Discussion in 'Arts & Entertainment' started by Valka D'Ur, Jul 1, 2020.
I don't understand the reference.
Day 8 total: 4820 words.
It's annoying when dialogue keeps popping into my head for scenes I'm not currently writing.
On the other hand, when it does come time to write those scenes, they'll already be partly written.
Assuming I can find all the scraps of paper I wrote the notes on.
Day 9 total: 5434 words.
Day 10 total: 5989 words.
For anyone who has written over 5000 words, check your messages, because you get a badge for that. It will tell you that you're 10% finished, but just ignore that. It's meant for the November event, but the Camp participants still receive it regardless of our word count goals.
You use the Star Trek Universal Translator to make your Olde English understandable. I mimic Errol Flynn.
I don't understand the reference. What does Errol Flynn have to do with anything?
Day 11 total: 7193 words.
I had a very trying day. My computer froze, so I decided to reboot. Next thing I know, Microsoft Edge ate my documents, pictures, most of my games, and a slew of things I didn't even remember I'd had.
I was making arrangements to take the computer in to have my tech guy look at it, when I thought maybe there were a couple of other things to try.
CTRL-ALT-DELETE to the rescue. I have my stuff back.
But in the meantime, I wrote out my story in longhand... and that's how I managed 1204 words. So that puts me several days ahead, and this is one of the critical parts of the prequel material I've been working on (how Duke William managed to persuade his fellow dukes to go along with hiding the true heir - a newborn infant at that time - in plain sight so the Queen wouldn't know about him).
The in-story conversation between Duke William and the midwife needs a bit of an edit, though. I already let her live in later prequel material I wrote that takes place 28 in-story years later, so I'm going to have to figure out why William lets her live instead of doing away with her when she gets suspicious.
My point was that, especially in Flynn's early movies (Captain Blood, Don Juan) in the time period of those stories, modern people would have trouble understanding the form of English the characters should really be speaking. Flynn spoke in a florid manner which sounded authentic but which was understandable to us. "What a creature must sit on the throne to have you as his minister." "Find a piece of lumber, two feet by two inches by three inches and lash it to you spine. It wants stiffening."
Okay, I will have to take your word, because I've never seen any Errol Flynn movies.
I'm trying to settle on a speech pattern for my characters - the nobles would be more formal, more courtly than the others, and the various classes of commoners would have different ways of speaking.
Right now it's a combination of the game, MZB's Darkover novels, and Philippa Gregory's Tudor novels. I've read those novels dozens of times, and one of them is science/fantasy with a medieval flavor, and the other is 500 years in the future.
I also need to review my research on royal ranks. What is the rank of the younger son/nephew of a Duke? I'm getting around it for now by assuming that whatever else is appropriate, that Duke William's nephew has been knighted, and can be referred to as Sir Alexander. But that character is more involved in business than being either a courtier or a soldier. I could fudge it because this character is one I created for the alternative version where over two in-story years of the action take place in Ravensmoor and so ranks are reckoned differently there than in Griffinvale. But I need to settle on something consistent.
IIRC, there aren't any. They are referred to as "the Honorable." They can go through the steps of page, squire before earning their spurs as a knight, at which time they will be called "Sir."
Often a noble will have a pluthera of titles. He may be The Duke of This, the Count of That, and the Baron of the Other. He can dole these lesser titles out to his children.
Is this based on the British peerage? It's my understanding from some research I did last year that ranks differed from country to country (kingdom to kingdom). Remember that my story takes place in the early 11th century, in a mishmash hybrid of the British Isles, with a smattering of familial/naming influences from other areas of Europe.
Right from the get-go there's conflicting information about the ranks of the main characters. The blurb for the game refers to Edmund and Randall Ulmer as knights, but when the game begins they're addressed as "squires." They also wear leather armor rather than plate or chainmail.
I've rationalized this by deciding that the character who calls them "squires" - Badrick, who is the Queen's brother - uses the term as an insult. As for the armor issue... this isn't the court of either the Plantagenets or the Tudors. In Griffinvale, knights on court duty wear leather armor. It's not like they were expecting a palace coup that day. It would be different if they went to war - in that case they would have plate/chainmail (whatever was available). It's worth noting that they don't use stirrups in this time.
The character whose rank I want to nail down is Sir Alexander Bennett, nephew and heir of Duke William Bennett. Duke William never married, and so he has no children. Knighthoods are granted by the king, and at least so far, I haven't really decided how large Griffinvale is. Most of the action in the game takes place in the capital city, and there are a couple of fishing villages and farms in the vicinity (I've decided that fishing, farming, and shipping are the major industries, and there's a vibrant arts community - write what you know, and this is one of the things I know).
I created two other kingdoms (what's the point of having a kingdom if it's the only one around?) - Ravensmoor and Stormhaven. There's a buffer zone between Griffinvale and Stormhaven, and I've decided that this is where the old king sends his heir, 31 years before the game begins, when the prince dies in battle without knowing that his wife was pregnant with their son.
The character of Sir Alexander Bennett is part of the alternative version of this story, where a lot of the action takes place in Ravensmoor. I've decided that Duke William is a dual citizen of both Griffinvale and Ravensmoor, owning numerous estates in each kingdom, and his family is very wealthy. William can't just give out titles to his nephew and niece - there's a prescribed order of things, but I just need to figure out what it is.
Anyway, my update is:
Day 12 total: 8041 words.
Day 13 total: 8694 words.
Day 14 total: 9265 words.
I've received a badge for updating my total for 14 days in a row.
True. E.g. Only in England did prince and princess denote children of the king. Elsewhere, prince was a title inferior to duke and superior to count/earl, and heirs to the throne were usually arch-dukes, except in France where it was the Dolfin (sp?).
Oops, then no plate armor, which came in at the end of the Hundred-Years War ~ 500 years later.
As I understand it, squires were apprentices to knights ~ 14-20 years old.
Correct. William the Conqueror (1066) was the first to use this innovation,
I've always assumed any noble could appoint a knight, you just had to pay him.
Interesting. Is it, say, an sovereign barony or is it "The Wilds" ...or perhaps a religious stronghold of the Church?
The heir to the throne of France was the Dauphin, roughly pronounced "doe-fan", with a bit of a nasal sound so the 'a' is very soft and the 'n' is silent.
I suspect the game developers didn't put a lot of research into the armor the characters wear, as it's all over the map. It looks to me like the Prince (father of the heir) had some sort of fancy Crusades-era armor, but in the year 1008 (he's killed - I've guesstimated - about 6 months before the heir is born, which was in February 1009).
The way I set up the characters' backstory - when Edmund and Randall were children and teenagers, I decided that when they were 15 they started formal military training (as squires), though before that they had training in the basics of how to handle swords, daggers, bows, and crossbows. It's amazing, all the things kids can learn when they don't have TV to distract them.
However, since Griffinvale has been at peace since the abortive crusade the late Prince was sent to lead (a halt was called when he was killed; since the king only sent him in the first place so he would 'forget' the commoner woman he married), my characters haven't had any serious wars to fight - just the occasional border skirmish with raiders from this buffer zone area.
The alternative version of this story will feature a war, though. Mary pointed out that even though the other dukes all signed on to this idea of raising the heir in secret so he could some day take his rightful place when the old king died, they might not want to keep that agreement 30 years later. Since some of the original signatories would have died, I agree with that... and so there are going to be multiple issues with some of the younger dukes objecting, of course the ones who mounted the original coup in the first place will object, and when I created the kingdom of Stormhaven, I decided that the Prince had an older sister who married into that kingdom. Thirty years later, she has five children, three of which would have a reasonable claim to the throne of Griffinvale as they are also grandchildren of the late King.
I've had to make a few adjustments, since there are some anachronisms in the game. As mentioned, I doubt the armor is correct, but I would expect that the developers wouldn't expect many players to know that. I was very pleased to note the lack of stirrups, and when I've mentioned this to others who have played the game, their general reaction is "huh?". Stirrups are something mentioned in the SCA as one of the inventions that revolutionized medieval warfare, and after 20+ years since I last attended any sessions of Arts & Sciences or University of Ithra classes, I'm glad that I remembered this bit of history.
There are other anachronisms, such as a reference to Little Red Riding Hood, Shakespeare, and the old Duke of Ulmer wears 19th-century suspenders. So I've decided that history ran a little differently in this in-game/story universe in order to make some things fit - like the men wearing trousers rather than hose, everyone speaking with various English accents though the main characters have a German surname, and so on.
It's actually a bit liberating. I've just gone hog-wild with my characters' names - a mix of English, German, Scandinavian, French, Scots, and Spanish. Whatever seems to fit the character goes, though I try not to have anything too obviously modern. There are a number of people with the same name, so I need variations (for instance, I decided the wife of the Duke of Ulmer has the first name of Elspeth, and her daughter's name is Lyssia - both are variations of "Elizabeth").
I'm sure that's how it works in some times and places in my in-story universe. After all, I decided that two years before the game started, the Queen took a fancy to one of the main characters and offered him an indecent proposal - preferment in exchange for 'intimate companionship' - which he was, of course, too honorable and principled to go along with. The Queen was not pleased.
I decided that where the King is concerned, knighthoods are awarded on merit, after a rigorous amount of training and tests, which must be passed. Candidates must be sponsored by someone of higher rank who has also been trained and tested. Of course in real history knighthoods became more and more political patronage kinds of awards, but not in my ideal version of Griffinvale.
I haven't worked out much about the physical geography of this universe. The game presents Griffinvale as a healthy, thriving ecosystem, where the capital city is basically situated on an island in a vast lake, with a nearby river, and there are canals moving water throughout the city. I figured it had to be situated in a lake rather than ocean, because otherwise, the city would be half-underwater at every high tide and they wouldn't have a sufficient amount of fresh drinking water. The terrain around the lake is mountainous, with plenty of forests and farmland, and an area where there's a meadow.
As for where this lake came from, I just thought about the large mountain lakes I've seen here, in Alberta and British Columbia, and increased the area and volume to something that could support a couple of kingdoms - particularly Griffinvale, where the population depends on the lake for moving trade goods and the fish and freshwater mollusks for a large part of their food supply. When the glaciers retreated here, they left behind an incredible number of beautiful mountain lakes and valleys, so I'm taking them for inspiration, with a small dollop of Venice, with canals and bridges (there are scenes in the game that suggest this, with a huge harbor gate where you can see the large cargo ships that carry trade goods from Griffinvale to Ravensmoor and beyond.
Now as to the place where the Prince was sent on crusade... I really didn't want to bring real-history faith-based warfare into this. I have no idea why the crusade was declared, other than the King wanted his son's mind on something other than his new commoner princess. Given the relatively cosmopolitan attitude in Griffinvale (the mix of cultural artifacts), I don't think they're going to go kill a bunch of people for following a different religion. The only reason why they would is if the other ones tried to impose their religion on Griffinvale. I wrote a couple of scenes in the alternative version of the story in which the heir is in exile in Ravensmoor, and feels the need for some quiet meditation/prayer... and gets chased out of the chapel garden by the castle priest and berated as a "barbarian" because the people of Griffinvale worship two gods instead of only one (nothing in the game suggests they worship more than one god; I decided to try that idea and it seems to work; it seems natural for a culture with a mix of other cultures).
So for now, I just have a hazy concept of a generally inhospitable patch of territory called the "Stone Lands" (because it's rocky and doesn't get much rain)... and it's a buffer between Griffinvale and Stormhaven (which I envision as a rather arid desert-like kingdom; the name "Stormhaven" indicates that the capital area is in the more hospitable, oasis-like part of that land).
Of course I could change my mind about some of this. I haven't written much about Stormhaven, just that the royal family there is related to the royal family of Griffinvale, and it's a long, hard trip so there's not much casual travel between the two kingdoms.
Mary compared some of what I told her to Game of Thrones (she's the only person who's ever seen an extended portion of my first-draft material). While it's nice to be told that some of what I write is similar to what's on TV/written by a professional fantasy author, her comment has made me decide that until I'm done with this project, I can never watch that show. I haven't seen any of it, and now I don't dare - for fear of accusations of plagiarism or lazy writing. It's one thing to get inspiration, but another to be told, "that's exactly what Character A did on Game of Thrones!".
I take it there are nonhumans and dragons in GoT... well, I don't plan to introduce non-humans to my story. I've been pondering whether or not to introduce griffins, so the heir can ride one like his remote ancestor did... or maybe just stick with one of the fantasy elements I did introduce that wasn't something the game developers put there.
Anyway, my update for today (yesterday, by now)...
Day 15 total: 9893 words.
Day 16 total: 10,502 words.
I received a badge for having reached 10,000 words.
What I've been writing for the past several days is prequel material for the original version (actually, this part works for both original and alternative versions, as it takes place 30 years, 7 months before the opening scene of the game).
The game presents it as an easy, matter of fact situation in which the Duke of Ulmer agrees to raise the royal heir along with his own son; both children were born on the same night, which is how they could be passed off as fraternal twins.
My take, however, is that in an era where you don't have handy diaper services or baby formula in case you end up with more than you expected, I would expect the Ulmers to be a little more wary of taking on an extra, unexpected child. Of course in the end they'll be persuaded that it's a good idea and later on they'll be glad they did, but at this point, the Duchess of Ulmer is in labor and in the meantime, Duke William is downstairs with Duke Edvar, trying to convince him that it makes sense to foster the newly-orphaned infant prince - because it would be too dangerous to allow his existence to be revealed to the King and Queen.
How about Shakespearean lingo?
I'm familiar with a reasonable number of his plays, having either read them or seen them performed on stage, TV, or in movies.
My characters are not going to speak in sonnets or iambic pentameter, thank you. And while some of them are long-winded, I don't plan to write their dialogue as soliloquies.
However, I might need to do some historical tweaking and have Shakespeare born several centuries too early, since Sir Edmund quotes a line of it in the game. So maybe a troupe of traveling players passed through the capital city at some point and Edmund attended the play and remembered some lines. Or maybe Shakespeare plagiarized this hypothetical acting troupe 600 years later.
Hm. I like the idea of traveling actors. I'd already introduced traveling minstrels into the alternative version of the story. Randall has been in Ravensmoor for some months (after escaping his captivity in Griffinvale) and one night the dinner entertainment includes a group of traveling minstrels, one of whom happens to be someone he knew in Griffinvale. Each thought the other was dead, so this is a welcome surprise for both of them.
Traveling actors and the Ulmer family's interest would fit with their general attitude toward the arts, and unlike most of their noble peers, they embrace a diverse array of artistic interests no matter which level or class of society they come from. So if their peers turn up their noses at the idea of associating with actors (in real history they were considered really low-class), too bad.
And come to think of it... I've already had a character suggest that some day someone will write a ballad about Randall, just as someone wrote a ballad about his ancestor, King Edwin the Great. Maybe someone will write a play...
Okay, this stream of consciousness posting has given me yet another subplot for the post-coronation sequel material. Thank you for providing the catalyst.
Despite what your high school English teacher taught you, neither did Shakespeare's characters, or else they would sound like:
Spoiler Speaking in iambic pentameter :
To be or not to be. Where lays nobility?
Doth thou suffer fortune’s arrows and slings,
Or take up arms and, with thy ability,
Calm troubled seas with manly widespread wings?
To die, to sleep, no more: The end of pain,
And grief, and fear, and life’s foul souvenirs.
In coffins’ rest, there’s much thou hast to gain.
For ends therein, cascades of heartaches’ tears.
To sleep, perchance to dream eternal dreams.
But halt thy thoughts, for there: That be the rub.
When haunted by our mortal sins and schemes,
What evil dreams may squirm like worm and grub?
When shuffled off our mortal coil of flesh,
Must give us pause and leave us to reflect,
Will whips and scorns attack our souls and thrash
A lash of fire for all our sins unchecked:
Oppressive wrongs, a proud man’s pride, and more,
Despised rejected love, and law’s delay,
Unworthy thefts from those who pulled the oar,
And sins of those of whom we have led astray?
Why does man elect to wrestle worldly strife,
When he himself could grasp eternal sleep?
He grunts and sweats and groans with weary life,
Spurns rest but presses on with sorrows deep.
He dreads a dread of something after death:
A country shroud in mists and darkest lore,
From which no tale, report nor whispered breath
Assures of what our fate lies there before.
Thus conscious does make cowards of us all.
Despite steel-clad, heartfelt resolution,
Yes, Thought sickles our courage, grit, and gall
To freeze us here, denying absolution.
With strongest stride reduced to pitied limp.
Lo, soft you now! Memories surrendered.
In fair Ophelia’s orisons, o sweet nymph,
Be all my many whispered sins remembered!
That's me, transcribing Hamlet into iambic pentameter.
Hm. That's not how I read the original.
It flows, though. Much of the problem that modern readers have is that they don't actually know how to read poetry.
Anyway, please let's not get sidetracked into a discussion of Shakespeare in this thread (unless I decide to chuck my project 3 weeks in and start over with a novelization of one of the plays ). I'd be up for a discussion in a new thread, though.
Day 17 total: 11,111 words.
Day 18 total: 11,661 words.
Day 19 total: 12,300 words.
Day 20 total: 13,108 words.
I have 1892 words to go. That's actually doable in one day, if I'm willing to live with the pain of that much writing (I'm doing it longhand this time due to various computer issues and I'm unwilling to risk my story getting trapped where I can't get to it).
My stats page projects I'll be finished on July 23. But finished or not, I plan to keep going to the end of the month. I'm gradually figuring out how this part of the story should go, and some of what I've already written is definitely in need of editing. Of course I've just figured out another way to tackle this part of the story that isn't so convolutedly messy. I'll write that out as well and see which way works best.
The NaNo website is just bizarre. My stated goal is 15,000, I got very close to it last night, and updated about 5 minutes to midnight. The stats page projected I would finish on July 22.
I'm a reasonably fast typist, but not that fast!
Anyway, it was out by one day. I am done, finished, met my goal, got my winner's certificate and badge.
Day 21 total: 13,736 words.
Day 22 total: 14,742 words.
Day 23 total: 15,312 words.
Naturally I plan to keep going anyway.
Separate names with a comma.