Balancing on a Narrow Wireon January 5, 2014 at 2:18 pm
Hello. It’s community enemy #1 again. Careful with the tomatoes, they stain the soapbox terribly.
The reader base of Exiern is a very varied group, perhaps much more so now than ever since I muddied up the perfectly decent waters and started bringing in new folks to the party. There’s a old hymn that goes, “Make new friends, but keep the old, one is silver and the other’s gold.” But how exactly do you do that, especially when the old friends will inherently feel slighted the moment the environment that at one time completely catered to them no longer does? How do you dull that feeling of neglect or betrayal?
There was a fairly sizable readership to begin with, and what they liked wasn’t exactly a secret; they liked the fractured fairy tale, the aping on contemporary culture and fantasy tropes, the chuckles and the gags, and yes, they liked the fanservice (on both sides, though the ladies didn’t get nearly as much as the guy readers did). They liked the theories they had spent years developing and sharing with other readers.
Then here I traipse in, and change the feel; exploring the serious, dramatic elements that were occasionally waved at, but not deeply delved (if not removed entirely). I completely invalidate all the mental exercizes and experiments that readers had devoted to with something that is admittedly a more “simple” explanation that doesn’t seem to really do the character justice (though I would disagree with the benefit of knowing how the story will play out). The gags, at one time prevalent, are now like the werewolf; showing up once a full moon.
With the changes came a different group of people who found the nudity as nothing more than click-fodder; who think a dragon taking a cleavage nap is a crude, base attempt at humor, unfit for the more serious tone. They wonder why I would cater to such a group of blatant perverts rather than the true thrust of a dramatic story.
Well, the answer to that is two fold:
1) I don’t want to COMPLETELY discard everything that Exiern once was, but at the same time expand what has been under the surface. I want to meet difficult, uncomfortable themes more head on, yes… but at the same time remind everyone there IS a more lighthearted and silly element to the world (even if I don’t do so as much as some would like). Make new friends yet keep the old and all that.
2) I am more a Realist period writer than anything (though I won’t deny Modernist and Romantic influences). My view of realist literature is that it should reflect something about well… the real world, even in a fantasy setting. That means a world where peoples lives have a little bit of drama, a little bit of tragedy, a little bit of romance, happiness and sadness, love and loss, and yes… even a little bit of crazy comedy and laughs.
So just as I don’t apologize for giving Typhan-Knee a dark and perhaps despicable history (the reason of which I hope will serve to give merit to the whole character arc), I’m not going to apologize for a napping dragon finding a pair of amazing pillows to nestle in. It’s all a part of the world, and it all belongs.
Thank you for your time.