Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Funniest Story Possible

(Reposted from 10/15/08)

When KL and I were younger, we used to participate in an acting/improv group that had us write a script based on a certain set of parameters (i.e. Create a play complete with props and costumes that incorporates the cultural event or tradition of a different country and costs less than some dollar amount). The most fun part about being in this group was getting to figure out how to juggle what we had so we could make the funniest story possible with the most ridiculous props and the best costumes at the lowest possible price.

Relating it back to writing, the most fun part about writing SFA with KL is that, while we’re always sure of what we want the end product to be, we’re not exactly sure how we’re going to make it. Writing SFA is trying to juggle all the pieces of what we know about our characters and world and to weave them together to make the best possible story.

In picking and choosing scenes from characters’ lives, though, we end up missing moments. Wisteria, Rai, Averi, and Fell have so much more going on in their lives that KL and I don’t even get to imagine, much less write about (though side scenes are written enough that some of the blanks are filled).

I suppose, when you’re writing a plot-driven story rather than a character-driven story, some of the character elements you’d like to explore get pushed to the side in favor of what elements will move the story along.

Thank goodness for blogs.

Then, I get to indulge in all my writing whims…and post things like this excerpt from the chapter, “The Easdenian Compendium” in The Guide to the World:

“THE TERM: MONASTERY: Monasteries are isolated groups of people who adhere to and live by a certain code dictated by a common system of belief. This system of belief is usually the basis for that monastery’s study of a specific Rune set. Every monastery has its own set of norms, rules, and laws.


On Location: The Ling Monastery is located on The Divide, a plains-land located geographically smack in the middle of the Northern Ridge, a jagged and dangerous mountain range on Easden’s northern coast.

On System of Belief: The original founder constructed Ling Monastery at this site because it was the perfect representation of balance—serenity and life among turmoil and death. It also was a place ideal for the teachings of the monastery: the focus on the balance between creation and destruction.

On Language: Being a convenient place for mountain travelers, the people of Ling Monastery cherish and know both the Easden northern languages and Norn coastal languages.

On Names: While it may seem that Wisteria’s last name links her to power because she is a Ling in Ling Monastery, her last name (or variations of it) are quite common. Also, when people who are raised in Ling Monastery leave for sabbatical, they tend to attach the name “Ling” to signal their origin and method of training. This may or may not be true of all monasteries.

On the Culture: The Ling Monastery tends to be more isolationist with respect to the royal court than other monasteries may be. This is, in part, due to its location. The people don’t tend to be xenophobic, however, and often encourage their eldest children to go on sabbatical or on a journey for betterment of self…”

Anyway, blessings to those who suffered through that. I always wondered why fantasy authors delighted so in creating glossaries and compendiums about their worlds.

It’s deliciously fun.



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