Words written: 260 on novel / 637 on essay
I don’t know how to start my second chapter but I had an epiphany about the first.
When I was writing it originally it was for my final creative writing assignment so I was writing with a word count and a deadline in mind. Reading it back I feel the events at the end of chapter one are happening to too early in the novel. I don’t need my character to see the that the bad guys are in the area at the very end of chapter one because that means chapter two is all about the heroes putting together their plan to trap the bad guys, which means the story will end by chapter five at the latests. Not what I want.
Chapter One deals with the arrival of the ship on King William island prior to their patrol. I think I need to spend more time on the island. My main character is heading off to a brothel and encounters the pirates in the bar but as I’ve created various types of pleasure automations I’m wondering if my character should meet the pirates after he’s handed over some of his credits. Not that I’m about to write a sex scene, I’m just saying my character should get to have a bit of fun 😉
Also as I’m no longer writing with a word count of 3000, I’ve been going back over chapter one and taking my time in setting the scenes and describing things in more detail. I’m mildly concerned one of my female characters is too cliché but I think that’s because I’ve read far too many essays and criticisms of female characters that I’m allowing those thoughts to enter my mind instead of thinking about how my character works within the world and her role in my novel.
I wonder if I should actually call today ‘NaNoWrimo Day One’ as I didn’t start yesterday.
This morning, I randomly followed a link to a job advert on the Mi5 website. I have no intention of ever working for Mi5 or any branch of the security services, I’m quite content as a lighting technician and it probably isn’t as exciting as ‘Spooks’ makes out… anyway – the job advert was for a ‘Senior Internal Auditor’.
My first thought was “oh, cool – Mi5/Mi6 has an internal audit department.” then “wait… Mycroft audits the books for a government department…I wonder…”
Is it possible that (on paper, at least) Mycroft is an internal auditor for Mi5/Mi6?
Sherlock and Watson don’t really tell us too much about Mycroft. There’s also a good possibility that Watson completely invented everything in GREE & BRU about Mycroft as a cover but let’s just assume Sherlock and Watson are telling us the truth (and that Mi5/Mi6 existed in some form or another back in 1895 :P)
“He has an extraordinary faculty for figures, and audits the books in some of the government departments.” (GREE)
“Mycroft draws four hundred and fifty pounds a year, remains a subordinate, has no ambitions of any kind, will receive neither honour nor title, but remains the most indispensable man in the country.” (BRU)
“…his position is unique. He has made it for himself. There has never been anything like it before, nor will be again. He has the tidiest and most orderly brain, with the greatest capacity for storing facts, of any man living. The same great powers which I have turned to the detection of crime he has used for this particular business. The conclusions of every department are passed to him, and he is the central exchange, the clearinghouse, which makes out the balance. All other men are specialists, but his specialism is omniscience. We will suppose that a minister needs information as to a point which involves the Navy, India, Canada and the bimetallic question; he could get his separate advices from various departments upon each, but only Mycroft can focus them all, and say offhand how each factor would affect the other. They began by using him as a short-cut, a convenience; now he has made himself an essential. In that great brain of his everything is pigeon-holed and can be handed out in an instant. Again and again his word has decided the national policy.” (BRU)
So, according to Sherlock/Watson, Mycroft is a relatively minor official who audits government departments, who has become a sort of consulting political strategist/problem solver and there really is an Internal Audit Department within Mi5 and Mi6.
Worthy of a bit of fun speculation, don’t you think?
(Emphasis on fun, I’ve already fallen foul of the ‘Sherlock’ LJ community for suggesting this.)
Whenever you put Sherlock Holmes on screen it will always, inevitably, be wrong (too many changes, not enough changes, wears a deerstalker, is too gay, not gay enough… etc) but on the whole, people are quite forgiving of Sherlock. We’ll accept a short, blond Holmes as long as you get Watson right. People are less forgiving of a bad-Watson.
But what about Mycroft?
I did a quick search for Mycroft on the IMDb character search and you’d be surprised looking at the list of some of the actors who have portrayed him:
Only Fry & Gray (with apologies, neither can be described as ‘corpulent’) come even close to the description of our first encounter with the elder Holmes: “Heavily built and massive, there was a suggestion of uncouth physical inertia in the figure.” (GREE). Holmesians get upset when writers ‘mess around’ with Sherlock and Watson but Mycroft is fair game.
In the truly awful ‘Case of Evil’, Richard E Grant plays a crippled former drug-addicted version of Mycroft. It’s one of those reveals that makes a terrible film just that little bit worse. Christopher Lee plays closer to canon, you can believe “he is, on occasion, the British government.” even if he physically doesn’t resemble the character. Stephen Fry is a buffoonishly bizarre Mycroft but it’s a clever piece of casting and Boris Klyvuev’s Mycroft has perhaps the greatest developed home life of any (so far) – he’s very fond of his dog (a red setter), has a son and works for the Foreign Office. There’s no reason why Mycroft can’t have a son, unless you take Sherlock’s comments about “no ambition and no energy” very literally.
Out of all the Mycroft’s, I would argue that Mark Gatiss is the truest version will ever seen on screen. A dangerously clever man who runs the British government and has an ongoing weight problem.
This video is actually relevant to my feelings on the subjects of superheroes, or more specifically – superpowers. You could argue that I have been spending far too much time not only on my own with two tribbles, sorry, guinea pigs for company and too much time in the world of Douglas Adams (‘Hitchcon’ was awesome BTW).
According to the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, flying is all about falling but missing the ground… but you can’t deliberately go about missing the ground because then you become aware, and because you’ve noticed it, it won’t happen.
So how do people discover they’ve got superpowers?
In this situation I’m not taking about Superman, but average Joe Bloggs who wakes up one morning and suddenly discovers he has x-ray vision and can see that Mrs Smith next door really rather needs to get that mole seen to. Okay that one is fairly obvious, but what about people who can fly? Did they just feel a light tingling sensation somewhere in their body and pooof, flight, or do they suddenly feel the need to do a Lemming* impression?
Now that you’ve discovered superpowers how do you go about coming to terms with having superpowers? I’m sure there’s a great big answer buried somewhere in a popular comic book series, or a theme running through a graphic novel all about a superheroes struggle to come to terms with their burden, but I’m not really talking about that. That’s more of a coming to terms with an identity thing, I’m thinking more in terms of you suddenly having to come to terms that not only do you have superpowers but that superpowers actually exist.
I know that if I woke up one morning and discovered I could fly I would be extremely disturbed and a little freaked out. Maybe when you discover you have a superpower a little guide-like-creature pops up to help you come to terms with having a superpower and teach you how to use/control your power. Also, maybe everybody has a superpower but we don’t think about them, it’s possible I really can walk through walls but am only aware I can’t when I realise that I’ve just walked into the wall. Not that I do that very often, of course.
*Yes I know.