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The Ailos and "Sunny" story - okay, now where?

By:Dwimordene
 June, 28 2011

In 2009, I wrote "Beyond the Pale," about two teenaged recruits who abandoned Pelargir. One was from Harad, one from Lebennin. In 2011, for B2MEM, I tried expanding their sto

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In 2009, I wrote "Beyond the Pale," about two teenaged recruits who abandoned Pelargir. One was from Harad, one from Lebennin. In 2011, for B2MEM, I tried expanding their story. Still trying to figure out how to do so successfully. Wanna help?


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 [11] Nargil wrote: Erchirion goes home at some point to see to things on the coast whilst Imrahil and Elphir are up in Tirith (I think that's what said in CMC) could he rescue them if he went by boat?

Hm. I'm not sure I want this to be set in the Unabeauverse explicitly - my Haradrim tend to float, as I said!

But it's possible that their story could end when they're picked up by a ship. Still leaves us with the question of who captains it who would take them both on, but it's a possibility. I'll have to think about that.

Dwim
Posted:Jun 30, 2011 20:34 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [12] Who else would they have, if not each other?

That is part of what makes they situation so fascinating: they really are stuck together, aren't they? They loath each other, but they need each other... which one will win in the end?


Re: raft at sea

Your image reminded me a little of "Life of Pi," and conjures up a lot of visceral reactions. I can't wait to see where you will take it!


Re: staying in Gondor

Ails is a ranger, right? I was thinking that a small, coastal town would be just as foreign to both of them and require a lot of adaptation. So, even though they are still in Gondor, it's an entirely new life for both (?) For some reason, I don't see Jhanar being assimilated into everyday life in Harad...


re: Jhanar's leg injury

I have no idea about how far could he make it but would you like me to find out? Are you thinking of having him seen by a healer? Maybe someone in Pelargir can take pity on him?

Starlight
Posted:Jul 1, 2011 00:28 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [13] Did I mention the lack of direction I suffer from when it comes to this story? ;-)

:-) But you know what the story is about which is the hardest part. Now you just need to tune up the details :-)

The quote is fabulous. Maybe you can use that at some point for an epigraph?

Starlight
Posted:Jul 1, 2011 00:37 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [14] Starlight said: That is part of what makes they situation so fascinating: they really are stuck together, aren't they? They loath each other, but they need each other... which one will win in the end?

I have a shiny quarter that might answer that question, Anton Chigurh style...

Actually, I'm pretty sure they're in no danger of killing each other. If they could've done that, one of them would've done it back in Beyond the Pale. They are where they are because they're not killers. Doesn't mean they don't have issues!

Your image reminded me a little of "Life of Pi," and conjures up a lot of visceral reactions.

I've heard of the book, but not actually read it, though the title intrigues me.

Maybe it's Tolkien, maybe it's partly me and the fact that I live near water, and maybe it's just a skewed sense of what I'm writing, but it seems to me that the sea and water settings have been kind of prominent in the past year or two. I'm wondering whether it's a trend, and if so, what's really behind it. In this case the sea imagery has been there for awhile, since I started thinking about how their story could end. Not sure what it'll precipitate, though, if I can get them down to the Bay of Belfalas.

Ails is a ranger, right?

Not in the sense that Faramir or Aragorn are Rangers. He's just one of the shepherd kids levied and sent off to Minas Tirith. He can shoot for his supper and sling stones to keep predators away from his flock. He knows how to camp outside in good weather at least. But he isn't a fighter otherwise.

I was thinking that a small, coastal town would be just as foreign to both of them and require a lot of adaptation. So, even though they are still in Gondor, it's an entirely new life for both (?) For some reason, I don't see Jhanar being assimilated into everyday life in Harad...

It would be foreign. Really, anywhere they settle is going to feel weird and require them to adapt. A big city has the advantage that there are populations who could potentially absorb them both more easily, and still let them stay together. A coastal town or village would be much harder to enter, no matter which side of the border it was on, and it'd be a good bet that one of them wouldn't be able to communicate with anyone living there.

Harad would be really tough for Jhanar and Ailos, both.


I have no idea about how far could he make it but would you like me to find out? Are you thinking of having him seen by a healer? Maybe someone in Pelargir can take pity on him?


If I can keep him from bleeding out, or getting sick, or starving, I think he'll be okay, which was part of why the raft idea was attractive. Hungry? Drop a line over the edge. Thirsty? There's water. They cover ground faster than they could on foot, with much less expenditure of energy and strain, which gives Jhanar the chance to rest and heal.

As to having Jhanar seen by somebody, that'd be good, I just have to find someone who can and will help them and place that person in their paths. It's possible I could have them stay overnight with the woman in Pelargir, and have her both take a look at Jhanar's injury, and then smuggle them out when it's safe to do so.

Oof, my brain's shutting down, so I think I'm going to have to stop. But again, lots to think about!

Dwim
Posted:Jul 1, 2011 01:04 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [15] re: clarity and ritual

Thinking back to when I first read the series back in March, Ailos' perspective really helped me follow along. It worked, at least for me. Getting descriptions from him helped me switch modes, as it were: since he does not know what is going on, either, the bits of info he gave made me keep an open mind about what the answers would be.

Also, when you had third parties come in, as you did in the last Drabble, that helped too.


Re: Jhanar's moment of strength

Yes, that is going to be hard. The only thing that occurs to me at the moment is that you find a way, somehow, to get him somewhere almost familiar where he can make a contribution, Now that they are in Pelargir, amongst other haradrim, could something happen that Jhanar figures out, etc.?


Re: Gondor identification via Ailos

That will be tough, too. I think I'll have to think about this some more.

This is fun!!

Starlight
Posted:Jul 1, 2011 01:11 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [16] Blee - tired!

But: Starlight, among other things, wrote:

Re: Jhanar's moment of strength

Yes, that is going to be hard. The only thing that occurs to me at the moment is that you find a way, somehow, to get him somewhere almost familiar where he can make a contribution, Now that they are in Pelargir, amongst other haradrim, could something happen that Jhanar figures out, etc.?


I don't think that would work unless Pelargir happened very differently. As it stands, Jhanar's at probably his worst moment, or close to it, in Pelargir, and it's partly because he's been very violently rejected by the traumatized Haradric survivors of that city.

Upon reflection, I think that to avoid affirming one class society's class-structure uncritically over the other's (which is more hidden, usually, in fanfiction), Jhanar needs to communicate (somehow!) to Ailos when he's ready to enter a different kind of relationship with him, where he's not taking the lower position, and not sacrificing himself for Ailos or anything of that sort. He needs to show that he's not in so desperate a situation, and that he's ready and able to assume a different relationship that's more appropriate to his being a dignified human being. Something like that.

I have no idea what would fit with that, however.

And now I'm going to go crash - it's been a long weekend!

Dwim
Posted:Jul 5, 2011 01:12 GMT  Reply to this Comment


 [17] Getting back around to things:

Starlight wrote: when I first read the series back in March, Ailos' perspective really helped me follow along. It worked, at least for me. Getting descriptions from him helped me switch modes, as it were: since he does not know what is going on, either, the bits of info he gave made me keep an open mind about what the answers would be.

I think with a piece that's as short as a drabble, it's often hard to handle a perspective that isn't at least semi-prepared, with *some* background, by the canonical text (whatever that may end up being). Drabble series give a little more flexibility, since I can stretch the material out over more mini-episodes.

But the easiest way in for me is to take a perspective that readers have some familiarity with, and use it as a lens on the character from an unfamiliar background until there's enough developed about that background that occupying the other character's perspective won't require as much of a data dump. It's more a matter of aligning what's already there with an interpretation, and one new thing.

That said, there is a difficulty involved in this approach that I've been thinking about for awhile, since it renders one character much more passive. No matter what Jhanar does, he can only be seen from Ailos's perspective, which will tend to scew the presentation of him toward either victim, violator, or burden, depending on Ailos's actions and mood at any given time. With Gondor reading as "us", there's the danger of "them" being exoticized, which is not what I'm going for, but I worry about how to avoid it.

Moreover, thanks to the language barrier, the scales tip in favor of Jhanar as burden or as victim, as "the problem" for Ailos, who then is cast in the role of "problem-solver." As I said above, I don't want Ailos always to be in the problem-solving position, just because Jhanar is, partly from circumstance, partly from presentation, passive for a long period of time so far as the reader is concerned.

Hm. Which tells me that on the one hand, the final resolution may well be what I'd said in the previous post, but I still need to have him becoming more active as things go. If Pelargir is his lowest point, then from then on, he needs to be starting to move toward something better, more active, etc. I'm not going to be able to have him break out of that role in the middle, then move into a period of readjustment between them. It'll probably have to be the reverse...

Also, when you had third parties come in, as you did in the last Drabble, that helped too.

The translator perspective entering in is helpful in that it offers the possibility of a brief period of clarity between them. Someone can explain them to each other, there's the opportunity to go back in future drabbles in the series and have Ailos 'remember' more of what the Pelargir woman told him about Jhanar, which could give a *lot* more information. Jhanar likewise can be built up as a character on what she told him. Now we have the opportunity to develop more what it would mean to him, positively, to "sometimes be a Man" rather than a stone.

If his side can be built enough, then that might, down the line, help to shake the reader's identification with Ailos. It might actually be interesting to start primarily in Ailos's perspective and, by the end, to finish primarily in Jhanar's. Hm.... think, think, think...

This is fun!!

Too much fun! :-D

Dwim
Posted:Jul 7, 2011 08:34 GMT  Reply to this Comment
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