Monday, June 11, 2007

Script Frenzy: The New Script

In case you haven't checked out my profile at the Frenzy boards (And if you haven't, well, you're missing out on the ongoing mass movement towards...yeah, I've got nothing.) then you likely already know the answer to which script I've chosen to direct my energies into. The rest of you were left hanging by the vagaries of fate and power lines. Well, let me relieve you of the lingering tension, I've decided to go with the idea that prompted me to consider dropping my old script, the late unlamented “First Kiss”, in the first place. The first one listed in that “Ah, Decisions” post. The Fantasy one.

I've taken to calling it “The Pact” because, again, I'm horrible with names. If you checked out my profile you'll know the tagline, “The old king is gone. The last bastion of freedom already fallen. The last hope has died. But the people still can dream.” It needs some work, obviously, but I'm horrible with those, too. It's just not easy to condense my intricate and densely woven sweeping epic into 25 words or less, you know, while still trying to interest people and draw them in.

That tagline more or less establishes the scene as the story begins but it doesn't really hint at what's about to happen. Which is why it sucks. But, alright, the idea is that this story is set in your typical Medieval fantasy kingdom. You've got the knights and the wizards and the feudal system and all the other tropes of the genre. But you've also got the invaders who took over the country some ten or fifteen years ago (I'm a bit sketchy on the timeline but I know I want it to be distant enough to be fading in the memory yet still within a generation.) who are more from the steampunk genre. Or to put it another way, while the kingdom's fighting with mounted knights and wizards, the invaders were fighting with magically-powered firearms and wave after wave of infantry. They defeated the kingdom's ruler – the old king – and his army decisively at some famous battleground, opening the land to their forces. They installed a new king on the throne and made the kingdom the latest addition in their continent straddling empire. There was some token resistance but, by the time the story starts, it's been largely crushed out. There's some resentment at being conquered but the general populace doesn't mind too much because the invaders are technologically superior and are ruling more or less benevolently by the standards of the time (Which means they still put people in the stocks but they're not bastards about it.) and the average life has gotten noticeably better since the war.

That's, you know, the backstory. The actual story I want to tell deals with several characters who try to buck that system. How I'm going to deal with the magical aspects is a bit novel and, hopefully, I'll post some details sooner or later. But the gist is that the invaders have found a way of amplifying innate magical users but at the cost of their humanity and free will. They get to wield fantastic powers that wizards who don't go through the process can only dream of but only in service to someone else. They're walking weapons or tools, in other words, and carefully guarded and regulated by the state. What happens in the story is that one of those mages manages to escape before being completely converted and desperately flees being recaptured or killed. The mage manages to gain an ally by using magic to charm one of the soldiers guarding her. The two form a pair, like I've said, not unlike the Black Mage and Fighter from 8-Bit Theater. With one being a little clumsy and slow but eager to help while the other being ungrateful yet still dependent on that help.

I'm having a little trouble deciding exactly how I want the story to end but the movie should be about their flight from pursuit and, along the way, they fall into some of the larger things happening in the kingdom. So, it's something of an fantasy/action movie and, as you might tell from my word count, is proving to be a lot of fun to write.

One thing, though, I want to avoid with this is a lot of the standard fantasy cliches. My soldier isn't some destined hero. He's not the greatest swordsman in the land. He's merely adequate. Same for the mage. Although she wields a lot of power she's not the greatest magical powerhouse around. These are real - or realistic - people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. Rather than being destined for greatness, they're thrust into a situation where they might have a say in the outcome of a lot of things. If, of course, they choose to risk themselves doing it – which would be where I'm having trouble with the ending. I can't decide if I want them to do the brave but foolish thing or slink away and save themselves while damning the kingdom. I'm inching towards the later, at the moment. But, for now, I'm just enjoying writing out the big chase and fight scenes.

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