Thursday, 30 October 2014

Guest Post: Seth Patrick's Five Things About The Returned!

Camille: A young girl wakes cold and alone on the side of a mountain, with no memory of how she got there - and no idea that she died four years' ago. When she arrives back home, her family are both thrilled and terrified. How can such a miracle be real?
Simon: A troubled young man comes back to find his fiancée is betrothed to another man. Jealous and angry, he cannot forgive that she has moved on with her life.
Victor: An enigmatic boy refusing to speak, possessed with a strange intensity that gives no clues as to his intentions. He's lost. Equally as lost as the emotionally vulnerable Julie to whom Victor gives a reason for living.
Serge: Tormented and driven by a hunger so overpowering that not even death could keep him from his desires . . .
The Returned hit the UK in July 2013 on Channel 4. It attracted nearly eight million viewers over the eight episodes and quickly became a cult phenomenon with high-profile fans such as Stephen King. It's been shown world-wide, and won an International Emmy for Best Drama. With fantastic audience support, and amazing reviews in the press, Pan Macmillan is thrilled to be publishing novelizations of the first two series written by the author of The Reviver, Seth Patrick.

The Returned is now published in the UK and is a great read - I haven't seen the show and I loved it! Seth Patrick's writing style really draws you in and the whole atmosphere and story is seriously creepy - perfect reading for Halloween!

Here's a guest post from author Seth Patrick, which lists five things about writing this tie-in novel. I hope you enjoy reading it!


The Returned: Five things
by Seth Patrick 

1: It’s based on the award-winning French TV series. 

Included in the material I had access to were the original French scripts. I can’t speak French, so Google Translate was invaluable. Also, hilarious: as well as randomly translating the name ‘Pierre’ as ‘stone’, it could often raise a wry smile:

“Answer the questions synthetically!”
 “Over time, they have magic chopsticks.”
“This is due to the cleavage.”
“Alcide comes send us a picture Cannibal robot.”

It all reminded me of my French homework at school.

2: It has hints about the next season. 

Everything is explained through a cunning series of acrostics and anagrams! Simply by rearranging the letters of the chapters, a full explanation can be found!

OK, that’s not true, but they had to tell me some stuff. They had to. My first draft stomped all over some crucial aspects of the second series, so they were forced to reveal the broad plot. On pain of death, should I spill it.

I asked them if I could put in some hints. I thought that’d be fun. They said: No hints!

So I put in some hints. Some red herrings, too, of course. You have to, really, don’t you?

3: Writing it was great fun. 

My first novel, Reviver, took seven years to write. Were my publishers crazy to offer me The Returned, if it might be the year 2020 before it saw publication?

Of course they were crazy!

Luckily it didn’t take seven years. It turns out that being limited in what you can change makes for a hugely enjoyable writing experience. You get to tweak things, and hopefully make them work better; you get to iron out some of the inevitable plot wrinkles. But you don’t have to continually question every single aspect of the entire novel to the point of insanity.

Hence: fun!

4: Story archaeology.

As I said, I had the original French scripts of the show as a resource, so I got to see how things had changed in the final phases of production. This can be a mixed blessing, of course. George RR Martin once wrote: “Writing is like sausage making in my view; you'll all be happier in the end if you just eat the final product without knowing what's gone into it.”

For a writer, though, it’s educational to see how a story has evolved – what minor (and major) changes were made as a work developed, all the while hopefully strengthening the end result, tightening it, making it stronger.

It’s exactly the same process that a writer takes on with successive drafts of their own book, where a clunky and dull mid-section is turned into a breathlessly gripping, plot-driving powerhouse, say… And no reader would ever even think that the original version had existed, because it all fits together so naturally.

(There’s a general rule about writing that seems effortless: it wasn’t.)

Of course, there are differences between the series and the novel, and so people who have experienced both will be able to judge whether those changes work. I’m interested to find out how that goes…

5: If the series is anything to go by, the French smoke a lot. 

Seriously. Even being dead doesn't stop them.



Thea Wilson said...

We watched the French version when it was on last year and found it all rather confusing, intriguing but confusing! Does the book make any more sense that the show?

Thea @ Gizzimomo's Book Shelf

prophecygirl said...

Thea, I've actually never seen the show but the book is making perfect sense so far!