So About That NaNoWriMo…
Chapter One turned into Part One, and I wanted to finish Part One before posting it. But about 20k words in, I realized I hated the direction things started going about 5k words back, and I kind of got lost. I fumbled around writing disjointed (albeit amusing) scenes of evil overlord condescension, but I no longer really knew what story I was writing or how anything connected. Part One is basically a lot of back story, but I’m not sure how essential it is to Maldren’s story. Although making things up as I went along worked out last year, I think I need more structure for writing a full story and not just an extended climax.
I guess I underestimated how long writing an immortal man’s life story would take.
I’m not going to post the whole thing that I wrote now, even though I did figure out a better resolution for Part One. Instead, I’m just going to share the part that I wrote to get me out of my “I have no idea what I’m doing anymore” funk. It’s the “why I came up with this story in the first place” part. I dreamed this scene five years ago, and it’s still in my head now. That suggests to me that there’s something worth keeping about it.
In which the evil overlord taunts the rag-tag band of heroes in archetypal evil overlord fashion.
When the four broke from the forest onto the flat ground, they only had a few hundred yards between them and the water. And directly in front of them, between them and the water, was the man they had really been running from this whole time, even though he was not in that pack of pigs that had been chasing them. His dark attire stood out in the bright sunlight. He was the strangest tree sprouting in the middle of nothing, a tall and thin trunk and limbs outstretched towards them but bearing no leaves, no fruit, no sweetness, no other signs of life. He stood there to taunt them. Chances were good that Maldren himself was not actually standing before them, but rather some illusory facsimile made of shadows and mind tricks rather than accursed flesh and bone. But chances were not too low that it was actually the man himself, that they had breached his strength and stronghold deeply enough that he would come out in the accursed flesh and bone to take back what had been taken from him.
Without needing to hear what words Clavius was actually saying at this point, the others knew that his sentiment was clear – run away from Maldren, be he statue or mirage or man incarnate. So they diverted their course to run towards the river on the diagonal, parallel to the edge of the forest. But the river curved, that great massive liquid snake, and bent towards the edge of the forest such that their available ground for running across ran out even faster in that direction than had they diverted the opposite way. It is tough to make the correct, reasonable choice when you are running for your life and the lives of thousands of others and your ultimate enemy can appear before you in the most startling fashion. Very difficult to act rationally indeed.
Demmken, whose voice could boom far louder from far greater resonant depths than the occasionally nasal Clavius, cried out, “The dock!” before the rush of noise overtook them again, redoubled. The others looked towards a river and saw a wooden pier jutting out from the land. There were no boats tied to it, and its purpose at this largely uninhabited place along the river was not immediately obvious. But it could perhaps be to their convenience. They could run along it and get a running start at leaping into the water, perhaps enough to confuse the guards behind them or at least convince them to give up their immediate pursuit. They could dive underneath the water down to the depths and wait out the watchers or wade along the river bed to the opposite shore and some temporary semblance of safety. Or they could use the water to their advantage somehow to shield themselves in a way that the guards would not expect, would not be creative enough to counter. One can often count on the stupidity of a large number of guards needing to make decisions about a scenario that they have not rehearsed. Groupthink befuddlement is an occupational hazard of the evil overlord army-guard-detective profession, one that can be taken advantage of so regularly by those in the heroic rebel profession that it can be counted on practically as a given.
Just saw the new Hunger Game movie. When they’re in the “new training facility” in the capitol, I kept thinking, “I know that glass elevator. I’ve stared up that atrium. That… That’s the Marriott Marquis in Atlanta! I know that hotel!” They even still kept those fake plant things hanging off the railings on the upper floors.
I love recognizing places in movies.
Chapter One will be a long one, covering about nine years of time. But Maldren is born now, so I figure this is a good stopping point for posting a chunk.
I’m still sorting out how exactly the magic system works, but I’m trying to incorporate what I do know about it casually into the narrative. The concept is basically that magic is tied to belief, so if you believe something to be true, even if it isn’t actually true, it can become true “magically.” There’s this intangible medium called the aether and a “substance” called floex that bind beliefs to objects. People have an extra sense for perceiving floex and have also learned how to manipulate it, i.e. “do magic”. This extra sense means that people can experience a physical sensation related to how much someone believes something, which makes it very difficult to lie convincingly. Different people are more sensitive to floex and aether, just like with any other sense. Maldren is particular sensitive to it, which helps make him so powerful. Brighton from last year’s story, on the other hand, is practically unable to sense it, which is why he can’t really do magic or understand it.
Writing Music: “Echoes”, Wish You Were Here, Pink Floyd; “Shine on You Crazy Diamond”, Les Claypool’s Frog Brigade; Madoc, Disparition; Twin Peaks OST; Borderlands 2 OST
Words Total: 4343
Chapter One. In which our hero and villain are born, though the distinctions between these two titles shall surely blur as time goes on.
Run, run, Marageth, run. Run with your child, run for your life and his (though you know not yet that it is a boy you carry), run to where you do not know where you are going. It is along the borders of war where you run, along the vanguards of armies you skirt as you fly for your life and his. The plainsfolk killed your husband, and so you run from them, yes. But in your flight, you cannot see the folk from the sea whom the plainsfolk fight. You cannot see the shifting lines on the kings’ and generals’ maps whose lines your course to safety unfortunately traces. You’ve never met them, nor would they show you if you asked. All you know of their schemes is that their skirmishes claimed an innocent and beloved man, dear deceased Nils, and you won’t have them spill any more of your blood. So westward you run towards the milky skies and the setting sun while you cannot see the armies to the north and south. You only wonder why they seem in constant pursuit.
NaNoWriMo is Upon Us Once More. Beware and Behold!
Oh frabjous day, friend pals! It is the eve of NaNoWriMo! Prepare yourselves for the walls of text! And if you care to read the story, prepare yourselves for the prequel to last year’s ragtag band of heroes’ quest to defeat the evil overlord. That’s right, this year’s 50,000 word saga will investigate the origins of evil overlord Morgan Maldren, the secrets to his immortality and immorality, and the lack of reasoning behind his poor interior decorating choices. I’m excited for writing evil overlord being evil and overlordly scenes. They shall be fun. I’ll also be writing about the Boy’s origins and reveal how his and Maldren’s fates entwine. I know you’ve been dying to know this whole time.
I don’t exactly have a whole plot in mind, nor is Maldren’s character arc super well-defined, but I have several “major life events” and scenes that I want to write out. It’s likely that this year’s novel will consist of independent vignettes lacking structure and connective tissue. Such is the nature of NaNoWriMo. I’ll try to post Maldren’s story chronologically, but no promises.
I’ve had a whole year to think about this story and this world, but most of the worldbuilding and characters are still in flux or undetermined. But the fact that I have expanded on this story at all this past year indicates there’s something here worth exploring.
Also, just a forewarning in case anyone is reading along, the “l” key on my computer is on the fritz, so I may have some weird typos. I’m mostly worried about the ones my spell checker won’t pick up on: word instead of world, pace instead of place, pan instead of plan, and such like. In case you end up wondering.
Let us embark, then, friends! Upon the magical foray into the keyboard-smashing world of furiously-paced imagination.