My A-Z Blogging theme is to cover 26 touch-me-not categories of fiction writing. These are frequently the trouble spots which can be useful components of the story if handled properly, but when rushed through, can cause all kinds of trouble. While the genre is fantasy, the tips can apply to anything, from romance to literary fiction.
While exploring the ruins of an old castle, Mordekai and his sister Monique accidentally destroy an old tower only to find themselves in a different place, or time, entirely. Then a giant goat crashes through the wall and carries Mordekai off, leaving Monique with the unpredictable Princess Mural. They begin their journey to a nearby abbey while Mordekai is dropped off, quite literally, in the villains’ fortress. After a brief fight, he is captured and held in the air while a crossbow is loaded…and fired.
Mordekai held his breath, every muscle tense as the bolt flew through the air. He couldn’t see it, but he heard the sound of the bowstring. I’m dead.
Then a sharp, quick glow cut through the air. He squinted and looked away for a moment, expecting pain and agony every minute. But there was nothing. The air was filled with silence, as though every occupant of the courtyard were holding his breath.
Only to release them in a vehement stream of shouts and yells, all more or less bleated in the strange goatish sounds that he supposed signified language…for them, at least. Mordekai couldn’t make out a word that was said, and the giant goat behind him dropped him in his eagerness to join the cacophony.
He landed in a heap, his wrist twisted as he caught himself, but otherwise, he was fine. Then he saw it.
There, by his hand, was the arrow…and about a foot away was the still-glowing, still form of Brisbane the Bumblebee.
“You…didn’t,” he said softly.
“I had to,” came the even softer reply. “She needs you.”
Then the goat captain came up to him. “He must be shielded by a powerful spell. We’ll take him to the dungeon and await the master’s arrival. He’ll know what’s to be done with the man.”
Then Mordekai was pushed to his feet, and the body of the bee was lost amidst the clatter and crush of goats as they herded him towards the dungeon. He tried to notice every feature of the buildings he was rammed and butted past. I can’t let Brisbane die for nothing. He would have to think of a way to escape before the “master” showed up and revealed the truth about his shield–that it had been nothing more than a faithfully devoted bumblebee, willing to give up everything to protect someone he cared about.
Often, when we think of love, we think of the romantic kind, but there can be (and should be) other kinds of love in a story. Relationships are what makes a story interesting, and it’s the love (or lack of love) that readers want to see played out. In Pride and Prejudice, for example, there’s a cornucopia of love. Even if we just examine Mr. Darcy, there’s a wide range of relational affections that would fall under the “love” category. There’s Darcy’s love for Elizabeth, but also for himself and for his family name and reputation. There’s Darcy’s love for his friend, Bingley, and his hope to keep him from a disastrous marriage. There’s Darcy’s love for his sister, Georgiana. There’s even Darcy’s lost love for Wickham, the young man he grew up with and who was almost like a brother (at least in the way Darcy’s father loved him, if nothing more).
And it’s important to show these “other loves” in your story, because they frame the way the character thinks and acts. He or she wouldn’t do some of the things they do if not for these other loves. Darcy wouldn’t have bothering himself about Elizabeth’s sister if not for his love for Bingley. He also might not have explained himself if not for his love for his family name and reputation…because Elizabeth had just scorned him and insulted him. Similarly, his sacrifice of interacting with Wickham towards the end becomes that much more significant when weighed against how much love has been lost between the two of them.
Most of us do not have one all-consuming love that takes over our lives and is the only love in it, so the more natural, non-romantic loves you can work into the story, the more your readers will be able to relate to your characters and the more well-rounded your characters will be.
Until the next letter,
Copyright 2017 Andrea Lundgren
Photo courtesy of gratisography