Wednesday, December 25, 2013

To Sleep, Perchance to Write


I have a confession to make:  I've become a Sleepyhead.  For those who haven't yet heard this term, it's the online name for fans of the new Fox Network dark fantasy series, Sleepy Hollow.  For those who haven't heard of or seen Sleepy Hollow, it has taken Washington Irving's two best known fictional characters, Ichabod Crane and Rip Van Winkle, and blended elements of them into an engaging tale in which Crane awakens in 2013 after a 250-year magical sleep and must join forces with a sheriff's lieutenant to battle demonic forces that are attempting to bring about the End of Days.  (Pauses to catch breath.)

There are many reasons I like the program: The engaging actor portraying Ichabod Crane; the chemistry between the two leads; the mythical premise with its references to Biblical prophecy, Freemasonry, witchcraft and other occult and supernatural elements; and the frequent use of historical flashbacks to the Revolutionary War. 

But aside from those reasons, I think the real appeal for me comes from something else.  For the past two years I have been working on a fantasy novel for which the premise bears more than a little resemblance to the plot of this series.  My protagonist is a man who finds himself awakened in a new time, long after his normal lifespan would have ended, where he must pit himself against the forces of evil.  The details of course differ from Sleepy Hollow, but the basic coincidence of concepts remains. 

I'm not the sort of person to think that any idea I have is an original one, so this similarity doesn't trouble me.  Others have written such stories and will again.  But I do find it interesting that this program has inspired me to write more on my novel than I have in quite some time.  It had been languishing untouched in my "story stub" file since last year, as I lost inspiration and my attention turned to writing other things.  Watching Sleepy Hollow has inspired me to return to this story, to add new details to it and fill in blanks. So, in addition to enjoying Sleepy Hollow for its entertainment value (and for the dishy Tom Mison), I can enjoy it because it led me back to writing.  Anything that inspires me to write is a good thing.