Romance and Writing

Unfortunately, the Alfhelm the Wise campaign is progressing slowly. I just haven’t had any brilliant insights into where to go from here. There are a few reasons for this. For one, I’ve been busy with various other tasks. (Most of them social. Ugh. I’m going to make sure all of my younger brothers never have friends… it’s just not worth it.)

But also, I haven’t been able to decide how the campaign should end. As those of you who’ve played the campaign so far know, two of the main characters, Alfhelm and Ranhilde, have a certain romance (Artic Monkeys allusion intentional – if you didn’t understand that, ignore it) going on. This is, of course, almost mandatory. In any story with a young male hero and a young female witch whom he seeks counsel from, they have to fall in love. And, well, I now like these characters personally. I want the story to end happily (note – this does not necessarily mean I don’t want either of them to die), and I do sort of want them to end up getting married or summat.

There are, however, a few problems with this. To begin with, how the hell am I supposed to write a romance (as in an epic romance – a la Beren and Lúthien)? How is anybody supposed to write a romance? This may be a shocking revelation for you, but I don’t exactly know a whole lot about that sort of thing. I could write it so that it happened, but I doubt I could write it so that it would be believable (for me – I don’t care if it’s believable for anyone else). And even if I did, I suspect writing from experience would be a bad idea on multiple levels.

A related point is that I don’t particularly want to write a romance. I prefer to write tragedies (as anyone who’s played Fall of Silvium or Sceptre of Fire knows). The reasons for this would be best expressed by the statement that my favorite story in the Silmarillion is not that of Beren and Lúthien, it is that of Túrin Turambar.

And the story of Alfhelm, particularly, seems fitting for a tragedy. It doesn’t seem fitting for a romance. It deals with a great man who is consumed by hatred for an enemy, but is forced to spend all of his energy fighting a different enemy. Then, at the end, he ends up returning from his unwanted quest to finish his vendetta. This is the story, it seems to me, of a great but ultimately futile life.

But, even with all of these issues I have with trying to write a romance, I want to. Mainly because I just like the character of Alfhelm, as a person. I’d feel bad making his life end up tragically.

So, this is why I haven’t made much progress writing Alfhelm the Wise. I’m spending all of my time trying to find a solution to the above problems. (The first is clearly the most insurmountable, and if Alfhelm’s life ends up tragically, it will probably be the reason.) Stay tune, though. I’ll finish this damn story eventually.

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