Friday, November 29, 2013

Story notes: Hunting the Frilljaw

Notes to: Hunting the Frilljaw

This is one of my older stories and shows a time when I began to experiment beyond my usual style. Prior to Hunting the Frilljaw there wasn't generally more than a hint of someone's personality in a third-person narrative. Now there were two hints. Using the protagonist to give nicknames to otherwise unnamed characters was something that I hadn't done before this, and I'm rather clumsy with how I introduce it. Too much tell, too little show.

"Human" is capitalized while the names of alien species like "erdemtelen" are lower-case in a reversal of the usual situation, where you have Vulcans, Bothans, and... humans. There's the idea present in the story that the Humans have become dominant in many worldlines through either military or economic conquest and are repeating the history of Colonial Africa all over again, and how I used capitalization was probably the most subtle way that I expressed that. Possibly the only subtle way, to be honest. "Frilljaw" is capitalized to convey the idea that it is a worthy opponent, possibly even Charles' superior.

Charles Raaranle grew out of this and represents the shift from oppressed to oppressor. I can't remember what the name is supposed to mean but it is a Somali name. This is a reference to the origin of the term "white hunter." Hugh Cholmondeley hired a Somali and a European named Alan Black and referred to them respectively as "the black hunter" and "the white hunter" in order to distinguish them. His European given name shows that, whatever his heritage, he is repeating history and taken the reins of oppression.

The ending is ham-handed. I don't like it. Didn't like it from the minute that I finished the story but I didn't have the skill to do anything better. "The Frilljaw is hunting him oh no!"

And there are too many freaking commas. If there's one problem that persisted through my writing up until my mission it is that there are always more commas than necessary. It's still something that I need to improve on.

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