Re-invent the Wheel or Change Perspective?
After a long absence I am back. Its ok, no parade needed, just your reading devotion.
I have done a lot of thinking the last few months, and while I was working on my various book projects, I forgot to remain with social media and keep my one or two readers interested. What I realized (thanks to a recent blog by Kristen Lamb, social media expert) was that I was thinking too hard about my work. I was afraid if I did not have anything cool and new that it would just be left forgotten on a publisher’s desk. Or worse it would be just tossed in with the recycling box next to the trash bin.
I was faced with a common dilemma of new enough vs. copy. As a writer, I want to make a name for myself with an interesting idea or take on a classic idea, but I dislike the idea of copying a plot previously used. This ties to my book on Hellawes especially. Camelot is not new. Arthur is not new. We all loved the concept of forbidden love present between Lancelot and Gwenevier. Moridin will always be the bad guy. Merlin will always be the most bad-ass wizard ever. How can I top that?
What I realized is I don’t have to top it, just adapt. Everyone sees certain characters as set roles. But they are not. Roles they may be, but they are depicted by people. And people change. More importantly, perspective changes. So rather than re-invent the wheel, all I have to do is turn the direction a little. By introducing a new key character, I can change the way the story happens. Even though the ending will not change, people still love reading how we got there.
A good example of this is Marion Zimmer Bradley’s “The Mists of Avalon” which is all from the perspective of Morgain. Arthur’s half sister tells the story of Camelot through her eyes, as well as her role in the fall. Also, one of the recent Arthur movies showed a gritty Gwenevier portrayed by Kiera Knightly. This was a more hands on story to show how Arthur started. It’s potentially dangerous territory to create an origin tale, but being told by this perspective made it work. If you change who tells the same story and there are enough nuances than the story seems fresh and new. Potentially. This is not a guarantee by any meant. And Kiera Knightly is really cool but not in every story so you have to find some other way to pump up the audience.
From there the plot can stay the same. Arthur gets the sword. Lance gets Gwen. Merlin is cool. Moridin kills his dad. A lot of people die. Camelot fades into legend. It’s a vengeful love story with some additional perspective. As I recently learned, if the plot itself is simple then the added fiber is complex, not complicated.
- Far too many breasts (atop a Cornish Tor) (thebuttonsblog.wordpress.com)
- Camelot X (mandoomonk.wordpress.com)
- Joseph Fiennes on Camelot (telegraph.co.uk)
- CAMELOT “Lady of the Lake” Review (daemonstv.com)
- 15 reviews of Excalibur (rateitall.com)
- Camelot: It is a silly place. (mandoomonk.wordpress.com)