Distractions

There are just too many things going on inside my head. Dipping in and out of too many different worlds is bewildering and in the end unproductive. The world of The Green Woman is where I spend most of my time, but there are so many distractions. After running up against the buffers when I dismembered the first part of the next series, the distractions have looked even more interesting. It was fun rereading a story I wrote several years ago, and once I’d taken the plunge and taken it apart, rewriting the first volume rattled on at a fair lick.

As often happens though, finishing the job is much more difficult. All the bits that are left, the plot that has to go forward, the characters that I’d pulled out of the first part because they were in the way, all have to be written into a coherent story and given a satisfactory conclusion.

It seems so much easier to play with an idea for a short story than to get down to serious work. Those little ideas that hit me when I’m brushing my teeth, or rummaging in the pantry for the onions, are so tempting. Over the last fortnight I’ve been an enchanted swan, a woman losing her mind, a Saxon sentry, a corrupt diplomat and a Gothic chieftain. Each time the bit of fun has become engrossing to the point that the problems of plot holes and discordance of chronology in the novel I’m rewriting have disappeared off the radar.

Next week I should have the first editorial suggestions for volume two of The Green Woman trilogy. So I will be back to battling with ‘the banality of evil’ in Providence. There are also the in-world stories to prepare for publication, more evil, flying horses and possessed children. And people wonder why I can’t get excited about a new breakfast cereal.

Fionnuala
Fionnuala

The intellectual sloth of fantasy worlds

Fantasy is probably the form of literature I enjoy reading the most. Having established to my own satisfaction that all fiction is fantasy to a greater or lesser degree, I take exception to being called a ‘genre’ writer, as if some kinds of fiction are more worthy than others.

I would agree though, that sometimes our fantasy worlds could do with a little more ‘realism’. I’m sure everybody has done it, snorted in disbelief, or thrown the book out the window in exasperation, when something really dumb strikes you about the world you are expected to believe in one hundred percent.

My pet gripe must be the inertia of many fantasy worlds. How many fictional world histories refer back to some cataclysmic marking event that happened a thousand, if not several thousand years previously?

Big Battle against Evil: the Dark Lord is defeated
Big Battle against Evil: the Dark Lord is defeated

Fair enough. We have Jesus, don’t we? Where I get rather irritated is that in the time lapse (say the time between the Battle of Hastings and the present day) that absolutely nothing has evolved! No-thing! The wheel had already been invented at the time of the Big Battle against Evil, so had the forging of steel, building of massive castles, and, last but not least, books, education, and easily available means of setting down events.

Since that time, millennia previously, there has been no progress whatsoever. So, what the feck were they doing all that time? Why has this ‘civilisation’ not sunk back into the primal slime? Why, given the generally bloodthirsty nature of these worlds, in the course of these millennia has nobody invented anything more efficient for killing purposes than the trusty sword and the heroic longbow? They have feudal systems and religion but no science. They have shops and two-storey cottages, taverns, inns, schools, books, paper, towns, cities, social organisation, roads, foreign trade, armies, diplomats. So why has nobody got round to discovering electricity, or inventing steam engines, or guns, or the washing machine?

Or am I being disingenuous? Is this all part of the fantasy package that we secretly yearn for: a fictitious golden age with unspoilt scenery, lack of industrial pollution, and no cars? Our imagination though stops short of life without shops and a minimum of creature comfort. I mean, who really wants to knit their own chain mail?

Two thousand years later...
Two thousand years later…