21 Mar 2019

The Elf's Prisoner - Commentary 21

Back on the road, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 21.

Again, a reminder that The Elf's Prisoner is a work in progress and nowhere near as complete as other stories that needed finishing, like The Soul Blade and The Devil You KnowNaNoWriMo's goal is to get 50 000 words written in month of November; there's nothing about having a completed story by the end.  Those 50 000 words go a long way to having a finished draft, though, unless you're writing science fiction or fantasy, where the typical novel is 100 000 words.  Still, half a novel written in a month goes a long way to finishing it.

My unfinished world got expanded again with the addition of the Nicean Islands.  Since I was using the lower mainland of British Columbia, I had an idea of what could work for an island nation or, in this case, a nation of islands.  I even started getting a few ideas of what the Niceans were like, from having a strong mercantile navy to a potentially different type of magic.  All for a corpse.

The corpse is what changed the events of the past few chapters from a random encounter to a plot-related encounter.  Why was there a fire?  Why was it set?  Who set it?  *Bam!*  Back on the plot.  With the general plot the villains have - start wars between nations then move in to take them all over when they're weakened - adding another nation into the mix wasn't a problem.

Outside adding the Niceans, I added a bit more worldbuilding in the chapter.  The Blooding, a dark elf rite of passage, at least according to the people on the surface.  If the Accursed elves even found out about the name, they'd laugh, then gut the person who informed them.  It's not a formal rite, like baptism and confirmation, a bar or bat mitzvah, or a quinceñera.  It's more like engineering students suspending a car from a bridge, something that got started once, then continued because the participants found the event fun.  The difference is what I found key, what one culture sees as kids being kids*, another saw as a formal, dangerous rite.

I have a pattern to my writing which comes out during NaNo because of how useful it is.  I have an event happen, the characters react, then the characters reflect and discuss.  During NaNo, while the characters are relfecting, I can look ahead to the next plot event.  I am trying to at least get the cycle to be more smooth and less noticeable.  It helps if I have an end point to aim at while writing.  The Elf's Prisoner had no such end point, at least not when I wrote this chapter.  The goal was starting to form to be something beyond just 50 000 words.  An intermediate goal came up, though - get the characters to the Realm Under the Mountain, the home of the dwarves.  Having a short-term goal does help.  It gave me a direction, which this chapter did go in.

Friday, the Gashed Axe, in The Elf's Prisoner Chapter 22.
Also Friday, over at Psycho Drive-In, Carmen Sandiego.
Saturday, over at The Seventh Sanctum, the evoution of TV viewing.

* "Let kids be kids," is one of those phrases that needs to be tossed into the trashbin of history, along with, "boys will be boys."

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