Aug. 30th, 2012

zodiacal_light: A map of Tortall (tortall)
But that day is not today. :)

I am currently halfway finished (I think...) with an AU where Alanna doesn't become King's Champion, and I think it is, quite possibly, the thorniest AU I've ever tried to figure out.

Most AUs, the changes don't necessarily have a major impact on the rest of the series' plots. Well, they do, but the incidentals are all largely the same (like, say, details about what most characters were doing when), or the AUs diverge so wildly that nothing is the same, and it flat can't be run up through later canon.

This AU is requiring a major, major reshuffling of everything - but what it's requiring reshuffling of are those minor background details, like what minor characters are doing what when, and it's turning out that those things have a much more major impact on things like, oh, plot, or the unfolding of Jon and Thayet's progressive changes in Tortall, than I anticipated when I started this.

Also, so many characters are out of place, compared to canon, that I honestly don't know if I can even hash out how the Immortals War happens in this 'verse, let alone anything else. (Which is too bad, 'cause I really, really want to write this 'verse's Kel.) The weird thing is, most of the changes that need to happen by displacing Alanna are really minor - and yet, they build up. If Alanna's not Champion, someone else has to be, which gives a whole different flavor to Jon's reign, and a whole different tool for Jon to use. If Alanna's got a different role, a more constructive one, requiring her near-constant presence in the palace, then other things are similarly displaced, and there are a whole host of minor changes that her being a fixture of palace life brings - such as her children being there, too.

It's the ripple effect, but it's gotten so out-of-hand I don't even know that I can follow this fic through, despite how caught up in it I am. I'm doing my usual thing - writing one scene, taking the plot a tiny step further along, writing that scene - and in each scene, a whole host of new wrinkles are cropping up, and I don't know that I can iron them all out.

Which is vexing me. I just tried to actually plot this thing out - like, in an outline, which I never do - and I got so tangled up in it I deleted it and went back to my baby-steps approach. XD

I think what has me truly consternated is this: how far do these ripples echo? I think, looking over the above, that what my real problem here is is that in most of my AUs, it's obvious where and why things diverge from canon, even later on. Wyldon's still training master in one AU because nothing's happened that would change that; Wyldon's not in another because someone else has the job. And so on.

Here, I keep running into scenarios where I could easily see either happening, and have good reason for either. Like with Wyldon: I could easily stick with canon and make him training master still, which would lead to interesting plotty things, or I could easily stick another character in as well, for very solid plot reasons, and that would also lead to interesting plotty things. It's like keeping Alanna from being Champion sets everything adrift, and while it causes - like with any divergence - all these subsequent divergences later on, it also is so unimportant to later canon that it's hard to figure out how the change propagates.

...And that's more than enough self-indulgent rambling for one day. XD Back to fic.

Grargh.

Aug. 30th, 2012 04:50 pm
zodiacal_light: A map of Tortall (tortall)
Along the lines of my previous post, this is me, listing all the niggling details I kinda need to figure out for the Alanna-isn't-Champion AU. Sorta spoilers, for the work in progress, though not in terrible detail. This is mostly to keep things straight in my head, but if anyone has any opinions or suggestions, those're always welcome. :)

1. Who becomes training master. This actually isn't so much a detail caused by the AU, but one caused by the canon timeline; Duke G. has his heart attack in LR, and then three years later Wyldon becomes training master. Did he take over for the duke? If not, who was training master between the two?

In this AU, I am sticking with Duke G. being training master up through the coronation, and then after, there's a problem, because I'm pretty sure in this 'verse that the heart attack causes his retirement, but that means I either move Wyldon up three years, put someone else in there before Wyldon, or simply don't make Wyldon training master in this 'verse at all. I have an option I rather like if I go the no-Wyldon route, but Wyldon as training master'd be equally interesting.

2. What happens to Neal. I am not at all sure he decides to become a knight late in this AU, but if he doesn't, it creates a whole host of problems when it comes to Kel's assimilation into her cohort.

3. Alanna's kids. Just for the sake of limiting the number of timeline wrinkles I have to wrangle with, I know she still has them, and I am (at least for the moment) keeping to the canon timeline of when she has them; for all that she implies in LR that she wants to wait on kids, by the timeline, she doesn't really, to my eyes, wait all that long. (Four years, I think.)

Thom I am keeping canon; he'd go to university, given what little we know of him, whether Alanna was Champion or not. Alan and Aly ... are problems. Alan's only a problem because of the lateness of when he canonically goes for page training; I need to decide, for this AU, if he goes at the normal time (three years earlier than canon), or doesn't go at all.

Aly, I don't even know. George is still spymaster, like in canon, and so I'm pretty sure that like in canon he's been teaching his kids tricks, and Aly's taken to them like a duck to water. But even if she has that epic fight with Alanna over spying, I'm not at all sure there's an opportunity for her to get kidnapped by pirates.

Then again, part of what makes DotL so unsatisfying to me is that Kyprioth is constantly meddling, and I thought it was at least implied that the whole reason Aly even got kidnapped in the first place was that Kyp arranged it. So he might still find a way to meddle, IDK.

4. What happens with Carthak. I'm pretty sure that everything through WS happens roughly as it does in canon; all the impact my AU has on the events in WM and at Dunlath are a few switches of who's where when, and those are for secondary characters, or a few alterations of motivation.

EM becomes a problem, because of the embassy. I am not sure who ends up sent, entirely; given one person who likely would end up there, I'm not sure the plot turns out at all like canon. Which is absolutely fine by me, but it leads to the question of if the Immortals War even happens in this AU ... which, now that I think on it, ties directly back to #2.

5. I shouldn't even really number this, because Kel's story, despite being quite a bit different in her page and possibly her squire years, still ends up in the same place. I think. Kel is strangely unaffected, ultimately, by AUs, I find. XD But, I dunno. I kinda feel either like she should be more affected by this one, or like there's something I'm really missing here.

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zodiacal_light: Humour: Because angst is not jolly. (Default)
Alix

October 2013

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