“…nobody pays me to poke my nose into others’ business.” -Frank Barclay, What Dreams May Come
After I finished The Darkness Is Past on the 12th, I cast around for another writing project that I could undertake during the rest of November. I finished a YA novella I’d been working on before NaNoWriMo (currently waiting for edits and then coming to a Wattpad near you!) and then I thought I’d try my hand at the other NaNo idea I had – a western retelling of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (tentatively titled What Dreams May Come).
I plotted everything out, decided that I’d tell the story from Hamlet’s and Ophelia’s POVs (alternating chapters). It was going to be great. So I started writing and…it was horrible. I guess the writing was technically okay but I hated Hamlet/Harry after writing for two seconds in his point of view (Ophelia/Annie was a little better, but still not right). And Hamlet is one of my favorite literary protagonists! Something was wrong so I set the story aside, thinking that it wasn’t the right time to tell it.
Except that, on Sunday as my family went to church, Fortinbras/Frank started talking to me and wouldn’t SHUT UP. I’ve never had a character talk to me so clearly, with their own voice and everything. So I started writing the story from his point of view and the whole thing was amazing and worked so well and I just…I love it. Even though I’ve done little to no thinking about his goals, motivations, voice, etc., Frank is one of the most well-rounded, real characters I’ve ever written. At least, that’s how he feels to me.
It’s super interesting (and challenging) to tell such a familiar story as Hamlet from the POV of such a minor character who’s in pretty much none of the original story. But it’s working! I’m taking a few liberties with some plot points, as is customary in most retellings, but I’m also having fun with figuring out how to get things across to the reader when Frank isn’t actually present for the important stuff.
I can’t decide whether to cast Frank as Glenn Ford or Dana Andrews because they both remind me of him.
And what is Frank like, exactly? He’s serious. He loves his father (who’s passed away) and wants to honor his memory. He thinks things through, is very gentlemanly where women are concerned, keeps his thoughts to himself, and tries to find the most sensible solutions to problems. He has very definite opinions about people and it’s hard to shake him from them. (He’s an ISTJ, if that means anything to y’all.)
He’s honestly one of my favorite characters that I’ve ever written. I’m excited to continue writing his story and sharing bits and pieces with you!