V is for Valiant …
Definition of VALIANT
1: possessing or acting with bravery or boldness : courageous <valiant soldiers>
2: marked by, exhibiting, or carried out with courage or determination : heroic <valiant feats>
As I read this definition, I could see Ethan stand a little straighter in my mind’s eye, only to have Brett look up from his book, smile wryly, and say, “No.” And not just “no,” but “hell no.” (welcome to the writing process that is continuous in my brain … ready?)
I’m going to talk a little about The Fishing Widow today because it’s free on Amazon (quick! Click it! Right there!), but not for much longer. This isn’t the first book I’ve ever written, nor is it the first thing I ever had published. It WAS, however, the first book I ever obsessed over to the point of channeling H.P. Lovecraft. It went through no fewer than seventeen (that’s 17) revisions. Why? Because with any story, what you leave out is just as important as what you leave in. And, it helps to have a reliable narrator. I’d kill for one of those….
Everyone wants to be a hero, I reckon. Well, the world of The Fishing Widow is no different. But WHO the heroes want to be and who they think they are is slightly (okay, severely) skewed. Evil plays the hero because in evil’s mind, saving someone from a WORSE evil is heroic. WORSE evil is a matter of opinion, and since evil has self-recognition problems, it thinks it’s valiant because it’s saving someone from evil of a different kind which must be more evil than that evil which, by all stretches of the imagination, then becomes good by default, or at least … better. Good can be valiant, but sometimes “good” is just hapless (*cough* Ethan *cough*), and while it’s said there’s safety in numbers, there’s also valiantness in numbers. Being brave and bold alone against the darkness….well, that’s a rare breed that can pull that off. Never were the boys more valiant than when they were together and backing each other up. Alone and heroic? I suppose that works, but for whom is one heroic? Is saving your own skin heroic? I mean, it’s pretty brave to stand up against evil mano y mano, but heroic, at least for me, also tends to include an element of self-sacrifice for the good of others. The characters who exhibit that in the book tend, for me, to be the most courageous. They are the ones who are also at peace with the idea that just because you’ve sacrificed your future, you’ve not lost yourself. There are more things horrific than physical death.
Trust me on that one.
Poetry Form: Welsh Awdl (odes)
Byr a thoddaid: (bir a thod-deyed):
This form consists of any number of quatrain stanzas. Each stanza combines one couplet of eight syllable lines a. a. and one couplet where the first line has ten syllables and the second line has six syllables, This couplet is called a toddaid byr.
There is no set order for the couplets.
In the ten syllable line the main rhyme b. b. is found before the end of the line and the last syllable of that line links the six syllable line by alliteration, assonance or secondary rhyme. Here is the form layout for either variation.
|x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x x a
x x x x x x b x x c.
x c x x x b
O, valiant men who seem most brave
Whose courage other men may crave
To set aright the wrongs of man’ ya plot,
Whilst caught and wronged by untrue love.