Not Enough Why

A double dipper! I try not to post twice in a day, but I need to get this down before I lose it. Setting is important, especially in fantasy. In fact, one of the first mistakes novice fantasists make is to spend more time talking about their story than the story. Setting is the canvas where we paint our pictures. Don't waste time describing the canvas. HOWEVER, it is still important to world build because that informs the decisions characters make.

Why have I been having so much difficulty with THE TRIAD SOCIETY? Because it was too simple. People are not simple. Heroes are not simple. Villains are not simple. We may not get to see the complex thought processes of the villain, but never doubt that decisions are made for more of a reason than just, "I am evil! Muah ha ha ha!"

In TTS, Otwald (the hero) is living a life out of sync with his home. Reliarach isn't the kingdom of honorable nobles and loyal peasants that it was in its past. It's a pre-steampunk society dealing with technology eliminating swaths of available work. How can people support themselves if machines are doing the work of men?

Here's where I made my mistake and I made it in chapter 1. The Hook and Hammer Society fought for worker's rights. When they were massacred by Otwald's brother in Kester Square, a violent offshoot formed the Red Sock Society. They speak openly of the dissolution of the monarchy and an establishment of a labor-based democracy. But it all stems back to the slaughter at Kester Square.


How short sighted is that. They were all peaceful unionists until their brothers were trampled by mounted horse? No, of course not. The hate for the nobility is ingrained. It's an injustice they see as existing their entire lives, really the entire existence of Reliarach.

How? Where does that division of labor come from? Where does Reliarach come from? It's a colony from a continent to the south. The original settlers sailed across the ocean not knowing what they were going to find. They landed in the modern city of Kilrachen, built the kingdom's first fortress which grew into its first settlement which is now the capital of the kingdom. No ships ever followed across the ocean and none that have attempted the return journey have been seen from again.

So how did this division occur? The first nobles were officers and their families. The first peasants were sailors and theirs. The ships arrived at Reliarach with clearly defined social stratification that has been enforced for the 1000 years since.

The Red Sock Society does not fight because of massacre at Kester Square. That's just the match that sparked the flame. The fuel is that their ancestors were slaves at sea that became slaves at land.

I did not ask the question why enough. And because of that, the decisions characters made were thin. Whether I describe all this back story in the ms is not as important as the fact that the characters know it. It is what drives them. The uprising of the working class, the failure of Torvald d'Bluefire to conduct himself as a noble should, are all signs of the crumbling foundation of Reliarachic society. Otwald is the person standing against that foundation attempting to hold it together with his bare hands.

...lord, this revision is going to be more extensive than I thought. Ugh.