Friday, November 19, 2004

A NaNoWriMo Intrusion

Well, this confounds it.

I'm really starting to think that I should include a real-world prologue to the story. As it is, I need a basis-- a reason-- on why the story matters. And I figure an outsider to this imagined world would do the trick.

But of course, this would limit the story's audience locally because-- after all-- why would international readers be concerned about Philippine history?

My main concept is this: despairing over the current course of the Philippines (bloody politics, graft and corruption yadayada), a writer is thinking about a story that re-imagines Philippine history. In this story, the three main heroes of the revolution unite against the Spanish colonizers in 1896, culminating into a better, stronger Philippines.

Of course, conspiracies abound and three mysterious figures (a Spainard, an American and a Japanese) show up trying to 'change' his mind about writing that story-- to lethal effect.

In the course of events, the protagonist finds himself transported to the said world wherein he finds himself the linchpin in determining whether or not the revolution in that imagined world succeeds or fails.

Now, stories of the insertion of real-world outsiders to imaginary realms abound. But in classic speculative fiction, there are two that should be mentioned: The Worm Ouroboros by E.R. Eddison and Voyage to Arcturus by David Lindsay.

In Ouroboros, Eddison uses this device to insert an English, Lessingham, to the weird realm of... wait for it... the planet Mercury via a dream. There, he observes a war between two mythical races. However, Eddison later drops the whole dream device, leaving the reader to wonder: what happened to Lessingham?

In Voyage, Lindsay chronicles the adventures of one Maskull to the planet Tormance in Arcturus. Unlike Eddison, however, Lindsay uses Maskull to great effect to discover varied mysteries of the planet as well as detail certain philosophies.

Now, one problem I'll be encountering in bringing in a real-world observer to my story is that it would limit the reader's POV to what the outsider-protagonist would see. Obviously, this would be bad because I'm three to four chapters in the story and I'm using multiple POVs (three characters) to detail the story.

Stephen Donaldson uses this to great effect in the modern fantasy classic The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever wherein he puts in your average American in a fantasy world-- the Land-- but adds a spin to it in that the protagonist believes he is just dreaming the whole story (hence his title, 'the Unbeliever').

In fact, I remember Donaldson had once cut out a large section of his story because it details the adventures of a group of minor characters THAT DIDN'T HAVE Covenant in it. This is admirable because by putting in that section, it would have rendered the idea that Covenant is dreaming the Land as moot and rubbish.

A matter of perception, you see, but very important.

However, there's also Guy Gavriel Kay's high-fantasy Fionavar Tapestry wherein he inserts a group of American college students into a fantasy world, Fionavar, that is supposedly the "heart of the first of all worlds." Kay emphasizes the reality of this imagined world by having POVs of the fantastical characters separate from the POVs of the students.

Whew! Now where was I?

Anyway, just a question I'm pondering upon.

(If are wondering why I posted this in this blog instead of my NaNoWriMo blog, I'm just hoping for other opinions in the matter. So feel free to comment. That's a SUBTLE HINT, by the way...)

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