Goodbye, Raekal

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, but I prefer not to unless I’ve got something relevant to say. Today, I have a small piece of news, which may be slightly disappointing to some.

Some time ago on this site, I made a post saying how I was considering writing a trilogy in the series in which the protagonist was a griffin. I asked whether you thought I should go for it, since I had some doubts about if it would work. The answer was yes, so I went for it.

Unfortunately, I’m now posting to inform you that I’ve decided to abandon that particular project. It wasn’t working out, so I’m going to be starting again with a new, human protagonist. The original protagonist, Raekal the griffin, may be included as a side character, or may be left out altogether. The new protagonist may be less interesting on the face of it, but will work better as a main character. Trying to have a griffin protagonist was an interesting experiment, but I just couldn’t get it to work.

The trouble with it was that griffins, the way I write them, can be sympathetic and interesting to read about – but only up to a point.

I put a lot of effort into writing them in such a way that they come across as intelligent, but definitely not human. They have some humanlike traits, but not others. So they understand concepts like ambition, manipulation and negotiation, but only have a fairly limited concept of friendship and have pretty much no capacity for love (recall Skade’s confusion when she started feeling it and didn’t know what it was; confusing it with simple “mating urges”).

This might not be such a problem, but the major sticking point for me was that griffins don’t just not understand a lot of human ideas – they’re actively disinterested in them. Raekal the griffin was like an Asperger, but without the sad longing to be able to relate to others. He couldn’t relate to humans properly, and didn’t want to. If they were doing something he didn’t understand, he would just class it as irrelevant and ignore it. Because of that I had to keep switching points of view so I could develop the other characters and relate important conversations. Raekal’s point of view just cut that all out.

And yes, I could have changed his personality so he was interested and did pay attention, but that would have run counter to his inherent nature as a  griffin and pretty much defeated the whole purpose of the story. If you write non-human characters to be basically just humans in different bodies, then there’s really no point.

So that’s why I decided to ditch everything I’d written and start again from scratch. Throwing 100+ pages of writing in the bin is slightly painful, but sometimes it’s necessary. Other writers will know what I mean.

In any case, Raekal and the other protagonists had nothing to do with the characters from the previous trilogy, and the storyline was also unrelated. Since certain very important plot points were left unresolved in the book that comes before it, I figure people will be more interested if trilogy number four is immediately relevant to that, rather than only tangentally relevant. Readers will end trilogy number three with questions like “what happened to so-and-so? And where did you-know-who go off to, and will he ever come back?” By way of compensation, trilogy number four will start out with characters asking those same questions, so I think everyone will be happier. I just wish I could say more about it now – frustrating! I will say one thing, though: the new protagonist will be a woman. I enjoyed writing a female protagonist with Laela, so it’ll be good to do it again.


With that said, since I’m here, some other news that’s too unimportant to warrant its own post: tomorrow I have a job interview. First one in a while. My hopes are high! I’ll post here if I get the job, I guess.

Finally, I’ve recently discovered the BBC TV series Sherlock, and I very highly recommend it. Truly brilliant stuff – excellent writing, wonderful acting. Season 3 can’t come soon enough!


Neato text ornament here