Monday, July 5, 2010

The First Salvo

Shawn just dropped off his critique of my story (Eric won last round, Shawn wins this round and gets extra credit for precise and well thought out commentary). He points out a lot of things I am already aware of, or that have already been pointed out to me and I have slowly been trying to work on. It confirms a lot of what I've believed about the story for some time. Mainly, that is a decent read, but my understanding of the basics of writing are flawed and need work. Once I finish the current book I'm reading, I think I'll start to focus more on some of the books on writing that I have on my shelf. I suppose that it is about time that I did that.

One of the things Shawn and I discussed was "what exactly is Keroen Skathos?" and that is hard question to answer. He is the creator of the Nel, but that just turns into "what are the Nel?" and I have no answer for that. They are what they are, a race of creatures. Keroen isn't a god or anything like that, he's not an elf or a sorcerer or a god-king or something like that. He just is. He exists. Shawn did not accept that answer and said even I didn't know what he was.

I do, and I told Shawn and Heather. I told Eric as well, but that was years and years ago. I'm not sure if it made anything better, but I've known what Keroen Skathos is and where he came from for a long time. The problem with what Keroen Skathos is and why his sword is what it is and why there is gash on his brow is that this story builds on knowledge presented in a story that does not exist.

Whoa. Paradox.

The whole thing starts with The Death of a Universe, then there is a story that I never got past four chapters of writing, then there is The Nel, The Last Blade (the working title for the Keroen Skathos story), then we move into my campaign world and The One-Eyed Man farce. Keroen Skathos has a part to play in all of that. He is something, its just that what he is, is irrelevant to the finished story Shawn read.

Shawn suggested that I use Nostathon as a means of showing what Keroen Skathos is, citing that Nostathon can see things that no other Nel can. I can see that as a plausible option, but there's no way I can show it that would mean anything to anyone. I can't condense an unwritten story into a paragraph of Nostathon musing about stuff. Nostathon wouldn't even understand it clearly, as it is data from a time before the Nel existed and before Keroen Skathos was what he is in the story. He doesn't even recall his origins, other than as opening his eyes to find himself in a mist-choked forest holding his staff and his sword.

I'm not even trying to be cryptic and mysterious. I'm not trying to create artificial mystery in this stuff. It is what it is.

Regardless, Shawn's comments are much appreciated and give me a strong picture of what I need to work on. Hopefully in the next few months I can put them to good use and shore up some weak points of the story.

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