August 23, 2012

Prequeling a Dramatic Hero

The first installment of my web fiction serial “In the Event of My Untimely Demise” is now up at Paizo’s Pathfinder Tales blog. It features Luma, hero of my new Pathfinder novel, Blood of the City. A cobblestone druid attuned to the magic of the marble metropolis of Magnimar, she’s the odd sibling out in a team of urban adventurers for hire. In part one, “The Dead Client”, Luma, having been barred from a prestigious assignment, receives an unusual commission—to perform an investigation purchased in advance by a now-deceased customer.

Writing this serial posed a challenge I didn’t have to deal with when coming up with its equivalent for The Worldwound Gambit. Unlike Gad, the heisting hero of that novel, Luma is not presented as an iconic hero, who does not change in the course of the story but instead changes the world around her by remaining true to her essential problem-solving ethos. Instead she’s a dramatic hero, who undergoes a personal journey that profoundly alters her sense of self and relationship to the world.

Iconic heroes, like Batman, Sherlock Holmes or James T. Kirk, are built for recurring appearances. Dramatic heroes are tougher. I can see Luma becoming an iconic hero, maybe, after the events portrayed in Blood of the City. But going back in time, to a moment prior to the opening scenes introducing her dramatic dilemma, required some head-scratching.

Without giving too much away, the story prefigures her arc and echoes a key theme of the novel, without putting her on the path toward her transformation. It’s both free-standing story and prelude.

Head on over and check it out.