Saturday, September 27, 2008

Albion – the first version (4 of 5)

So, the flaws of this version of the story...

First, the story doesn’t take its characters seriously enough. The characterisation is slim. One of Tash’s only traits is that she always takes black coffee (after all she’s a reporter...) with three sugars. There’s a significant moment when Tash sides with Quillian when she rejects the sugar in her coffee - “I’m sick of sugar”!

Bigger than this, the characters are lost inside the transformation of Eric. It becomes entirely unclear who some of these characters actually are after they’ve been influenced by Arthur. Not only do they begin talking like Arthurian characters, they seem to have lost their identity. Admittedly this is a relief in some of their cases - the behaviour of his family and Lance at the beginning of the story is so despicable that I feel the best thing Eric can do is get some distance on these people… Subliminating their personalities is one way to do that, I suppose.

If I were to approach this story again, I would take the characters’ transformations as the basis of the story, and in particular the conflict of the Eric/Arthur identities.

Second, there’s a strange structural note where a partial transformation takes place, then leading to a full case of madness and identity transformation. The partial transformation is effectively the end of the story – Eric has successfully integrated charisma and ‘magic’ into his everyday life. The rest of the story basically loops back to that point.

I think I could improve this story structurally, and that's one of the things I'd be aiming to do.

Third, the power of the King. The effect of King Arthur seems to be that people just love him, far in excess to anything particular we see him do onscreen. His effect needs to be justified more – why would normal people abandon their lives and change course so dramatically. The answer seems to be charisma – which ultimately isn’t the best of all answers! Charisma doesn’t feed your kids…

I’m not so interested in portraying the perfect society now, but I am interested in exploring how the King is able to transform others. This would make for really interesting material if the transformation(s) felt truly motivated.

I’ll end my analysis of the first version with my next post, asking why did I move on from this version?

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