"The Linen Butterfly" vs. "The Goldenlea" by Threetails

Part of the reason I intend to release "The Goldenlea" for free rather than suppress it after "The Linen Butterfly" is done is because it will be a very different story. I've given it some thought, and I've decided that I want to remove all the high fantasy elements from the story.

Part of the reason for this is because with the new material I've written (originally a sequel to "The Goldenlea") I'm getting close to the limit of what Furplanet will print. The sequel material alone is close to 60,000 words, and with "The Goldenlea" at 98,000 we'd be looking at the fair side of 150,000 even with the "filler" scenes and excess narration removed. I hope to tame the whole thing down to about 100,000 words, which will still make it my longest book in print.

There's more to it, though. Basically, this goes back to before "The Goldenlea" was anything at all. Faol Carrick came from an unfinished attempt at a short story called "When Hell Doth Call," featuring a descendant of his, Sean Carrick (I re-use the name Sean in TLB, but in a completely different context). At the time I was working on that, I was also working on a novel called "Armarniss" with Leo Preston. Leo wanted a lot more high fantasy in the story than I was accustomed to. When that project fell through, I decided to do something kind of like "Armarniss," but my own way. I recycled this bit character and wrote 110,000 words (98,000 after ruthless editing) about his life and deeds over the course of about five years.

I made the enormous blunder of trying to write fantasy without reading other fantasy writers so they "didn't pollute my pure style." Those of you just beginning your journey as writers, take note: you are what you've read! If you have few influences, it will tell on you. Thus my original concept was pretty much "Lord of the Rings" meets "Redwall" because that was the extent of fantasy that I'd read. This is why I went through the trouble of actually creating a self-consistent language and alphabet for the Jiya. Good literature doesn't come from a vacuum; if you try to come up with something from a vacuum, what few influences you've had will fill that void. Originality is simply creating a new and engaging recombination of cultural memes, and if your vocabulary of cultural memes is stunted, your stories will show it.

But the level of high fantasy elements I included began shrinking bit by bit as I developed my concept, and by and by it became something of a stub; if you've read "The Goldenlea," you'll know it's actually taking place in a somewhat disenchanted world; anything that might pass for "magic" is easily explained with technology that any modern reader would be familiar with. Honestly, the bulk of the story plays out more like a cloak-and-dagger medieval swashbuckler, and that's where I'm at my strongest; the fantasy elements were weak at best and cringe-inducing at worst.

So I'll be true to myself for once, and write where my inspiration lies. I have enough of the original story that I can still use that it will be recognizable to readers of the first book, but I'm going to focus more on making the characters actually act like medieval nobles than on spinning some half-hearted high-fantasy story. Truth be told, I'm not a big high fantasy fan; my inspiration comes mainly from the history books and the fantasies I weave are a very different sort from what Tolkein worked with.

"The Linen Butterfly" vs. "The Goldenlea"


17 July 2016 at 01:21:03 MDT

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