Gong He Xin Xi

Welcome to the year of the Rat. 

I have been doing a lot of research into classical Chinese Tao mythology of late, even watched Crouching Tiger again last night, and since this is Chinese New Year I thought I would tell you all why.

When Shanna read Paradox Magic she told me she wanted to know more about the characters that make up the magic council (of sorts, it’s never called that in the book).  To facilitate this I had to figure out who they were.  Shiang (in the first draft) is actually going to be Lu Dong Pin, one of the 8 Immortals of Taoist tradition, because he works the best and is the best known of those mythological figures.  This cleared up a couple problems I had with some of the later story bits, and also means I can start to do a couple of the edits that I knew needed to be done. 

For one thing, I am going to write a short story style introduction to each of the seven characters who make up the council.  For Lu Dong Pin that meant figuring out who he was, and what he is described as doing.  For the record, he was a dragon slaying mystic with a magic sword or jian, who achieved enlightenment after turning his back on his noble class family and chose to follow one of the other immortals around.  He was also a drunk and a womanizer, who did not want to die until he had helped every human on the planet to achieve enlightenment.  So much of this resonates with the rest of the text of Paradox Magic that is is perfect.  I love when stories like this come together.  I’m going to write the first draft of a story about Lu Dong Pin tonight, and go over where to put it into the text later, while I’m revising the rest of the story.

For the record, all the other magicians ***SPOILER ALERT*** will be as follows:

Book – Merlin
Jack – John Dee
Crowfeather – Raven
Medici – this is the only one I don’t know yet
Blackstorm – Is a bit of an amalgam of English Faerie stories
Shiang – Lu Dong Pin
The Ancient – well, you’ll figure him out, really.  He has no direct ties to existing characters, but is an archetype in and of himself.

At some point in the book each of these characters will have a short story about them, something that makes them more than just cardboard sitting around a seven sided table.  Book’s is going to be cool, I have most of it figured out already, and Jack’s is going to explain how the Royal Sorceror to Queen Elizabeth I becomes the raving madman we see in the book.  At some point the idea that magic costs more than it is worth will be brought out in each of these stories, more to make a thematic point than anything else.  I’m going to try to ape the style of storytelling that would have been common in each of the character’s native cultures.  So Lu Dong Pin will read like a Chinese fable, while Book will read like a bit of Arthurian Legend, and so on. 

What I’m not sure about is how these stories will fit into the overall context of the book.  I don’t want to just stick them all in at once, making some strange glob of non-productive text in the middle of the story, but I don’t want to just put them in at random either.  Those of you who are reading the thing, if you have any suggestions, let me know. 

Anyway, that’s it for now, I’m off to write some short stories, I’ll let you know how it goes.

-m

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