…and so did a lot of older works. I’m tackling things differently this year. As many other creators do, I have a universe in my head. I do not feel the need to shine a light on any and every single pebble, any and every interesting thing that ever happened there or once might happen. Still, if I want any painting, any short story, any comic out of the source of my stories AND the quality shall be more than a lucky hit or miss, there is a lot of work ahead of me.
I’m taking the time to make one or a couple of lists with older works of mine. Many are what I would consider „dead“ but some I can practise storytelling with, everything in the service of SPREY. The goal is the same as last year, write down a functioning, complete version of SPREY, from start to finish, then draw it out as a comic. The middle part is still a bit too nebulous. But I think my chances of finishing are good this year. I still have a lot of writing and some resulting growing to do though to get there.
Corvus seems like good material to practise structure.
The old story went like this:
Corvus is on the verge of being expelled from the mage academy for bad grades. He is tricked into stealing a secret book on necromancy for one of the professors, then has to stop said professor. A lot of people get hurt or killed before the professor’s rampage is over and Corvus has to live with that guilt, although he was able to stop the professor in the end. A superficial love interest for Corvus exists, their story just isn’t that terribly important for the plot except for a magic McGuffin given to him by the love interest that helps Corvus survive a deadly blow by the professor, when the professor betrays everyone after receiving the book.
The new story that emerged after some exposure to the Schumann writing craft book is this:
Due to a mixture of personal shortcomings, bad luck and academy politics Corvus has just been expelled from the mage academy for bad grades. His magic powers are taken from him permanently. Before he even has time to cope with it, he learns that a group of fellow student mages manipulated him and other people for their own entertainment and is now setting their eyes to new targets of harassment. Corvus takes a job as a gardener to be allowed to stay on the premise and starts working in the shadows to protect the new targets and bring the group down. While Corvus has a positive impact on the lives of many, despite having less tools to do so as a gardener, he is a nuisance to few but powerful political actors at the academy and is pushed out as a troublemaker in the end. He is not winning against the group or the academy. And Corvus is definitely not winning against life, as health problems caused by him forcefully losing his magic powers are increasingly catching up with him. His life after his time at the academy might be very short.
The side arc love story exists, but has quite changed, too: This time around Corvus has a love affair with a freshly arrived foreign lecturer. The lecturer is target of the boldest bet of the student group yet. They want to know whether they can drive even a lecturer into suicide through a buerocratic loop of death and social isolation. While Corvus helps the man to get over the very rocky start at the academy, he must watch how his beloved lecturer slowly transforms into a member of the academy establishment that wants him gone.
The lecturer wakes up to what has happened in the end, immediately quits his position and rushes to make amends to Corvus. Other people are waking up and leaving, too, which forces the academy to change.
I don’t know about you, but as a reader I’d be more interested in the second iteration than in the first one. Now that I’m rereading the text I am still worried that the scope is too big still. How many good deeds to how many people can Corvus really do before he’s out? The middle part does hold some uncertainty here, but not as much as my current version of SPREY. I am at least convinced my structure will dictate enough so that I don’t swim in endless possibilities.