Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Enchanted, Inc. Reread -- Getting Into the Plot

I'm very gradually getting better from my cold. Now I'm down to just an annoying cough. I probably won't be dancing tonight, but I might be able to sing tomorrow night. We'll see.

I realized when I did my Enchanted, Inc. reread last week that I actually got up to chapter eight. I was flipping through and missed the chapter break.

So, chapter nine is when the real plot really gets started after we get all the origin story stuff out of the way. Katie has learned that her big boss really is the Merlin. That was one of the ideas that had been swimming around in my head ever since I came up with the concept of a magical corporation. I was planning to do a spoof of corporate life -- in fact, one of my pitches for the concept was "Bridget Jones Meets Harry Potter and Goes to Work with Dilbert" -- and I'd just come from a workplace that loved all the various management fad things. If someone wrote a quirky business book about how some odd little premise could totally transform your company, you could bet we'd be having a corporate retreat based on it, complete with theme t-shirts or giveaways. This is why I have a koozie shaped like a fish (it had something to do with a book on how throwing fish like they do at the Seattle fish market could change the way your do business -- I don't think they meant it literally, but even after reading the book I wasn't sure quite how they meant it, and throwing foam "fish" koozies "improved" our business to the point that a huge chunk of the staff, including me, was laid off less than a year later). So I thought it would be a lot of fun for the boss to be an ancient wizard who's only recently discovered modern business practices and gets excited about every little fad because it's all new to him.

And then I had a burst of inspiration in remembering that in a lot of the Arthurian mythology they say that Merlin was entombed in a crystal cave, to be brought back again when he was needed. And, duh, who else should be running a magical corporation? But that then ended the idea of him running off with every business fad because he should be smarter than that. I think I kept a few references to the idea that he was reading all this stuff and finding it fascinating, but he's not forcing the whole company to abide by this week's business reading. Anyway, I then read as much as I could find about Merlin in order to create my character, including how his name would actually translate (depending on which version you go with). And, of course, they had to be facing a threat severe enough to require him to be brought back.

Then we got to one of my other core ideas, using modern business practices like marketing to get an edge in the magical world. Since I was inverting the usual fantasy structure by having my heroine learn that she didn't have magical powers, I thought it would also be fun to have real-world things be the solution for people who are used to getting what they want with a wave of the hand.

I wasn't planning it at the time, but looking back at the series, one of the things I really like about how it shaped up was the relationship between Merlin and Katie. I like how open he is to her ideas, in spite of his great age, wisdom, power, and experience.

I started a short story once about his initial emergence from hibernation. Maybe I should get back to that.

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