In literary fiction, morals and philosophical concepts are crucial for driving the story. Characters must learn something about life and living. What’s the use of a well developed character that isn’t put to the test? You can endow all your characters with whatever moral stuff you want, but without a trial of that stuff, your story can dry up.
The spectrum of morals and philosophies is vast, so it’s easy to get lost if you go searching. And philosophers of all ages make messes of concepts that should be intuitive to the average person that lives in the world. Deep concepts can be expressed smoothly and simply, this is the job of the writer. It is the job of the reader to read the words and understand the meaning. If the reader doesn’t not understand a concept, the story should still go on entertaining. Philosophical mumbo jumbo is for philosophers, not for a reader trying to enjoy a good story.
I won’t spend all day explaining the myriad philosophical details that I have planned for this story. Most of what goes into my head as philosophy is placed in my stories as a shiny coin. Take it or leave it, regardless, someone will pick it up.
Basic Philosophical Concepts: A low down on my characters’ belief systems
- Baldur – Baldur begins the story as a nihilist. Much of what his father Odin has taught him has rubbed off on him in as apathy. Baldur is nice and loving and harmless, but what he isn’t, is a believer none whatsoever, not even in himself at times. Baldur will have to reconcile this lack of belief, first with himself and then humankind. He will come round in the end with a faith in people, that can overcome their awful ways of life. More main morals: some things cannot be repaired by compassion or reconciled by guilt, don’t wish ill on yourself, it will happen regardless, doing no harm doesn’t mean not being harmful
- Odin – Despite the transference of apathy to Baldur, Odin doesn’t feel apathetic to the state of the world. In fact, he relishes the ending of a cycle. Religiously, he will come off as a Norse pagan, much of what will come out of his mouth will reference some Norse myth. But what Odin really believes is that all of these depictions of gods are simply manifestations of the human psyche. If you ever caught him praying to Odin, it would be himself. Odin in his later years has a moral breakdown with war and violence. This is not unlike his comrade Sarba.
- Nastasia – She believes that God is everything, down to that very statement. She’ll have an occasional issue with the way Odin flings the word ‘God’ around as if there are many, but he’ll never argue outside of saying “out of one come many”. She believes all of her loved ones will be saved, regardless of what they believe now. After the capture of Baldur not so long after Odin’s death, Nastasia will devote herself to Christ as missionary and work/pray her days away.
- Fetu—believes wholeheartedly in the gods of Samoan tradition, his father had taught him to be this way and he never abandoned it, even at twelve when his dad died. Everything he does is associated with his belief. He makes spiritual ritual of even the most mundane of chores.
- Sarba—believes in all the aspects of Hinduism, but much like Odin associate the deities and stories with a true relation to the self, spiritual and physical. Some of his conveyances will be harder to understand than any other character, but this is the nature of the teacher. Sages aren’t often understood by their pupils, and since the protagonist is in the first person, the reader can relate to some of this philosophical confusion.
- Jennifer—will have simple but grievous lessons: being nice and compassionate bears no reward but the action itself, and some heartbreak cannot be repaired
- James Villard—Also a nihilist in the beginning of the story although he is a televangelist preacher. His money and his power over people made him faithless and apathetic. He has a major suppression of guilt which is cracked by the knowledge of Baldur’s existence. His initial interest in Baldur’s language project is for more power, but after he is discredited and made a fool of, he has an epiphany. He restores his faith in Christ, and denounces his money empire, he gives all of his money and possessions to the world’s poor people. Becomes a street preacher.
Tomorrow I have to evaluate the way I’m going to deal with this one month deadline. I need to have techniques I can turn to in order to keep writing fluidly.