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Postmortem: A Study In Magic

It’s a wrap! A Study In Magic: The Application is complete. I don’t think it hit me yet. It’s possible my spirit is writing this from the dead. Whichever the case, I’ve marked the fanfic complete.

But the story is not quite over…

Lessons Learned

1) I can complete things

This is a big one. Like many fanfic writers besides me, I have a pile of incomplete fanfic posted here and there, some under user accounts I can no longer access. So I can’t complete them even if I wanted to. It’s just as well that I don’t.

The Sword of Solomon is the first fanfic I ever completed. Then came The Closet of Possibility, and then two original stories … and at last A Study In Magic.

Without a doubt, A Study In Magic is my most ambitious writing project to date. I don’t think I had any idea what I was getting myself into when I started posting chapters November 2011. It’s by God’s grace alone I was able to complete it. There were times I wished I never promised to finish writing it. Nevertheless… it’s done.

No tricks. Just putting one word after another, every day. To be sure, I took breaks over weekends, but the principle is the same. Keep writing. Read all the stories that interest you. Remember the good ones and imitate them. Write some more.

2) Writing Emotion is Still Hard

One of the more consistent criticisms I got for A Study In Magic was that the internal conflict–the emotion side of things– tends to be bland. Like oatmeal, to quote one reviewer. I admit I don’t care for emotional scenes, nor am I intuitive in that way. But emotion is the lifeblood of stories, so, partially to practice the craft, and partially so that I myself may understand how most people work, I elongated the scenes full of emotion to several beats beyond my comfort zone and shortened the exposition in inverse proportion.

Result? Crying readers. A sign I’m improving my craft, or so the Big Name Authors say. 🙂 But it did leave a lot of unexplained bits. Which leads to,

3) Knowing what to leave out

A Study In Magic still has several loose ends and unexplained bits. Such as:

  • who drugged everyone in Hogwarts before the Ministry tried to take away all the Muggle-born students? (Answer: the Aurors stationed at Hogwarts contaminated the water supply.)
      • Wait, how did Dumbledore and Shin avoid getting drugged? (Answer: Shin is a paranoid old man who doesn’t eat anything he or his son Jason didn’t make. At that point, Dumbledore transitioned to having dinners with Shin every day.)
  • How did Lestrade manage to return to work? (Answer: Mycroft staged a hostage rescue.)
  • What happened the Muggle parents? (Answer: the Ministry did question a few regarding how or where they obtained wizard blood. Kingsley worked hard to spare as many Muggle parents as he could. Quite a few returned traumatized but not remembering why.)

These are interesting tidbits, but ultimately didn’t move the story forward, so I left them out without regret. Unlike these two Big Glaring Unresolved Issues:

  • Muggles now have the ability to detect and monitor the magic world. Worse, Mycroft Holmes has a personal grudge against wizards in general and Harry in particular for almost killing his baby brother. What will the Baker Street trio do? This was a story on its own, so I decided to slot for a future project. The tentative title is:

  • John and Benedict’s magic absorbing ability. This has a potential to be more complex and psychological than the first. No title yet, but here is the premise:

It is official: magic is fading away worldwide. Wizards are blaming the growing number of “singularities”, people who have the rare ability to absorb enchantments, as the cause of this looming catastrophe. Benedict and Benetrice Holmes go on a quest find the real cause behind the magic’s rapid vanishing to protect their mother, the first documented Singularity.

That’s one heavy project to tackle. Who knows when I’ll attempt that one? Too late now. Here, have a picture of the Baker Street Family happy and content instead.

What project should I tackle first? Let me know!

3 Comments

  1. Three truths and a lie…. Which was the lie? I would really like to see a continuation. I lean towards the Lestrade vignette being the lie. He certainly lied during the press conference. Looking forward to whatever you decide to tackle next.

    • booksofchange
      booksofchange

      2018-02-09 at 4:47 pm

      Well, we can safely assume Robert is telling the truth about the baby 2, and Shin has no reason to lie about the cancer. That leaves Harry and Lestrade. Lestrade has to hide things, this is true, he can’t blabber about magic after all. But what about unnecessary lies? Harry is known for his sass … 😉

      I’d like to write up the next thing, too! The question is how long its going to be. Harry hasn’t finished his Hero’s Journey. I see at least one more. I have the beginning and end. It’s the middle build that’s the problem…

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