Essay Non-Fiction posted August 15, 2016


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F-f-fu- Dy-yam! She-ut!

by Jay Squires

The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Shit! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy ….
 
See, I’ve come to the realization, some two or three chapters away from typing “THE END” to book III of The Trining—an end toward which all action had been angling for the last six months—that it would be an incontrovertible disaster for all three books of The Trining.
 
The closer I get to the all-important climax, I find the less wiggle room, or tweakability, is left me to massage the adjustments so the climax will sorta-kinda work. You know? Would anyone with an ounce of sense want to spend three years grinding out three books ending with the climax on the final one that sorta-kinda works? No, and I have pretty close to an ounce of sense.
 
Consider this:
 
Picture me as a surfer. About six months ago, I found myself atop the feathering crest of the perfect wave, a hundred-ton wave that Mother Nature designed to carry her surfer children all the way to the shore. The cool sea breeze ruffled my hair and the sun sheathed my shoulders and arms. It was what I’d been waiting for. I was ecstatic! That is, until I looked down to discover my self-made, though exquisitely painted, board was held together by Scotch-tape and rubber bands. The good surfer knows his board must survive the wave’s crash. My choice was to wait for that inevitability, or wisely jump off while I was still on the rolling end of the wave and pick up what would be left of my board later.
 
The last hundred pages of Book III, like the aftermath of the board, will be in jagged pieces. They won’t be salvageable. I’ll keep them because, like the board, I’d spent considerable time on superficial design-work and painting.
 
I’ve squeezed all the brine I could use out of the surfer metaphor, so I’ll leave the shards of the surfboard scattered about and pick up the last hundred pages to point the reader in the direction of what went wrong.
 
Sad to say, I was about to commit one of the worst sins of the novelist; I caught the first whiff of it some six months ago, but tried to turn my creative mind’s-eye (or, better yet, nostrils) away from it. Into the fourth and third month, the stench of it grew hard to ignore. Oh, but I tried. Right up to the last month I tried. All at once, my nostrils told me I was no longer able to ignore this most pungently stinky of novelistic sins: deus ex machina. If you’ve ever listened to Judy Collins sing “Bring in the Clowns,” it hums equally as well to “Bring in the Gods,” or deus ex machina.
 
Ideally, the writer guides his reader into the climactic arena where an unstoppable, evil, dark force (the antagonist) enters mortal combat with the apparently weaker, but gooder—if only for his persistence—force for right and light (the protagonist). My God, could there ever be a bloodier fight splashed across the page? The deck, though, has to be stacked—the reader demands it to be stacked—against the protagonist right up to the last twitch of his dying finger. Then … then … at the very last moment, the protagonist’s dying finger twitches in the proper, light and right way, perhaps latching onto, or into, the antagonist’s left nostril … the protagonist gives a tug and the force of right and light wins out.
 
Okay, take the silly slapstick out of it, and the building blocks for the climax are the same. Here is an important lesson for the writer (one I failed at once again): The protagonist presses on through overwhelming odds to defeat the antagonist.  Instead of the Protagonist beating the Antagonist fair and square, though, how about when things couldn’t get worse for the protagonist, and the reader has chewed his/her fingers down to the second knuckle, a god or goddess drops out of the clouds and pounces on the Antagonist. What’s wrong with that? The forces of Evil are destroyed by the forces of Good.
 
What’s wrong is the reader feels cheated and his/her knuckles won’t grow back.
 
For those of you who were following my posts, perhaps you started getting an inkling, as I did, that the god, Kyre, was getting a little too chummy with Pondria; he was obviously on Pondria’s side. I tried everything I could to make Kyre less omnipotent, even made him a bit of a clown (you can start humming it again!) I began noticing the stronger the presence of Kyre, the weaker the presence of Pondria. And without giving away the faulty and unused climax, Pondria would not have been needed at all for Rhuether’s final demise.
 
Rhuether would have been obliterated quite expeditiously by the gods, thank you.
 
To all you fans of The Trining, then, and you lovers and best friends with Doctrex, please be patient, and above all, forgiving of the author; his feet are of clay, after all, but unfortunately, at this moment his head is of feathers.
 
Are you looking for a timetable, the climax’s ETA? I wish I could offer one, but I must go all the way back to Book One to make some necessary changes that will foreshadow the climax in book 3. I can only say that one day you will find a leaner, stronger adversary for Rhuether in the climax.
 
When I’m finished, I’ll make sure (to bowdlerize Browning), that “God’s in his Heaven, and all’s right in the world” … of The Trining.
 


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