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

 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


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?

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

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