I have been writing up a storm to finish the last few pages of the novel Ascension of Peary before my beta reader starts breathing down my neck for them. Something I didn’t expect came up in the writing but it’s all good, since it defines characters better and makes for a more holistic story. It is strange to write as a pantser (by the seat of my pants) or in the new parlance, a gardener who throws seeds and watches what grows. Either way, my characters occasionally take a turn where I least expect it, and it’s fun to follow their lead.
Which gets me to reading. I started reading a series of books about magicians, because I not only write about these things, I like to read other people’s take on the subject. I get through the first book mildly amused and invested enough to start the second book. And then I hit one of my least favorite tropes in stories of magical tutelage. I have called it the Harry Potter syndrome for lack of a better name, and it applies to Harry in the books prior to the last two. Harry had a habit of thinking he could handle something because it was, after all, his problem, and ignoring all the more advanced wizards and witches who were available for their skills, he goes off on his own, gets in trouble, but manages to triumph over adversity by a combination of luck, and a little skill. The emphasis is on luck. This is a plot turn that has become de rigueur for learning magicians.
The plot turn shows up with startling regularity, and I’ve had enough. What the young magician is doing is stupid and misguided. It is hard to maintain interest in a character so devoid of common sense. Does magic cause stupidity in young learners? I certainly hope not. In the book I am now finishing, the young magician is appreciative of the lessons she is learning and looks on her teacher with trust and affection. When she thinks she should do something, she (gasp!) asks for assistance and advice.
Maybe I can start a new trope.