Monday, 14 December 2009

Unintentional clevernesseseses... es...

(Listening to - Tim Minchin - What Was '06 For?)

I had a kickass idea for a blog post, but then I forgot it. Unofficially, it's my brain's fault. Officially, it's Julia Knight's fault for distracting me. (That was a site pimp, click the damn link. Oh, then buy her book. It rocks.)

Aaaanyway... While trying to figure out what the hell I was planning on talking about, another idea that had been buzzing about in my head popped to the forefront. So I'll give that one a whirl.

As the title says, it's about unintentional cleverness, or in English, those moments in writing where you read something back and go "well, I hadn't intended to do that, but it's rather clever."

For instance, you could re-read a piece of dialogue you'd just written and notice that you added an unintentional play on words, which reads better than the original and adds to the characterisation of the speaker.

In my case, it came about through naming. The 3 main "good guys" of my trunked fantasy novel have names that begin with G, J and T. The 3 main "bad guys" (well, 1 main, and 2 secondary) also have names that begin with G, J and T.

To begin with, I was irritated, as I thought it would add confusion for the reader. Then I thought about it. It turns out that, as well as sharing first letters, the three "pairs" all shared other similarities that I hadn't consciously put in, similarities that, with some tweaking, added a new "theme" (I hate that term) to the proceedings. Lemme attempt to explain:

The three main characters are an opportunistic mercenary who's good with a blade, a dwarven (dwarves rock, mocketh not) wizard, and a part demon misfit.

The three main bad guys are an opportunistic pirate (among other things) who's good with a blade, a lich (reanimated corpse) wizard, and a demon.

So, I have:

2 humans, one good, one bad, who share many similarities, and could each easily be one result of the same person taking two different paths in life.

2 wizards, one in control of his magic, and one who let it take him over, who (barring the race issue) could each easily be one result of the same person taking two different paths in life.

2 demons, one struggling to stay on the side of good, and one embracing the bad, who... you can see where I'm going with this...

As I said, this was unintentional, but I love the idea, and with some tweaking, rewriting, and screaming at the monitor, I hope I can bring the idea out fully. (When I'll have time is another matter.)

So, come on you luvverly people. Share! Tell me about any moments of unintentional cleverness you've had and how they affected your work. :-)

(Providing you understood what the hell I was getting at... I'm not entirely sure myself, if I'm honest... I blame tiredness.)

Ta ta,



Kathy said...

I'm not that clever.

Adam said...

That's my point, it's unintentional! :D

I could never do it consciously. ;-)


bettielee said...

This happens to me all the time! I lurve it. I had a whole theme show up unintentionally. I kept mentioning trains, and never realized it, and in the end, it gave me the ending. The character left town on a train, and going towards his new life. In the same story, there were birds everywhere, the birds representing freedom.

Adam said...

Double yay!

Firstly, yay for the new themes (it rocks, doesn't it?), and secondly, yay for my post being understandable! :D


Julia Knight said...

You pimped me. Aww you big ole fuzzy :D

Um, unintentional cleverness...any of it? My favourite bits are where I put in some minor little detail at the start that by the end becomes leik v v important so the book wouldn't work without it.

Like Ilfayne, who was supposed to be a walk on character with about three lines...until his ego got in the way lol

Adam said...

Heehee, you're welcome. ;-)

I love it when little thinks take on importance. I had a similar thing happen with a walk on character. He's now one of the 3 major bad guys, and becomes even more important in the sequel (when I write it...). :)

(Ilfayne is such a hottie, even with the one hand.)


Moses Siregar III said...

Nifty. I wonder if, as you said, it might be confusing to readers, though. I've frequently read the advice that it's best not to give characters the same first name. But this could be an exception to that.

Before hearing that advice, I failed in epic fashion when first naming the characters in my WIP. All three MCs started with R, and the next three significant characters all started with A. Heh, oops.

To your question, I can't think of a specific example, but writing my first draft made it clear to me that my subconscious is steering the ship :-)

Adam said...

The names may well be changed. As long as the characters remain the same though, it won't affect what I'm trying to go for. :)

I try and let my subconscious take as much control as it wishes. It makes for fun writing. :D


Melanie Hooyenga said...

We're supposed to be clever?


I dig your unintentional cleverness.

Adam said...

Only unintentionallylyly... um, ly.