Mid April Update: Ramblings… then a point about episodic storytelling

Well, I knew I should have drafted something earlier this week…

What to talk about… Harder to say when I am actually doing really well with nothing to report. I am working away on the Blacksword Saga drafts. I’m trying to keep up the pace on them, but this forth episode is forcing me into a different kind of story that I find harder to write.

There is one update. All books of the Blacksword Saga will include a Bonus Story or B-Story. A novella about some other corner of the world.

I have the image of the book being titled

THE BLACKSWORD SAGA

Episodes 1-3

Followed by THE CASE OF THE PLATINUM CONVOY

Or something like that… I like it! it feels like a pulp story from the 30s or bad schlock horror from the 50s.

These stories will often be very different from the dark heroic fantasy of the main stories. The main story is an amalgamation of western, samurai, heroic fantasy, dark fantasy and shonen anime tropes (teenage-boy targeted fantasy anime. Think, Fullmetal Alchemist, One Piece, Dragon Ball etc…).

While our protagonist will stumble into horror plots, conspiracies, monster hunts or mythical tales, a lot of it consists of her stumbling into a town/situation or being hired for a job.

The B-Stories will have even more versatility horror stories, others great epic fantasy battles and some will even be dark noir or cyberpunk stories with a twist. This also allows me to use several short stories and novellas I already have written but have not been able to find a place for.

Maybe even invite other writers… I literally just thought of that after looking at some pulp magazine archives. WE WILL SEE!

I am really excited about this idea because it gives me even more freedom than the already episodic story I’m trying to tell.

What else to talk about…

We got Crave and now I am completely obsessed with Letterkenny. A comedy series set in a rural Ontario town that kind of frames itself as the new Corner Gas. Rural Canadians doing rural Canadian stuff.

It’s an absolute riot. I’ve watched the cold open at least thirty times and each time I crack up.
The writing is razor sharp and hits so fast you have to replay it.

I’ve been watching the Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, which I really do think is a superb show. It has a dark whimsy that I just can’t help but enjoy, I am invested in the characters, the execution of the magic is fascinating to watch and the direction is inspired. It seems simple to just add a haze or camera affects during magic scenes but I think they use it really well.

It’s flawed, but it’s fun. It’s fun entertainment. It doesn’t have a weak middle section like many Netflix shows because it remembers that shows are best when they are episodic.

Many Netflix shows fall into a trap of trying to extend a movie into 10 hours, leaving a drawn-out middle. These shows need random episodes with isolated stories. I firmly believe Jessica Jones season 2 would have been helped immensely if some episodes were a single-episode mystery or detective stories. A film noir with a superhero Private Investigator should have thrown in random cases and mysteries.

I guess that’s kind of what I am doing with the Blacksword Saga. A lot of people condemn fluff episodes where “nothing happens”. I find those episodes immensely helpful and engaging. They give characters room to breathe, room to bounce off each other, allow their established characterization to exist in a vacuum.

Character growth and change are the key to storytelling, but in genre fiction (fantasy, sci fi, horror, crime etc…) often defined by either world-building or procedural storytelling requires fluff episodes where the focus is more on the situation, themes or world rather than character.

Not to say character still isn’t the most important aspect of a story! Just that character is allowed to take a secondary seat and remain static for a period of time. It lets the character exist.

Thoughts? Let me know

So there is a weekly blog post. Did I do it right?

Next week, I promise I’ll do something with a little more intellectual heft!

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