February 21, 2014

Not answering your KES questions



sputter sputter sputter… eeep.

Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

That’s the cliffiest cliffhanger yet.  Eeep.

Now this interests me.  This is in response to Kes #15, “Keep it together, tha useless mare”.  I thought the cliffiest cliffhanger was #14, the ep before, “By Elbereth and Luthien the Fair, you shall have neither the Ring nor me”.  Granted my view is a trifle different than readers’.

It is also interesting—to me anyway—that plucking Kes up and plonking her down In Another Part of the Forest when the reader is getting the story only in 800-900 word snatches with looooong gaps between, must produce a much bigger HUH? factor than it would if the reader could turn/fingersweep the page and keep going.  Yes?  Or am I over-interpreting?  I was thinking that you could, not unreasonably, suspect me of cheating.  I’m not—or I don’t think I am—by the somewhat elastic rules of storytelling—and the somewhat differently elastic rules of fantasy storytelling*—it’s allowed, not to tell your readers stuff.  Till you feel like getting around to it.  Till the story insists.


I look forward to Sunday mornings – make a pot of green tea, settle down with my tablet, check Kes’s latest predicament. But these blog posts need to be much longer if they’re to last 2 cups of tea.

I have a great idea!  Only read KES every fortnight!  Then you’ll have an ep per cup!  That works!

So thank you for today’s episode. And thank you for a heroine who is only 10-plus-some years older than me. I read and enjoy YA fantasy but I do occasionally wish for more stories with protagonists who have a little more life experience.

You’re welcome.  And also thank you.  The apparent near take-over of YA in this end of fantasy storytelling does discourage me a trifle sometimes, despite the fact that I have substantially contributed to it.**  Some day I am going to write a story with a kick-ass heroine who is over sixty.  We can still kick ass, you know.  It just hurts more afterward.***


. . . if I were in Kes’s place I’d just get furiously angry. Look, it’s not my fault no one told me to go into heroine training!!!


Furiously angry keeps you moving forward, though, and so is very probably a useful reaction.

Yep.  Adrenaline-rage, which allows slender willowy people to sling large sacks of (wet) compost around.  For example.  It’s a very useful tool and I wouldn’t want to be without it but I possibly overuse it a trifle.  If what you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  Kes does adrenaline-rage too.  For better and worse.


Three thoughts:

1) Everyone in Kes’s world(s), stop being mean to her already & give her a freaking break!!!

Everyone?  We need a few villains and persons of dubious motives for story tension.

2) Her horse!!!! There’s a horse for her!!!! Yaaayyyy!!!! . . .

Of course there is a horse for her.  There was always going to be a horse for her.  Remember she’s an even-more-blatant-than-usual wish-fulfilment for me.


Well . . . escape is maybe putting it a little strongly.  She side-slipped worlds at a very good moment.  As to why she side-slipped worlds at that moment. . . . ::whistles::


But…where’s Sid? Is this Sid morphed into a horse?

Nope.  Very different personality.

(No, Kes needs Sid as Sid, the faithful hound. This has to be the faithful steed, yhight…Star? Socks? Brownie? Bay..um…Bayeux? Bayberry? Eli?)

Snork.  I like Bayeux.

Horse. Horse is good. Good horse is good. Evil horse…I don’t even want to think about it.

No, no!  Good horse!  Very good horse!  Brave noble patient horse!†   Cheez.  These frelling supple professional-fiction-producing minds.


Yay, the horse. I’m wondering if this is Merry? Otherwise, how will Merry fit into this? or has the story council let that slip out yet?

Hmm.  This might be the moment to warn you all that I’m not a big fan of the parallel worlds thing.  Connected overlapping similar-in-weird-ways containing-confusing-parallels worlds, yes.  Parallel worlds, no.  Nothing—except frelling algebra—is x = y in this world;  why should reason and logic suddenly reign just because we’ve breached a few walls between one messed-up and inconsistent world and a few more of the same?  Although it wouldn’t surprise me if Monster and Merry became very good friends.

Also, I will be very relieved when Sid shows back up in the picture.

Sid’s okay.  Although she may be having her own adventures.  And she has a very important part to play in the coming . . . ::whistles some more:: . . . well, whatever.


Didn’t the kitchen table start making horse-like motions a few episodes ago?

Yup.  But remember what I said about parallel.  Here’s another suggestion for how not to make yourselves crazy trying to figure out how the pieces fit together:  you can dye your hair orange this week and purple next week.  It’s sunny today†† but it will rain tomorrow.†††  A table that stamps its feet today may be a table next week.  And an octopus the week after that.

I too am curious what happened to the big black monster. And everything else.

You’d better also remember that I don’t tie things up neatly or give full, exquisite explanations.  Curiosity is good.  It keeps you awake.  You’ll know more about most things before END OF PART ONE scrolls up on your computer screens.


I’m thinking some hybrid between

[photo of Shire horse—or anyway it should be a Shire and it could be a Shire]


[photo of Andalusian horse—and I know it is an Andalusian because it’s on the Wiki page for Andalusian horse, although I keep wondering if the lad is a midget or the horse is standing on a box, because Andalusians are not huge]

what’s your image of the biggest horse? 

I’ve had an enormous [sic] crush on Andalusians forever.  Talat, although somewhat inspired‡ by an Arab stallion I used to know, is really more an Andalusian.  The only heavy horses I’ve had a chance to know up close and personal are Shires and Clydesdales—and Suffolk Punches to a very limited extent—and Shires win hands down.  I adore Shires.  I know it’s not as easy to get a good cross as to take one Andalusian stallion and put him to one Shire mare‡‡, but it’s like Sid being (probably) Saluki/Deerhound.  Monster is probably Andalusian/Shire.  And they’re each a really excellent cross with only the BEST features of both bloodlines.  Hey.  I write fantasy.

Even if for a newyorker that has never seen a cow any horse in that stressful situation and while not standing properly would look big or bigger.

Ahem.  Kes doesn’t know from cows, true, but she went to horse camp for several years in her teens.  She’s not totally clueless.‡‡‡  We’re going to say it was a good horse camp too, which I realise is pushing the reality connection pretty hard—but Kes does know the basics of how to ride.  Probably not to battle in her nightgown however.


Two of my all-time favorite fantasy novels   featured a cavalry that rode without either bridle or stirrups.

Haven’t even finished reading the episode…had to come say I LOVE that grin at a couple of my favorite fantasy novels too! (Go Aerin & Hari!!)

I’ve known from the beginning that Kes must have read McKinley.  I was going to have to refer to this some time.

I looked back at Monster.

I know I asked for a name, but now I’m hoping there is a chance he gets renamed along the way; although Monster will be an affectionate name before long, I suppose.

Well hmmph.  Personally I think Monster is a very good name for a huge horse, but in fact I think it’s like Sid is also the Phantom.  Give poor Kes some slack here:  she’s a bit pressed.  She’ll name Monster when things quiet down a little.§  No one was trying to kill her when she gave Sid a name.

* * *

* Insert standard rant here about how you do get to make up your own rules, writing fantasy, but then you have to follow them.  No Mr-Spock-reveals-new-skill-after-the-commercial-break.^  Also no all-powerful mages throwing lightning-bolts of awesome power at one another while making mean faces.

^ Spock ex machina, one might almost say.

** When I first told Hannah what I was doing, a year and a half ago, after she stopped laughing, she said, Make her younger.  Merrilee will want to try to make a book out of it at some point^.  It’ll sell better if she’s younger.

I remind myself that at least there are quite a few strong heroines in fantasy around now.  Some of the books they’re in even receive a certain amount of advertising.  EMoon and I can remember when this was not the case.  Especially the advertising part.

^ Great publishing minds think alike

*** Ow!  My foot!

† This is still a McKinley story, after all.

†† Wrong.  No.

††† TRUE.

‡ ‘Inspired’ isn’t quite right;  it’s like as Talat blooms into his own self, it turns out some of Binni’s tack fits.

‡‡ And the stallion would have to stand on a box.  But I’d be afraid to do it the other way around:  she might break.

‡‡‡ Another pet peeve is characters in books who never learn to ride, they just get on a horse and hey presto.  It’s not like that.

§ Unless it turns out he’s already got a—er—Abernathy’s Elegant Mythology by Abernathy’s Hyperborean Mystique out of Plutonium Farms Bethany-by-Night name already.  In which case we’ll have to shorten it.  To Abe.  Or Myth.  Or Pluto.  Or Fred.


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