I Survived the Tower of The Great Few and Lived to Write About It: Part 2

Posted: Friday, July 15, 2011 by Matt Xell in

In September 2006, I, unknowingly, said goodbye to the first iteration of Ryan Thompson, when I finished Of Fire, Of Ice ( which was a nice school romance type story -- complete with a love triangle between two girls named Jill and Lindsey and a school dance ... Ryan didn't end up with any of them) and I begun discussing my next writing project with my brother and I my friend, Mike. I'd read a quite a few books of Lemony Sniket's A series of Unfortunate Events that year and the previous one and I really liked how different they were from most children's books and I decided I wanted to write and pencil a series of graphic novels like that.

After playing with several ideas I came up with a title and a working premise for my new series. I called it The Narrow Escapes of Ben Benns ( I think that's what I called it). It would be the story of a spoiled and mischievous 11 year old-boy (kinda like Dennis the Menace), who is sent to live with his two aunts; Miss Mistry and Miss Twisty (that's right kids, there's some Ves Asirin Trivia for ya). Miss Mistry ( a play on the word Mystery) would be a kind and sweet woman, whilst Miss Twisty ( a play on of the word Twist) would be a cruel and strict woman, both would be in their middle ages. The story would be set in a distant  and creepy 18th century town in England whose inhabitants were not at all who they said or seemed to be. The story would have supernatural elements but there would be no excessive use of powers, Ben himself would have none. It would be a much darker than Ryan's stories ... a serious although comical tale with lots of moral issues ... violence and death, lots of death.

And then of course the Good Lord and His power cosmic intervened and made the story greater ...

I don't remember the exact order in which these things happened but all them brought Ves Asirin vividly to life ...

In the last days of the month, when I was seated in the living room watching MTV, I saw the video for Placebo's new single Song To Say Goodbye from the album Meds. I fell in love with the song and the video right away. The video told the story of young boy taking care of his father who had either just gone through a divorce with his wife, or maybe she'd died or maybe he was just going through a midlife crises or all three ... I dunno dude, but the screenplay was brilliant. And this 8 year-old, dirty-blonde haired kid, in a red hoodie in  the video ( a miniature Feild Cate) was so amazing and so intriguing ... he impressed me so much, I thought 'Wow, that kid would make a great main character in my stories, cooler than Harry Potter even' ( I boast ... I joke:). Of course at the time I'd already worked out the look for Ben in my new series, so I'd create a character based on that one kid for a later story.

Also, I don't remember too clearly but I must have seen the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie that month or at least that year (everyone that said that TPM's premise was like that one book, your suspicions were true) but I clearly recall watching a remake of House on Haunted Hill in the dead of night and knowing for sure that I'd dream about it somehow.

The dream was ... the nightmare was similar to those two movies but much, much different ... a bizzare meshing of the two movies and something extra ... something more -- that part must have been my imagination's doing, but it would change my mediocre life forever ...