Monday, April 17, 2017

Minicon Report

I went to Minicon late yesterday morning and stayed till 3:30 in the afternoon. Was on one panel -- about creating flawed heroes. Maybe because I was tired, I couldn't get engaged with the topic. Bought a pair of opal earrings from Elise Matthesen in the dealers' room. Got a ride home with Ruth Berman, took a nap, got up briefly and then went to bed for the night.

I did more thinking about the flaws in my heroes, trying to figure out if the panel could have been made better. Daisy's flaw in my story "Daisy" is she's an octopus. She can't drive a stick shift. She doesn't understand humans. She doesn't have a moral system. (Octopuses are solitary predators.) She needs to get to the ocean.

Loft, in the story I'm currently finishing for wizard anthology, has a flaw of being an utter jerk. But I'm basing my story on an Icelandic folktale, and he's a jerk in the folktale. So I didn't give him a flaw. He came with one. The problem in the story is to make him less of a jerk.

I said on the panel that I don't add flaws to my characters. The whole story -- the character, the setting, the problem -- seem to take shape together. How they take shape depends on what sets off the story. "Daisy" began with joking around on facebook. This led to the name Art Pancakes, which sounded like a good name for a gangster. I don't remember how the idea of a criminal bookkeeper octopus evolved, but it did -- and on facebook.

"Loft" began with an Icelandic folktale.

"Yu the Engineer," which is notes at the moment, comes from Chinese history. What is Yu's flaw? He is damn near flawless, though he's going to have a problem when he gets home from taming the Yellow River floods and has to confront a family he hasn't seen for 13 years. How pissed is his wife going to be? As with "Loft," I am beginning with an existing story. Then ideas leaf off it.

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