Sunday, September 20, 2015

Anatomy of An Idea: A Dose of Aconite

Here be potential spoilers, so please read my story up at Electric Spec first ... done?  Here's the scoop ...

This story was originally written for a monthly challenge over at - the theme was to write a story from the point of view of a villain.  I had the world of Flow very much in mind at the time, so I thought this was a great opportunity to write a story about a clash between the water-witches and the Borderwatch.  In Flow, the Borderwatch serve as antagonists, but my intention was always that it more a matter of circumstance than the organization being villainous / overzealous / fanatical - they just happen to be on the other side of the question of how to deal with fairies in the human world.

So even though Mannix is the "villain" in this story, I wanted to make it clear that overall philosophies of the two characters' organizations each had some value.  In the first draft, I succeeded a bit too well - a few reviewers of the story thought that it didn't even meet the challenge topic!  I went deeper into his personal vendetta to bring the contrast out, and I think I succeeded.

The second component to the idea was aconite, the herb otherwise known as monkshood or wolfsbane, and various myths as to its uses.  Incorporating a werewolf character seemed to fit both the tale and the world.  I admit, I have had some trepidation since about adding this to the Flow mythos, because I had a few editors react very negatively to the inclusion of Raul, even though he is incidental to the core plot.

In any case, I also decided to have a little fun with the names.  They all have meanings that connect with the various common names of aconite.  For instance, Tala means wolf; Mannix is an Irish name that means monk.  I wouldn't do this for a longer work - I find it a bit too "cute" or on the nose, even though people would have to look it up - but it worked nicely for a short story.

So that's where A Dose of Aconite came from.  Maybe I'll get that story where the Borderwatch agent is the hero written and published some day ...

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