In the last post, I wrote that was an actual post, I mentioned how much I hate finding politics in my fiction. I bet that a fair number of you wondered where I was finding all this political fantasy, and who was writing about wizards and werewolves running for office. (Side note, I have actually read a book about a werewolf running for sheriff.)
But that’s not the kind of politics I mean. I’m not especially fond of election process badgering, what with having grown up so near Washington D.C., but that’s not what I meant. I’ve been trying to explain for so long that I had to resort to looking up the definition
4. political methods or maneuvers:
6.use of intrigue or strategy in obtaining any position of power or control, as in business, university,etc.
So when I talk about ‘politics’ in a story I’m really talking about a character trapped by arbitrary rules and traditions that are in place only to prolong the plot. The characters in these stories ruled by political machinations usually refuse to consider an outside-the-box solution. “The elders have forbidden us from drinking well water, so I’ll sit here next to the well and die of thirst! Alas!” “I am a mere apprentice and so touching the Master’s crystal ball means death by law, even though the only way to save the city is to shift it one inch to the left!”
These stories are usually pretty easy to pick out, though. They often start with a lengthy explanation of how the world society is set up specifically keep the main characters down in one way or another. Three pages about how the rulers of the magical kingdom wrote the laws to keep apprentices firmly away from any real tools of power because of one guy who did a thing two thousand years ago or some such thing.
I’m sorry. I simply don’t have the patience for that nonsense. It’s entirely possible to write a story where the heroes must fight tradition or The Man— frankly just about any lovable rogue is doing exactly that and I do love me a lovable rogue— but when the whole world is crafted around laws and traditions, that’s going to a place I just don’t want to follow. It grates too hard on what remains of my faith in humanity.