Stope and Stull

The Silent and Brave revison: page #98

I am moving along very well with my revision now; I would be over page #100 if I had not cut some unnecessary/incorrect material, which is of course part of the reason for revising. I like to take out ten percent, and overall to this point I believe I have added more than I have taken away, so being able to cut anything makes me happy.

This part is easy because it involves a lot of action, which is fun to write, and hopefully fun to read. I am experiencing that magical occurance writers speak of where a minor character begins to take over my subconscious and turn themselves into a major character. In this case, it is actually two characters, Stope and Stull, acquaintances of Chauncer’s in Arlat. In The Peaceful and Just they were antagonistic to him in a bullying, schoolboyish way (think Another Brick in the Wall). I loved their names, which are mining terms (they worked underground, like most youths in Arlat) and so maybe it was inevitable that I would further explore their characters. In The Silent and Brave they have joined Alsha Marat and the Teilarata arm, and are working as scouts to find a way for the Teilarata to challenge the champion at Birrigat. While they are out on the ice, they are attacked by wolves and rescued by Riika and his rifle. This may seem a little bit clichéd, but like ghost stories and descriptions of meals in literature it is, as they say, “a gimme.” Stull is bitten by the wolves and badly injured; he will spend much of the book recuperating in Birrigat, and so he and Stope witness the investiture of the ward by the Teilarata arm, the assassination of Alsha Marat, the treachery of Dreck, and the consequences of these events. They also provide me value because they allow me to show sympathetic characters on the opposite side of the struggle “in which every citizen of Tarlan will have to choose a side.” It is important to me to present a war in which there is right and good on both sides, as well as bad, because that is what real life is like. One side is not always completely right and one side completely wrong. For Stope and Stull, loyalty to the champion or the Teilarata is not the most important thing. Survival is the most important thing. Choosing the side that will win is paramount. I think that for the common man that is an underappreciated factor.

Towards the end of writing this book, I also discovered that Stope and Stull have a relationship that is more than just friends. How about that? I’m sure its not the first time there have been gay characters in a fantasy novel for young adults, but I am sure the LGBT community is underrepresented as a whole within the genre.

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