Writing and Planning

On my relatively brief (12:15 to 2:00) Tuesday/Thursday lunch break (I need to be at college from 8 AM to 3:15, and I commute about 40 minutes to an hour either way), I’ll post some of my general musings about my Arthurian work.

I am THIS close to outlining. I really like all of my characters (Maddie, Bennett, Lance, and Gavin), I like Morgan le Fey as the main villain, I like a lot of the themes and ideas I’m planning to explore*, and I even have a couple of scenes/encounters planned. I finally have a decent idea of who Maddie’s father is and who Maddie is going to be, as well as why she’s important to the team. I have a general idea of how I’m going to end this, and I have an idea of how Arthur is going to come about as well. I even have an idea of how Morgan le Fey’s castle is going to be set up.

But it’s not enough. I’m missing a clear narrative force. Tolkien had the same problem when he was drafting “The Lord of the Rings” until he hit upon Bilbo’s invisibility ring as a possible solution. Star Wars had a similar issue that was solved when Darth Vader became Luke’s father. I need something like that.

I’m imagining the book as a sort of dark, anti-Wizard of Oz where all of my characters come together on a quest to the castle of Morgan le Fey. I just need two things:

  1. Why do they all need to get there? Maddie needs to rescue her father, who is kidnapped because…not telling. But I like my reasoning. So Maddie is fine. Lance sees a vision (and Gavin goes with Lance), but…a vision of what? Why Morgan le Fey? Bennett see a girl committing suicide…but again, why the castle of the Queen of air and Darkness?

I considered a couple of options, and came up with three:

  1. They first decide to go seek out the Merlin tree, the legendary tree in which Merlin’s spirit was trapped by Nimue. Merlin, I note, is the one major Arthurian figure noticeably absent from my version…a big deal, considering how much emphasis he gets in other versions of the legend.

    But this simple quest for a macguffin, even one who can talk, seems a little too easy. I want something interesting.

  2. They could be looking for the Holy Grail – though admittedly, i’m not totally sure what it does yet. Same problem as above.
  3. They could all be looking for Excalibur. This is at least more directly connected to the coming of Arthur, so it works a little better than the Holy Grail – but, again, it suffers from staleness.

So my favorite idea is that they’re all going to the castle of Morgan le Fey. To do…something. There’s my problem:


*I’m specifically planning to talk a lot about the idea of destiny vs. choice. Specifically, I think T.H. White was wrong. He spends a big chunk of the end of “The Queen of Air and Darkness” discussing how Arthur’s tragic fate is sealed when, in a mirror of Oedipus, he sleeps with his own sister. I don’t agree with him, and White his very, very close to the real answer in “The Candle in the Wind”. Sleeping with his own sister, and by mistake no less, did not seal Arthur’s fate. What sealed his fate was when he tried to drown 19 infants to prevent Mordred from growing up.

It was not the tragic formation of the stars that sealed Arthur’s fate, but Arthur’s own choices as a result of his actions.

“The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

– William Shakespeare

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8 Responses to Writing and Planning

  1. Craig N. says:

    Tough to offer advice with no more information than that — but is there some reason Morgan might want to draw them all to her castle? Magicians calling up things they can’t put down is an old and powerful image, and having the villainous sorceress call up the heroes (while thinking she has it all under control) is a spin I can’t offhand recall seeing.

    • You might have something there.

      Hmmmm…Here’s an idea. Lancelot, after his vision, receives “Excalibur” to give to Arthur when he finds him. Morgan le Fey wants Excalibur. Lance (perhaps foolishly) makes the decision to go after Morgan le Fey.

      Bennett and Maddie are the wild cards Morgan didn’t count on, because they come from outside of Britain.

    • Okay. I have whittled the major problems down to one:

      Why would Bennett not go out looking for Maddie’s father, but WOULD look for the girl in his vision?

  2. Thought I would repost my reply to your rather verbose last comment on John c Wright’s blog here:

    Wow. You really do have:
    – Zero grasp of logic.
    – No reading comprehension skills.
    – Tiny working memory.

    I will demonstrate.

    I mean, the fact that you think “No its not” is an argument worth making.

    Even if it were true & your statement was aggressive aggressive, it was still a totally gratuitous outburst in response to my politely pointing out that I believed Mr Wright had made a logical error, fanboy.

    But it isn’t true. Google “passive aggressive” Pretending to care about my feelings whilst insulting is the very definition. You would have to be stupid to try to protest this point any further.

    You then go on to write two short paragraphs, one dismissive, the other condescending. What do you get from that, you gamma moron? Why bother?

    Very well then – you say I’m blathering nonsensically. What part of “I am the only person capable of feeling shame/embarrassment” from something I have done is hard for you to understand? I mean, you can disagree with me if you like & try to claim you are capable of feeling it for me, but that would just make you wierd as well as stupid. Can you really not understand that sentence? Is it just a string of mean words to you, which set off all this yapping?

    Next paragraph, you just go right on & say that I havent said anything at all. Just a bunch of handwaving, really. Maybe this is something that you saw Mr Wright doing & thought you would copy. You could have picked any one of my points and attempted to refute them (apart from the strawman – he’s mine…) but no – hanky waving.

    You commit another fallacy – that as my knowledge of HP / JK Rowling is incomplete, it must be nonexistent & unworthy of consideration. More hanky waving. How pompous of you.

    What a queer creature you are, to be so bothered by my suggestion that there may be socialist themes in a book written by an avowed socialist who donates millions to socialist political parties & has written at least one other socialist book. Let’s imagine for a moment that I was stupid or incoherent, or wrong. So what? Can you not discuss such things civilly, you bleating imbecile? Could you not ignore them, rather than angrily feign ignoring them like a pubescent girl? Its a book about an orphan, a fat kid, a poor kid, a repressed genius girl who are members of a secret hidden elite. It’s for kids. If my kids want to read it, fine. I’d just as soon toss it in the bin though…

    Now then, to the crux of your illiteracy. How may it be explained to your thick head that I am claiming that he was disputing a point that was not made? And that it matters not in the slightest to the truth of my assertion whether that point itself is either true or false, but rather whether or not he accurately represented its position?

    I’m going to have to dissect the next paragraph which is a stunning example of your ignorance:

    “Now, you’re larger point is that you are disputing with Mr. Wright that those on the political right support the second amendment in larger numbers. This is true, but it misses the substance of Mr. Wright’s point.”

    All good so far. You have accepted position B – that he was simply WRONG! But wait, what’s this…?

    “Leftists mean to imply when they say this that those on the right are more cruelly violent. This is completely unproven, baseless conjecture.”

    Yes, and it is A STRAWMAN – because Gierzynski never claimed it, did he?!?!? The only person who “implied” it is the leftist strawman in your head.

    The most hilarious thing about that statement though is that you have subconsciously plagiarised it from my own comment a dozen or so comments up:
    “Fact: Leftists frequently mischaracterise rightwing supporters of 2nd amendment as bloodthirsty zealots or cheerleaders who enthusiastically applaud death”

    so, I said I wouldn’t bother breaking it down because you would be too stupid to get it in any case. I went ahead and broke it down anyway. You obviously then read it & threw it back at me without understanding what it meant. You complete unit! Go back, read it again and weep for forgiveness, if you claim to have a shred of understanding of what embarassment & shame are! (clearly though, you dont…)

    “If they are more violent it’s because they’re the ones defending everybody else if anything.”

    I’ve got nothing to add to that one. I quite like its naive sounding goodies v baddies simplicity for some reason. (Slight panic – are you 12??? Am I, a grown man, really arguing with a 12 year old over the internet? That would be embarrasing…)

    Next up: Belive it or not, I don’t care whether you could be more unpleasant, any more than whether you think your rhetoric has a “point”.

    Now it gets brilliant. Claim number 1 that I was rude first. You make this claim in a public forum where anybody, your imbecilic majesty included, can scroll up, check the datestamps & see that you are talking utter nonsense. The opposite is true.

    Point 2 is the closest you will ever come to irritating me. I hope you enjoyed that mini-triumph. So the interesting thing here to note is that it wouldnt even matter if it were true! Say the socialist author who writes socialist books (er, I mean book) and donates £squillions to the socialists wrote some other books that werent all that socialist. And I didnt even know that! So that proves she cant have any socialist themes in her book and I dont know what I’m talking about! I mean really, is that what passes for a train of thought in the barren wasteland of your conscience? You utter shambles…

    So yes, now please explain why Google search is cheating? You should try it more often – you might learn things, like what “passive aggressive” means. Are we back to the fallacy of “only truefans can have an opinion”? I am never going to read “The casual vacancy”. Or anything else you ever write.

    Your penultimate paragraph is my favourite so far. One strawman to rule them all, one strawman to bind them. No, such a person is not to be taken seriously. How astute of you to notice. How silly of me to think that they… Wait a minute – I see what you did there!!!

    And finally…

    It’s like a little cherry on the cake this one – I’m doing all this because I’m an SJW.

    Let’s savour that little cherry…

    Because complaining about Socialist tropes in literature is exactly what Social Justice Warriors do in your mind, is it?

    You twitchy, foolish little squirt. Learn how to reason & construct coherent arguments before your mind becomes further darkened by such arrogance.

    Go away now then, Malcom, since you don’t need to argue with me. I think you are an idiot. Why would you want to talk to somebody who thinks you’re an idiot? I’m actually embarrassed at my poor judgement in thinking I might be able to reason with you. Your unremarkable wit should have been sufficient warning that you would literally contribute nothing, nothing to my life. The fact that I ignored the evidence of my own eyes is of no credit to anything you have written, I can assure you, but a reflection of the fact that there are indeed many intelligent, talented writers and commentators here whose works and ideas I respect greatly.

    All that remains for you is to realise that you have been bested & to learn not to poke foolish barbs at your intellectual superiors.

    • Your unremarkable wit should have been sufficient warning that you would literally contribute nothing, nothing to my life.

      You are correct. I will contribute nothing at all to your life, and thankfully haven’t tried. Don’t let the door hit you when you leave.

    • (Though I will say – Yeah, haha, clearly I am a mere fanboy of the man who called me “less than a man”, said that I had darkness in my soul and am pathetic, pusillanimous, and craven. Oh, and he told me I shouldn’t be a writer. I never do anything to get on HIS bad side…)

      • peawiddy says:

        Sounds like he got your measure. I mean, have a look at your previous comment – you actually just expressed pride in having zero contribution as your ambition in life. You are successful in that endeavour, at least… What a sad sack. Embrace the light of truth while there is still time.

      • I’ve considered your advice, and decided to accept. I will attempt to embrace the light of truth.

        I suggest trying not to act like an SJW.

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