Marianna (aka Pilgrim’s Progress 3) has been a running project of mine for over twelve years. After reading the New Amplified Pilgrim’s Progress and listening to the audio dramatizations of it, I became interested in a very minor character, who is only briefly mentioned in Christiana (part II), named Marianna. Her husband, like Christian, left the his native city alone because his wife adamantly refuses to join him. So I began writing the story of Marianna’s change of heart and journey to the Celestial City with the intention of finishing it quickly. Since I had never written a feature audio drama before, I didn’t realize just how long these things can take–especially with little support.
I did know one thing: Marianna would be the most epic pilgrimage ever! Perhaps the final pilgrimage! Though now after writing for some time, I question the idea of making Marianna’s the final generation of pilgrims. Don’t get me wrong time is winding down, but I want to leave it open ended to encourage others to go on pilgrimage as well while there is still time. Kind of like Ken Anderson’s version of the story in his 1976 (I believe that’s when they were released) films. Anyway, Marianna has been a great learning experience for me. I started out knowing little about story telling and now…well I still have a lot to learn. But I think I have a better understanding of how to craft stories through my experiences in life, which have in turn shaped me. I know that’s vague–don’t worry I plan to keep a running log where I’ll be more specific about what I’ve learned and where I am in the story.
The Marianna Trench (05-11-15)
Well it’s time for another Pilgrim’s Progress 3 update. So I’m on the next chapter. I think I mentioned wanting to do video blogs on Marianna in the future. I probably will at some point. Just need a good place to shoot–which at the moment is not my room. That’s my most major current project, if you will–cleaning my room! lol
But on a literary note, Marianna is now about to leave Stupidity. In the next few days she will actually leave and begin her journey to the Wicket Gate and the house of the Interpreter, two locations I’m particularly looking forward to exploring. Before we get there though, and in keeping with the themes of Redemption, Reconciliation, and Renewal Marianna has decided not only to redeem her own time but encourage all her people to do so. So with Great-heart Jr.’s help she sets up a meeting with the group of seekers that meets in the Stupiditarian underground. Her people skills are a little rusty after being out of commission for so long. But once that hurdle is cleared things go pretty smoothly. In a final appearance, Valiant Great-heart has an opportunity to reconcile with his younger brother (Great-heart Jr.) and there is some progress on that front. Their conflict has been more of a subplot of the story, and it stems from the fact that Valiant is more traditional in his method of…what shall we call it in this context? Pre-guiding work? Yeah, that’ll work for now. Junior on the other hand, is more imitation method–that is, he tries to do what the Lord of the Hill did during His time in the world. He mingles with the people looking for opportunities to help. As you know, there are many hurting people in this world. So Junior’s aim is to come close to them and introduce the subject of pilgrimage “from this world to that which is to come” after gaining their trust. Before which he hints at it. His older brother Valiant is more of the street preacher type, so to speak.
The truth is that both are needed. But there comes a point when the way forward is imitation. So Junior decides to go that way first in order to not only have a longer run at “pre-guide” but also to more thoroughly invest in the people he’s aiming to serve. I could go on, but this is mainly Marianna’s story. So after their little encounter in the crowd during what I’ll call Marianna’s Invitation, they part ways leaving the future of their relationship uncertain. For Marianna, however the meeting is a great success. All of her people respond to the call and Stupidity virtually empties. This is symbolic. Once the definitive choice for either God’s way or man’s has been clearly presented so all can understand there really is no valid place for Stupidity. Or perhaps a better way to put it would be that no one can make an uninformed choice after that. So the town has no more purpose in allegory land. For that matter, neither do the towns of Darkness or Uncertainty. Destruction will, of course, remain until it is destroyed.
After Marianna makes her invitation she herself leaves with her children and servants. Back when I was doing the second or third draft, I followed Christiana’s experience at the Slough of Despond pretty closely. So I had one of their number slip and nearly fall into the slough. I think this time around Marianna’s Band, as we shall call them, will benefit from Christian and Christiana’s example and avoid those pitfalls. At the gate is the next major moment of excitement, though not quite at the height of what has happened up to this point. If you want to know what I mean find a copy of Pilgrim’s Progress online or at a library (one with both parts) and read the sections about entering the Wicket Gate. I’m not going to say what I plan to do at this point. We’ll save that for the next journal entry =)
’til then, my friends.
The Marianna Trench (02-28-15)
Well I was wrong! Ken Anderson’s version of pilgrim’s progress was done in 1979–if you can trust Wikipedia. They’re usually right more or less in my experience. Alright! So I said I’d keep a running log of where I am in the story. I’m thinking of doing this in video form in the future, but for now the first entry is going to be text. So Marianna is about to leave her native town of Stupidity where she has served as duchess for a number of years. And one of the things I wanted to portray, that was different from Christiana, was kind of this system of government. Now I don’t really get into it because that would be too much and kind of take us away from the purpose of the story. But basically we have a queen and the different rulers of the towns under her. So whereas with Christiana she was just a common person–one of the poor people she had seemingly less to deal with as far as ties to her native city of Destruction. Now she did have, (I was going back and reviewing the story) she did have a confrontation with her neighbors. They they all came over (or it seemed like all of them) to persuade her to stay in Destruction. You know? “Christiana, all you need it to just go back to life as usualy, party, have some fun, that’ll take your mind off all this nonsense.” That was basically their message.
So along the same lines, Marianna also has a confrontation. Now for Christiana it was her neighbors, for Marianna it’s the ruling coucil. Or the governing circle, if you will, of the province of Dark-land. And so I’ve been through a couple different version of this idea (this is without looking at my notes) I think from the very beginning I had a Queen character named Adah; and she was trouble for Marianna, but I didn’t have the perspective of (sort of) peer that I have now until I read the second book of the New Amplified Pilgrim’s Progress. Anyway, so in the beginning I had this conflict and Marianna imprisoned and Paul and Faith having to fight to get her out because the real ruler Dark-land showed up and challenged them. It was really exciting! But I think it took away from this being Marianna’s story. (I may have mentioned before that I love the Great-heart family and would really like to see more of them.) And so after working through this massive battle scene with like 1200:2, and the battle field being set on fire, and all the Lord of the Hills champions (at least many of them) coming down from Shark’s Cove to help Paul and Faith with the double cross (’cause there were actually 4 thousand + more soldiers for them to fight) it was just a royal…a Battle Royale! lol You know, huge!
This time around my process has been to sort of, town down those elements of the story. Now there’s still a battle, (200:2) but I focus more on the emotional impact of the the battles rather than the sheer scale epicness I was toying with as, you know, as a teenager. So I’ve just finished the battle scenes, and now we’re on to a more personal (post battle) scene with Marianna and Adah (the queen). Now originally, Adah was the big bad Queen who banished them (Marianna and her children) and tried to kill them and…and then she was gone. They left Stupidity and she burned their house (this was before I knew Marianna was a duchess) and that was it. She was the bad guy. But…well I’m a big fan of redemption and redemptive stories, and so I think it was the second or the third version Adah’s Revenge (the chapter I’m rewriting) that I had Adah have a change of heart or, actually I think the idea was she wanted revenge on the Dark Emperor, or something like that. Very fantasy-esque. This time around, I am again simplifying the story. There’s no need to make Pilgrim’s Progress the next Lord of the Rings, or whatever. lol (I wasn’t trying to do that, btw.) But again, going back to the simple question: “what is the message of this story? What is it trying to say?” I think it comes down to redemption, reconciliation, and renewal. So the idea now is that it was some sort of personal vendetta that Adah has against Marianna; she tries to get revenge but Marianna shows kindness and hopefully that kindness will persuade Adah to at least consider what Marianna has found. So that’s where I am right now dealing with these concepts, and these have been the themes of the first 3 chapters of Marianna. The Redemption, Reconciliation, and Renewal–I haven’t really thought about them that much–at least I didn’t try to distill them into those three words until now. (Which this log is helpful for me.) But that’s the basic. I think for the next few chapters, chapter 4 certainly we’ll see a bit of smooth sailing, we don’t want to keep the tension on too long. But I think as for the next chapter, we’ll see the challenges and dangers get more subtle. Right? Less dramatic, kind of quiet…I know I can’t keep it that way through the whole story, but at least I can introduce the concept that the Pilgrim way isn’t dangerous because of Lion’s or Giants, or Apollyon, or the Shadow of Death. It’s dangerous because you’re in constant danger of losing your focus. There are distractions–even peace is a distraction, you kind of get off your guard and lose things–like Christiana forgot her bottle of juice while resting at the arbor on the Hill Difficulty. And because of that they had to take extra time away from going forward while her son ran back and got it. So things like that. Not huge or earth shattering by any means, but important nonetheless.
Alright, now that you’ve read my thesis, I’m going to bed xD
Until next time!