Two Heads | House of Secrets

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini; Read: August 2013
House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini; Read: August 2013

Dear Messrs. Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini,

Hi!

Just yesterday afternoon, I finished your book, House of Secrets. I first heard of it through a radio show, I believe. And when I saw it on display at a bookstore, I was intrigued. Congratulations on getting praises from J.K. Rowling. She may be one of the reasons why I bought the book—but she isn’t why I kept reading it. I kept at it because the book looked promising.

As I began reading chapter one, a particular question kept popping in my head: how do two authors write one story?

I’ve worked on articles with other people. Sometimes it’s easy. Other times, it’s not. So how did the two of you divide the work? You separated the story arcs or chapters? Whichever method you used, how did you keep the characters’ personalities faithful from the start until the end? Did both of you conceive all the characters or were some contributions from just one of you? That’s possible, right? And—if it is—then when the other guy who did not contribute the particular character wrote about said character, was the rendition as accurate as possible as the first conception? Or did you have to consult each other every single time for the characters’ quips, movements, emotions, and thoughts? As for the consultation, didn’t you find that bothersome or just dismiss as part of the process?

Had you worked on this alone, what would have changed?

Enough of my questions, though. I have no idea if anyone has told you this but—upon meeting the Walker kids and discovering their traits—I couldn’t shake off the idea that I was reading some sort of nod to the Baudelaire kids of Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (ASOUE). A trio of orphans (for a while), the eldest is a smart girl, middle child is boy with a great memory, and the youngest is an almost fearless girl, whose adventures started because their house was destroyed and they have to battle terrible forces to get a happy ending.

Plus, House’s paperback version has the same frayed edges that the pages of the hardback version of the ASOUE have.

Well, anyway, I agree with Rowling. House did offer such a fast-paced adventure. And I did have that feeling that it wouldn’t end with just one book. It was one kind of a rollercoaster ride. Although it is likely that I may not read the next one, I wish you both the best with the sequel. Or is it sequels? Whichever.

Sincerely,

Mati Serraño

 

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