Hello again. Time for another Plotstains Perspective. This time around, we’re talking about the goings on in Shadows Rise 2.11, so as always, go have a read if you haven’t already. I think I’d like to have a little fun with this issue. I’d like to exclusively talk about a single sentence in the story and discuss why we nearly had a terrible misunderstanding. Then I’ll have a small bit about the chess that was played.
So early into the chapter, we get a look at Madeline. She’s quite hung over from the night before and we can primarily blame it on Lena, who convinced her into a drinking contest. This, of course, wasn’t the smartest move because Lena can’t get drunk, but Madeline didn’t know that. She’s woken up and tells Lena about how she’s happy to know that she was the only one who took advantage of her that night.
I flagged this moment, instantly, explaining that I didn’t mind the comment, but warned that it might not look all too great in the #MeToo era. And while Blackbird agreed that it might not be kosher, that it is a fact of Valcrest that people who do this exist and there was no reason to hide that, to which I agreed. I did, however, mention that it seemed as though, in the original draft, that Madeline was talking about men in the Wolfpack taking advantage of her, to which I received back a text-based look of horror.
I can’t remember exactly how the original draft went, but it had somehow made it sound like the men at the Wolfpack were a bunch of perverted rapey guys, which totally isn’t the case. The Wolfpack as a group wouldn’t tolerate such behaviour in their society. Given how close a tight-knit the group is, it would be wildly inappropriate for anyone to act in such a way. What Blackbird had meant to say was what, I hope, was finally implied in the chapter; that before her time in the Wolfpack, when she went to taverns and got drunk, men would often try to take advantage of her.
The worst part was that if it weren’t for the fact that I just wanted to make Blackbird aware of the #MeToo thing, the original version of the sentence would have probably made it into the final draft.
If you’re an author, this is something that you need to consider. Take a close look at every sentence you write and consider how someone who is reading it for the first time will look at it. An editor isn’t going to be able to catch a mistake like that because they might not realise that it’s a mistake, and neither will the reader. They’ll get an impression of something in a wildly different way than you intended. Sometimes their idea might be better, in which case, own it! In this case, however, we probably would have gone our merry ways, while people thought that the Wolfpack was full of rapists. That’s no good and I’m glad we caught it.
Now, onto chess!
I’ve been watching a lot of chess recently. As some of you may be aware, chess has seen a massive boost in popularity in part due to the pandemic, but also due to some major Twitch streamers helping to popularise it. I’m not going to go into much detail about that, though, as it doesn’t really matter. Needless to say, I’ve always enjoyed chess, but recently, the activity behind the chess scene has made the game a lot more fun.
Chess is super important in Valcrest. Being a game which is presumably created by the god of war himself, it’s literally a sacred game. So be warned that this isn’t the last time chess will pop up in our series.
This is the first instance where a game of it is actually played, though, and because of that, I wanted to make sure that the terminology and play sounded realistic. First step was to ask Blackbird what sort of skill level both players were at. How close was the game? Who wins and with what pieces? Then came the research. Since Blackbird knows next to nothing about chess, this was exclusively a job for me.
I looked through a bunch of games over on chess.com, humming and hawing over how I wanted the game to play out. Of course, the best descriptions of chess will hopefully say something about the characters themselves and the things they are talking about, too, so I kept that in the back of my head as I searched. In the end, I didn’t find any specific games, but I was inspired by a couple of games that I watched. Unfortunately, I don’t have the games on hand to show you, but I’d be glad to do that in the future.
What do you think? For the next game of chess (and there will be a next), should I find an actual game for you to follow along after you’ve read? I’d be happy to provide something like that in the future. Let me know in the comments.
Until next time,