Friday, 13 July 2012

Failure (the risk thereof) and Stupidity (the application thereof).

In my youth, during my architectural studies (all of not very many years ago now, actually), I came across a concept that sought to change the voice of modern critique in order to relate the general discourse more closely to the multi-layered, densely interwoven subjective and objective and discursive facets of an idea/object/gestalt/hybrid.

The example given in the text I was reading on this issue was, of course, AIDS. Apart from me, as a starry eyed student youth, declaiming massively to my peers about the bigness of AIDS, it did sum up many of the concepts being pushed by the author. In fairness, he was absolutely right.

When you look at AIDS, it is a topic so vast in terms of data and spheres of influence it overlaps that you feel like you have to find a way to attack it in chunks. This is a science chunk, this is a economics chunk, this is a social impacts chunk and so on. It makes you feel that encompassing the complex entirety of the issue of AIDS in one mind is almost impossible.

Now, from one massive hybrid to another: AIDS to St. George.

St.George, the famous patron saint of England, Georgia and several other states, the Roman soldier turned martyr, the slayer of the metaphorical Dragon and the rallying cry for all sorts of ill-considered charges, assaults and dramatic combats, is a big thing.

For the purposes of writing a modern fairy tale (in 1000 words) in response to the challenge set forth by Mr. Wendig, he is too big by half. And another additional half.

"Oh, well, surely you can simplify the story to suit?" you may ask.

Fine. Well you try and tell a story that is worthy of an act of martyrdom and heroism committed by a man of mixed origins, who has risen to a position of utmost public trust and influence in a powerful empire, that is in the throes of tumultuous overthrow as it's old religious system bucks and heaves against the inroads of a new one, who's loyalty to a (unknowable, ineffable) benign divinity trumps his loyalty to a man of incredible temporal power. You have 1000 words and it has to be in a contemporary setting.

"OK, well what about the Dragon thing?" you may also ask.

Well... all I'll say is see above for the subtext of the metaphor of the sacrifice, the saviour and the Dragon elements in the fairy tale story (as far as I understand it, the virgin sacrifice is the fledgling Christianity, the saviour is Saint George's martyrdom, and the impact of that blow, on the Dragon, a conflation of the Roman Empire and the Morningstar, Prince of Lies etc.). Then try and meaningfully update the story for a contemporary setting in 1000 words.

I wrote some words, 500-600 of them in fact, and they were OK. Then I realised I was halfway through the first section of the first chapter of a three chapter prologue of a massive novel length work.

So, lesson learned: no matter how interesting and cool and different and meaningful the story idea is, it needs to be compact enough to fit into a story, yet not so small as to be unimportant.

Will wait for the next Wendig challenge with baited breath.

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