Saturday, February 15, 2014

Small break, as I figure out the next scene :)

It's always interesting to read comments and go "well, yeah...." Ended up browsing a tor article and came across a comment by Jo Walton:
It's much harder to write fantasy that avoids saving the world than it ought to be, and I think that's really worthy of consideration.
To some extent, this exists in many novels in a not-explicit form (the 'world' the character saves doesn't have to be literal, after all, and can be as small as friends/family/relationships). The magician series of stories is a direct 'nope' to this. There have been towns saved, and creates from Outside the universe dealt with but I began it meaning it to be small, that the magician is, in effect, a kind of janitor who cleans up small problems. And that's it. There are magicians who protect whole cities, being tied to the place in exchange for power, and they tend to have limited impact on the city proper, mostly making sure things remain the same in the world.

I like reading 'save the world' series. I have no desire to write one, and that does seem to be where most series end up* if they run long enough. Stakes get raised, the existence of magic changes a world, and so on. Most novels I write that don't directly deal with that issue avoid it. Sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. The magician series is going to get more explicit about that as it goes on, not that it's above the magician's pay grade but also above his power and what magic can do. The world outside the door in it is normal in the series. Most people have entirely normal lives. If magic could change the world, it would. It hasn't, but being a magician is still an important thing, perhaps because it helps stop the world from becoming the kind where magic has to save it or change it. The second novel in the series that is very, very embryonic in my head is going to be about this, at least a little.

Oddly, this isn't even a concern in the current YA novel I'm poking through (Kiln and Kith) nor has it been in any YA story I've done. (The eventual 'dogs of war' trilogy will, however, be about saving the world, among other things.) Some of that is because I refuse to make parents useless in the stories. If the world was at stake, they'd be saving it. Or at least instrumental in how the characters do it. I should probably get back to writing but it is always neat to see a giant trope and realize how often you've refused to use it, often without even knowing it.

* The first novel in the Ghoulish Series does claim one town can be used to destroy the world, but this is actually a giant red herring. Unfortunately, the person who made it didn't tell the people on his own side that, so they keep trying to get ahold of the power they think is hidden in the town, rather than another family just wasting power and resources to protect nothing. This will probably be more explicit in the second draft but was intended as a fun inversion.

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