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An Update on The Fantasy Novel Project

As some of you know, I've been kicking around the idea for an original fantasy novel for a few months now. (Well, really for about ten years, but I've been thinking of actually writing it for only the past few months.)

A few of my April drabbles were me playing around with characters and ideas, one of those characters was that of Maeve.

Now, Maeve is a character that I actually used to play in D&D - she was a "rogue" then, but when I needed a warrior-class character for my fantasy novel, I decided that I would resurrect her and change her into a warrior, rather than a rogue/thief-class.

Because I used to play her in D&D though, I have a pretty firm idea of who Maeve is. I know her personality and I have a certain concrete image of her in my head.

A couple of weeks ago, I was sitting on the skytrain on my way to archery class, and Maeve sat down across from me. Now, mind you, I'm sure this woman had her own personality and I didn't talk to her to find out what it was (because I was trying to not be creepy while I was freaking out.), but the woman who sat down across from me was Maeve, perfectly, TO A TEE. She was absolutely gorgeous, on the smaller side, beautiful black hair, beautiful eyes. She even held herself the same way I always envisioned Maeve holding herself.

The only thing different was the fact that she was Indian. (South-Asian? I don't know even know the proper ethnicity term.)

...and then I realized that everyone (or at least the main cast) in my novel was white.

Eventually, my beautiful perfect Maeve got off the train and all I could do was sit there and wonder, "Why did I ever make her white?"

So, now Maeve is brown-skinned and even more awesome than before (and since Maeve has a brother, he's been appropriately changed as well)... and I've consciously tried to change my "factory-default" settings of making all characters is my own image (ie: white). It works out great, really, because I did have one lone black secondary character before...and now he won't be the odd one out.

In other fantasy novel news... I've realized that while one of my strengths is coming up with really good protagonist characters (IMHO), one of my weakness is not being able to come up with good bad guys. I'm pretty sure this is one of the main reasons that my first attempt at a novel didn't work out so well...(which some of you kindly know because you read it even though it had major problems in the end). I'm just not good at coming up with evil plots or things for the protagonists to battle against.

The problem with the fantasy novel is that I still have this problem. I've once again come up with 5-6 protagonists that all kick ass, and I only have a vague idea of who their opposition is, and even that vague idea of a villain isn't really that well flushed out like my protagonists are.

And to top it all off, the plot that I HAVE set up (vaguely) kind of demands that their enemies be political in nature... like, there has to be a certain aspect of political-conspiracy and power-grabbing and such-like...I don't even know the TERMS for it, that's how bad I am at this stuff.

Even when I was studying history, it was more social-cultural history than political history. But, the tentative plot I've started up requires me to work out internal politics between governments, monarchies, and military...as well as foreign affairs with a neighbouring country... and yeah... I don't know how on earth I'm going to figure all that out.

Anyway, yeah, this is just me complaining that writing is hard.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 22nd, 2013 05:30 am (UTC)
I know exactly what that problem feels like! I have a large chunk of of fantasy novel written (started 25 years ago) and I gave up because I had to come up with a real political story for the intrigue. I have read some authors who do it magnificently--Lois McMBujold, seriously read her Vorkosigan stories!!!!!--but I couldn't wrap my head around it to write it myself. :/
Jun. 22nd, 2013 05:35 am (UTC)
Yeah, that's exactly the thing! It'd be much easier if I made it monster-based adventure, but that would actually go AGAINST the message that I'm trying to get across. :P
Jun. 22nd, 2013 06:22 am (UTC)
Now this may be a silly suggestion, but... have you considered making one of your protagonists the villain?

Hear me out, nobody is a villain in their own mind. If the plot calls for the villains to be political in nature, why not put some of your protagonists on the opposing side and have them fight for what they believe in, which just happens to be the opposite of what your heroes believe in.

From their perspective, such antagonists are still heroes, they can even be good people, they just don't see things the way the heroes see them.

Think of it like the American civil war, the southern states didn't think of themselves as bad guys, they felt they were defending themselves and their way of life, even if from our perspective they were defending slavery. It's a different in emphasis,, in what one side finds important, moral and so on, compared to the other side.
Jun. 22nd, 2013 06:29 am (UTC)
Well, one idea for an antagonist USED to be an idea for a protagonist, until I changed that protagonist's backstory and personality so much that he wasn't a good fit anymore....so maybe I'm kind of already doing that?

But you're right. I have to make my antagonists 3 dimensional and heroes in their own stories, even if they've got it all wrong.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )