I love watching a story be grown, or built, or drawn, or whatever metaphor you prefer to indicate something new being created.
Yesterday my clone-sibling read to me a couple of chapters from his WIP sci-fi novel. Good stuff there, even in first draft. Fun stuff, at least looking at it from the outside — I’m sure the characters involved have a different opinion. There are a few things that I think will need to be rearranged during revision: I think he may be showing his hand too soon with one of the sub-plots, and I want more to be said about one minor character because it’s an important bit of foreshadowing for someone else. On the other hand, this is only 25K words into the first draft of a long novel (the others are upward of 140K words each, so this one will be around the same), and I’m probably just getting impatient for more story and stuff. This could be a disadvantage of the audience knowing things the characters don’t — wanting them to find out so the plot can then deal with the consequences of that information getting out. Looking at it as a storyteller, I can say that the foreshadowing especially ought to wait.
So. Geoffrey has now been introduced to Cricket (despite Riksen’s protests), and he has met Deegan (although he has no clue who Deegan really is — nor does the admiral, for that matter, or anyone else in that place), and he has just met Hrothgar Tebrey. That was an interesting scene… Now I’m looking forward to when Geoffrey meets Tebrey’s brother. (I am not looking forward to him meeting Jon’s brother — you know, the one who’s related to Jon pretty much the same way Tebrey is related to Hunter. Oh, wait, I’m supposed to give a spoiler alert before saying stuff like that, right? My bad… *totally unrepentant grin*)
Geoffrey is a useful character in this series because he is, out of all the characters, the person with whom the reader has the most in common. He’s not an Everyman character, but before he met Drake and Jon and got caught up in all sorts of strange adventures, he was a normal (notice that I do not say average) university student attending a school in the American Midwest. If you’re not like Geoffrey yourself, you at least know someone who is. (Except for the part about being friends with someone like Drake. I’m fairly sure most people don’t have that problem.) He’s going to see things from the viewpoint of someone who grew up in the early years of the 21st century here on Earth.
How convenient that we didn’t even have to twist the storyline to get a character like him here… 🙂
I sort of promised a post about dramatic irony, didn’t I?
How about a post about a really good new television series instead?
Quite a while ago, I briefly mentioned a TV series titled New Amsterdam. Even aside from the amusement (and annoyance, because some cheesemonkey will accuse me of stealing from this show, never mind how real-world timeline makes that impossible — or how dissimilar it is to anything I’ve ever written) of the main character making a bit of money on the side by forging his own work and passing it off as authentic antiques (instead of new things made by the same person who made the old things), I greatly enjoyed the story and was disappointed that the series didn’t last even one season. I think, however, that happened because there were some serious flaws in how the story was told, its pacing and what was emphasized.
There’s a point to all this…
A television series titled Forever started last month. I am not the only person to see strong resemblances between it and New Amsterdam. (One of the people my clone works with noted the similarity in a conversation with him last week, and she’s a normal — normal in this case meaning someone not created by mad scientists to have an uncommon knack for pattern recognition — so I know it’s not just us imagining things.) This time, it looks like the storytellers are getting it right, at least so far.
Anyway. Dramatic irony, when the audience knows something about a story that a character in the story doesn’t know. (A classic example is from Romeo and Juliet: Romeo doesn’t know that Juliet isn’t really dead, but the audience does.) The writers for Forever have big fun with it, frequently having characters say things that other characters will take differently from what is meant. The audience, of course, knows enough about what is really going on that the misdirections and misinterpretations are a source of amusement. Not that the story is in any way a comedy, and dramatic irony also heightens tension/suspense: the audience wonders how long the main character can keep his secret — it would be bad storytelling if no one ever found out — and what will happen when he can’t.
(On behalf of one of my own
imaginary friends fictional characters — who cannot say it himself because the subject matter is way too close to home — I should point out that, technically, a person who vanishes at the moment of death cannot be dissected. There’s a different word for it which is more accurate and more ugly. I’m sure Dr. Henry Morgan knows that word, even if the people writing his lines don’t.)
Other things about this show amuse me, too: A comment made by Abe that “Not all of us are going to look thirty-five forever, you know” had my clone and I laughing all out of proportion to how funny the comment was intended to be. (Had it been any other number, we wouldn’t have laughed so much; it’s just that thirty-five seems to be the preferred ‘default setting’ for people who don’t age noticeably over the course of a normal human lifespan. Because claiming thirty-five is always safe, right?)