Thoughts on Frayed, Chapter 74

I have a lot of things I want to say about this chapter.

I suppose the main theme is that I think I’m writing a story that’s harder than I am capable of doing. It’s probably twice as long as needed. Once it’s done, and I know the shape of where the story ended up, I would know better what parts could have been skipped. (I keep wanting to apologize to the reader and say it’s just practice. Which it is. So I guess you get what you get, sorry.)

But in the meantime, I just go where the storyteller in my brain tells me to go. It feels as inevitable as Kilgharrah spouting annoying statements that don’t help anybody.

I’ve become a little bit obsessed with trying to bring this story, the Merlin universe as according to the Merlin wiki, Versaphile’s map, real history, and Arthurian legend into line. Impossible, I know. And yet my brain insists on trying, and I spend too much time thinking about it.

For instance: The Plains of Denaria is shown as a wasteland in the episode “The Darkest Hour Part One”. Apparently wastelands are a theme of Arthurian literature, but the only ones I can find are the Perilous lands and Dyfed, which was cursed because of the deeds of Rhiannon and Pwyll. If I look at Versaphile’s map, she has the Plains of Denaria close to Dyfed. Denaria, Dyfed, what’s the difference? Right? Okay, fine, it’s not perfect. But close. And one could argue that myths change over time, and that Isolde might have heard a story about Dyfed and applied it to Denaria.

And I liked the themes that are raised by that story. They fit with some themes that will come up with other characters.

It bothered me that Tristan and Isolde were just smugglers in the show and the only thing that was the same as their legendary counterparts was their names and their love. So I spent ages coming up with backstories that could fit with both the legend and the show. How much of this background will come into the story remains to be seen.

I’ve been trying to set things up so that it will be a believable outcome to have Arthur as High King of all Albion, and to do that he needs to have interactions with the leaders of the different kingdoms, of which there are many. If I can stick with the story long enough (and not give up and end it early with a happy ending that isn’t Arthur being High King of all Albion), then certain passages with the backgrounds of Morgana, Tristan, Isolde, Mithian, Leon, and others would come into play.

In my head I imagine the reader complaining about not getting on with the main action. I want to, but all these threads and loose bits keep yelling at me to develop them. Every time I post something that isn’t Arthur and Merlin getting better, I cringe. Then I think: don’t post anything until it’s done. The problem with that is that I then go back and edit and edit and edit and never move on. Once it’s posted, I tell myself it’s out of my hands and push onwards.

I’ve learned so many things while writing this story. I’d like to make a glossary at some point, discussing all the places and their relationship to real history (or not), and where the names for these places may have come from, either from the show’s creators or for the map that Versaphile made. I have almost started several times, and then think: if you do that, you’ll never get the story done.

Anyway, back to Chapter 74:

Chapter 74 had so much going on. I needed to figure out:

—Tristan’s canonical background, why he hated kings, why his people were dead, how the Tristan of legend might have turned into a smuggler, his locations based within Versaphile’s map, etc.

—Isolde’s background, and how the Isolde of legend might have ended up as a smuggler. This led to further consequences that may come to light in the future as a contrast to what Arthur is going through. (Side characters are supposed to be there to provide comparisons for the main story line, so I see Tristan and Isolde as soulmates who have found each other without many of the complications that Arthur and Merlin have. And they will have wisdom to share, perhaps.)

—The whole thing with the Plains of Denaria and the wasteland. There are parallels in the story of Rhiannon that I found interesting that could have bearing on the actions of the other characters. I didn’t want to include that legend just to include it, but to have some sort of meaning for the later plot. We’ll see how well that goes. I’m trying very hard to include things for reasons, and to have all the side plots relate to the main plot. (I’m practicing! Forgive me for any failings!)

—Tristan’s understanding of the gods, which has led to all sorts of ideas and theories which may or may not make it into the story.

—How Tristan felt about Arthur, and why, and how he dealt with Gwen’s adamant contradictions.

—Prophecy in Merlin (the show) and in Arthurian legend. In the legend, there was a fiery star in the shape of a golden dragon and Merlin uttered prophecies to Uther about him being king. And much of that prophecy fit in perfectly with Morgana’s backstory. We’ll just leave out the part about Uther’s brother, because I cut that character out of the history in order to simplify things.

—This was something figured out awhile ago, but the place of Saxons in the story (and other groups of people that will come up later). I’m trying to make them more in line with both history and Arthurian legend than the show did, but we’ll see how that goes.


I might start working on appendices anyway, even if the story isn’t done. I guess I ought to be careful of having spoilers in it? But that’s assuming someone would look and be spoiled. I think it would just hint at things and not ruin anything.


On with the story!

(no subject)

May 4, 2019

I've written 4k words for the next chapter, but they feel boring. But! I can't tell if they are actually boring or if it's just that they aren't the resolution. It's very easy for me to imagine the reader complaining.

I'm reading a book that emphasizes what was my number one rule when I started writing this story: Don't care what anyone thinks about it but yourself. Also: Write what you love. Those were both my goals.
Though now the story seems to have a life of its own, and I need to resolve the things that were set up. And it might not be as fascinating? But I can't tell if that means Im doing it wrong or if I've just been at it for so long that nothing about it seems interesting to me anymore.

Oh, well, I've promised myself to finish, so I damn well am going to finish, even if it takes the rest of my life. I sure hope it doesn't! But I do believe it will be good practice to get to the end.
My other big problem is that I keep making the story more and more complicated. And I hear the critical voices yelling at me to cut out half of it, and to just STOP with the internal monologue already. And to ignore the side characters and for the love of God, just get to the end!

I maybe stalled for two months because I wasn't sure if the next scene was around a campfire or not. And I was scared to just start writing it out to see--I do best when I just write, when I trust to my intuition and whatever connection it has to my unconscious and just go with it. But it's scary. It's not logical, it's not helped much by thinking, it's just faith in something I cannot see. And it's easy to lose faith.

I'm fascinated with learning about the different Jungian cognitive functions, and I wonder how a person's writing process might be affected by what function is primary, whether it be intuition or thinking or feeling or sensing. I guess I have a vague hypothesis that someone who leads with thinking would be more likely to plan and outline everything.
I should have been a research psychologist. I'll pencil it in for my next life.

Okay, I should get back to the story. It's just frustrating how long it takes me to get anything to happen. Iim going to try spicing up the current mess of a chapter and see if I like it any better. And I'll remind myself: Write what you love. Don't care what anyone else thinks.

Okay? Okay.

Chatzy MBTI Graphs for Cam and other INTPs :)

Here are some graphs for the info in the previous post. I'll repost some of the info to make this a stand alone post.

I put up a poll in chatzy because I was curious about MBTI personality types, and I collated the results. 33 people responded. If they were split between two different types, I counted them as half a person for for each. I expected there to be some difference between chatzy and the general population (specifically that we'd be significantly more introverted) and wanted to see if this was so.

(Forgive the crappy table formats. LJ is not my friend.)
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Stories I have read over and over and over again--

I said there were stories I read over and over again, and Moon asked for some of them. Honestly, there are way too many.  I have well over a thousand bookmarks between various fanfiction sites and have read many of those stories repeatedly.

For this first list I just quickly went through my bookmarks at (which is a very clunky website) and picked out the ones I noticed right away. It is a horribly incomplete list. But at least it's a list!

These are generally older stories, and because of that, they're usually gen, as I didn't get into merthur right away. But they tend to have the merthur emotion anyway: specifically, Arthur caring for Merlin when he's injured/kidnapped/etc.

Anyway, here's the very very very incomplete list: