Some background to my Ghost stories.
Sometimes when I write a story it is developed as it comes out, and other times it has a whole wealth of background information from years of thinking about the concepts within the tale. My series about Ghost the Dryad is one of the second sort.
Although I had read many fairy tales earlier, it was Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles and Kippling’s Puck of Pook Hill that first caused me to think about the world of fairy tales in earnest. Each protrayed a clear and engaging world view based on fairy tales, but it was what was missing in them that particularly inspired my thoughts.
worlds Much of my efforts in defining a fey world I could embrace was inspired by my desire to integrate many kinds of fairy tales into a single cosmology. As I had learned years before in Tolkien’s Smith of Wootton Major I first read it there because I read that story so early in my life; it is of course a much older idea. there is clearly both fey lands and the mortal realm. And there was also clearly some variation in the level of fey influence within the mortal realm. And, I supposed, symmetry would suggest a similar variation in the level of mortal influence in the fey realm. How could I organize this for my rational mind?
The analogy I hold in my mind is that the fey and the mortal realms are like to big parallel sheets, but not too smooth so that in some places they draw much closer together and at others are quite far apart. Where they are close together each plane radiates some of its nature to the other, creating fey-touched lands in the mortal realm where hamadryads and house fairies have access to enough fey magic to flourish, and creating earth-touched lands in the fey realm where gremlins and gnomes can find enough mechanical laws to build their intricate contraptions. In rare places the two lands actually touch, creating crossing points where even the ungifted can travel from one realm to the other.
There is much more I could write about these lands, but hopefully much of that will come out as my story progresses.
fiction The particular story of Ghost is not one of the long-considered elements of this tale. The idea of a dryad protagonist was suggested to me by the D&D supplement Heroes of the Feywild Heroes of the Feywild by Thompson, Pozas, and Townshend joins a very small set of RPG source books that I found enjoyable outside of the RPG context. The others are the Wanderer’s Journal by Denning and Brown (from the first Dark Sun boxed set) and the entirety of the first Planescape boxed set (primarily by Cook). Thri-Kreen of Athas by Beach and Hein I also enjoyed a lot, but do not expect that taste to be widely shared. , as was the idea of the Unseely recruiting an agent and giving them a shadowy blade as a mark of their arrangement.
The geography and inhabitants of the mortal realm where Ghost first appears was created by me for the backstory of my PC Lily-Rose Nelwyn Lily-Rose is a complicated character in herself, with allusions to Lucas’s film Willow, some goats I met in Massachusetts at my sister’s wedding, and many other odds and ends. for a game run on and off over the past two years by Judah Witkower; I’ve changed it a little here to suit my fey cosmos better. It’s hard to say, at this point, how much of that world I’ll have echo in the Ghost story; his inspiration from Leone and Harkcom’s The Lost Room will definitely not make it in, but some of the people and wars Judah has invented might. However it shakes out, it will be more background than plot material.
Other elements of the story (yet to be revealed) are scavenged from an abandoned attempt to write a tale set in the fey lands this spring. That tale, titled “The Last Ditch”, contained a more canny and darker version of Ghost in the supporting cast. The difficulties I had with that Ghost have helped shape who Ghost is now. This is the first time I’ve tried to revise a character with a different personality, and I find the task of keeping Ghost from straying into the old Ghost’s mindset much more difficult than I had anticipated. I may yet rescue The Last Ditch and write it up too; Markham Anderson Markham Anderson, in addition to being a closer friend than I ever expected to have, is a skilled author, giving his suggestions additional weight. His novel Mr Wells on the Other Side of the World is a book I dearly wish was in print so that I could give copies to my friends to read. has encouraged me to make it a spin-off series from my Ghost story. We shall see if I have the energy to do so.
On the whole, this is the most externally-inspired story I have ever attempted. My two series about Slodoop, the stories about the chocolate store robbery, and Bosham and Tia The former three of these may be found here. Bosham and Tia, a story I wrote in 2000, may be lost; I don’t seem to have a copy in my files. took no more than little bits of inspiration from outside sources. To have several sources to acknowledge is new ground for me.