Here’s a totally non-gardening, Onion-style piece I wrote several years ago, when I was teaching high school Creative Writing. Each year I’d get a few kids who loved writing Sci-Fi and Fantasy, and would give me these 200 page rambling stories they’d been working on since they were 12. I submitted this to McSweeney’s, but after they sent me a very kind “no, thanks” I filed it away and forgot about it. But then yesterday my old teacher pal Ami Durand reminded me of it, and so I decided it needed a fresh reading! This is for you, Ami!
Here, You Should Read My Fantasy Novel
by Jeremy Fisk, a.k.a. Ranc Goldknight
Here! Remember how I started writing The Sword of Thalgamore in like, eighth grade, but then lost the files when my brother crashed the computer downloading that porn? Well, guess what, I’ve been rewriting it these last couple months and just finished it last Thursday night. And you won’t believe what happens to Thalgamore and Aearlith when they finally reach the Circle of Magic! Nope, don’t ask me to give it away – you’ll find out on page 169! Sorry for the single-spaced, 10 point font, but my dad wouldn’t let me print it out any bigger because he said I was wasting paper!
Oh, are you wondering who Ranc Goldknight is? That’s me. I actually have about 17 pen names but I’m only going to publish my Thalgamore series under the Goldknight pseudonym. See, I plan to publish several dozen series and I don’t want my name to become overexposed, you know, like what happened to Stephen King.
Don’t worry, it won’t take that long to finish my novel because you’ll really get into it. The only thing is, make sure you read the 18-page introduction about the First and Second Elf Wars because otherwise you might be a little lost at first. See, this is really the third book in the Thalgamore’s Curse series and I haven’t written the other two yet, but I think I’m going to publish this one first anyway, and then publish the prequel, like the way they did the Star Wars movies. In the prequel, you’ll find out how the abduction of Diandra – that’s Queen Emerwen’s daughter, who was the original Elf Queen – led to the First Elf War. That’s also going to be where the Warlords of Caryngswyth first use the power of the silver Spirit Chalice, which will lead to –
Oh yeah I know, sorry about the stains on the first few pages. I gave it to Mrs. Malloy to read over the weekend and she must’ve set her coffee mug on it by mistake. Anyways, she said she liked it, but when I asked her how she liked the part where Ithil is slain by the Dark Nymph, she was like, “oh yes Jeremy that was an amazing description of his death!” when it’s totally obvious from the time Ithil is introduced in chapter 17 that she’s a sorceress! Helloooo! Geez, you’d think an English teacher would be able to follow a dang storyline. (I also don’t see why Mrs. Malloy keeps calling me Jeremy when I clearly write Ranc Goldknight on all of the English papers I turn in.)
Getting back to my novel, though, you might wonder why Ithil appears in Book 3 when she’s supposed to be slain in Book 1. Okay, see, it all goes back to the resurrecting power of the Chalice, and I do plan to include a detailed chart about the different colored Spirit Chalices and the degrees of power they have because I can see how it can be kind of complicated. But first let me warn you not to base your knowledge of Elvish Spirit Chalices on any of Alfred’s short stories! What is he thinking? Everyone knows that the power of the Chalice can only be fully realized when it’s passed down by a First Order Elf and only then if they’re wearing the Purple Cloak of Dulin!! I have tried to explain to Alfred that nobody will take his work seriously if he has Second and Third Order Elves using the magic of the Spirit Chalice to battle the Warlords!!! How can he not see that that would be impossible? I am seriously beginning to wonder how qualified he is to be vice president of the Dragonscapes Club.
What’s that? You’re reading the first sentence and you’re not sure what an iaeth is? You mean you didn’t know that was the Elvish word for bastard sword? I’m surprised. Maybe you’re used to the Lower Plateau dialect of Elvish. No, see, most of my book takes place in the Upper Plateau, but don’t worry, that’s what the 35-page glossary is for. You’re also welcome to borrow some of my notebooks, which have sketches and detailed backstories of all 48 characters. You can borrow the whole crate if you want, but don’t get the notebooks out of order, please.
Oh, and you might accidentally stumble across a couple copies of Playboy in there, too. My brother likes to hide them in my crate because, for some reason, he thinks my parents will never look there. Just disregard them, like I always do.
Varg Amarig! (HappyReading!)
Am laughing So hard here at my desk….this is SO perfect….Being the mother of two teen/computer role playing/multi science fiction reading sons only explains part of it…
Thanks, Becca! I am married to one, so of course my bit of satire is done with love and affection. :o)
Dag, I married one, too! This really had me giggling because I decided to give “Game of Thrones” a whirl last night. Twenty pages in, I feel like I need a family tree, a glossary, and maybe trading cards to keep track of all the characters and their various realms that have already been mentioned.
Not being a teacher or parent, still so funny…”you can’t make this stuff up”! We all should remember that in <10 years, he will create the replacement for Facebook, and his stock prices will soar into the stratosphere. Back to harnessing such enthusiasm and quirky creativity on my designs…
David, you’re right…some of those fantasy/sci-fi kids were pretty darn sharp; just give them a few years to outgrow their awkwardness, and watch out!
Right here, you have every science fiction editor’s and agent’s nightmare. It’s the nightmare that explains why joking about “International Slushpile Bonfire Day” is so common. Or, to put it another way, this is the cover letter that arrives with half of the NaNoWriMo novels that arrive in editors’ mailboxes every December. Verbatim.
Ooooh, I can only imagine. I never thought of the inundation of manuscripts that must arrive in editors’/agents’ mail every December because of that November Novel Writing spree thing. What a nightmare! I always thought that was a pretty dumb idea myself, torture for the writer and whoever has to read the final product.
Trust me: it’s bad. (On that subject, here’s the best summation of International Slushpile Bonfire Day, written by an old buddy. http://www.revolutionsf.com/article.php?id=950 )
OMG Mary, some things never change. I had kids like this when I taught C.W. There was one in particular when we had class reading on Fridays. He would always sign up to read from his deathless sword and sorcery epic written in the most stutlifying style ever heard on planet Earth or any planet in the Birinthian Cluster where his story took place…very…slowly…He was the reason I had to institute a ten-minute, then a five-minute and finally a three-minute limit on readings. The class was after lunch and simply the sight of him standing to read put all of us to sleep. The class and I gently tried to tell him that he needed more exposition and less description but he happily plowed on in a his adverb- and adjective-laden fashion for ream after ream. I think one of the less socially skilled gentlemen in the class did say to him as the class was leaving one day, “Man, your writing sucks! Don’t read it to us any more!” He was right but that didn’t make a dent. Jeff (not his name) continued to favor us until the end of the year. I cancelled the reading part of the “culminating activity” because of him and we had a “publication party” for our class magazine. Without the usual readings. Ah, memories. Thanks for bringing this one back. I think. :^)
Dan, I think I may have met this guy during my science fiction days. Amazingly, he grew up to be the guy who can always be found at the “How To Publish Your Story” panel at local conventions, just so he can tell everyone about the conspiracy in the publishing industry to keep out new voices. (I also had a job interview with a guy just like this, who argued that his company didn’t need to hire a technical writer because he wrote on the side. It was all Wesley/Worf slashfic published on a GeoCities site, and he apparently learned how to type by throwing cats at the keyboard, but that just proved that he was the perfect person for the position. Even scarier, he was proud of the Wesley/Worf slashfic when relating this to his bosses.)
Hilarious, Mr. V! I can just picture your face as you sat and listened politely to his stories, but how inside you were dying. So funny that you completely revised your “culminating activity” because of him. Oh lordy. There is ALWAYS ALWAYS a kid like that who is quasi-dsyfunctional and can’t write who ALWAYS wants to read aloud. Why is this? It seems to be one of the laws of the universe!