Sunday, March 11, 2012

A New Novella??

Lately I've had a flurry of writing inspiration, but strangely enough, none of it has been aimed at SOTD.  I'd like to say that SOTD has moved forward, but sadly enough it has not.  Instead, I've been filling notebooks with the ideas for a possible novella titled "Siren".

"Siren", is a story about a character named Syren.  (Obviously there is an unmistakable connection between the title of the piece and the MC's name.)  The plot is still in being worked over, but I know that the piece is going to be slightly allegorical, and yet will still explore some fun mermaid mythology. ^_^

Here's a picture of my main character at the age of the initial story:

(I'll share some of what the story is going to have in it, and then post a short excerpt of what I've written so far.)

First of all, this story is going to have two different perspectives that a reader can take... there's the face value of the story, and the allegorical value of the story, of course. :D

On the surface, I want this story to resemble one of those stories told of medieval times where the girl was offered up to the dragon, etc, etc... sort of like in the story of St. George and the Dragon.  However, it won't be like the traditional versions of the story, as Syren's village will be offering her to a sea monster rather than a dragon... and besides that, the story will also have strong allegorical ties (that may not be entirely apparent at the very first, but that will grow more recognizable as the story progresses.)

For instance (and don't laugh here... I'm totally serious), in the story Syren is sort of going to represent Christ... She's a pure, young, innocent girl that stands out from the crowd because of her different views which are truthful and honest and loving in a world filled with darkness and sin.  The sea will represent God... obviously I've named this book "Siren" for a reason... Syren has an intimate connection with the sea and can hear it speak to her, and... well, it gets more complicated than that of course. ;D  The village in which Syren has lived represents mankind; the village commits a terrible sin and for its crime it is going to be destroyed by the Monster of the Sea (which represents the devil).  The village comes to believe that the reason for the coming destruction is Syren's fault.  To abate the coming massacre, they decide so sacrifice her to the Sea Monster... but Syren knows that her sacrifice will not save the village from being destroyed unless she forgives them their transgressions against her and lays her life down willing in the stead of all of the lives within the village.

I'm hoping to make the allegorical ties much more apparent within the story itself.  :D  Hopefully the novella can be enjoyed for both of perspectives within the tale.

Here's a small excerpt of what I have so far.  It's the opening scene -- a flashback of when Syren remembers seeing the Sea for the first time.  Let me know what you think of it! :D


            I remember the first time I really saw the sea, as clear as if it were only yesterday.  I was six, and stood on a rocky ledge sheltered by the Cliffside, facing the water in awe and terror.    The sky rolled with dark clouds that sped across it like frightened spirits fleeing death.  The air smelled of threatened rain and salt.  Lightning flashed purple and silver within the roiling thunderhead, and wind flayed the rocky shore like a bull whip.  Blue green waves swelled up on high, towering over my tiny shelter as if they wanted a closer look at me and weren’t quite sure they liked what they saw.  When they’d had their view, they plunge back into the depths with a tremendous crash to whisper about my oddity.  I could hear their rushing, gurgling voices, even so far above them, pondering, contemplating… calling.

            What was I?

            The hand on my shoulder tightened its grip as if afraid I would wrench free and disappear into the waters below.  Rúweth had to shout in order to be heard over the pounding surf.

            “Do you know why I brought you here, Syren?  Do you understand?”

            His words were kindly, but his voice was strained.  I knew he meant well by bringing me here; somehow this was supposed to be for good – a lesson maybe, or a story: a parable.  But I did not want to be here.  This was a bad place for me… I could sense it.  I shook my head in answer to his question rather than attempting to shout over the incessant roar.  I did not know why Rúweth had brought me, and I certainly didn’t understand.  The sea was a dark and terrible thing, raw and beautiful and dangerous.  It was perfection, a flawless seductress in a world of faults.    I felt as if it would just as soon swallow me whole as allow me to look at it. 

            Rúweth’s grip on my shoulder grew firmer, and he gently pulled me closer to him as if by keeping me near he could hold back the waters that wished to devour me.

            “Syren,” he said, and though he was shouting to be heard, I recognized the underlying concern in his voice.  “Syren, do not pretend with me.  This is important.  You deny that you know why I’ve brought you here, yet I think that deep down you do indeed know.  I can see the look in your eyes, and feel the tremble in your bones: you hear the call of the waves clearer than any sea-loving man in Boatswain.    I brought you here because the sea has a stronger hold on you than on any living person I know, and I wanted to show you the dangers that it harbors.  To you, Syren, it is like a clouded and poisonous jewel, deadly in every sense of the word just as it is beautiful.  While I am here with you I can protect you from its malice, shield you from its spite…but you must promise me; promise me that you will never come out here alone to answer its call.  Promise me that you will remember its cruelness and keep far away.  For should I ever think that you would come here to look upon the sea, by yourself or otherwise, I would be forced to send you away, somewhere far inland where the water’s voices cannot reach you.  I will protect you, Syren, by any means possible, but that, my dear child, would break my heart.”

            The last words choked in Rúweth’s throat, and his arms encircled me in a tight embrace as he bent his wizened face to kiss the top of my curly head.  I felt his tears drip into my hair and tickle my scalp.  Around the side of his arm I saw another wave rise up from the sea, towering green and glistening in all of its majestic horror.  And I could have sworn then that the smooth surface of the wave transformed into a long face with a frothy beard, as a spout of water stretched forth like an arm to beckon me come.  I could almost feel the wave-creature’s longing, almost hear its fluid and rippling voice calling out to me, begging me to return…

            And there I promised Rúweth that I would never come back to the sea.  Not alone – not ever.  I would by no means return to gaze out at the vast watery expanse because deep down I knew that should I ever come back, I would not return to the village of Boatswain, my home, or my dear Rúweth again.



everlastingscribe said...

I love a good story that makes me think, but straight allegory doesn't really sell well in the market. Not even Lewis wrote real allegory. I think you've got good bones for a tale, I'd just write it and not worry about making allegorical. :D My two cents, for what they're worth

Galadriel said...

I wish I could read more of it...

Philip Nelson said...

I liked the story. As to allegories, I'm with George MacDonald: the best allegories are unintentional. :)

YaashaMoriah said...

Although Lewis denied writing allegory intentionally for the Chronicles of Narnia, he did write Perelandra, which, as I see it, is VERY intentional. I look at allegories as intentional spontaneity. I've been writing allegorical fiction for years now (with lots of trial and error) and here's my take:

An allegory must first be a story, and then an allegory. It can also not be a "pure" allegory or we might as well rewrite the Bible or re-attempt Pilgrim's Progress. Right now I'm also planning an allegory with a type of Christ, but I realize that my character can't be thoroughly Christ-like and that all my allegorical pieces will only be approximations, not true symbols.

I think you have an understanding of that, Nichole. Your excerpt shows a balanced approach and I'm looking forward to seeing more of this project in the future. I think there's still a market for well-done allegory.

Star-Dreamer said...

Ah yes, the controversies of allegory!

Technically all of my stories could be "allegorical" or at least from a Christian World View. There are parallels slipped into every one of my novels (to date) that clearly incorporate aspects of the bible, aspects of Christ, etc, etc...

My outlook is that allegory is unintentionally intentional, rather than the other way around. You see, I always know that something is going to slip in somewhere making the story align with the Christian would view... I don't always know where or when though.

Sometimes, however, I can plan for certain things to happen... like for the girl to get sacrificed to the sea monster and what that will mean. It doesn't mean that I know exactly how the event will come about (I try to save those kind of details for the actual writing), but it does mean that I am aware of an aspect from the Christian World View that will appear... sort of like how C.S. Lewis was aware of what Aslan represented when he wrote the Chronicles of Narnia... he knew that Aslan represented Christ, even if some of the other parallels might have been less obvious to him at first.

And of course there are usually Christian aspects that slip into my stories and surprise me. I was reading one of my older pieces the other day and was surprised to see how a series of events in the story paralleled a Christian outlook.

So you see, I am being unintentionally intentional...

If I were trying to be intentionally unintentional (obviously the opposite of the other version), its my belief that I might as well not write from a Christian Wold View at all. But the point is that whether or not I start the story thinking that it will be "christian" (and knowing some of the aspects that I will include to make it so) or "secular" (meaning that I'm writing it simply for entertainment purposes only), something usually slips in somewhere that is from the Christian world view. :D

I hope that all makes sense. ^_^ Sometimes I tend to ramble a bit... lol!


Star-Dreamer said...

And thank you everyone! I'm glad you all like the story. I'm hoping that it will really turn out well, but I guess a writer never really knows until the story is actually written. haha! :D

Philip Nelson said...

One way to look at it is this: anything written out of the new nature is good, and no matter what the story may be, it will reflect the nature of Christ, because that's what it is.

Anything written out of the old nature will be empty, however, and no matter how hard the author may try to make it allegorical or meaningful, the allegory and the meaning will still be empty.

Star-Dreamer said...

Actually Phillip, that's an excellent way to look at it. That's exactly right. :D