Milly, Swamp Province Characters

This will be a pretty short post since I didn’t introduce that many characters in the Swamp Province. This will basically be my notes and thoughts on Slivhl and the nyem-nyem.

Slivhl is the old, crochety type of character that would complain a lot but still help out in the end. I also made him because I think a lot on how the world should work, and that meant what would happen at night in the province. Since it is a safe and civilized place, people would want to walk around at night. And since automated lighters would require some kind of system running all throughout the marsh, I wanted something more homely.

Back in the old days, they had people lighting the lamps at night, right? I think so. At least I like the image of someone carrying a long pole slowly lighting up the lamps. There was no real reason to have him live alone other than for his personality.

And in my more food-enjoying ideas, I wanted to put out marshmallows just for fun. I’ve never actually tried it, but I would like to.

Now for the nyem-nyem. This creature was not in the story originally. But I added it in because I was short of the 50,000 words needed for NaNoWriMo. That meant coming up with something fun on the spot, so I decided to give more life to Herghkl, the Swamp Province.

I distinctly wanted to make the nyem-nyem scary-looking but not that intimidating once you get to know it. My design for the creature involves the blanket covering it, so even I don’t know what it would look like without the blanket. Nyem-nyem’s have a sort of magic that makes people pity them. Probably an annoying creature to run into, but not dangerous.

I added that tale about how the nyem-nyems’ tears were the cause of the marsh. It was just something fun. There are stories like that in the real world all the time. It’s not real, but fun to listen to.

Wow, this came out quite long. Next time, the Forest Province, Lillilin!

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Murdoch Mysteries, Artful Detective

This is my thoughts on the season finale of Artful Detective! Though there will be no season break since it was actually last season’s finale. The show is Canadian, and the America television is about one season behind. But we’re catching up, and that’ll be sad since it won’t mean new episodes every week. In Canada, the show is known as Murdoch Mysteries.

The show is about a smart detective that does things with science and reasoning. Well, doesn’t everyone? Not quite so much in the 1900’s. Yes, the show takes place around 1900, and it has a sort of quaint, polite charm. Much more legwork was required to get information back then, but it’s fun to see.

The concept is a crime procedural, but the presentation I really enjoy. My favorite part is how the main character, Murdoch, is smart, well-known to be the best detective, yet he is not a jerk. No high-functioning sociopathy or anti-social disorders. The man is polite to all while still being firm when needed. It makes the parts where he does get angry all the more worrisome.

Even the badguys are polite to the point where they won’t handcuff them. It is a sign of the times, or at least how we thought of the times back then. The police didn’t carry guns, they only took it out of the armory for emergencies.

There are plenty of historical jokes, from appearances of historical figures to the fact that the main characters all had ideas for what would become popular things today, such as a board game where players put down words.

Mostly, I just enjoy the setting and style of the show. It’s different from the manic pace of American shows.

Well, now that I think about it, this post is much more about the show as a whole. The finale of the last season felt mostly like a normal case, but it does bring to a close the story running throughout the season. And then, once everyone is happy, wham, another plot, midly brought out over the season, kicks into place.

Murdoch Mysteries/Artful Detective doesn’t do anything that another weekly crime procedural doesn’t, but the time and setting gives it a charm and style that I really enjoy. And I appreciate just how much the main characters try to act like gentlemen, not jerks that think they can get away with things because they’re better than the other characters.

And the next season of the show has premiered on American TV, so away I go!

Milly, Swamp Province

Welcome to the next installement of my design notes on Milly, the story of a girl in a strange and magical land. This time, I’ll talk about the Swamp Province, Herghkl. First up, that name. I wanted to add whimsy and fun, so I thought about making something unpronounceable would be a good idea. I have no idea if that is the case or not. But the way I pronounce it in my head is Her-gekkle with a bit of a throat sound at the ‘ge’ part.

I am not sure why, but I’ve always been drawn to boardwalks over pools of water, so that’s why I made Herghkl that way. Though the more I think about it, the more I feel Herghkl is more suitable to being the marsh province as it is should be deeper. But I really liked making the imagery for it with trees that have roots above the ground, lights off in the distance, and tiki torches lining the wooden path.

I didn’t go much into the fauna living there, but imagine the magical version of toads, alligators and stuff. I’ll talk more about the people and animals living there next time.

The part I like best about Herghkl is the border, about how the water is just stopped by some magical force. But it is possible to swim through it, so I’d be careful.

The villages of Herghkl are all built on stilts to be above the water. Many places have private fishing holes, which are basically holes in the floor. If you could imagine World of Warcraft, the Burning Crusade, there was a zone called Zangarmarsh. I wanted Herghkl to look a lot like a brighter, friendlier version of that, villages included.

As for the wawaks, the race living in Herghkl, I think I did them partially based on the creatures in the Dark Crystal mixed with lizards. I did want to show that all of them were friendly and inviting people, even the old and grumpy ones. It was deliberate to not make them cute while still maintaining them as good and caring.

Oh, about the ruins in the mountains at the edge of the province? They’re just ruins from the time when the provinces were warring. Nothing more, really. At least I haven’t come up with anything.

Out of the provinces I’ve made so far, between the first two books, Herghkl is definitely my favorite. I’d like to add in some giant swamp monster if I ever return to Herghkl. Heh.

Story-long Question

This post will be mostly my opinions, ideas and ramblings on the concept of a story-long question. To say what I mean by it, a story-long question is something that keeps the wonder and mystery up over the course of a story. And I’m more referring to those questions that are central to a series. If the question is answered at the end of the first book/season, it won’t pertain as much to what I’m about to say.

I feel that doing a good long story question is difficult. It should be attempted if you already have an answer to the question. I wouldn’t try putting forth a mystery without having a good solution already. But that isn’t to say you can’t come up with a better answer over the course of writing. But if you don’t, you always have the original plan to foreshadow and fall back on.

Another problem I feel with having a question that takes too long to answer is that the watchers/readers might get bored. The plot might meader about to other places too much. That would depend on how interesting all the side plot is.

A third thing is that the more time people have to theorize, the more time they can come up with either the correct answer or something that seems to work even better than what the author originally intended. It lessens the impact of the answer if it’s already been said or doesn’t live up to what people had in their mind.

Of course it’s always possible to pull off something so genius that no one sees it coming. And that is definitely something I’m not able to do. But it’s hard for me to know if my own ideas are really smart, really obvious or really dumb. Still, having a mystery go over the course of the entire series is enticing, but pulling one off requires a lot of thought and planning.

Being hard shouldn’t stop you from attempting it, though. Whatever happens, it’ll be a learning experience.

Milly, Other Characters

Alright, last time I said I would go into the individual provinces in more detail, but then I decided it would be better to get the other two main characters out there first. That would be Gale Rose and Pokura, of course.

Alright, so at first I wondered if having a character that was a magical talking head was going to be good for a children’s book. I am talking about Gale Rose, of course. Then, being the overthinker I am, wondered how she would talk without lungs. Then, I said MAGIC!

Gale is not a zombie. She is fully alive. Now, she doesn’t need to eat, but she does sleep. And she is a magical talking disembodied head. How is she not a zombie again? Well, I have no real good response to that. So you can see her as a zombie. One that can still feel her limbs and body parts if they get close enough.

Now why did I get her such weird appearance? That is, she is sort of dark-elfish with dark skin and light hair. I guess it was just what I wanted. Though now I have no reason for why she looks like that since no one else will be a dark elf. Oh well.

If you hadn’t noticed, Gale Rose is not her real name. It’s a line-of-sight name from the wind that was blowing on the tower and the flowers on the roof.

Gale is like the guide for the world. Without her, Milly would have nothing. As a note, Gale was still sleeping when Carl Ross came by, that’s why the two of them never met. Gale would be the reason why Milly will succeed in getting home! Maybe. I haven’t decided that much.

Now then, the other main character is Pokura, or as he says it, Pokrrra. If you want to imagine how he looks, imagine King Beastly from the Care Bear: Welcom to Care-a-lot show. That is exactly how Pokura looks. And I sort of modeled his entire personality on it. So Pokura is a mischievious little guy that likes wrecking stuff. But at least he listens to Milly.

Kurbol (Pokura’s species) are fairly smart. In fact, everything around is fairly smart, as common in those magical worlds. That is why he fully understands Milly and can speak with her when she’s using the Beast Language magem. It also means that he doesn’t get to talk much. But I want him to express himself through body language.

Where Gale provides the guidance and care of the group, Pokura provides the fun, adventure and potential trouble. You always got to have a guy like that.

Anyway, next time, really, I will go into the individual provinces starting with Herghkl.

Resurrection, Season Finale

Well, this is the end of season 2 for Resurrection. With it comes new drama from the returned, a lot more. For this one, I think I’m going to go with a looser style sort of as an experiment and sort of not to rehash my review of the first season. So expect some spoilers.

For me, I enjoyed the second season a bit more than the first. The tone is different since the returned are no longer a secret to the town and strange new problems occur. There are still high emotion family moments but the surreal feeling was toned down a bit. Jacob doesn’t seem nearly as wierd and disconnected as in the first season, though he still has quite a few shades of that. I also enjoy the husky tones of Margaret as well as her character overall. And I am pleased at how Fred changed over the course of the season.

Now then, onto the speaking as things come to me part. Not that I do much editting previously, so who knows. You might not even notice a difference. Let’s roll! Expect all sorts of spoilers.

To start with, I am starting to wonder if a real answer will ever come out. They drop hints and stuff on why the returned are but it’s all theorizing based on the characters. Probably a real answer will never come. The series will most likely end with just what the character’s think are happening. And what happened to that doctor guy at the end of the first season? He was given a quick mention and then nothing.

If you asked me about plots directly related finding out what the returned are, I couldn’t give you an answer more than one sentence. They are more interested in the rammifications of the returned and what dark secrets are brought back up that people would rather stay dead.

Really, at the end of the season, we have more questions about those cicada or whatever kind of insect they are and how they relate to the returned. Are they all returned before obtaining a body? Are they something else?

I do like Preacher James. He takes over as the guy that only ever has one emotion and face while being creepy about it. And thinking about it, I like how certain returned have super powers. Or to be more fitting to the setting, a different purpose. He could (maybe) bring people back from the dead. Margaret has the knowledge to disappear returned. Jacob can sense them. Caleb seemed to be able to sense the mass return triggers as well as know how to disappear himself. And Rachel has the ability to be pregnant. It makes each future returned have the possibility of something interesting and more off than normal.

Hmm, I don’t watch many pure dramas, which this seems to be. But I am enjoying it for the weird elements thrown in. I do think I’ll make a post on my thoughts about giant overarching questions that are meant to drive the series sometime soon.