Thursday, May 15, 2008

Emotional Resonance

Further to my previous post (check down)... protagonist goals is something we discussed last night - MG and I - about giving the protagonist ample emotional resonance and necessity to follow their quest. An editor had wondered about her choice of ladening on some emotional weight to her protagonist in order for him to "want" to pursue his goal. Was it necessary? We agreed that a writer should, in finding an identifiable protagonist, always give them a quest that is of the upmost importance to them or the world or to avoid jeopardy.

We talked about Endymion Spring:
Endymion Spring has a double storyline. The first story follows two children in current day Oxford, Blake and Duck Winters. Blake is twelve years old and his sister is a few years younger. The two happen to come across a strange book in a library in Oxford, which is entitled Endymion Spring. After finding out that it leads to a book of all the knowledge in the world, all the knowledge Adam and Eve tried to obtain from eating of that forbidden tree of knowledge but lost, they then embark on a quest to find it. However, when they do, the story then becomes a battle against the Person in Shadow, a person whose heart has turned black with evil and desire for the knowledge and power of the book. The second story line follows the journey of a young printer’s devil who works in Gutenberg’s workshop named Endymion Spring from his hometown in Mainz, Germany to Oxford, which was then a settlement of monks. The two story lines are about 600 years apart, with Spring's story taking place at the epoch of the printing press in 1453, and Blake's taking place in the late 20th or early 21st century.

MG, and more importantly her agent, are very hot on emotional resonance between protagonist and reader. The reader needs to buy into the goal and the quest. In the latest Indiana Jones film, Indy has to get the crystal skull and stop the Ruskies from using it for their... well, what ever evil deed they wish to do - fact is, at the height of the "Red Scare" the Russians pose a serious threat to America during the cold war. That's reason enough for Indy to want to save the world, and obviously, he being an archaeologist is enough for his interest in the skull.

With that in mind, could someone explain to me why the Book of Knowledge be of any importance to two kids? I'm certain there must be some big badguy to act as foil, but that doesn't come across at all in that synopsis.

Pah! I say. Pah!

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