Friday, April 19, 2013

A-to-Z Challenge Day 17: The Letter Q

Seven Thunders

This particular character wouldn't have existed without the A-to-Z Challenge.  True story.  I was hedging whether or not to do it again earlier this year, and in fact at one point simply wasn't because I thought I would be doing something very much different this month.  That didn't happen, and so I signed up.  I started planning.  Now, maybe I have another character whose name begins with this letter.  I don't have all of it indexed yet.  But at the time I was also writing Seven Thunders, which as I've discussed I finished writing last month after a gestation of fifteen years.  I conjured Qatar out of thin air to fill this void.  Like some of my names, Qatar has a fairly obvious origin.  It happens to be an Arab state, an unusually peaceful one, familiar to American soldiers shipping in and out of Iraq during the last decade.  Qatar in Seven Thunders isn't Arab.  He's an alien space cab driver, and in his case having a name that evokes a familiar human touchstone is no accident, because all of his kind have been doing that since our kind entered the galactic community.  It's actually his character that allowed me to give them more depth than I had previously, and that's pretty awesome, because Seven Thunders is all about depth.  So, thank you, A-to-Z Challenge.

Ronan Quinn
Yoshimi and the Assassins Guild
Yoshimi Trilogy Volume 2

Here's the Big Bad in Yoshimi's life, the driving force of the revenge narrative, whose story evokes my favorite J.K. Rowling book, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.  The reason I keep referencing rather than outright explaining it is that maybe you're familiar with it and maybe you're not, and maybe I have a different impression than you.  Either way you might know the particular significance of the events depicted in it, and if you do, then you know more about Ronan Quinn than other people reading about him today.  And yes, I'm not really talking about him.  I'm not really talking about any of the characters I'm introducing, am I?  I find it annoying when a writer presents an outright biography of a character.  Either that stuff is relevant or it's not, and if it's not and what you've actually done is explain exactly what that character will be doing in the story, then half the story has been ruined.  I don't usually mind spoilers.  It's one thing to know what will happen in a story a large percentage of the population will be experiencing along with you, quite another for something that far fewer will.  It's more special to discover these smaller miracles for yourself.


Modern Ark

I'm going to be writing about Modern Ark over at my writer's blog.  It's a manuscript I've got and have tried submitting around with absolutely no luck.  The most recent failure was for Amazon's Breakthrough contest earlier this year.  Quincy is a modern pirate (which would have made him just as appropriate to talk about yesterday, when lots of people were talking about pirates).  He blatantly got his name from Jason's pet iguana in FoxTrot (seriously, if you've never read FoxTrot you should feel ashamed, and if you haven't read Pearls Before Swine, prepare for a visit from Guard Duck).  Also, it's the other John Adams.  I love me John Adams in either form.  Good stuff.  Quincy is also referred to as Dane in Modern Ark, but this is not to say that his full name is Dane Quincy or Quincy Dane.  Just for the record.


Did the Red Sox get their sixth straight win yesterday?  You betcha.

The Angels didn't play yesterday.  This article looks at their slow start.

The A's didn't play yesterday.  They're off to a great start, though!

The Cardinals eked out a win yesterday.  I'm still pleased that three out of four of my teams sit atop their divisions to this point in the season!


Just because I didn't do it last year when I was doing Star Trek as one of my themes, I will mention Quark.  Quark is a big reason why Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is my favorite series in the franchise.  A lot of fans didn't like the Ferengi episodes.  I loved them!  (Zek was the Q of this series, making visits most seasons and being awesome every time.)  Quark was jealous of his cousin Gaila, "the one with the moon."  But he had a bar, and even if he wasn't so great a brother all the time to Rom, he was rightly an institution on the Promenade, which Sisko recognized immediately.  He was also a bitter frenemy of Odo's.  He was a schemer (so basically Quark is exactly who the Joker was talking about in The Dark Knight).  He was the only character who didn't have a big dramatic arc in the Dominion War arc, but it only figures.  He didn't need one.  His whole gig was avoiding big dramatic arcs.  Every time he got involved in one it was literally a chance to lose everything.  Do that in a war?  He would have been cannon fodder.  (Although he and a bunch of his Ferengi friends still faced down the Dominion and came out alive.  So there!)


Michael Offutt, S.F.A. said...

Loved reading about how the former challenge allowed you to explore a character with such depth.

Michael Abayomi said...

Q is one of the more difficult letters encountered during the A-Z Challenge, so it is rather funny and intuitive that you named one of your characters beforehand to overcome the problem. I've said it before and I'll say it again... I'm so glad you decided to do the Challenge. :)

Tony Laplume said...

Michael (1), the challenge has proven to be more useful than simple networking.

Michael (2), thanks. :)

mshatch said...

Quark was very funny and the episodes involving him got better with time, I thought.

Tony Laplume said...

mshatch, some of Quark's best episodes were definitely later in the series!

Nigel Mitchell said...

I still haven't watched "Deep Space Nine" except for a few episodes. Sounds like I'm missing out.

Nice job on Qatar. That's a great, alien-sounding name.

David List said...

Qatar the alien space cab driver! Awesome!

I actually flunked out of the Amazon Breakthrough contest as well...

I had precious little to say about the letter Q from my creative works... Q is an abominable beast.

Tony Laplume said...

Nigel, you'll thank yourself when you get around to watching the rest of it. It's endlessly rewarding.

David, the Amazon Breakthrough contest for what it's worth seems to be a crapshoot. After flunking out I had a look at the forums to see what people were saying, and apparently some submit the exact same pitch every year and get completely different results. It comes off as pretty random.

Spacerguy said...

Theres a lot of great actors in DS9 whose expressions are hidden behind a mask and then we've got Worf. I reckon even Christopher Nolan is impressed by that character.

Tony Laplume said...

Tom Hardy ain't got nothing on Dorn.


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