it becomes words on paper. That’s the fun part. Using the right words in the right way is where it becomes difficult and requires days, weeks, months and sometimes years of thought, revision and rework before reaching a satisfactory result.
Having settled on the pace and theme of the story, the title for the book seemed to fall into place; Bog Swamp Boogie
I hope everyone from seven to seventy reads this book. I know you will enjoy it as much as I did writing it.
Review by: Sally Odgers on Dec. 06, 2010 :
Bog Swamp Boogie is a riot to read. The story bounces along like Banjo Paterson on a pogo-stick and the characters are a rich and ripe bunch of bush critters. The fun really does come fast and furious as blackmail, bribery, kidnapping, plot and counter-plot, a stunned owl and escaping maggots all play their part. If you happen to know a nine-year-old boy (or anyone with that delightfully fiendish taste in literature) buy ’em a copy of Bog Swamp Boogie.