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nanowrimo 2010


Diary of a Blind Madman

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NAtional NOvel WRIting Month
nanowrimo 2010

Every November 1st through November 30th is NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth (NANOWRIMO). The challenge is one of quantity, not quality — to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I know you're already doing the math. That's about 1667 words a day.

     NANOWRIMO is upon me again. I've tried twice and failed. This might be the year. I am spending the day outlining my novel(la). I hope to actually write a novella-sized story (70,000 words). That would be 2333.33 words a day. It's not really that difficult a task.

     I have a vague outline of a story and some thoughts on characters. I am writing fantasy, of course. "Of course", because that is what I've been writing for at least the last five years. I used to write exclusively Science Fiction but was so unsuccessful at it that I have changed genres.

     I want to write, this year, about wizards and wizardry. Maybe it's the Harry Potter thing working, but I am really interested to see a young, good-looking, normally adjusted, wizard instead of the misogynistic, arthritic, shriveled, bitter, old, pointy-hat-wearing archetypes that we've had to live with for so long. I also don't want my wizard to be Harry Potter. I've seen too many "Harry Potter meets Billy the Kid", "Harry Potter meets Frankenstein", and "Harry Potter vs. Dracula" bits of fan-fic and don't want to write anything approaching them.

     And another thing … why can't a wizard use a sword. Damned D&D causes even film-makers to unconsciously obey its stridently enforced rules.

     This journal entry contains 227 words. That's just about 10% of my total needed for the day. I can do this.

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And another thing … why can't a wizard use a sword.

Well, first off, swords are much, much heavier than they look. I have a Kris blade that is not really long, and it's at my limit of useability. Anything heavier would really bring me down.

Secondly, staffs and wands have a natural magical "feel" to them that most swords don't. Granted, you get the odd sword with magical enhancements, but most are just sharpened steel alloy bars.

Really, for bladed objects, a stiletto or other dagger is much more wizard/mage/whatever magic user name friendly.

Sorry to be so slo to reply.

I don't think the weight is the issue. There's noting that says a wizard has to be a week spindly old man or a gangly teenager with no muscle. Why not a strong, physically powerful individual? A wizard certainly has the self-discipline to study endless ancient grimoires and conduct complicated experiments (well, they all seem to do that sort of thing). Why shouldn't he have the discipline to lead a balance life with lots of exercise, sword practice is great exercise, a healthy diet, even a "normal" social life?

As to the natural magical "feel", that is largely a literary convention, I think. The guy that revived wicca a while back (Gerald Gardner?) was careful to include swords in ceremonies. I know Anton La Vey (church of satan) did. Some of the most famous swords are "magical" ones, excalibur made of a fallen star, Attilla the Hun's sword supposedly once belonged to the god of war. Roland's sword was "blessed" rather than magical but was said to contain within the hilt one tooth of Saint Peter, blood of Saint Basil, hair of Saint Denis, and a piece of the raiment of the Blessed Virgin Mary.There's just no end to mystical and magical swords and weapons. Sigmund pulled Odin's sword Gram from the Branstock oak as I recall. The list just goes on.

Apart from that what's unmagical about steel? I think that is just another literary convention. Cold iron is supposedly anathaema to fairies and such in celtic myth but I don't know it that is universal. I think german mythology has goblins or some such afraid of iron. On the other hand dwarves, the Alfir of norse mythology, and many a magical creature from Greek mythology to Tolkein all weild swords. In tolkein Elrond and Celeborn, even Gandalf, wizards all used swords, albeit none of them seemed duellists.

As to name friendly? I really don't know how to address that one. Juliet had it down to its finest point, I think. "A rose, by any other name..."

And I should add that I have already begun to address the whole issue of swords and sorcerers... this is national novel writing month and I'm ten thousand words into "the Wizard of Whitestone Tower" about... you guessed it ... a sword-wielding wizard.

Edited at 2007-11-10 06:57 pm (UTC)

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