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FFC #85 - Passive Power

Posted February 16th, 2022 at 08:21 PM by The Grim Reaper's Friend
TGRF's Fan Fiction Chronicles - Entry #85

Way back when I started these FFC's, I was talking about rewriting Dilmir with a passive theme. I've apparently gone full circle, because that's what this entry is about.

If you've been following my writing updates, you know that after some 'serious' thinking, internal monologues, and several debates with myself, I decided that rewriting Dilmir was what I should turn my writing powers to next.

However, I quickly discovered it wasn't that easy. I've said before how the theme for Dilmir was wrong. If I was going to rewrite it, I'd have to redo that theme. I thought that was going to be fairly straightforward, but I was wrong. I won't go into details, because they would be long and boring, but basically the story just wouldn't work.

However, I eventually realized there was one way I could still rewrite Dilmir, with the theme I wanted, with the feel of the original, and still have everything work: I needed to make the theme passive.

A traditional theme - or central message - is what I call active: the hero starts out against the theme or believing the opposite, and by the end of the story, agrees with it. Straightforward and simple. The only problem with an active theme is that you have to explore all aspects of it, because if you don't, those crop up as unanswered questions in the plot. This usually isn't an issue because most themes are small and contained. But Dilmir's wasn't.

So it occurred to me that I could use a passive theme instead. A passive theme is one which is shown by the setting of the story. The characters are in an unchanging situation which, by its existence, says something. War is evil? You live in the desolation wrought by it. Nukes will be our downfall? You live in a planetary nuclear winter. You get the idea.

Despite how easy it is to come up with settings for themes I'm not interested in, I have never been able to come up with a satisfactory setting for a theme I actually want to write about. I've been trying to do this with my novels for at least six years, and I still can't quite get it right.

However, Dilmir is a different case. A passive theme is a simple statement that something is true or false. There might be implications, but they are never addressed. The setting simply is, and is never questioned or really changed by the characters. This is why a passive theme for Dilmir will work, while an active one will not. So after some preliminary work, I can say that I'm back on track for a Dilmir rewrite.

Now at this point a 'rewrite' might not be the right term for it. I really tried to keep things as true to the original as I could, and I succeeded in some areas. But not all.

As you might expect, the setting is quite different. The plot holds true to the general feel of the original, but the tone is going to be different. Dilmir and Ilrin, while both present, will be subtly different.

However, using a passive theme opens up the potential for a literally unlimited number of stories. I have an arc in mind for Dilmir which could potentially last three stories (no promises there). But once that's done, I could keep going with the same setting, bringing in new characters and new stories. We'll see.

I'll keep you updated as the development progresses.

Until then, keep reading, and don't let bad grammar and crappy writing rule the day.

~TGRF.
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