Thursday, July 14, 2011

Reflections on a Dormant Story

So, I felt fairly lousy today and instead of doing market research, finished reading through Nightmare in Shining Armor, the vampire/quest fantasy mashup I mentioned yesterday. And I still don't know what to do with it. The mechanics of magic have to be worked out a little better. The contemporary culture references have to be updated. (But I really like the dwarf analog getting into Meat Loaf's "Bat Out of Hell" on a Walkman!) I have not overcome the inherent writing problems of the quest structure, which involves constant changes of scene and transitory characters.

But I like the relationship between Galen, the "vampire," and Bethany, his donor, which is controlled by her until the point, near the climax, when he admits to himself that she's "always been crazy as a bedbug." I like Hathil, the youthful queen who chews her nails and persuades Galen to accept the central quest by admitting that yes, it's inherently a bad thing to do and no, she may not be able to offer him anything he really wants in return. I like the political background and how the international situation keeps banging up against the plot as former allies quarrel over the bones of a conquered territory.

But mostly I love Galen and Bethany's guide through quest territory, Corix, variously known as "Big Brother" (Hathil's name for him), "Hathil's dog," "the queen's Right Hand," "Hathil's half-breed," "Your Efficacy," and various less complimentary things. He's the result of some pretty serious miscegenation, enough that his father's people don't like to admit he exists. He loves his husband, eats appalling amounts of garlic (which is important to the plot), and is supremely good at his job,which boils down to "Making sure Hathil gets what Hathil wants." In context, and if you have my sense of humor, his dialog, particularly with Galen and Bethany, who are veterans of the foster care system and continually pushing against him on the grounds that he's Authority, is often funny in a low-key way.

He's probably a little too perfect.

So I still don't know what, if anything, I'm going to do with this. Better sleep on it.

P.S. The sewing/laundry room has yellow dadoes now! It's gorgeous! This is really happening!


  1. Nightmare in Shining Armor...what a title! HA! "Your Efficacy"...Love it! Sounds like there's humor in this mashup.

    Happy belated birthday and anniversary and I hope you're feeling more like you're used to feeling SOON.

  2. I feel fine this morning. Mostly it's just so damn hot.

    The title is Damon's - he gave me the title and a concept, which I then twisted up. This'd be easier to sell if it were parody, but I couldn't do that. A lot of serious stuff is going down here, plus the inherent grossness of vampirism. Humor, I find, is an emergent property of telling the truth with a straight face.

  3. I have an immense respect for a good title. Some works can't live up to their titles -- or down to them.

    So far my own titles ("The Salmon Cage", "The Christmas Mutiny") seem like INSERT TITLE HERE placeholders for the *real* titles they ought to have.