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DABB musings

As previously mentioned, I signed up for the second wave of dragonagebb, and although the rough draft isn't due until early December, I haven't written a single word yet and am starting to get a little concerned. Not *too* concerned -- a draft of a 20k word story in two and a half months shouldn't be a problem, especially if I end up unemployed for some of that time -- but a little bit. Mostly because it's not the execution I'm stalling on, it's the idea.

It's like this: I have a story I want to write, but I have a feeling that to be told properly, it would need to be much longer than 20k words. And it's not only a time issue, it's an interest issue, because the much longer story would essentially be a Blight retelling, which I'm not sure would hold my attention as a writer. So that's the conundrum -- finding a complete story that can be told in 20-30,000 words (somewhat longer is fine, just not an epic) without rehashing the entirety of DA:O.

The idea I've been toying with writing is an AU in which both dwarf Wardens -- a noble and a commoner -- survive the events of their origin and become Grey Wardens. I think there's a lot that could be done with an Aeducan and a Brosca being forced to work together and find common ground, especially if it turned out that the Brosca was a better natural leader than the Aeducan but the Aeducan resists the idea of letting a casteless be in control. Even better if the Aeducan thinks she is being understanding and charitable, but it turns out she isn't. Lots of potential for conflict: with each other, with Alistair, with the rest of the party. So I think the basic concept is sound. But how far do I have to take it? Can I tell this story to a good resolution without carrying out the whole campaign? Or do I have to carry the premise all the way through to the battle with the archdemon? The answer that I keep coming back to is "yes, I do", but then I shy away from the amount of work that would be, and the sheer number of words I would spend slogging through Ferelden.

But if I don't do that idea, I'm not sure I have a backup plan in mind. And so we return to the beginning of the cycle.

If anyone has any thoughts on ways to take this idea and cut it down to a more manageable size, I'm all ears. I bit off way more than I could chew with "Wardens of Ivalice" for Mega Flare last year, and I'd rather not do that to myself again.

This entry is also posted at http://owlmoose.dreamwidth.org/597241.html. There are currently comment count unavailable comments on DW.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
here_be_dragons
Sep. 6th, 2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
I don't think there's any reason you need to go all the way through the Blight. I think the premise of your story sounds wonderful, and that you can do all of that in the 20 - 30K range. I guess the way I see this is kind of the way things happen with Alistair. He's the senior Warden, and yet quite early on, we learn that he is NOT interested in leading, and things sort themselves out quickly with the Warden taking charge. From that point onward, it's not really an issue. So any story about that particular conflict could end pretty much after they get to Lothering, when it's clear that Alistair intends to take a back seat permanently.

I don't see any reason not to have your two dwarves go through their power struggle early (at whatever point in the Blight you want, actually), and then end the story with the resolution of their conflict, rather than having to take it all the way through the Blight. I expect that you'll want us to see how they both came to be Wardens, but from there, you can give us as many - or as few - details as you want. That's one of the beauties of fanfiction, after all. Your readers will have the general knowledge that we won't be lost if you write just those parts that are critical for your own story.

Which allows you to focus on the parts that are important. For example, if you decided that they were going to Haven first, and they struggle through that quest to see just how their relationship will "settle out," you can have the denouement happen while fighting the High Dragaon, or during some part of the Gauntlet quest. And then just end the story there, with whatever truce they come to, or agreement to go their separate ways, or whatever. I don't think that would be jarring to the reader, or feel incomplete in any way.

owlmoose
Sep. 6th, 2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
Ooh, this is very helpful -- I had been thinking that the story would need to be framed as "how do the two dwarves learn to work together to beat the Blight", when I can just as easily frame it as "the two dwarves enter into a power struggle for leadership of the team". And yeah, that issue could certainly be settled before the battle with the archdemon, and even before the Landsmeet.

Thanks! :)
here_be_dragons
Sep. 6th, 2012 09:40 pm (UTC)
Yes, exactly. And if you still wanted to include how they ultimately deal with the archdemon, I honestly don't see any reason why you can't "fast forward" to that in an epilogue. I've read stories that did similar things that worked just fine. :)
owlmoose
Sep. 6th, 2012 10:10 pm (UTC)
Oooh, again. You just put a serious image in my head of what that final moment might look like. Yes. I think I have something to aim for there....
here_be_dragons
Sep. 6th, 2012 10:14 pm (UTC)
:D :D :D I am grinning SO hard right now! I'm really glad my comments were helpful. :)
owlmoose
Sep. 6th, 2012 10:40 pm (UTC)
Definitely. :) Especially in conjunction with the conversation I'm having with vieralynn over on the Dreamwidth side. More ideas, yay!
iamleaper
Sep. 6th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds like an interesting story -- I'd definitely want to read it!

I mean, this sounds like a cop-out, but if the story starts getting too unwieldy or goes too far for your time/attention/desires, you can always have one of them die or storm off or something that fits in with the DA universe and the progression of the storyline. Like Alistair storming out of the Landsmeet -- I'm sure you could craft some event that would cause one of the two (probably the Aeducan, if I had to guess ;) ) to leave the party! And that would leave it open for future meta-fic -- what if she hadn't left??

owlmoose
Sep. 7th, 2012 03:19 am (UTC)
That is also a thought -- their attempt to work together could just fail, leaving us with the party we had all along. If the ideas I'm playing with don't work out, it could make an interesting plan B!
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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