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I don't seem to have posted anything about writing, for a while.  This is not because I haven't been writing, but because I seem to have ended up writing something that by my standards is a bit long, and since I am a rather slow and terribly indecisive writer when it comes to fiction, it's taking me ages.

Over the summer, I found myself doing a bit of an 'assorted Arthuriana' re-read, and then I had a few days off, the weather was terrible, so I randomly decided to watch the BBC Merlin DVDs that I acquired a few years back, when I accidentally started watching 'Merlin' in the middle of Season 4, and ended up getting copies of the rest of it in the hope that at some point I would watch the whole thing in order, and that it would then make sense.    I can now report that it did make quite a bit more sense, watching all five seasons in order back to back (even if you watch a lot of them while painting like a loon and therefore not actually looking at the screen a lot of the time.)

But, a few things about the end of the series still niggled me a bit, and also, I noticed things that people pointed out in comments to this post which I had not previously thought of, and then I started thinking about Sleeping Heroes and Apocalyptic Beasts, and  before I knew it I started writing this modern setting followup to the very last scene,  which is now getting towards 32000 words and shows no signs of slowing down.

So far, Arthur has had to learn how to speak and read Modern English, has learned to drive a Volvo and negotiate the complexities of the Welsh Civil Service, has acquired Marks and Spencers paisley pyjamas, has been to Glastonbury, Dozmary Pool,  Snowdonia and Oxford.  He has acquired a dog named Cavall, which I personally feel is an essential component of Arthuriana that was sadly missing from the Merlin TV series, and has accidentally re-introduced dragons to Wales.   I am hoping to get on with the main plot shortly.

Unfortunately, Arthur is currently stuck in a situation where he has to work out how a pagan Saxon spell has been misapplied by modern occultists, which doesnt' really seem like his kind of problem, but Merlin is out of action just now, so Arthur will have to muddle through somehow.   Oh, and  this particular Arthur is not a Northern Arthur.  He's from somewhere in the vicinity of Somerset.  I think he has to be, really, given that Glastonbury Tor is the last scene of the TV series.

Anyway, it's fun, and my only minor reservation about it is that it's proving much more fun to write than the Small Fandom Big Bang idea I signed up with about a very old Cottia solving crimes in the South Downs with the help of Servius Placidus's great grandson, although I am quite keen to write that one too, I'm not sure my brain can cope with two long stories in succession.

Comments

( 12 comments — Leave a comment )
sally_maria
8th Dec, 2015 21:41 (UTC)
Doesn't want to pressure you, but would look forward to reading that, when it's finished. :-)
bunn
9th Dec, 2015 08:50 (UTC)
Oh good, I'm glad you think it sounds promising.

It grew out of that discussion we had after the finale, when you said you felt Arthur had never really got to grow up properly and I said I thought they'd written themselves into a corner because they'd made Merlin so powerful and astute and nice that it was hard to find anything much for Arthur to do.

Hence, Merlin is currently trapped underwater in a crystal sphere of his own magic, and I'm not letting him out until Arthur starts looking a bit more Future Kinglike :-D

I was hoping I might be able to persuade you to beta-read, actually, although I know it's a big ask for something that long, so don't feel you have to!
sally_maria
9th Dec, 2015 11:02 (UTC)
That really does sound interesting, and a story that would be worth telling. :-) I really did like the show's Arthur (and not just for the shirtlessness ;-D) but I really felt there were a lot of missed opportunities to show why we should see him as something special.

Thank you for asking me to beta - I don't know how much use I'll be, because I'm not the most analytical of readers, but I'm very happy to try.
bunn
9th Dec, 2015 16:24 (UTC)
I've managed to talk a helpful person from ushobwri into volunteering an analytical kind of beta, but I'd really like to know if you feel I've managed to get Arthur to grow up and be convincing, which is the kind of thing that is easier to ask (and fix, if answer is 'no' )when something is at beta stage than when it's supposedly finished :-D

Edited at 2015-12-09 16:24 (UTC)
sally_maria
9th Dec, 2015 16:27 (UTC)
I'm certainly happy to do that. :-)
hhimring
8th Dec, 2015 22:23 (UTC)
Perhaps Arthur just needs the right sidekick for the spell problem? A specialist in Saxons or a counter-occultist, maybe?

Cottia does sound good, too, though!
bunn
9th Dec, 2015 09:00 (UTC)
I feel that Arthur should be able to manage as his own specialist in Saxons. Invasion-era, pagan Saxons, anyway. He has thirteen occultists to help with the spell side of things, but they are a bit useless. They are part-time hobby-occultists, you can't get the staff these days :-D
anna_wing
9th Dec, 2015 08:39 (UTC)
I have been to Glastonbury! An interesting place...the Abbey is lovely. Apparently they have their own badgers, but they don't tell people where the sett is so as not to disturb them. I was quite surprised to find that the Tor is a natural phenomenon, not one of those prehistoric sites.

Your Merlin thing sounds lovely, and I look forward to reading it!Have you read Roger Zelazny's short story "The Last Defender of Camelot"?
bunn
9th Dec, 2015 09:24 (UTC)
I have read 'The last defender of Camelot' but not for years, I seem to have missed that one out of my Arthurian re-reads. Definitely a similar theme. I remember it as terribly sad though, hoping mine will be a bit less tragic at the end. (Have to admit, as a Rosemary Sutcliff fan, never quite took to Lancelot, who always seems like a bit of an interloper, stealing what I can't help thinking of as Bedwyr's spot)

All the mystical trappings around Glastonbury are wonderful if a bit hilarious. Can't help imagining the ghosts of the Abbey monks tutting away crossly at the magic shops :-D.

I read a couple of books as background for this story by Dion Fortune, who lived there and was the lady that organised 'the magical battle of Britain' where a circle of occultists all 'raised protections' over the British Isles during the second world war. One is samples from her letters about that, and the other is a guide to mystical Glastonbury. They are delightfully dotty.
anna_wing
10th Dec, 2015 08:08 (UTC)
It is rather sad, but I thought of it as quite hopeful in the end.There is a lovely edition of Zelazny's collected short stories and poetry, by NESFA Press.

http://www.nesfa.org/press/Books/Zelazny-1.html

I liked Glastonbury, though I didn't make it all the way up the Tor, so I will have to go back at some point. Chalice Wells garden was very pretty too.

I also met a nice chap who runs a magical supplies shop who is an ordained practitioner of Voudoun; he attends the local Catholic church, which has absolutely no problem with him, and is in fact rather pleased that he is a regular and serious churchgoer, those being thin on the ground these days.

Being the parish priest of Glastonbury requires a broadminded and flexible outlook on life.

Edited at 2015-12-10 08:09 (UTC)
bunn
10th Dec, 2015 09:09 (UTC)
Hmm, I should get hold of a copy and re-read. Fairly sure I've not read it since the early 90's so I may well be misremembering.

That's interesting about the catholic Voudoun supplier. I know the CofE and the Methodists are often very open to mixing and matching alternative beliefs & practices now, but not knowing (I think) any unlapsed Catholics, I had not realised the same applied to Catholicism. I suppose mysticism is built in, after all.

I was interested to discover that Dion Fortune back in the 1940's was already writing as a Christian occultist with a belief in pagan gods: her Battle of Britain stuff is very much rooted in Christianity. When I picked up the book, I'd vaguely assumed she was a pagan. Yet one tends to think of the 30's and 40's as much more religiously and culturally monolithic.

Always a mistake to discount the variety of people I suppose!
anna_wing
10th Dec, 2015 09:32 (UTC)
I think it very much depends on the individual priest and his particular personality and formation. Jesuits, for instance, in my experience tend to be fairly relaxed about that sort of thing. "My father's house has many mansions" and all that.

Reading murder mysteries from the first third of the 20th century, there appear to have been big fads throughout that period for various kinds of non-or-only-vaguely-Christian mysticism. Theosophy and Mystic Masters, for instance. And all the Victorian/Edwardian spiritualist business.
( 12 comments — Leave a comment )

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