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Offline Moonlake

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short story about Wizards
« on: March 24, 2016, 09:44:25 PM »
I came up a seed for a short story about Wizards on Wednesday and while I think it has some promise, it has some 'structural issues' and I'm not sure about where to really take it towards in terms of ending. So I would welcome any thoughts from the Strolenati.

The essence of this story involves two characters: the female protagonist and a wizard. The basic plotline is that the two characters are trying to find each other at the same time but keep missing each other. The wizards wants to find the protagonist because he was told that she will give him something very important to him (could be his mentor/prophecy, not sure yet) and the female protagonist just wants to see this wizard for the sake of seeing him. The ending is basically that they finally found each other and what the protagonist gave the wizard is totally unexpected for both the wizard and the reader.

I have the following problems with this story:
A) I have no idea what is this unexpected sth that the protagonist gives to the wizard
B) Without even plotting out the scenes for this story, it seems to me that the whole tension in this story is the fact that the two characters keep missing each other and that's it. Since characterisation is one of my weak points, I have doubts over whether I can pull this story off even before I write it.

And now the floor's open. Let comments flood in.

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Offline PoisonAlchemist

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Re: short story about Wizards
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2016, 10:32:22 PM »
Before you worry abut how you write them, think about who they are. If the characters are going express who they are through every action and every word you have to have such a fundamental understanding of each of them. This is everything from their fundamental motivations (and "just to meet him" is not a very interesting motivation) to their childhood to their compulsive habits like chewing their nails.

As for what she can give him, don't limit it to the tangibles, think of the intangibles too: a kiss, an idea, a friend, confidence. It is very easy to enter cliche territory here, but objects can also represent something intangible, like a memory of his dead father or something that will become a memento of his career in wizardry. What is important to this wizard or his life?
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Offline Moonlake

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Re: short story about Wizards
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2016, 07:32:03 AM »
My mind has churned out more stuff on this story in these aspects:
  • The female protagonist I'm thinking is seeking the wizard out because of some urgency to her birthplace/village, a curse or a plague. Cliched territory but at least it's a powerful motivation for the protagonist.
  • Now I've come up sth about the wizard being an old race and magic is dying out and the female protagonist being a young race (basically humans). My mind now says that what the protagonist gives to the wizard is to show him that the will power of mortals are a new form of 'magic'. Wrapped up in the plot is also some stuff about the protagonist can 'unsee' all these sealed up threats to mortals that the wizard is worried about with the weaning of magic. Doesn't seem too original from the epic fantasy genre but I am an avid fan of epic fantasy so oh well, I think I at least see some structure emerging on this story.

In terms of characterisation, I sometimes do a 10 by 10 character grid (this is where I brainstorm 10 points about 10 categories including important memories, little mannerisms etc.) plus character synopses (which delves into personal motivations) to zoom in on characters. But to be honest, often they don't help me- I've had two stories stalled already where the protagonist went through both the character grid and character synopsis treatment but I've still written myself into a dead corner for both in terms of the plot (one of them is that Old Beginning story that you read partially). I know there's a 'school of thought' that says you should know your characters with such details that you can fill out a questionnaire on their behalf but doing a character questionnaire always turns me off so doesn't help me at all. That's why I opted for the character grid approach. Anyway, I haven't done anything for the characters here because for me, I need to get the main plot arc sorted out first before I can get to the characters.

Thanks for the reply, PA. I think I'm now ready to jump into the character grid plus synopsis stage with the general shape of the storyline worked out.

Human (Level 2)
Crysilis Embroider -  Apprentice Weaver
Moonlake Ku - Apprentice Strolenati
STR: 4 | END: 4 | CON: 4 | DEX: 4| CHA: 2 | INT: 3
"Crazy woman devoted to 2 Worlds, 2 Guilds and randomness"
Visiting beloved Dragon Empire