Forum: Anglachel - Stories

Discussing: Hunted

Hunted

I'm starting my rewrite of my original stories.

Hunted

For the new folks, here's the short history. I started writing fanfic in mid-January of 2002 after being inspired by a number of things. By the end of April, I had a 750+ page AU of FoTR on my hands. I showed it around to the HA group and got mixed reviews and a lot of great suggestions. It was all a bit overwhelming at the time, so I stuffed it off into a corner and tried to figure out what I was doing. I liked the basic story and tried to think about what didn't work and why, the ways it could be improved, what were technical errors (legion), what were interpretive problems, and generally where could the story telling itself be better.

A few weeks ago, my cigar-chomping, martini-swilling, Bronx-mouthed muse decided it was time to start rewriting. (If anyone want to trade muses, mine's available.) I wrapped up the first of the 15 stories in the overall series on Sunday, and finished reformatting it today.

It's an AU, 10th member, OFC epic. There's a nuzgul waiting for Dwim in Chapter 7. It's all intro and no resolution.

It is also kind of ironic that it has appeared right now, given the Mary Sue & 10th Member discussions going on, so all I can do is quote Elrond:

"That is the purpose for which you are called hither. Called, I say, though I have not called you to me, strangers from distant lands. You have come and are here met, in this very nick of time, by chance as it may seem. Yet it is not so. Believe rather that it is so ordered that we, who sit here, and none others, must now find counsel for the peril of the world."

Though whether we 10-Mem folks are combatting the peril or are the cause of it remains to be seen. ;-)

Comments of any kind are appreciated, as always. I hope you enjoy the read.

Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted

HARCH!!! OK then, let's slaughter Laure....!

 

 

Re: Hunted

I like Laure. She's a good Sue. I should say, I'm not one of the automatic-hate-Sue types. Depends on the story reason for the Sue to be there. Anyway, she interacts one way with the hobbits, which has interesting things to say about how Aragorn (and other Big People) interact with Hobbits. He's acting paternalistic. Hadn't considered that before ...

(My definition of Sue/Stu: original main character that closely interacts with canon charcters ... It's a good Sue/Stu if the canon characters remain in character and the presense of the original main character allows an interesting story to be told.)

I'm glad you're working on this timeline again.

Julie
happy reader

 

 

Re: Hunted

I haven't read all the revised chapters yet, but from the previous version, I never considered Laurë a Sue. An OFC yes, but not a Sue.

Of course my definition of a Sue is still evolving. My current definition of a good Sue story:
Must be a character that interests and involves the reader for her own sake not just because of her relations with canon characters.
Must be there for a good plot reason aside from romance; she is necessary to further or support the plot, not the other way around.

But Laurë isn't involved in a romance, isn't there just to show off.

Bottom line: whatever we call her, I love the story!

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Hunted

Aieeee! Not *another* definition of a Sue!

[Ang dives under ottoman with muse, peers out fearfully]

Yeah, well, Finduilas is busy with other things and isn't talking to me again, so Laurë said she'd be better mannered if I'd pay some attention to her. Sigh. My zoo is really a temperamental pack of ingrates. The recent distractions have really been keeping me from concentrating on the new stuff. Even the hobbits are getting reticent.

The changes between Laurë and Aragorn in Hunted are small, but important. He's not as polite and she's less pushy. The Hobbits were pretty good the first go-around, so didn't need too much work. As I said, It's all intro to the bigger story.

Glorfindel was completely re-done & the conversation between him & Aragorn redefines what is going on (or I hope it does). They are both all businesss about strangers on the Road (female or not), and Glorfindel is poised to do some more interesting things in the next installment.

Question - was Glorfindel in Middle-earth at the time of the Last Alliance?

The next story will probably be 65% - 75% altered. Elrond's role in particular is changing drastically, as will Arwen's. Bilbo is asking for more page space and I'm resisting giving him a good smack. Scene stealer. So, I wrote up a bunch of notes and will see which story line is talking when my big site project wraps up at the end of the month.

Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted

Question - was Glorfindel in Middle-earth at the time of the Last Alliance?

Yes, according to Last Writings in the Peoples of Middle-earth.

A quote: 'it seems far more likely that he was sent in the crisis of the Second Age, when Sauron invaded Eriador, to assist Elrond, and that though not (yet) mentioned in the annals recording Sauron's defeat he played a notable and heroic part in the war.'

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Hunted

Oh, wonderful! It's not a big point, but there's a part of a conversation between him & Elrond that won't work really well unless Glorfindel could have been around at that time.

I agree with your comment in another place that Ch. 3 is now the weakest part of Hunted, though I'm not certain what to do with it. I'm going to leave it for a while & think about it.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted

what do you like about laure? maybe she is a "good sue" (which i also doubt), but she is as a character totally uncharming imo and i can absolutely not bond with her. she is like superman/batman/catwoman and whatever superhero you can imagine wrapped into one - but superman was at least charming insofar that he had this everyday personality which made a nice difference. laure knows everything, can do everything - and of course better than any one else! PAH!!! i always refer to her as "rider of the horse with the pompous name". she has but one redeeming quality in my eyes and that is: she likes the hobbits. that's really all i can find sympatic in her.

kete

 

 

Re: Hunted

"rider of the horse with the pompous name"

[Ang goes into giggle fits]

Well, yes, that about sums her up. Though I think you're a bit harsh on the horse - he didn't name himself and he does try to live up to it. ;-)

There isn't much about her that is likeable. Her one endearing trait *is* that she likes Hobbits. You are correct that she is not meant to be a particularly sympathetic character - she's hostile, arrogant, secretive, bitter, suspicious and rude. She shares more than a few character traits with Gollum, to my mind. They are not terribly dissimilar.

What do *I* like about her? Not much. I side with Frodo in this who says he trusts her, but he doesn't particularly like her. I like her honesty and I admire her tenacity. She's on a thankless quest from hell to prove a point of honor and she can see only two ways it can end - badly and worse than that. Which is pretty much the story of her life, so I can appreciate her being in a permanent bad mood.

Laurë is like is a character out of a Greek tragedy whom the fates have marked for special attention; damned if she does, damned if she doesn't. She would agree with the wisdom of Silenius:

Not to be born surpasses thought and speech.
The second best is to have seen the light
And then to go back quickly whence we came.


That does not make for a likeable character, and I don't intend her as such.

I am curious about this reaction, which I have received from several readers - you want the character to be likeable, sympathetic, "good" in some way, and are upset when you can't find that. Does it change your perception when I say you are not supposed to like or identify with this character?

Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted -- chapter 3



I can remember that in one of the first emails I sent you, I was apologizing for "not liking Laure". I figured that since she liked hobbits I was "supposed" to like her. So I got surprised. Authors don’t usually do that, wanting readers to question the motivations of their main characters!

So I “like” her as a character. That she likes hobbits is a point in her favor, but it is right that characters & readers look at her perplexed. I like the mystery. I don’t know that I’d want to meet her personally. Or, more to the point, be in the kind of situation where she’d show up. (Probably dire.)

Re: chapter 3: “Argument in the Weather Hills”. Hmm. First off, the chapter title gives a wrong impression. It isn’t one argument, it’s a collection of discussions. Ch 1 introduced Laure to hobbits, Ch 2 is her meeting with Strider (and Frodo being uppity) -- both rather single purpose & focused chapters. Ch 4 is about the attack … this middle chapter is rather unfocused.

So I’d suggest having a “bits & pieces” title that would have the reader expect that.

Aside: “food” discussion. I don’t quite follow the math. The hobbits get 1/2 the food food but they’re also (by weight & volume) less than half an average man’s weight. I think. So I’d more stress the “cover same distance at same pace” angle & not how many cups of food. (Gaits: a man’s fast walk is a hobbit’s trot??)

What else is discussed? In order: Laure keeping “the dirty Ranger in his place”; Dragonheart is finicky about how he’s riden; 4 hobbit reactions to riding said horse; [food discussion]; how Big People ignore hobbits & talk as if they’re not there; Big People cause trouble in the Shire; Merry gets an assignment & reports conclusions. So, to summarize, it’s mostly about Big People being pushy/paternalistic to & about hobbits. With the food discussion as an oblique example (need more food because having to walk so fast). And the riding a horse / Dragonheart nipping at Aragorn feeling a bit out of place.

The story purpose of the horse passages is to place Frodo on Dragonheart so he can say to Aragorn “That is about athe angle my head has to be … not very comfortable, is it?” Maybe the detail of how each hobbit reacts could be trimmed down or redistributed?

Does that help? Thanks for the very specific beta question; it got me thinking productively.

Julie

 

 

Re: Hunted -- chapter 3

Re: chapter 3: “Argument in the Weather Hills”. Hmm. First off, the chapter title gives a wrong impression. It isn’t one argument, it’s a collection of discussions. Ch 1 introduced Laure to hobbits, Ch 2 is her meeting with Strider (and Frodo being uppity) -- both rather single purpose & focused chapters. Ch 4 is about the attack … this middle chapter is rather unfocused.

That's the biggest problem with it.

Here's what I'm trying to do with it. I want a chapter with Merry as the POV and main voice. I've set Merry up as a somewhat chauvanistic person, fundamentally good-natured, very, *very* responsible for his age, all the makings of a stable and sensible leader, but with a certain animosity towards "Big People" because of the exposed nature of Buckland. Ordinarily, it would not come out in any obvious way, but under the stress of the travel, Merry is not inclined to be very generous to Strider.

In the original, the Hobbits have no choice but to put their trust in Strider, and they really don't until after he defends them against the Riders on Amon Sul. Even then, Sam draws a sword on him when Strider first approaches the wounded Frodo. I take this to show that (at least up until that point) the Hobbits may do as he says, but they are still wary of this dour stranger.

When another person is added to the mix, someone who appears to be pretty big and tough (compared to a Hobbit) but who, unlike Strider, makes a big point of being friendly to them and solicitous of them, they are not so quick to be obedient to Strider, and they rather enjoy seeing this big, strange, scary person being cut a down to size. Frodo is at one end and Merry is at the other.

So the focus is really how the dynamics of the relationship between Strider & the Hobbits shift with this new person. It's also to show that Laurë is *not* being helpful. She's cuing the horse to be a bastard towards Strider. She wants the Hobbits trusting her more than him, and making him look ridiculous is one way to do it. She's also pumping the Hobbits for information, which Strider knows she's doing, but can't really call her on it, which increases his distance on the others. He wants to get them to Rivendell asap, does not want this unknown person with them, and is not terribly personable. Even in the book, it really isn't until Amon Sul, and reciting the poem, that he "loosens up" with his companions - the extra person exacerbates that situation.

Frodo, though he was angered at the idea of leaving this woman alone while the Nazgul were about and challenged Strider on it, trusts Strider more than Laurë. Gandalf's assurance about Strider in the misplaced letter counts most in Frodo's opinion. It's important that it is Merry & Pippin who talk to her about the Shire, not Frodo. Strider angers him again by ignoring Merry, but (in the end) he backs Strider, not Merry, making Merry responsible for solving a real problem. It also forces Merry to interact with Strider in a non-antagonistic manner.

Hobbit dynamics - among themselves and between themselves and these two strangers - is what I'm looking at.

Hope that makes sense.

Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted -- chapter 3

Agreed; much dynamics going on ... and it has to be Merry's PoV to explain it. How much does he understand? I'll go look again. Is he aware enough to grumble about the competition happening, or is he just generally annoyed? I need to look at the PoVs of the later chapters. Merry could pose some questions to be answered later ... though we never get Laure's PoV and, instead, have to try to figure her out.

Julie
pondering

 

 

Re: Hunted


"rider of the horse with the pompous name"
„Well, yes, that about sums her up. Though I think you're a bit harsh on the horse - he didn't name himself and he does try to live up to it. ;-)“

i like the horse! he‘s probably in the same situation as a child called „galadriel“ or „aragorn“ by tolkien fanatic parents - in all probability with a surname like „smith“, „miller“ or „jones“.... poor things.

„she is not meant to be a particularly sympathetic character - she's hostile, arrogant, secretive, bitter, suspicious and rude. She shares more than a few character traits with Gollum, to my mind. They are not terribly dissimilar.“

then why do i not have anything against gollum? if she were but „hostile, arrogant, secretive, bitter, suspicious and rude“ - i‘m sure, i would love her.

„She's on a thankless quest from hell to prove a point of honor and she can see only two ways it can end - badly and worse than that.
Laurë is like is a character out of a Greek tragedy whom the fates have marked for special attention; damned if she does, damned if she doesn't.“

there. that‘s it! with this you take away the role of tragic hero from frodo, who is supposed to play it. i just think: you rob every major character of its best traits to give them to her. you take from sam his mothering instincts and give them to her - she always cuddles the hobbits and of course understands them better then everyone else... (food question). she is a better warrior than aragorn (with much better weapeons of course). she is wiser than gandalf. she is mothering BOROMOR! of all people! she even has the most beautiful hair in all of middle earth when arwen‘s maid has shown her how to coiffure herself!

„That does not make for a likeable character, and I don't intend her as such.“

in that case: well done!

"I am curious about this reaction, which I have received from several readers - you want the character to be likeable, sympathetic, "good" in some way, and are upset when you can't find that. Does it change your perception when I say you are not supposed to like or identify with this character?"

no, i do not want her to be good, not at all. i want her to be believable. you are creating this nietzesche über-mensch by taking from the characters that originally own these traits and you put her centerstage and shine a spotlight on her. as i cannot believer her, i do not like her and she is forever blocking my view on the characters i care about and find more interesting. i have forced myself through the whole thing just for tiny glimpses on the hobbits every now and then - just for finding them discussing this bitch!

it is not that i cannot understand the wish to be there and play a part in that story. i admit to have envisaged myself dousing down the balrog with a power fire extinguisher („there you go, bob! this one‘s on the house!“ malicious grin) and thereby saving the day. but these things only work as parodies. you try to do this seriously and you will have irate readers like me detesting your main character. and of course you have in one way or another to like the main character (even if she is an evil bitch) and bond with her/him - otherwise why read the damn thing?

kete



 

 

Re: Hunted

 

 

Re: Hunted

you put her centerstage and shine a spotlight on her.

... which is one oft cited trait of a Mary Sue. I'm getting a different reaction. I don't inherently mind Mary Sues or Stews, as I've said. I'm more likely to react badly to main canon characters or cultures being shoved out of character for whatever reason the author has for writing his story -- and the presence/absence of a Sue/Stew is irrelevant.

This boils down to personal preference. Her mystery intrigues me. There’s two parallel stories happening in the Two Towers series (I’ve read up through Parth Galen) one is the Quest and other is Laure’s mystery. She’s an OFC; Ang took apart canon to fit her in, then put it back together again - and the choice of changes and what gets talked about is interesting to me. There are reasons other than “put the spotlight on Laure”. Rather, my reaction is to Tolkien’s choices: did the hobbits trust Strider right off, what’s it feel like for a hobbit to deal with Big Folk, what’s this feud between elves and dwarves, if Rivendell always welcomes dwarves, what’s Sauron’s history, how do the Powers decide when and where to intervene? Ang reworking the mythology makes the starting point more interesting to me. I find Tolkien’s mythology and how he deals with fate/destiny to be in the spotlight rather than being over-shadowed by the OFC. Canon characters are put in different situations and personalities examined and gapfilled. It’s the “connection to canon” that hooked me into this timeline.

Therefore I do “bond” with the character, and that’s why I’m reading the “damn thing”.

So mostly I think this is a difference of opinion. But your reaction of “spotlight on Laure” is a description of your reaction rather than (necessarily) a description of Ang’s writing process. As I said above, I’m feeling the spotlight on Tolkien’s mythology. So, for me, this is a “10th member” fic that “works”.

Julie
collector of AUs

 

 

Re: Hunted

here's a good definition of mary-sue that popped up on a thread on TORC just today:

Aliana:
what is a mary-sue?

Nimloth:
Aliana, A Mary Sue is a female charater. She is wise, beautiful, witty, strong, usually of noble or elvish birth. She often has a tragic past or some horrid secret. For some inexplicable reason, every male character in the general vicinity falls madly in love with her. Well, she is better-looking than Luthien, after all. And she manages to best Aragorn in a swordfight (one handed and blindfolded, of course). Oh, and Gandalf does go to her for advice on a daily basis.
In other words, Mary Sue is perfect, infallible, cliche, boring, irritating; most often the projected self-image of hormonal authors wishing they could go to Middle-Earth and, ahem... get it on with their favourite characters.

JewelSong:
And has long silky hair in some hithertofore unknown colour, don't forget that!


well, in how far that is correct for Laure, you have to decide for yourself. i think it hits the mark except for the "madly falling in love"-part.

kete



 

 

Re: Hunted

Well, gosh. All this controversy! And then, reading along in this thread, thinking I should maybe read the story, I come to the comment about the OC "mothering Boromir" and figured I had to read it.

So I did, and I'm rather enjoying it. Of course, I'm not altogether comfy with the OC but I gather I'm not supposed to be. And while I'm not wildly excited about how pompous she sometimes seems with Aragorn, it's okay with me. It seems to suit the character, and I'm not finding Aragorn to be out of character, so that's good. But I'm thinking maybe the comment about Boromir is from the pre-revisions version...? 'Cause in the one I'm reading they haven't even gotten to Rivendell yet.

As for kete's complaint that making Laure a tragic figure takes the role of tragic figure away from Frodo, I'm frankly baffled. Leaving aside the question of whether Frodo manages to retain his role as tragic figure in this story, I wanna point out that there's a double handful of tragic figures in LOTR as it was written. How does adding another one remove the role from someone else?

Hoping to see someone mothering Boromir -
Rachel

 

 

Re: Hunted

controversy? well, yes, that's what discussions are for, aren't they?

everyone saying oh yes, you are so right would have ended this thread in about 2, 50 minutes....

kete

 

 

Re: Hunted

Well, I think you both are and aren't right.

I think that the original version of the stories (in particular the "Rivendell" sequence) is wince-inducing. You are painting with a bit of a broad brush here, however, as there *is* more to this OC than being a half-elven princess who is perfect and who wins hearts. Part of the problem here, of course, is that you read the original version of the story (refer to winces above) and it is in revision.

I can pretty much go through the check list and show that Laurë does not match it in the superficial regards - her hair is blonde and dirty most of the time, she isn't particularly beautiful, none of the males have fallen in love with her, and (that little incident with Boromir not withstanding) none of them will. She mouths off at Gandalf, but it is not clear he takes any of her advice, etc. I also think that part of the problem with using "Mary-Sue" as a critical term is that it gets reduced to a check-list such as the one you presented - and if you can find an attribute to be checked, you don't need to take the character seriously after that.

By that standard, I can dismiss just about any OFC (or any significant write up of a minor canonical) as a "Mary Sue", because I can find a good collection of these attributes in any OFC.

The one thing that is true is that Laurë is intended as a character of enormous power and influence within the Arda-verse, though not for trivial reasons. This is poorly handled, particularly in the early stories, and is the main reason that the character fails. However, again, if you use a check-list approach, any OFC that isn't an ordinary human or Hobbit is by definiton a Mary Sue. She has super-powers, ergo, she's a Sue.

So much for the particular character.

Of greater interest to me at the moment is *can* a truly "Mary-Sue" situation be written in a way that does not end up becoming a travesty or a self-parody? While I love any number of the stories that have come out of the Mary Sue challenge, they tend to veer pretty sharply away form the description you give above. They tend to succeed as stories in direct proportion as they are not in accord with the usual conventions of the Mary-Sue genre.

So, can it be done? To the degree that "Mary-Sue" is an epithet, not a description, no, it can't. If a story succeeds, it can't be a Mary Sue. But if we take certain tenants of the genre as descriptive (odd powers, tragic past, uncanny knowledge, striking appearance, etc.) rather than as flags of dismissal, is it possible to write a story that will succeed?

The ultimate challenge is a 10th member fic. Can it be done, and not as a parody? I can say with total assurance that the Laurë stories are light years better than the majority of such attempts - but that doesn't mean that they work. So, I'm back to the word processor to figure out whether they can be reworked. Only time will tell if I can do it.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted

The ultimate challenge is a 10th member fic. Can it be done, and not as a parody? I can say with total assurance that the Laurë stories are light years better than the majority of such attempts - but that doesn't mean that they work. So, I'm back to the word processor to figure out whether they can be reworked. Only time will tell if I can do it.

Well, I tend to think they can. Now, odds are good that there will be those for whom it cannot work because they reject the premise as by its nature too destructive - simply having a tenth member ruins something for them. I don't personally understand that, but hey, I don't have to.

If I can drag myself out from under this wretched, clawing, biting thing that is my current obsession (why can't I be this obsessed with An End To Innocence right now? *sob*) I will go back and read Hunted with a very close eye, and see if I can add my $0.02 worth about where it is or isn't working.

But now it's 9PM and I'm still at the office, darn it, so it may not be tonight.

Must...stop...working....
-Rachel

 

 

Re: Hunted

controversy? well, yes, that's what discussions are for, aren't they?

Well, it's certainly one of the things. Note that I'm not complaining - it was the controversy that prompted me to read the story.

Cheers!
-Rachel

 

 

Re: Hunted

Go HOME, Rachel!

All comments appreciated, if not always agreed with. ;-)

I did post a number of small revisions to Hunted a day or so ago, but have not tried to do a rewrite on Chapter 3, which is bugging me mightily. I think it needs a radical rewrite and I haven't been inspired.

I can understand the 10th member rejection reaction, and in every case I've read it is more or less justified (Though "Meg Goes to Middle-earth" may be the true break-through story) given the way in which the authors go about it. Note I'm including my own first-round efforts in that pack of failures.

If I didn't think is couldn't be done, I wouldn't try it. If we get enough folks together, maybe we should make it a formal challenge. Or at least a real Nuzgul.\

Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted

„You are painting with a bit of a broad brush here, however, as there *is* more to this OC than being a half-elven princess who is perfect and who wins hearts.“

i said: „except the madly falling in love“-part. OK, your reason to write this was NOT hormonal - accepted. however, you managed to stumble into the same traps as 14-olds do with creating this über-persona - for whatever reasons.... and she is of the noblest birth whatsoever being a maia. as i said in my mail it could perhaps be topped by ERU‘s mother in law, but owise....

„Part of the problem here, of course, is that you read the original version of the story (refer to winces above) and it is in revision.“

i‘m just trying to force myself throught he whole thing a second time - so don‘t you tell me, that isn‘t a labour of love... (i‘d do EVERYTHING for „four more, four more“)!

„I can pretty much go through the check list and show that Laurë does not match it in the superficial regards - her hair is blonde and dirty most of the time,“

but later on one of the hobbits looks at it (when it is washed) and thinks it was the most beautiful hair he had ever seen (having seen such stunning women as goldberry and arwen...).

„She mouths off at Gandalf, but it is not clear he takes any of her advice, etc.“

she calls him „old fool“ which i take as a personal insult and which induces the thought she is intended to be wiser than he is. which of course is ridiculous.

„I also think that part of the problem with using "Mary-Sue" as a critical term is that it gets reduced to a check-list such as the one you presented - and if you can find an attribute to be checked, you don't need to take the character seriously after that. By that standard, I can dismiss just about any OFC (or any significant write up of a minor canonical) as a "Mary Sue", because I can find a good collection of these attributes in any OFC.“

but NOT so massive! why can‘t she be a little bit more modest/subdued/reduced whatever? there is an excellent story on ff.net called „and left the tenderness of tears“ by someone called lurea. it‘s not 10.member as it is postquest, but the sue/OFC works phantastic! because she is NOT special. she is just a normal hobbit woman, attractive in the way of movie!rosie and not specially wise, witty, combative or something. she has lost her husband in the bywater-battle and later their mutual child to sickness and is grieving when she meets frodo. at first she can‘t stand him and he also is not right away falling in love. this OFC is used as a lens to shine a new light on a character we care for and want to know more about and that is a way that really works, IMO. for WHY do we read fanfic? because we want to know more about the characters we love.

„The one thing that is true is that Laurë is intended as a character of enormous power and influence within the Arda-verse, ... She has super-powers, ergo, she's a Sue.“

why can‘t she just hide her enormous powers then? make her ride a downtrodden horse, give her flimsy weapons, let her keep her mouth shut most of the time and let the others not take her so serious. someone so powerful shouldn‘t feel the need to show off so much.

„Of greater interest to me at the moment is *can* a truly "Mary-Sue" situation be written in a way that does not end up becoming a travesty or a self-parody? ... They tend to succeed as stories in direct proportion as they are not in accord with the usual conventions of the Mary-Sue genre.“

i have no idea, but am ogling a nuzgul for adoption that deals with that question...

„So, can it be done? To the degree that "Mary-Sue" is an epithet, not a description, no, it can't. If a story succeeds, it can't be a Mary Sue. But if we take certain tenants of the genre as descriptive (odd powers, tragic past, uncanny knowledge, striking appearance, etc.) rather than as flags of dismissal, is it possible to write a story that will succeed?“

a mary-sue is simply an OFC that is an incorporation of the writer, IMO. the a.m. character traits are symptoms of a bad/silly/immature sue/writer. sure it can be done in a way that works and still be a sue. when I would be a 10. member you can be sure it will be NOT for the benefit of the quest and - sadly - no one will fall in love with me. still I will be there.

„I can say with total assurance that the Laurë stories are light years better than the majority of such attempts“

OK, i‘ll concede - but not up to the standards i expect of you (after L/OMY which i consider literature).

kete


 

 

Re: Hunted

The problem I usually have with 10th member fics (including Meg Goes To Middle Earth, well-written as that is), is, what's the point? The presence of the 10th person doesn't change anything. In fact, if the 10th person is a modern who has read the books, they go out of their way to NOT change anything, so that thing will happen as they are "supposed" to. In which case, they're just retelling the original story, but not as well.

When I read the original version of this story cycle, I thought you had actually done a pretty fair job of making the 10th member not so pointless. Part of it was that she kept claiming to not really be part of the Fellowship, just going in the same direction. Part of it was that you kept using her to look at parts of the characters and the journeys that Tolkien didn't show us. I thought particularly the handling of Boromir, and how the Ring was taking over his soul, was terrific. However, after Lorien, even Laure succumbed to being pointless. If she truly is there for her own purposes, at some point she has to go off and take care of them.

 

 

Re: Hunted

Still chewing over the problem of chapter 3, and throwing in a few thoughts.

The interaction between Strider and Laure feels too one-sided, she is calm and completely right, and he is completely wrong. The interaction between Frodo and Strider also feels that way to me.

The best thing about it was that Laurë knew how to keep the dirty Ranger in his place.

I understand what you mean about seeing it through Merry's prejudices, but perhaps you could have the reader see Merry's opinions on the exchange, but the reader would not draw the same conclusions. Right now the reader (this reader, anyway) sees Strider made small by Laurë and by Frodo. It appears that Strider is really dense, and everyone else is reasonable.

I think it will be hard for me to go from the memory of this scene to seeing Strider as the greater figure he becomes.

and they rather enjoy seeing this big, strange, scary person being cut a down to size. Frodo is at one end and Merry is at the other.

Frodo, though he was angered at the idea of leaving this woman alone while the Nazgul were about and challenged Strider on it, trusts Strider more than Laurë.


What I see happening in this chapter is that it is unclear who is in charge, and that's causing problems among the group. It comes through to me as if Frodo is the person in charge. Merry would prefer Laure to Strider, as you say, but he seems to be seeing Frodo as the one in charge.

Frodo may prefer Strider, but to the reader, it almost appears that it's because he can control Strider. The elements you mention are good, perhaps they need to be subtler?

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Hunted

Yes, this is the problem. Strider is not given his due. [Sigh of relief] OK, now I know how to approach this.

Laurë is less important in this chapter than the pony, except as Merry's idea of a nice Big Person who doesn't scare him so much.

The interaction between Frodo and Aragorn needs to be much more subtle and less one-sided. More Frodo realizing that something wrong is happening and trying to derail Merry's antagonism, which Aragorn cannot do by himself.

Thanks so much!

Ang

 

 

Re: Hunted

Glad it was useful!

I went to the garden and weeded, still thinking about this applied to writing in general. On one of the forums Dwim and AfterEver had a discussion about a specific character acting as a lens, and how it could focus too much on certain things. AfterEver and I discussed it further, and certain characters, for whatever reason, act as stronger 'lenses.' So even though it's not a favorite, or one you identify with, many of us tend to have some characters be better lenses than others. Merry is doing this, for whatever reason.

Laure does not. Whatever she feels won't affect us much, we don't believe her. Frodo, I think, would be a strong lens also. Strider more than Laure, much less than Frodo or Merry. Sam we would discount, because he worries excessively.

I'm babbling now, but I'm trying to understand for my own story. Must think about this.

Lyllyn

 

 

Re: Hunted

Oh, now that's a useful way of thinking about things - characters as lenses.

Why would Merry be such a powerful lens? Perhaps because he is not distracted (or seeks to distract himself with a sharp focus), or because there are few shades of grey in his current thinking. He presents a powerful (if contrary) opinion and clings to it grimly. I find myself wanting to argue with him, pointing out that he's being quite blind.

It is a different kind of focus than you will find in Strider or Frodo. With them, the focus is the conflict and the shades of grey. They examine complexities and help clarify our own thoughts.

Sam, like Merry, has a single focus, but it is Frodo. There is almost no thought of himself in this, though his thinking is far from servile. And, yet, there is also a part of Sam that is attuned to the situation in an almost unconscious way. For me, this comes out in his poetry and his reflections on stories. Unlike Frodo, he does not apprehend the quest conceptually - he's too ordinary and common-sense a fellow for that kind of abstract thinking - but he does perceive it as part of the tale of Arda, woven in with other stories, songs, poems and so forth. His is a very odd perspective. He is making a tale of their adventures as they happen, rendering it in poetry and myth.

Laurë does provide a lens, but an oblique one, glancing away from herself to reflect on others. The opacity is difficult to convey.

Hey, I've been busy this AM, too! I launched a new Web site for a client:

Great Pyrenees Club of Puget Sound

I like the design because it is "stretchy". The middle panel expands or contracts to fill the screen, so it works really well with most monitor resolutions. They only use 3 images on the entire site to keep it fast for dial-up connections. Like HASA, the really cool parts of the site are in the Members area. They have a really slick little calendar for tracking club events, and the big part of it is a vital statistics database where they track champions, litters, and some health related information about particular animals.

Toodles - Ang

 

 

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