Questions about a character or place??
for all the answers.
f there's one question I've been asked above all
others by those who have read "A Princess Is Lost" it has to be:
"Why the Staff of Unbelievable Good?" Unfortunately, there's no
easy answer for it' Where does an artist or writer get his inspiration?
If I knew, I'd have dropped a couple of wells by now or put a patent on it or
something and made a small fortune selling it to people suffering from writers
block. However, I don't know where the name sprang from originally, but I
can shed some light on why it came to be.
drafting a script, or writing anything for that matter, I don't like to pause in
my work when the words are flowing at least semi-smoothly, that includes meals,
sleep, or thinking up really cool names for people and the places that arise in
the story. If I haven't previously settled upon a fitting handle, I will
substitute a word or a phrase in its place and continue using it until a better
one reveals itself to me, thus not disturbing my rhythm.
This system has
served me very well over the years. It has often kept me from lying on my
back for hours and hours, pen in mouth, shooting at invisible skeet and waiting
for divine revelation, while the story went unwritten. It does however
have a few drawbacks. Sometimes it takes a great deal of time for a name
to unconsciously come (the Princess' Christian name didn't come into
being until the first script of the next story), and sometimes not at all (as in
the case of her father). It was into this last category that the naming of
the Staff fell.
The issue first
arose, back in '94 when I was scripting part two of "The Culmination".
The object in question came into the conversation between the King and
the old Hag, and I was stumped. I knew it needed to be the
Something Staff or the Staff of Something, but nothing that hadn't
already been used hundreds of hackneyed times came to mind, so I put in the
silly substitute. Five scripts and about eighty pages later, still nothing
came to light. Undaunted, I set to work on the layouts (back when I was
doing them as a separate step) figuring, given time, a really good name would
come. It didn't, but by then I'd grown rather fond of the silly one.
In its lameness, it had a certain so-ugly-it's-cute appeal, and the name stuck.
hope that my weakness, nay, my failing does not rankle too hard on the finer
sensibilities of those die-hard fantasy fans, and, if it does, I then hope such
names as "The Temple of the Hero Eternal" and "Siluria, the Lost City
of The Seven Rivers" rectifies such a heinous crime enough to keep you from
burning this book in incensed effigy. Of course, that would mean that you
would have to eventually go out and buy another one.
So until next time,
PS. For those
really die-hard FTWWTK fans, the very first eleven pages of "A
Princess Is Lost" is the earliest artwork to appear in "The Culmination",
dating originally way back to 1994. My first instincts as an artist and a
maniacal perfectionist were to re-draw the whole thing, as I had with part one.
It was painfully clear that the characters didn't have those five years of
development under their sword belts, and the art (although this was where I
first really experimented with extreme close-ups to enhance the depth of my
frames) was nowhere near as crisp as it should have been. (I was going
wild with six different technical pens and a whole slew of dip pens back then-oy!)
All sound reasons to justify the refurbishing, but, poised as I was, Pen in
hand, one the brink of potential insanity, I recalled how much I've personally
enjoyed seeing the evolution of characters in other peoples' works. so, I
took a deep breath and let the original eleven pages stand with some minor
See if you're
good enough to pick out the three frames I replace completely. (Strictly
for continuity's sake, honest!)