The Last Viking Returns

First Draft

5 Comments

Now that the lovely Kris Williams, fifth member of ABBA,  has mightily, regally and graciously  launched Little Knut, the Last Viking, off on his first voyage, ( just did I just hint at a sequel then?) I thought you might be interested in seeing the very first draft I did of the story, late on a Friday night two years ago at a Rottnest Island Writers and  llustrators camp. This was few hours after having  first seen James’ drawing of the little knight and me suggesting to him we might like to do a story together about a boy who dresses up like  a Viking.

Having announced that to James, and, unfortunately,  a lot of witnesses sitting close by,  I then panicked and thought I had  better actually produce something for him to illustrate. Hence the late night and the hurried scribble. Had there not  been witnesses I could have told him next morning he imagined it and was having nightmares.

Should you be able to read my writing, you can see lots of elements of the story that ended up in the final draft, although not in any order, because  at this stage the ideas for what Knut  looked like,  what happens to him, what  he  does, and the consequences, as well as a real plot, were still swirling around in my head like a Longship caught in a whirlpool at the edge of the known world, where there be dragons.  Had I known how much work the next two years would entail for me, but especially for James, I might have let the Longship be hurled  off the edge of the world, along with my images of a small boy carrying on like a barbarian in his grandparents’ back garden.

Then you see a sight like this, with all the piles of brand new, shiny books lined up like precious gems and holy books plundered from  the castles and monasteries of  Northumbria,  and they have your name on the cover! And you think, idiot, what ever could you have been thinking?  It was worth every rewritten page, every substituted word, every ditched idea,  every mild disagreement over words OR picture, because you can’t have both,  and every sketch worked, reworked and reworked ten times over.

As you can see in the draft about halfway down, Knut’s shield was to be a Volvo hubcap. That  had to be changed when we made the Gods accidentally drop a shield to Earth from their celestial Longship, so we could hint that the action might actually be happening  in real life and not just in Knut’s head.  I’m still wondering, however, would Volvo Ltd have come after us with a Thing full of  lawyers and a string of copyright  lawsuits for using their logo?

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Author: normanjorgensen

I'm an Australian writer of books for kids and teenagers. I like traveling and seeing the world, especially through the the lens of my camera. I'm addicted to old movies, red wine and books and decent music.

5 thoughts on “First Draft

  1. Brilliant, Norm! Thanks for sharing this. It’s a nice insight into your process and a good reality check. I’m still waiting for that perfect story to drip effortlessly from my pen! Doh!!

  2. Hi Caz,

    Effortlessly? You’ll be lucky! I’m still waiting as well.

    I have noticed most literary stars reckon it is easy to become an overnight success – just work at it for 20 years.

    Good luck. xN

  3. That’s so interesting, Norman. I love seeing early drafts. Cheers!
    By the way, what are the button thingies at the bottom?

  4. Hi Meg,

    Thanks.

    The buttons are from my Livescribe pad. You can get Livecribe pens from Amazon and Officeworks for about $200. They record your pen strokes on the embossed paper and then you can upload it to Word. They also records sound at the same time. Good in meetings and lectures or if you talk to yourself. It appears exactly as you wrote it, but is also transferable into text. Good if you don’t have your laptop with you, or like me with seriously crappy typing. I don’t use it as much as I could though because the biro is rubbish and I like roller ball pens.

    Might see you Saturday. – it is just down the road from us. xN

  5. No wonder you need editors. Reading that back it seems I was about to burn a mouse. In a kids’ book! Yikes. But then when James did the funeral scene, if you look closely you will see he set fire to Teddy. Maybe I’m not that bad after all. 🙂

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