So, starting out again, spring in the step (no, spring in the fingers! Despite what you feel about your current laptop, you must not tread on it, it’s not much… but currently it is all you have) a positive expression (no not that grin, it unsettles folk and they move sharp objects out of your reach) and a cherry ‘Up-hoi-Yokka-Huckle-Buck!’ (I stole that from a 1950s MAD feature) I was on my way.
Fourth Book, take two!!
But then came the problems,
Yep! The villians!!
I’d been putting it off, I’d managed to get through 20,000 words without them turning up, but you just can’t go on much longer with various characters alluding to, or being frightened of villains, I mean readers will start to ask ‘What’s the fuss about then?’
And whether I like it or not, within the realms of fantasy fiction you have to have villains. I suppose you could get away with a group of folk battling against some natural event, or unnatural event using raw courage, determination and a few powers of their own….hmmm….yes I could…no-no, not yet, problems have to be faced, shoulders squared and villains produced.
At this stage you might be asking ‘Why so down on villains?’ After all simply, everyone says that The Villain is more interesting than The Hero and you have to have a villain to move the plot along, otherwise where is the tension? Well I’ll grant you this much the late wonderful Alan Rickman’s Sheriff of Nottingham saved the film Robin Hood and if you have read Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country, then Nicomo Cosca the world-weary ever inventive mercenary captain is a stellar creation.
The trouble is, to my mind too many villains have too easy a ride in order to put the hero in a fix, or show how evil they are by disposing of innocents careless enough to cross their path. I recall one very successful thriller writer coming up with a serial killer (I hate serial killers-another time another rant) who managed to get out of jail early because he’d convinced everyone he was now cured of his insanity (sure); in his first confrontation with the hero at a restaurant he mesmerises her with a load of cod-philosophy wrapped up cliché central leaving her unable to respond, all the while I’m thinking ‘C’mon girl, empty the coffee down his trousers or kick his shins under the table. Anything to shut up this dreary chat’.
Then you have the villains who grin, they grin because they are strong or have powers and they wander about picking up heroes and throwing about the place; why do they do that for pity’s sake? They do it in films too. If they are that ruthless and evil surely a quick snap of the neck is in order? And they never stop grinning- until in the last paragraph or scene when the hero manages to do something constructive.
Now in Fantasy as in Action Thrillers you also have to contend with The Armed Servants of the villain. They often grin, well in Fantasy they’d have to have a sense of humour in some of the garish outfits they wear. In Fantasy although they are well versed in various ways of killing people, it would seem they are only good at doing this to peasants, small religious communities or when the odds are at least thirty-five to one; unless of course they also have special powers or the odd spectral being about the place (who may not be able to grin, but would if they could). We are supposed to think these are fearful and formidable folk, but I cannot rid myself of the idea that ‘One line of bowmen, muskets, crossbows, or belligerent peasants with pitchforks and a lot of stones would see them off’.
‘You’re ranting. You’ve not quoted one work as an example’
‘I am not! This is a valid piece of literary general observation…and since when did you get use the italics?’
‘Because you took up 650+ words in normal type that’s why. Now get on with it and tell the good people just what you have done about it.’
‘You spolit the essayic flow of my discourse, I don’t know if I am any longer in touch with my-‘
‘Essayic? What the frib’ sort of word is ‘Essayic’?’
‘I wish you hadn’t interrupted just then, ‘ in touch with my-‘ is open to all sorts of mis-interpretations! Anyhows ‘Essayic’ is perfectly valid, the word is an extension of the word ‘Essay’ by adding ‘ic’ I am simply expanding upon the original noun to the status of an adjective.’
‘Well there may be in the hint of a syntactic role, in the term, I will grant you that, but on checking the word Essayic I am directed to the word Essay each and every time, ergo you’ve made it up. Just like you used to do in the UK Civil Service, it worked there because your guess as to what exactly the legislation meant was as good as anyone’s but now you are dealing with people of discernment who will wonder at the validity of words you create.
‘I think your just being pedantic!…And see-see-see!! That’s my point! You are being a monumental pedant and obviously pedantic! It is exactly the same. So I can use Essayic if I want to! I shall consider devoting the whole blog to matters Essayic and will write just about anything I choose to, in an Essayic manner and will be lauded in my daring use and expansion of the English language!’
‘You will do no such thing! Look at the time you introduced Osselmass as a derogatory term and got into no end of trouble with that German commercial company. It has to be said and you’ve admitted it yourself you have a distressing talent for making up words which are already out there with quite different meaning!’
‘Huh! There you go being pedan-TIC! Words change all the time, if you were to say to a 17th century person a politician was being interrupted by a heckler, they’d want to know what a dresser of hemp fibres was so upset about!’
‘You googled that just this minute to try and give the false impression-
‘Ladies and gentlemen. I must apologise for the two other aspects of my creative character, who now appear to have become quite tangential. Allow me to extend some brevity to this. Basically in the Work in Progress (The Patchwork Warriors) there is a realm outside of our own where dire and fel daemonic things dwell. We have principal villains who intend to harness these dangerous powers. We have placed villains the into four broad categories (A) Dynamic intent on gaining power by any means and cares not how (B) Shallow who use the veneer of familiarity with this realm for their own lascivious appetites (C) Unstable who actually worship the beings as gods (D) Slightly loveable rouges who see this as another string to their bow for making a quick profit. Thus (A) and (D) can be written in a broadly sympathetic roles while (B) and (C) are basically going to be set up for a messy fall at some stage. The tensions and dynamic can therefore be stretched over more than one volume. Thus we address the sensibilities of the spokesman of our team. I hope I have clarified that for you- thank you for your patience.’
‘….And furthermore, there can be no justification in the use of ‘ Extremitations’ even if you are trying to illustrate the complexities of the relationship between this world and the Fourth Realm, it denotes nothing!’
‘ AH..emm!! Emanuel Swedenborg scientist and mystic in his 1744 work on…’
I would suggest dear reader you conclude your current visit to this blog; there is no more to be gained. I hope that by next week there will be less volatility and more structure and we will be able to give you and balanced up-date on the work in progress.
‘It is no use you citing Dr Johnson…’