Opposites Attract – Characters Who Don’t Hate Each Other but Probably Should
By Kenny Soward
I was minding my own business one day, when Joe Martin, Creative Director at Ragnarok Publishing, sent me a private message giving me props for a particularly powerful scene in Tinkermage, the second book in my GnomeSaga series.
The scene in question involves my main character, Nikselpik, and his cleric acquaintance, Fara. Fara could easily be characterized as neutral good on the D&D spectrum of alignments. And Nikselpik ... well, he’s a dark little fellow. In the scene, Fara intends to guide Nikselpik in the art of healing, and she brings along a wounded snow bird to test his skills.
I wonder if there’s a joke in there somewhere – a necromancer, a cleric, and a wounded snow bird enter a bar ...
Nikselpik is of course reluctant to learn anything new, but he thinks Fara is pretty hot, so he’s going to play along and see what happens. Fara, on the other hand, is quite aware of Nikselpik’s shortcomings as a god-fearing gnome, but wants to expose him to something a little more positive than the necromantic arts.
Well, you can probably imagine how it ends ... a lot of disappointment and hurt feelings. The disappearance of any light at the end of the tunnel for them. All in all, the makings of some good friction.
At the heart of this scene was a very simple idea – two people who feel deeply bonded to one another want to share things with one another, sometimes to the detriment of their relationship.
When I discover something funny or cute on FaceBook, I want to share it over to my girlfriend’s page because I want her to laugh like I did. I want to share other things with her, too. All the cool movies she never saw, like Big Trouble in Little China and Mad Max and The Thing, or some new band I recently discovered. Because that’s what makes up me, and I want her to like me. Music is a big part of her life. She’s a huge GWAR fan, so she wants to include me in all the fun and adventures of being a GWAR fan for those very same reasons; I’m pretty sure she wants me to like her too, although you’d have to ask her to be sure.
We’re not complete opposites, but neither are we completely the same, and it’s those degrees of separation that bring spice to our relationship. I get to go to gore spattering GWAR concerts and she gets to have a lot of fun snuggling up in front of the TV with me and viewing all those old culturally iconic movies so important and influential to the SFF and Horror communities.
But what happens when those degrees of difference are just too far apart, too irrevocably distant? Sharing can turn into a disaster, shock at the other person’s belief system, disappointment, and pain. It can even tear people apart when something so core to one person’s being is considered vile or even blasphemous to another’s. These feelings can be strongest when questions of faith and spirituality are explored. And when the two people are physically attracted to one another – or even attracted by those very differences – it can lead to confusion and resentment.
And that’s why it seemed completely logical that Fara, a good cleric of Evana, would want to share portions of her faith with someone she sees as exotic and dangerous ... someone she can fix. And the same goes for Nikselpik. He thinks Fara will one day understand his deadspeak even though her faith is so deeply rooted in life and light. They come together with the best of intentions, only to discover their feelings for one another may not be strong enough to bridge the divide between them, to span the distance between their core beliefs.
Will they see past their differences to reach a level of sharing that does not evoke those disaffecting emotions? Or will they suffer apart, never to be reclaim their friendship?
Either way, I knew I had the makings of a great little scene, and I ran with it. Or rather, they did. If you want to know how it all ends, you can check out my GnomeSaga series published by Ragnarok Publications. Also, stop by my Author FaceBook page to get updates on what I’m writing next.
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About the Author:
Kenny Soward grew up in Crescent Park, Kentucky, a small suburb just south of Cincinnati, Ohio, listening to hard rock and playing outdoors. In those quiet 1970's streets, he jumped bikes, played Nerf football, and acquired many a childhood scar.
Kenny's love for books flourished early, a habit passed down to him by his uncles. He burned through his grade school library, and in high school spent many days in detention for reading fantasy fiction during class.
The transition to author was a natural one for Kenny. His sixth grade teacher encouraged him to start a journal, and he later began jotting down pieces of stories, mostly the outcomes of D&D gaming sessions. At the University of Kentucky, Kenny took creative writing classes under Gurny Norman, former Kentucky Poet Laureate and author of Divine Rights Trip (1971).
Kenny's latest releases are ROUGH MAGIC (GnomeSaga #1) and THOSE POOR, POOR BASTARDS (Dead West #1) with Tim Marquitz and J.M. Martin.
By day, Kenny works as a Unix professional, and at night he writes and sips bourbon. Kenny lives in Independence, Kentucky, with three cats and a gal who thinks she's a cat.
THE ENEMY EXPOSED. Nikselpik Nur has become the city of Hightower’s staunchest—albeit unwilling—ally. He’s hardly learned to cope with his debilitating bugging addiction, much less take on the duties of being the city’s First Wizard. Can he embrace this new path? And will he?
Meanwhile, Stena Wavebreaker is pulled from her seafaring duties by the Precisor General and given command of a raggedy airship to scout the ultraworldly enemy from the perilous skies above the Southern Reaches. Her mission: gain the support of the unpredictable ‘swamp elves,’ the Giyipcias.
Lastly, Niksabella Nur has set off from Hightower at the behest of the grim stonekin leader, Jontuk. The gnomestress must unlock the full potential of her invention, the recursive mirror, and her own powers, to bear what might be the heaviest burden of all. What will she discover along the way? And will Jontuk be able to keep her alive long enough to save them all?
This is GnomeSaga Book Two.