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Sunday, 6 April 2014

OFTEN, READERS JUST HAVE TO LUMP IT. NARNIA RAISED THIS POINT: A REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE.

In an earlier blog post, I wrote of posts that never make it to the blog. They are unfinished or unfinishable. I wasn't planning on using this material. Plans change.

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Writers make mistakes.
   I'm not talking about typos. No. (I tend to type thongs when I reach for the word things. That is a keyboard layout problem. Also, something to do with wildly flailing fingers.)
   Mistakes.
   If you send a woman into a scene with one name and she exits stage-left under another name, your reason for this had best be plot-driven.
   I was thinking about the second woman as I typed up the first woman's adventures. The scene itself involved a woman and a man. Luckily, I nailed the error.
   Yes, I find myself drawing diagrams to help me through the madness of steering characters across the vast plain that is the story.
   Stick-figures will ALWAYS be in fashion.

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Clive Staples Lewis. Lewis calls police. Clive is arrested.
   Lewis wrote all sorts of stuff. He is best-remembered for his books about Narnia. Characters from one world journey to another, and have adventures.
   Perhaps this is what Lewis did, moving from Belfast to England. He journeyed to another world and had adventures, carrying scraps of the earlier world with him.
   That is neither here nor there.
   In telling tales of Narnia, he did something that many readers think of as a big mistake. Characters have access to Narnia. They don't reach the magical place by the same means each time. Also, there's a shifting roster of participants in the tales.
   If you haven't read the stories, I'll gloss over that ending.
   But I'll talk about a side-point that features in the story. One character, Susan, let's call her the sensible one, doesn't turn up in the last book.
   She is no longer a friend of Narnia. Her access to the place is gone. Susan became too sensible to believe in Narnia. It was all just a silly game of childhood pretence.

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Writers make mistakes. Readers do so, too. To what extent?
   The writer creates a tale.
   Once that tale flies free into the world, it is open to interpretation. The writer has to lump it. However...
   There may be things in that tale the writer determines as fixed. Immovable. Beyond wild interpretation. Often, readers just have to lump it. Narnia raised this point.
   Readers thought Susan was somehow banished from Narnia. She'd fallen from grace, committed some crime, discovered nylons and lipstick and invitations...
   Lewis received letters. He did his best to answer the point about Susan. Was she sent to hell? No. Did she ever reach Narnia again? He hoped so.
   Lewis talked of having to write a different kind of book for a tale featuring a grown-up sensible Susan. The writer always has a treasure-store of other considerations when it comes to writing a story. Those considerations don't feature in every story. Not enough time.
   Sensible Susan. Well, going by the book she doesn't feature in, she's silly when no longer believing in Narnia - for she's turned to the sensible world of another reality.

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I ran out of steam, stopped, and turned to another blog post. What was I trying to get at? In Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords, I gleefully murdered a few fantasy standards.
   Sword-wielding male mercenary teams up with female enemy to thwart greater threat. Does he end up in bed with her? No. Readers may bitch about that.
   They just have to lump it. I took that lesson from Narnia.
   And the sequel to Neon Gods...
   Is set at the same time. As is the sequel to that book. So the villain from part one is not brought to book in part two. Or part three.
   Sometimes readers just have to lump it. What appears to be a mistake is down to planning. The reader may feel this is mistaken planning.
   At which point, my advice to the reader is...write your own books. I encourage you to.
  
  
  





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