15 Nov 2018

The Elf's Prisoner - Commentary 2

Attacked in the Sylvan Forest, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 2.

The focus turns to Jyslyn for the chapter.  An outsider, the attack gave me a chance to get in her head.  This focus meant I didn't have to worry about the overall scene.  Jyslyn's focus is on just her survival.  She has a chance to escape.  Looks like Kazimier got into her head, though.  That one phrase will keep returning.  "It's not what we choose, but why."

For the fight, I used a place holder for the monsters involved.  The cave bear I knew I wanted it when it showed up.  The rest?  When writing in NaNoWriMo, I use placeholders that are easy to find when I just can't come up with the proper name, typically by using a dollar sign in front.  It makes for an easy search later, and the placeholders tend to be unique, like $monster1.  A search and replace in a word processor fixes things up later.  The gnolls weren't even gnolls, just a placeholder.  The reason I went with gnolls is because I was hoping to have a druid wearing a patch of sod on its head later.  That's right, I wanted a grassy gnoll.  Bad puns can drive decisions during NaNo.

The fight is probably the longest I've gone without dialogue.  I tend to be dialogue heavy, but no one wanted to say anything during the battle.  It gave me a chance to just do description.  That is tough to sustain.  The action helped - at least there was something happening - but to have no one talking was odd for me.  That said, it works.

Jyslyn had a few more surprises.  She understands the surface elves.  No one ever asked her.  She just let Kazi and his comrades believe she couldn't.  Jyslyn also returns Kazi's knife, and not because she's surrounded.  She turns Kazi's own phrase back on him.  Jyslyn is there for a reason.

I threw a number of names out at the audience.  I'm not expecting anyone to track all the named characters.  It's just that. for me, a living, breathing world has more people than just the lead characters.  Along with Kazimier and Jyslyn, Carrad gets a name, along with the dead elf, Derluen.  The rest of the elves and even the gnolls have names, they just haven't been determined by me.  But if I needed one, I would have found one.  Kazimier isn't out patrolling with spear carriers and redshirts.  He's there with people he knows.  There's just not enough focus available for each elf in the patrol.

Friday, unexpected travel companions, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 4
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, the importance of casting in adaptations.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, remaking the MST3K classic, Space Mutiny.

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