This project started with a crazy idea. What if the pilgrim making the journey was a kid? I wish almost wish I could say that this idea was mine–in fact, I may have thought of it before–but it was my sister mentioning it that got me started writing on what I came to call the Little Pilgrim’s Progress. She initially started with a 24-year old named Hope. I didn’t say it out loud, but I was thinking “Not good!” Not that I have anything against 24-year-olds. It’s just I thought an 11-year-old trying to write from the perspective of a 24-year-old…well I could begin to see some challenges. But soon she had made the decision herself to switch to a younger character.
For me it was as if this had been percolating in my mind for sometime. All I needed was a little nudge. But I had to decide two things: First, I wasn’t going to drop Marianna for this new venture. Second it needed to be short. It was a brilliant concept, I thought, but I wasn’t sure it was brilliant enough to carry an audience’s attention and/or interest for 6+ hours. So the “Little Pilgrim” was to make his journey in about 2 and half to 3 hours–kind of like a feature film–whereas the rest of the series (Pilgrim’s Progress) is like the TV show.
I chose to start with a young boy between the ages of 10 and 14. I went through several names before settling (rather quickly) on Manny and the age of 14. My sincere apologies to any 14-year-olds who feel the tag of “Little Pilgrim” should be applied to someone younger. I had to think of the parents listening who would be like: “How could you have a 10-year-old wander off without an adult?!” Sighs. As it is I’m still gonna get flack for Manny. Especially because of Hope. Yes, I borrowed my sister’s original character–well my version of her anyway. I brought her down to Manny’s age, and have her join him after he’s a good ways into his journey (around the Hill Difficulty for those that know the original Pilgrim’s Progress).
See that’s one of the many hazards/advantages of being an adult. I can see the fun side of having this journey play out, but at the same time I’m thinking, “I wouldn’t advise two 14-year-olds to wander off by themselves.” lol So I have to “budget” their “alone time” so that we keep this family friendly and wholesome. Did I say wholesome? I meant conservative, ’cause that’s safer. lol Alright, I’d better move on.
Another thing I’m doing that’s different from Marianna, or most other Pilgrim’s Progress stories, is doing the narration in 1st person. I want Manny to tell us his story rather than a neutral Narrator telling us about him. I think this helps us connect more with the character–which is something we need to do rather quickly for this shorter story format. Also this provides some unique opportunities for humor. I love using humor, I love to make people laugh and I think Manny will make people laugh. So this will be a “serious comedy…” like it’ll be funny but still have a good solid point to it, rather than being silly–at least that’s the plan.