I’m rolling with the IWSG now. The Incredibly Witty Super-handsome Guy club? No, silly! The Insecure Writer’s Support Group. The “eewuhsig”, as it is affectionately known by me ever since I made that up just now, comes up with a blog topic (I will call it a “blopic”) on the first Wednesday of every month. For the month of March, that is today. How auspicious that it be today, the very day that Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and Tituba were arrested for the supposed practice of witchcraft in Salem, Mass in that foul year of our Lord, 1692. This is auspicious because the topic of this month’s Incredibly Witt….errr, INSECURE WRITER’S SUPPORT GROUP is –
Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?
You’re probably asking what witch trials have to do with the Incredibly Witt….errr, Insecure Writer’s Support Group topic. Uh, I don’t know yet. I just wanted to talk about witches and make a smooth transition to my story. That said, I’m just gonna throw my response to the IWSG question out there and find a transition later. So, here is the transition-less transition to my response to the above topic.
As a greenhorn 8th grade history teacher, I had the audacity to create an assignment to, given the principles of government, society and economics as learned in history class, create a fully functional nation from scratch.
To demonstrate this assignment, I created Aequitas, a nation composed of three islands in constant war with each other.
I gave each island state a rudimentary topography that governed physical features of its inhabitants and commodities and trade and the like. The fun part was borne out of a lesson from an undergrad course, Modern Peoples of Latin America.
You see, central Mexico has many indigenous villages stuck in a three-way twilight (I will call it a “trilight”). On the one hand, they are Earthlings, meaning they are subject to the ever-changing tides of globalization. On the other hand, they are citizens of Mexico, and must adjust their sails of survival to the hectic winds of the Mexican government. On the other other hand, they are some flavor of Mexican Indian (Zapotec, Nahuatl, Mixtec, Initech,etc.). In keeping with the sea analogy, Indian identity will be the annoying dolphin that keeps pushing them off course.
From the outside, these villages are pretty homogenous – same economy, same family structure/social hierarchy. However, if you were to ask one of them about the similarities between his/her village and the next village over, this individual would invariably explain how backwards the neighboring community is when describing a nearly identical facet of village life. For instance, if you were to ask a resident of village A about the corn harvesting practices of village B, s/he’d tell you roughly the same thing s/he’d said about his/her own harvesting practices. Mention this similarity and this individual would quickly point out that those sickos in village B put their ears of corn in a cloth sac, rather than a basket like a civilized person would do.
I was fascinated by this, so that was the impetus for Aequitas – three island states fiercely asserts its community’s sui generis despite obvious similarities.
This assignment was twelve years ago. Since that time, this fantasy world has mutated and evolved into a saga of sociopolitical intrigue and sociocultural transgressions. The island nation is now called “Lemuria”. Lemuria is to the Pacific and Indian oceans what Atlantis is to the Atlantic Ocean. The island states, now known as Ostis (east), Nordis (north) and Sudis (south), are coming off another devastating war and have decided to form an alliance. To ensure it sticks this time (alliances have been many and without efficacy in the past), high ranking officials create a persona called “Ramtha” (this is an actual name of a supposed Lemurian channeled by some space cadet named JZ Knight, read more about her HERE). In my story, Ramtha hijacks the alliance and starts ravaging all three islands. To fight off this mysterious figure, the three island states must band together. The result would be an alliance built on mutual propagation. It doesn’t end that way though. Ramtha wins out and takes over and a “Ramtha” (similar to Caesar/a Caesar) rules with an iron fist for the next x years until an unlikely hero emerges out of Ostis after a scuffle at a local market.
I had trouble getting the timeline to line up and seemed to run into big plot gaps often – I’m going to revisit this story when I’m a wealthy, famous author.
Holy gosh, this post is longer than I’d like, but I like it all the same. And I still need to justify the transition. How about this – the Salem people lived in villages, just like the Mexican Indians do. I’ll bet that if you asked a villager in a town adjacent to Salem about their witches versus the Salem witches, they’d give you all the same information, but those wacko Salem witches are heavier than wood and don’t float in water.
A special thanks to fellow IWSG blogger Jennifer Lee Rossman for posting about the IWSG “blopic” at THE ETERNALLY UNTITLED…I LOVE that blog title.