- Summary of narrative beats extracted from original folktale
Here is my summary of narrative beats I took from Lisa Schneidau’s folktale called The Clearing In The Woods. This was the first step I took to find the story I wanted to tell.
2. Review of first stab at the story.
There were elements in the story I wanted my adaptation to focus on and large portions of the story I wanted to leave out. The elements I wanted to leave out were the following -
- I did not want the central character to have a defined ancestry. For this reason I decided to do away with the mother character completely. I wanted Percy to be a natural occupant of the forest.
- The quest of the Holy Grail was too big a subject to address in my version of Percival’s story. I decided to keep this out of the story. However the spirit of the boy’s journey to find truth was retained by his journey back to the forest.
Elements which I wanted to focus on and adapt for my narrative purposes.
- His relationship with the birds of the forest
- I wanted to use the meeting of the three men in the forest as the first transition point.
- His mother’s lessons before he leaves the forest is adapted by the tuition given to Percy when he arrives in Camelot.
- Percival’s innocence throughout the story.
- The wandering in the forest was transformed in my story by Percy’s wandering through the streets of Camelot.
3. First draft of my picture book text.
From these initial decisions about the plot, I prepared the following text for my first draft.
When I prepared my Dummy book there were issues with the story which became most apparent when I was able to share the book with my group during the mid module review. The key issues revolved around Percy’s arrival in Camelot. He too quickly lost interest in the city. There was not enough of a transition from him discovering the wonders of the new environment to ultimately wanting to return back to a natural setting. There was also the issue of buying the instruments from the musicians. It seemed to make sense to use the king’s money as a way of Percy bring something back to the forest as a gift from civilisation, but it almost felt like a type of colonisation in reverse, and it felt unsatisfactory.
I also was trying to squeeze too much text on some of the pages, which stilted the flow of the narration. Although I was trying to keep down the number of pages of the book, it became apparent that I would need to stretch out some aspects of the story, to give the narrative space to breathe.
4. Final draft
So after the mid module review I adjusted the text a couple of times and finally landed on this version of the story.
There were moments in the previous draft which felt too brief. For instance there was not enough time spent with the Knights. So I detailed some of the aspects of the Knights which Percy was most drawn to, namely their hats and moustaches. I also added in an illustration of the Knights and Percy having a cup of tea together to emanate the period of time they spend together in the forest. After some guidance from Becky Palmer, I also gave a narrative pause to the point when Percy realises that despite his wealth and popularity something is missing from his life. As Becky said ‘it deserved a page turn’.The other aspect I developed was highlighting the relationship between the bird song and the instruments being played at the festivities. This I hope gives extra prominence to the bird’s influence over Percy.